Tag Archives: hurricane impact windows

Important Info About Hurricane Impact Windows

13 Jan

If you’re relying upon hurricane impact windows (either new or replacement) for protection from storm impacts or as a deterrent against smash & grab break-ins, the following information is for you. If you’re considering having new windows installed in your home, office or church you may want to read on, as well.
The term “impact resistant” is used to identify any window that has been tested to The State of Florida hurricane testing standards and has been determined that after it breaks, it will be able to remain attached to the window frame in which it was originally manufactured, during a typical, tropical weather event. If you purchased impact rated windows with the assumption that these were going to be the last windows that you would ever have to buy, here’s the rest of the story.

Having windows labeled as “impact resistant” installed means that these windows:

  • will still break just like any other window – they will simply not get blown away afterwards
  • are not “hurricane proof” nor will they survive or withstand a large missile impact without breaking
  • will shatter and shower the inside of the room and its occupants with shards and slivers of sharp glass when impacted (No, they aren’t “shatterproof” either)
  • are no better than any other window at preventing water leakage during a tropical weather event

You see, the term “impact resistant” or “impact rated” doesn’t mean that the windows won’t break or are resistant to breakage. The truth is that these windows will still break and will need to be replaced.

When this happens you will be required to:

  • clean-up a mess of broken glass
  • clean up and repair of any water damage that has occurred
  • purchase new windows and pay for installation
  • schedule your time around the window salespeople appointments
  • schedule your time around the installation crew for installation appointments and call-backs
  • deal with the inconvenience and worry of having strangers tramping through your home

There is a better way!

Putting the crystal clear protection of flat polycarbonate shutters over your impact resistant windows (or any windows, for that matter) will give you the peace of mind that you’ve done your best to protect that substantial investment that you made for your home. They will put an end to all of the problems listed above that are the result of window breakage.

Flat polycarbonate shutters will not only protect against window breakage without distorting your view of the outdoors, but they also:

  • provide sound insulation – your home will be noticeably quieter
  • provide thermal insulation – lower energy consumption means smaller monthly bills and reduce the strain on your HVAC system components
  • filter UV rays – these are the rays that cause the components of your windows to get old prematurely
  • stop wind-driven rainwater from reaching your window – no more “towel patrols” during tropical rain storms to sop up the water leaks
  • eliminate the “dungeon effect” that comes with any opaque form of hurricane protection
  • are Good looking – no other hurricane shutter looks as good as Evolution shutters
  • Are nearly invisible from the street – if you’re a seasonal resident or spend a lot of time away from home, no one driving by will be able to tell that your home is unoccupied and an easy target for a break-in

Simply stated, impact rated windows are a good 2nd line of defense against storm damage or smash & grab break-in attempts but they won’t hold up to repeated attacks. Once they are broken your protection is limited until they get replaced. Using flat polycarbonate shutters (like the ones manufactured by Evolution Hurricane Shutters) will protect ANY window against breakage from flying storm debris, smash & grab break-in attempts, accidental breakage from ladders or other home maintenance tools, rocks propelled from lawn maintenance equipment, BBs, pellets, stones or bricks from vandalism – AND they’ll do it again and again, WITHOUT BREAKING. Evolution shutters are the only protection that your windows will ever need from these events – PERIOD!

Protect your window investment, your family and property by making Evolution shutters your first line of window defense against the outside world. Evolution Hurricane Shutters- “The rEvolution in hurricane protection.”

Visit www.evolutionhurricaneshutters.com and see why they’re called “the hurricane shutters that don’t look like hurricane shutters”.

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Common Myths About Hurricane Impact Windows

1 Mar

If you’ve been put into the position to look for hurricane protection for your home, office, church or any other building, more than likely you’ve been exposed to the following statements by either printed media or direct conversations:

“The building code says that you must replace your current windows with impact rated units.”
“Hurricane impact windows are the best form of hurricane protection.”
“Impact windows are hurricane proof.”
“New energy efficient impact windows will pay for themselves through monthly energy savings.”
“Impact windows won’t shatter.”
“Hurricane impact windows will withstand (or survive) a hurricane.”
“You no longer need your old hurricane shutters so you can sell them to offset the cost of your new windows.”
“Hurricane impact windows will increase the value of your home.”

Let me share with you some insight into these myths and the facts associated with them.

“The building code says that you must replace your current windows with impact rated units.”

This is the most persuasive statement that the window salesperson will lead with – even though it isn’t true. He/she is trying to test you to see how much you really know about the codes. The truth is NO ONE must change/replace their home’s windows with impact windows. The building code only states that your window openings must be protected with a tested and approved hurricane product. Hurricane impact windows are merely one of MANY OPTIONS that you have available to accomplish this. Storm panels, fabrics, screens, netting, translucent panels, Bahama shutters, accordion shutters, roll-down shutters and crystal clear panels will all be building code compliant as long as they have hurricane approval.

“Hurricane impact windows are the best form of hurricane protection available.”

This myth may very well be the opinion of the window salesperson, but it is hardly factual. What criteria determines “the best”? How can these windows be the “best form of hurricane protection” when they break and have to be replaced at a cost that is 2 or 3 times (or more) the cost of regular windows? I’m no Rhodes Scholar, but even I know that spending $1200.00 for a new window and then replacing it with another new one after the first one breaks is going to be a total of $2400.00. A regular window that costs $400.00 plus a quality hurricane shutter that might cost $600.00 only adds up to $1000.00 and the window isn’t going to get broken during the storm. There’s lots of wiggle room to buy an even more expensive window, too. Even if you spent $1000.00 on a window, the combined cost of window and shutter is still cheaper than buying a hurricane impact window twice! Enough said!

“Impact windows are hurricane proof.”

I don’t even know where to begin with this myth. First of all, short of buying bullet resistant glass, there’s no such thing as a “hurricane proof” window available to homeowners – period! Every single window that is manufactured by the top 10 U.S. window companies, will break when subjected to the large missile impact test for hurricane approval. Even a gently swung hammer, a thrown brick or even a tiny center-punch will break them, so “hurricane proof” isn’t even close to the truth. Youtube videos are a great way to see the truth in real life. Every single one that I have watched has the same ugly ending – a totally destroyed window with a big mess to clean up.

“New energy efficient impact windows will pay for themselves through monthly energy savings.”

It seems that the only folks who believe this myth are the window manufacturers, themselves. Every independent group that does testing agrees that in order for energy efficient pvc framed impact windows to pay for the cost difference between themselves and a regular window will take a minimum of 40 years! That’s not a lifetime for you or me, but it does happen to exceed the lifetime of the windows. He average life of pvc framed windows in Florida’s climate is 25-30 years. And even if it were 40 years, that means that as soon as a window has paid for itself, it’s time for a new one. Sounds almost like buying a new car, doesn’t it?

“Impact windows won’t shatter.”

shatter – definition

Dictionary.com – to break (something) into pieces, as by a blow.
Merriam-Webster.com – a: to break at once into pieces b: to damage badly: ruin

The Free Dictionary.com – To cause to break or burst suddenly into pieces, as with a violent blow.Dictionary.cambridge.org – to break suddenly or cause something to break suddenly into small pieces:
And finally…..
oxforddictionaries.com – Break or cause to break suddenly and violently into pieces

The next time that you visit Youtube, search and watch “hurricane impact window test” and you’ll see that every impact window that gets tested absolutely shatters into thousands of pieces that fly everywhere!! You’ll also see some windows with aftermarket, applied security films – they also allow the window to break but actually do a better job of holding the glass together than most of the impact windows tested. Window people misuse the phrase “won’t shatter” and I wish that I knew why these people want to expose the public to this risk. The laminated glass shatters and in the event of a small impact episode the broken shards stick to the inner liner. But in the event of a violent impact, glass shards from the laminated glass will go flying into the room and can injure anyone insidet. Putting window film on the inside of your impact windows would make them safer, but most window companies will not warranty your windows if you apply window film to them.

“Hurricane impact windows will withstand a hurricane.”

I don’t know what dictionary the folks who use this phrase are reading. I think of the word “withstand” to mean “to endure without breaking”. I use pretty much the same definition for the word “survive”. I guess the “window people” have their own set of definitions for these 2 words because according to the dictionary their definitions are as follows:

survive – definition

1. to remain alive after the death of someone, the cessation of something, or the occurrence of some event; continue to live

2. to remain and continue in existence or use

3. to get along or remain happy, healthy and unaffected in spite of some occurrence.

NEXT

1. to remain alive; to continue to live

2. to continue to exist

3. to remain alive after the death of (someone)

FINALLY:

1. to remain alive or in existence

2. to carry on despite hardship or trauma; persevere

3. to remain functional or usable

 

withstand – definition

1. to stand up against; to oppose with determination; to resist successfully

NEXT:

1. to stand or hold out against, resist or oppose, especially successfully

2. to stand in opposition; resist

NEXT:

1. to resist or confront with resistance

2. to stand up or offer resistance to someone or something

FINALLY:

1. to be strong enough not to be harmed or destroyed by something

2. to be able to deal with a difficult situation

I guess that the window people have their own set of definitions because, to me, if a window survives or withstands a hurricane, it should still be in place and functioning as a window – still keeping the wind and rain out, still clear and able to be seen through. These words certainly don’t apply to an impact window after it has been subjected to a 2 x 4 traveling at only 34 mph. What the window people want the words to mean are that it will still be in the window frame and laying on the floor. It won’t be water or wind resistant but it will still keep the room from being pressurized by high winds and that’s about it. This doesn’t sound like “surviving” or “withstanding” to me – does it to you?

 “You can sell your old shutters to help pay for your new impact windows.”

PLEASE don’t make this mistake! If you want to protect the money that you have plunked down on your new windows, keep your old shutters! Throwing them away or selling them is like getting rid of a raincoat because you bought a new jacket. You still need the impact protection of shutters to protect your hurricane window investment just like you still need the raincoat to protect your new jacket!!

As soon as your windows sustain a hit from a large missile impact, albeit during a storm or from some other source, your window will have to be replaced. Check with your insurance company to find out the terms of your policy. Most insurance companies won’t pay for the total cost of impact window replacement. They only cover the cost of a standard window replacement, but for the ones that do cover the cost, many of them will only do so once and then you will be required to shutter them for the next time.

“New impact windows will increase the value of your home.”

This statement is only partially false. A savvy home buyer already knows the disadvantages of having impact windows in their home and will use it against you during negotiations – especially if the windows are more than a few years old. They know that the cost of replacement is high and that they will have to invest in shutters to protect the expensive windows. They also know that impact windows are plagued with problems like broken internal springs, foggy panes and that the pvc frames can warp and get brittle with age. These are all signs of low-budget window improvements used by “flippers” and not conscientious homeowners who are attempting to improve their home. Aluminum framed, powder coated, non-impact windows with high quality shutters are sure signs that the homeowner did his/her homework on the correct way to outfit a home with windows aimed at maximum protection, long life and low maintenance.

The bottom line

Your best approach to keep from getting sucked into a poor choice of hurricane protection is to become an educated consumer who doesn’t rely on only what you are told by those whose interests are served by the window industry. It’s their job to sell more windows and they push the limits any way that they can to accomplish that end. It’s up to you to protect your family, home and property the best way that you know how. Knowledge is power so don’t be afraid to acquire it when it comes to protecting the things that you cherish.

One solution

If  you’ve decided to get new windows, do your research, ask questions and read the window literature carefully. If you see phrases like “hurricane proof”, shatterproof”, “unbreakable” or “withstands/survives hurricanes” BE CAREFUL. These statements are all false when they are referencing any glass window – impact rated or standard – because there is no such thing. These words are intended to convince you that hurricane impact windows take away all of the worries about broken windows as a result of hurricanes and hurricane debris.

If you already have impact windows, you may want to consider protecting them and extending their life to protect your investment.

Either one of these scenarios will make you a good candidate for the crystal clear protection of Evolution Hurricane Shutters. You get superior strength, energy savings and clear-as-glass views. Visit our website at http://www.evolutionhurricaneshutters.com for information and videos about our unique product.

 

Have You Been Told The Truth About Impact Windows?

17 Dec

Are you one of those building or home owners who believes that hurricane impact windows will somehow “survive” or “withstand” impacts from hurricanes, theft or vandalism without breaking? Well, THE CLAIM ISN’T TRUE but don’t feel alone. Many consumers truly believe that “hurricane impact resistant windows” are unbreakable when, in actuality, no such window is available from the major U.S. window manufacturers.

Impact windows are a “sacrificial” form of impact protection that must be replaced after any one of these events occurs. Being three times or more as expensive as regular windows, replacing them every time that they break can be a real budget buster.

If you go to Youtube and perform a search for “impact window testing” you will see that impact windows will not withstand large missile impacts without being destroyed. Here are some other facts that consumers need to be aware of:

  • Impact glass alone does not determine compliance with hurricane resistance standards. Simply swapping impact glass for regular glass does nothing to strengthen the window frames or anchor the glass to the frames.
  • Most laminated “impact glass” is simply 2 pieces of regular window glass with a special clear liner sandwiched in between – the strength of each piece of glass remains the same.
  • In order to be an approved hurricane product, all impact windows are designed to break when impacted, but MUST remain anchored to the window frame and not blow out to prevent pressurization of the building interior from hurricane winds.
  • Some insurance companies only honor the cost of regular replacement windows and not the more expensive impact windows that you filed on your homeowner claim.
  • Once you file a claim for damage on your impact windows your insurance company may require that you shutter them next time or you will end up paying for their replacement out-of-pocket.
  • Due to design changes, replacement sashes/parts for current window models might not be available in 10 -15 years. You will be forced to purchase and install new windows instead of simply replacing old parts.
  • If you have windows that were installed prior to 2005, there’s a very good chance that replacement parts are currently unavailable for them.
  • The anticipated lifetime of plastic (PVC) framed windows is 20-25 years. Old growth wood framed windows can last 2-3 times longer and quality aluminum ones even longer.
  • A laminated impact window does very little to offer increased energy efficiency over a standard new window with glass of the same thickness.
  • Before opting for windows with insulated glass units, you may want to invest in secondary glazing (storm windows) for energy savings. They offer other benefits as well.
  • Impact windows must be protected with shutters or plywood to assure no breakage in the event of a storm, theft attempt, incidence of vandalism or building maintenance accident. This can also be accomplished with storm windows. When an impact window is subjected to any of these forces it will break and require replacement.
  • The actual payoff in energy savings for the more expensive insulated “super energy efficient windows” is a minimum of 40-70 years which is quite a bit longer than manufactures claim.
  • The time frame required to replace windows broken during a catastrophic storm could be months. Ask the survivors of the hurricane season of 2004.

It is important to be informed as a consumer. Don’t rely on the claims of window manufacturers to be factual. They have a tendency towards making figures and statistics fit their sales pitch. The internet is loaded with real consumer information as well as little known industry facts located in places like online window forums. Do your homework, ask questions and gather the facts. A knowledgeable consumer can save thou$and$ on storm protection while, at the same time, being better protected.

If you have hurricane shutters currently installed over your windows and are having impact windows installed, don’t throw those shutters away! They will prove invaluable in protecting your new impact windows and keep them from getting broken.

You may well be better off refurbishing your current windows and adding hurricane rated secondary glazing.

Resources:

http://www.communitypreservation.org/enews/windows.htm

http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/windows-doors/broken-window-repair-or-replace/#.

http://starcraftcustombuilders.com/windows.htm#.VJHMnckWVVE

http://www.evolutionhurricaneshutters.com

Energy Saving Hurricane Shutters

28 Aug

Sunlight creates heat

I know….quite the Earth-shattering statement, right? But there’s nothing like pointing out the obvious. Almost any type of hurricane shutter will save some energy if in no other way but by blocking sunlight, creating shade and thereby blocking the sun’s rays from hitting objects within your home that create heat. The problem is, the energy is only saved when the shutter is deployed. Roll-downs, accordions, corrugated metal panels, colonials, fabric panels, screens and Bahamas all block out a certain amount of sunlight and shade the window when they are deployed. But when they’re deployed, they block, and sometimes totally eliminate, the view completely. The other catch is that they only make shade during the daytime when the sun is shining. Your windows still lose and gain heat all night long.

Temperature differential

There are other forces of energy that bring heat into your home. One way to demonstrate this is at nighttime when there are no sun rays. Here are 2 scenarios to entertain…..a hot August night or a cold January one. Simply place your hand on the window and what do you feel? If it’s August and the A/C is keeping your home at a comfortable 72 degrees and it’s still 80 degrees outside, you’re going to feel warm glass. If it’s in the dead of winter and it’s 20 degrees outside and your heating system is keeping it a toasty 76 degrees inside, the window is going to feel cold. Pretty simple stuff, right? It’s known as temperature differential. But there’s more to it than that……and I’m kind of getting off topic here, but bear with me. It all comes around full circle in the end.

The window war

The warmer air on the inside of the glass seeks out the cold of the outside of the glass while the cold on the outside is seeking the warm of the inside. Depending upon which force is stronger determines if the outside of the glass is warmed by the inside or if the inside of the glass is cooled by the outside. It’s a kind of “window war”. Whichever side has more “push” wins the battle. What determines the “push”? The push is greatly influenced by the circulating air on each side of the window. On the inside, there is calm circulation – a ceiling fan, movements of people or pets and the circulation created by your heating or cooling systems. On the outside?? – the force of Mother Nature – the WIND.

So, which side of the window do you think has the greatest “push”? Anyone who thinks that any answer other than “Mother Nature” is the right one, has to come and sit in the front row for the rest of the class! The ceaseless power of Nature always seems to have the upper hand. That’s why your windows feel the way that they do on the hot August night or the cold January night. Mother nature is always winning. If you were to go out side the glass will feel the same as the outside temperature – another sure way to see that Mother nature is winning. We’ll revisit Mother Nature later on in this post.

The analogy that I just described isn’t precisely the way that it works in science, (because science tells us that there’s no such thing as cold – only an absence of heat) but it helps to make my point about the energy battle of window glass. One important concept to grasp at this point in the discussion is that glass is a VERY poor insulator and conducts heat and cold all too well. It also breaks and we will revisit these facts later on, also.

Peace in the window war or merely a truce?

Glass manufacturers set out to make peace between the inside and outside energies so they came up with the ingenious idea of protecting the layer of window glass with another layer of window glass and separating them with an air space. They then sealed them around the edges so that nothing could get in or out. This helped to bring the advantage of the outside force to a more equal level of the inside force because there was no longer any “wind” on the opposing sides of either layer of glass. These became known as “insulated glass units” (IGUs, for short) and the window industry latched onto the idea and made windows by the tens of thousands.

There was, however, one slight problem. The air that was sealed tightly inside would change from getting warm during the day to getting cold at night plus all of the temperature fluctuations through the 24 hours of a single day. Every time the wind blew, every time a cloud came over, every time it rained….well, you get the idea – A LOT of temperature changes in a single day. If you multiply that by just 7 days of a week, that amounts to many times more changes. These changes in temperature cause the trapped air to expand and contract and it does this with every temperature change and, over time, would eventually weaken the seals and seep out of the air space. This allows the more humid air from outside of the air space, into it and causes the IGUs to get cloudy. In an effort to try and disguise the fact that moisture was getting in, they put a powder inside the window to soak up the moisture, but it only delays the inevitable. No matter what is tried, this temperature “cycling” up and down can’t be stopped. This is the other one of Mother Nature’s forces that I referred to earlier that can’t be controlled. To this day it is universally accepted that there will always be this problem until someone perfects a way to equalize the internal IGU’s air space pressures with those outside of the air space without them mixing together. There is simply no way to stop the expansion and contraction cycling that occurs inside. No matter what brand of window that you use, if it is an IGU that uses a sealant system around the perimeter (they all do), it will never be guaranteed not to leak – most don’t make it past 8 years. Independent studies have shown that every year, a sealed IGU loses a MINIMUM of 1-2% of the air (or gas) inside and then starts replacing is with regular humid air from the atmosphere. Keep this in mind when someone tries to convince you that fancy internal gases like Argon or Krypton are the cat’s meow of IGUs. Although they don’t expand and contract as much as the air that we breath, they still do it – it’s just physics and can’t be stopped.

This entire process of making IGUs takes place in a factory where the air qualities like temperature and humidity are controlled and also to reduce the amount or dust and other foreign particles that might make their way into an IGU. These facilities do a very good job. however all of this comes at a high price and, of course, gets passed on to you and I, the consumers.

Someone please stop the madness!

Let me digress a little more, without totally digressing. You see, the same folks who thought up the idea of making IGUs (that they concede won’t last long) decided to take two pieces of glass and sandwich them around a super-tough plastic sheet that has very high tear strength. They took this “glass sandwich” and put it in a window frame, called it “impact glass” and made tens of thousands of more windows with it. Why they use the word “impact” to describe it, is beyond me, because the one thing that it ISN’T good for is impacts!! Here’s a video that shows that: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vp6Nl9ZBMHE . I picked this video at random – there are dozens of others that show the same thing. Do these windows look like they can stand up to impact to you? What these windows happen to do well is keeping a large missile (or projectile) traveling at 50 feet per second from penetrating completely through the window and creating a hole. If a hole were to be created, we know that wind can then enter a structure and increase the pressure inside that will allow the roof to be blown upward and possibly off of the building.

So here’s the new scenario…..They take these VERY expensive impact IGU windows (sometimes 3 to 4 times the cost of regular windows), sell them to the consumer, install them in their homes and after a storm passes, you, the homeowner, now have – you guessed it – VERY expensive BROKEN windows. I don’t know if it’s just me or what, but this approach makes absolutely NO SENSE to me. Why design something 3 to 4 times as expensive that will break so that you have to buy it again and again each time it breaks?? Am i wrong here??

An intervention of common sense

So….is there a way of reducing heat gain and loss though your windows without defying the laws of Mother Nature? Well, in fact there is…..and it has been around for a long time. It’s done by using storm windows and it’s even recognized as a proven method of reducing the amount of heat loss or gain through any window. Here’s the link to The United States Department of Energy website that discusses the topic: http://energy.gov/articles/5-steps-making-your-windows-more-energy-efficient  . There are many other sites, both government and private, that will echo this method of energy conservation as prudent.

The mission

What if there was a way to use this old tried and true method of saving energy and combine it with a hi-tech material that won’t break like glass and is a better insulator, too?? That way we wouldn’t have to put so much effort into defying the forces of physics and Mother Nature.

I’m here to tell you that there is a way to do it and it’s with a product that has been around a long time. Not as long as the idea of storm windows has been around, but as long ago as the 1950s. How about this idea ………..instead of making something that breaks, why not make something that DOESN’T BREAK??? Instead of using a cheaply produced PVC frame that will only last 20 years, why not use super strong aluminum pieces that will last 100 years? And instead of making a sealed (but leaky) IGU, why not combine these materials and use the U.S, Depart. of Energy’s proven method of making it like a storm window to save energy? What you would end up with is something without an expensive IGU (that has yet to be made 100% reliable) and without the fragile characteristic of impact glass.

Winning the battle

If this sounds like a win-win concept to you, it did to me, too, so here’s a video showing the end product in a live demonstration. There’s no glass to break because this ’50s era material is called polycarbonate – a plastic that is 200 times stronger than glass, a fraction of the weight and a much better insulator. There’s also no seals to fail and no huge, expensive, dustless or atmosphere controlled building required to assemble it.

Take a look at the video below and tell me what you think. But before you do, keep in mind that this energy saving hurricane shutter will protect ANY window – new or old, impact or non-impact in just about any shape. And because it doesn’t require a huge, expensive factory these can be sold to the public for 1/2 the cost of the expensive IGU impact windows (that break and lose their seal). It’s called by everyone who sees it “the hurricane shutter that doesn’t look like a hurricane shutter” and I think you’ll see why: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGFx9jY7_NE 

So, now that you have watched the video. Are you:

  1. Surprised?
  2. Astonished?
  3. Impressed?
  4. Curious?
  5. All of the above?

If you want to know more visit:The hurricane shutter that doesn’t look like a hurricane shutter. and find out more. Maybe they’re just what you’re looking for?

Window Bashing?? No!

19 Feb

Window Bashing??

The other day I was approached with concerns about me “bashing” impact windows (no pun intended). It seems that there is a chance that a reader might be inclined to be offended by, or take umbrage with, my blog comments regarding the drawbacks of impact glass. Let me take a moment to set the record straight.

If you read my blogs with an open mind you will discover that I clearly  support impact glass and it’s use in impact windows and doors. My “beef” in my blog posts isn’t with the impact glass or the window or door that it is used in. My problem is with the people who misrepresent the product either, accidentally or purposely, and in doing so put peoples’ money and safety at risk.

Here are a few facts that might “accidentally” be omitted by your hurricane protection representative or window salesperson.

Glass breaks. Be it window glass, automotive safety glass or hurricane impact glass – IT ALL BREAKS. If the panes used are not tempered or heat-strengthened, when it breaks from impact it can emit dangerous small shards. These make a mess that needs to be cleaned up and it takes time, money and inconvenience to replace the window.

There is no such thing as commercially available “hurricane proof windows” or “indestructible impact windows” When your salesperson says that your new windows are guaranteed against breakage, have him show you in the warranty where it includes breakage from a storm.

Glass is a poor insulator. Glass is a poor thermal insulator. Whether it’s scorching hot outside or freezing cold outside you can feel of your window glass and know it. And as the wind blows against windows it keeps replacing the hot or cold with more hot or cold and tries to drive the heat in through your windows in the summer or pulls the heat out through them in the winter. Glass is also a poor sound insulator. If you live near a busy highway or in a noisy neighborhood, you already know this. Walls do a much better job of insulating sound than windows.

Insulated glass seals fail. The window replacement rave over the past few years has been the promotion of windows constructed with insulated glass units. The airspace inside insulated glass units (IGUs) needs to stay sealed to contain a gas (like argon or Krypton) and to prevent fogging or condensation. To delay the formation of fog and condensation, manufacturers also put a drying agent inside. Without it, you would notice the IGU seal failure and condensation sooner. I do not understand why you wouldn’t want to know that your seal has failed immediately, but apparently the window makers feel that you shouldn’t.

The best way to fix the condensation or fogging that forms inside is to replace the sash unit. There are also companies out there that claim to “fix” IGUs, which tells me 2 things. There must be quite a few IGU failures to create a demand large enough to make it into a business AND the repair must work to a certain degree or the business would fold.

Salespeople should give you common examples of what is – and isn’t – covered by their warranty

So you see, it’s not that I have any desire to bash hurricane rated or impact rated windows. All that needs to be done is to have the facts presented. Impact rated windows do an EXCELLENT job of protecting the envelope of the building structure. These windows just need to be protected so that they don’t get broken during a storm, smash and grab theft attempt or your kids’ baseball. Stopping breakage is even more important if your windows were installed BEFORE your home had the final layer of stucco or siding applied. If you ever need these windows replaced, all of the material that is covering the edges of the window frames will need to be removed and then replaced after the new windows are installed. More costly? You better believe it. Is it covered under your window warranty? You had better check the fine print on your sales contract – Caveat Emptor (let the buyer beware). Most window manufacturers have a warranty that applies to materials and workmanship. I do not know of any that cover damage from impact or storms.

Window Replacement VS Storm Windows

If you think that you need your windows replaced, consider all of your options before signing a contract. Installing exterior storm windows over your old windows might be a good way to buy you some time to save up for window replacement in the future. The estimated payoff time for most storm windows is about 5-7 years. Most insulated glass windows have a payoff of 15-20 years or more. Reinstalling your storm windows over your new windows is a great way to keep your new windows newer, longer.

If you have the right type of windows, you might be able to use interior storm windows. They aren’t as strong as exterior windows but they are less expensive. They don’t help as much if your windows are old and rotten, but they will cut down on your electric bill and help you save money for a while. Don’t hesitate to replace or protect your windows if they are leaking water. Leaking promotes rot and other water related damage in adjacent areas to the leaks. Waiting too long to replace or protect leaking windows may end up costing you even more money in the long run.

Don’t be “sold” on figures based on laboratory tests only. Lab figures work for comparing equal products in equal conditions but most of us don’t live in labs.

Hurricane Impact Protection

This area is the most controversial but when you weigh your needs against the facts, the answer is quite simple. If you like the looks of your windows, aren’t really interested in improving the energy efficiency of your home or office and are willing to put up with the extra cost and inconvenience of replacing them when they break, then impact windows are for you.

However, if you’re like me and want to use your money wisely, purchasing less expensive non-impact rated windows might be your solution. Covering them with crystal clear, flat, polycarbonate hurricane shutters from Evolution Hurricane Shutters may be just what you need. You will lower your electric bill, provide 24/7 hurricane impact protection, add vandalism and smash & grab protection and reduce outside noise.

If you don’t have a local hurricane prevention contractor, contact your favorite building or remodeling contractor to find out if hurricane protection is a good option for you. The benefits from Evolution Hurricane Shutters might be just what you need for your church home or business. You may also want to check with your homeowners insurance company to find out what additional savings are possible.

Building or Remodeling a Home? The nearly invisible protection of Evolution Hurricane Shutters also creates a dead air space that provides energy savings like no other type of hurricane protection.

2 Oct

Hurricane Shutters for Your New Home or Addition?

Whether you’re building a new home or remodeling your existing home, in today’s economic and environmental climate saving energy is one of the most important features homeowners and buyers strive for. Nothing is scarier than finishing your new addition only to see that first electric bill and then having to adjust your budget (or your lifestyle) to accommodate the sudden increase. At Evolution Hurricane Shutters, we follow the advice of the U.S. Department of Energy by urging our customers to focus their window budget dollars towards energy efficient windows. According to them, as much as 40% of your heating/cooling costs are lost through your windows. Energy efficient windows can, and do, get expensive, but in the long run the energy that they save help give the buyer a return on his/her investment.

After you have picked out the energy saving windows of your choice, leave the job of hurricane protection to Evolution Hurricane Shutters – it’s what they do best. In addition to protecting your energy saving windows, the dead air space created between your windows and your Evolution Hurricane Shutters will help your new windows perform even better. In fact, simply installing our shutters over your existing standard windows will reap big rewards at the end of each and every month. And the icing on the cake? A rebate on your homeowners insurance for wind and impact protection.

Some impact windows are offered as IGUs (insulated glass units) where the inner layer is impact glass and the outer layer provides insulation. The two panes are spaced apart and sealed and then the void between them is sometimes filled with an inert gas like argon or krypton. These IGUs are more energy efficient than standard impact glass but this energy efficiency comes at a steep price – not to mention the fact that the units lose a percentage of their effectiveness each year. The added expense extends their payoff out another decade. Another drawback?….when they incur an impact from a storm or other incident they will break. Getting them replaced is costly and suddenly the energy payoff is extended over an even longer period of time than what the salesperson told you. Why gamble when you don’t have to? The experts all agree – It’s not a matter of “if” a major storm hits, it’s only a matter of “when”. Why not have your hurricane protection saving you money and making your home more comfortable until that storm finally hits? Homeowners now have the choice of getting the outstanding energy saving feature of Evolution Hurricane Shutters all year long or keeping your impact protection stored away in a garage or shed.

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One hit is all that it takes to make hurricane impact window replacement mandatory.

Cobwebs and wasp nests are a thing of the past with Evolution Hurricane Shutters and unlike rolldowns or accordions, there’s no place for nesting birds.

Are you concerned about vandalism from BBs, pellets, rocks or other thrown projectiles? How about broken

The nearly invisible protection of Evolution Hurricane Shutters also creates a dead air space that provides energy savings like no other type of hurricane protection.

windows from lawn maintenance equipment, your kids playing catch in the yard, an errant golf ball from the fairway or a smash and grab thief? Added security is an automatic benefit you get with Evolution Hurricane Shutters, too.

Get the peace of mind that flat, crystal clear, hurricane impact resistant, passive energy saving Evolution Hurricane Shutters provide …You’ll soon see why we call them “The rEvolution in hurricane protection”

Architects and Designers Hurricane Shutter Info

29 Sep

Architects, Designers & Builders

Maybe the single most important thing to know about Evolution Hurricane Shutters is the fact that they just don’t look like shutters at all! They are more like a hi-tech storm window without the shortcomings of glass. Other advantages are that they won’t break, they resist condensation, they reduce sound resonance and best of all they conserve energy. This allows architects and designers much more freedom in the creation phase. The most important thing to remember is this; no matter how much film you put on the front of it, inside of it or on the back of it, glass is going to break when impacted.

The Evolution Clear Advantage

The hurricane shutter that doesn’t look like a shutter!

Are the design requirements for maximum energy efficiency conflicting with hurricane protection requirements on your projects? Are impact windows limiting your creative design inner forces? Are historical rehab projects requiring that you keep the current architecture with little or no variance? Are custom windows too costly for your budget conscious clients? Evolution Hurricane Shutters are made to order for your new projects or custom made to retrofit your historical renovations.

6 Reasons to utilize Evolution Hurricane Shutters on your next project.

  1. Design aesthetics – Blends with almost any architectural style, nearly invisible from the street giving you more design freedom.
  2. Performance – Nothing matches the benefits that this product offers in durability, sound abatement, UV filtering and, especially, energy efficiency. No broken windows to replace even after repeated large missile impacts. Florida Building Code approved.
  3. Cost effectiveness – Lower cost, lighter and stronger than impact windows – especially in custom shapes.
  4. Green – Save on energy costs. Crystal clear hurricane protection that pays for itself faster than any other type of aftermarket protection. Reduce your project’s overall energy usage.
  5. Low maintenance – No deployment, no storage, no extra labor, no gearboxes, and no power supply required. No IGU seals to leak, affording consistent and predictable performance.
  6. Project advantage – Increase overall structure energy efficiency without the cost and labor of added insulation or building materials.

You can now offer your clients the best and fastest return on their hurricane protection dollar while “keeping it green”!  Let standard energy efficient window designs save energy and fit your architectural scheme and let Evolution Hurricane Shutters take care of hurricane, vandalism and simple “smash and grab” protection.

Which projects benefit most?

  • Great for first responder buildings. No response delay of 911 calls due to clean up efforts.
  • Public works depots and substations. Workers will be cleaning up the community instead of their own departments.
  • Medical rehabilitation facilities. Additional fortification will defer evacuations of category 2 or 3 storms. Accommodate residents from lesser equipped facilities.
  • ALFs, ACLFs and nursing homes. Become the area hub to temporarily house evacuees from other facilities.
  • Schools and institutions. Reduce window breakage from vandalism and reduce energy consumption. Add to overall shelter safety.
  • Art galleries or museums. Eliminate ultraviolet ray infiltration.
  • Military barracks, officer’s quarters and family housing. Increase protection and reduce energy and maintenance costs.

Hurricane protection has been made mandatory by insurance companies in Florida and other hurricane zone states. With every new storm that makes landfall, new areas will added and existing zones will only increase. Designing with Evolution Hurricane Shutters put your structures a step ahead of the curve and the rest of the pack.

Because Evolution Hurricane Shutters are permanent, they require no storage hassles and no deployment which makes them perfect for absentee owners because they protect while the owner is gone – without announcing the fact to everyone who drives by that the structure is unoccupied. Simple interior and exterior timed lighting completes the effect.

Now you can specify the right windows for your next project and then add the flat, crystal clear, aluminum framed, polycarbonate features of super strong Evolution Hurricane Shutters for added protection, security and energy efficiency.

Reduce building maintenance by eliminating the protected nooks of insect nests, bird nests and cobwebs. Give your clients what they want and need – hurricane and security protection that works for them 24/7, reduces energy consumption, and looks great while doing it!  Eliminate broken glass from vandalism. There’s even a clear exterior applied film available for anti-graffiti, repeated washing or high traffic areas. Or how about a reflective film to reduce solar heat gain and add privacy?  We have that available, too!

Evolution Hurricane Shutters are ideal for single family homes and investment properties as well as multifamily, apartment or condominium projects.  Structures with energy efficient upgrades are in high demand and increasing the energy efficiency in your designs without the expense of thicker walls or additional insulation on new builds or renovations will put you in the running on every design.

Porous vs. non-porous hurricane protection

17 Sep

As a homeowner in a hurricane prone area, it is important to know the performance differences between porous and non-porous hurricane protection. What? You never heard of such a thing? Don’t feel like the Lone Ranger – neither have most homeowners. As a matter of fact, the person selling you your current hurricane protection probably hasn’t either. Here’s the way it has been explained to me:

Porous type protections have open areas around their edges or on their surface that equal more than 5% to 10% of the area covered by the shutter. This allows air and/or water to pass through or around them. Some have as much as 50% open area (like some screens or mesh). They provide only impact protection and rely on the door or window they are protecting to resist the water penetration and air infiltration from both negative pressures (those directed away from the house) and positive pressures (those directed towards the house). So, porous systems block wind-borne debris and are usually built out far enough so that they will not deflect into the glass when impacted by the standard 9-pound 2×4 lumber missile traveling at 34 mph. However, they don’t always do the best job of reducing wind pressures or water leaks. The result is that the windows and doors behind them sometimes experience the full effect of the wind pressures and may leak about as much as an unprotected window or door.

Non-porous hurricane protection systems should be  water and air tight or very close to it. In many cases, even protection labelled as “non-porous” will still allow outside pressures to affect the window or door behind it. This is due to the fact even though the non-porous protection has less than 10% open area, it’s still more than 0% (0% being considered water resistant) If the windows behind them are not strong enough they can still be blown in, which allows wind pressures and driven rain to enter the structure.

Here are 2 examples:

This..

You have a corrugated metal or plastic panel-and-channel system over your 48″ tall x 96″ wide living room picture window. To deploy the system, the panels are tipped towards the wall, slid up into the upper channel and then are pushed back against the wall at the bottom (or window sill), and then either dropped down into the floor of the bottom channel or bolted to an angle below the window sill. This leaves a gap at the top and bottom where the corrugations come away from the building. These gaps at the top and bottom allow wind and rain to get in behind the shutter and attack the window. There are also gaps at the vertical edges of both end panels where they meet the outside wall of your living room.

When the wind blows, some of the pressures and rain are allowed attack your windows. If you were to open the inside window during the storm, you would definitely feel wind blowing on you. This is technically known as air infiltration. Any rain or water that gets past the shutters is called water penetration and you will most likely feel this, too. This is considered a porous system – it allows air pressure and wind driven rain to get at the protected window. If you have newer wind rated windows, this system will be fine for you. It will keep direct hurricane force winds and large missile wind borne debris away from your windows.

Vs. this…

You have purchased and cut a flat cellular polycarbonate twin-wall sheet to the over-sized dimensions, per the instructions, to fit over the same picture window. You have the proper support bars in place to prevent deflection during impact and your anchor holes are all lined up and you’re ready to deploy the sheet. You affix some standard foam weatherstrip (with adhesive backing) to the backside perimeter of the sheet in the oversize area. You hold the sheet into the proper position and drill and insert the anchoring hardware and tighten per instructions.

In this case, when the wind blows, there is no attack of the protected window. Theoretically, if the weatherstripping is working properly, you can open the inside window during the storm and light a candle and it won’t blow out. The weatherstrip should keep the wind and water from getting in. This is a non-porous system. If you have older, single or double strength aluminum or pvc framed windows from the ’60s, ’70’s or ’80’s, this might be a good system for you. And it lets light in so it won’t make you feel like you’re in a dungeon and will save you a bunch of battery power and candles when the power goes out. It isn’t going to be cheap, but it will be lightweight and easier to deploy come storm season. If you have large windows to cover, you could even invest in hurricane rated mullions (support bars) that are the same color as your window trim and leave them in place permanently. That will decrease your deployment time and as long as they are strategically located, won’t obstruct your view too badly and won’t be too noticeable when you look outside.

Finally, in some cases the porosity of the system is determined by the installation itself. The farther away from the face of the structure the system is mounted, the larger the gap for wind and rain to enter. Make sure that you have it in writing as to which system is being installed on your building.

Hurricane impact windows are non-porous hurricane protection, as well. Evolution Hurricane Shutters can be installed as either porous or non-porous protection. We recommend  the non-porous method because it provides the opening with the greatest protection and the greatest energy conservation and sound insulation.
The lesson here? Although non-porous protection is superior to porous protection, you may only need to have non-porous to satisfy your insurance carrier or local building code. Take a common sense approach to your hurricane protection needs. Is seasonal storm protection all that you want? Worried about vandalism? Does your yard serve as the local ball field for the rest of the neighborhood? Do you want energy savings, too? Will you always be around to deploy the protection? What conditions does your insurance company dictate? If you are only a seasonal resident, you may be required to have an “installation contract” in place with a local company to prove to your insurer that your hurricane protection will be in place in time to protect your structure from the storm. Just a reminder – read the news and realize that the insurance companies are getting tighter and tighter about what they are going to pay out. They are ticked off that hurricane protection costs them revenue but glad about reducing their risk. They don’t want to pay out any more money than they have to and their inspectors will start nit-picking your protection at the rime of the policy start and they will also be more adamant about post storm investigations to lower their settlement figure. Taking short-cuts or getting lazy about putting protection in place by the homeowner will only draw the ire of the underwriter and get you a step closer to a fraud charge.

Buying impact windows – before and after the sale

14 Sep

If you are one of the conscientious homeowners who stepped up to the plate and bought impact windows in recent years, good for you. They were the best thing available on the market – at the time. It’s a fact that impact glass windows do a superb job of protecting the envelope of a structure after impact, but you will see from any online video that in the process, the impact windows are absolutely demolished and will require the expense and mess of replacement. Go to Youtube, search for “impact glass test” or “impact window test” and see for yourself. In my opinion, these should be “required viewing” by any prospective window buyer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCHtON-BQsE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gu7XTW2SHW4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EEUsxe-pbA

Ok, let’s pretend that the storm has passed. Now you not only have a huge mess of broken glass to clean up, you also have the added expense of getting the broken window part replaced. If you’re lucky and you have single or double hung windows and the impact was directed to the glass only and not the frame, you might be able to replace just the glass unit. This is another important question to ask the salesperson; “Can the glass be replaced without destroying the window?” Some brands may even replace just the broken lite. You will have to check with the manufacturer to see how this effects the warranty. The next best option is replacing the window sash unit (the glass and surrounding framework). Replacing just a sash is a little more expensive but quite a bit cheaper that getting the entire window replaced.

The bottom line is, your impact windows weren’t cheap the first time around and they won’t be cheap to replace. If you received any kind of a warranty with them, read it closely. Do a check to make sure that the model of window that you purchased still has replacement parts available. You may find out that the entire company that made your windows is no longer in business. The installer who originally put them in is not who issued the warranty, so don’t him him/her too hard of a time (unless the window failure is due to improper installation). Now might be a good time to protect your investment with the addition of Evolution Hurricane Shutters.  Weigh the cost of getting just one of your main impact windows replaced vs. the cost of an Evolution Hurricane Shutter. If you want, add in the inconvenience, safety risk and mess of a broken window…..the amount of time you are going to have to wait to get your new window (they aren’t sitting on the shelf at the big box store), scheduling the replacement by the window guy (window companies get VERY busy following a major storm) and the insurance hassles that go along with your claim. Why not just avoid ALL of that in the 1st place?

The other drawback to standard impact windows is their lack of energy efficiency. When compared to a new non-impact rated window, they do little to reduce your monthly energy consumption. There are some models available that are more energy efficient called “insulated glass units” or IGUs. These are made up of a layer of impact glass and a layer of non-impact glass that are separated by a sealed air space. Sometimes the air space is filled with an inert gas (like argon or krypton) that is supposed to prevent deterioration of any metal components or glass coatings inside and to aid in energy efficiency. If you do a little industry research on them you will find that the gas slowly leaks out and and eventually does nothing for you. After the gas has leaked out, then outside air is allowed to be drawn in. This will also make your windows start to get cloudy and allow condensation inside the air space. Another point to pay close attention to is that these windows need to be installed perfectly plumb within the opening. Any wracking or twisting of these windows at the time of installation will result in breaking the seal and your windows will cloud up, usually starting in the corners. This clouding is an indication that your windows are no longer doing the job that you paid extra bucks for them to do. Also inside this “IGU” is a moisture absorbing substance referred to as “desiccant”. This will hide the seal failure for a while, but not forever and that’s when the condensation will appear inside your IGU.

Evolution Hurricane Shutters have been designed not only to protect your expensive hurricane impact windows, but to make them more energy efficient. We guarantee that the heat loss or gain through your window areas will be reduced! This is just one more reason why we say that Evolution Hurricane Shutters are “The rEvolution in Hurricane Protection”.

Please don’t get me wrong! I’m not down on impact glass – I recommend it to almost every one of my commercial property owners. Every strip mall or shopping plaza needs to have impact glass in the entrance doors. I don’t sell them and make no recommendation on which brands to buy (maybe I should start). My goal is to get impact resistant and energy efficient Evolution Hurricane Shutters on all of the storefronts and windows while recommending energy efficient impact glass doors on the entrance(s). When the project is complete, not only will the shopkeeper be able to simply lock the front door and leave when there is a hurricane bearing down on the area but, every night at closing time he or she will be certain that the energy saving and added security of Evolution Hurricane Shutters will be working overtime.

2 story plaza in Marco island

Typical strip plaza application.

Some Facts About Impact/Hurricane Windows

10 Sep

It’s a bit amazing that I have only owned this hurricane shutter company for less than 2 years and the most common comments I get from people, when they have asked what I do, is, “I don’t need hurricane shutters – I had impact windows installed a few years ago.” or “I’m not worried about my windows breaking during a hurricane – I have impact windows.” I feel sorry for these misinformed homeowners who won’t discover the truth about hurricane impact windows until it’s too late to save them a lot of money and aggravation. Here are some things that you might not know about hurricane windows.

There are 2 kinds of hurricane window ratings in Florida – non-impact and impact. Non-impact hurricane windows must pass higher wind pressure, air infiltration & water penetration testing than standard windows. They do not have to meet any impact requirements – only wind pressures.

On the other hand, Impact rated windows have to pass the same tests as the non-impact windows. These tests are done before the large missile impact, high wind load and cyclic testing is done. I believe the reason for this is that after the hurricane testing is complete, the windows are too far damaged to pass the standard tests. Why? Because after the hurricane testing is complete, your high-dollar, hurricane impact rated windows are BROKEN and must be replaced.

My advice to any window buyer is this; if any window salesperson tells you that the windows that you are about to pay big bucks for are “hurricane proof” or “unbreakable windows”, kindly but swiftly escort him/her out of your home or place of business. THESE PEOPLE ARE EXACTLY WHY GOVERNMENT REGULATION OF MANY INDUSTRIES IS REQUIRED!! It’s unfortunate, but even in today’s marketplace, the old Latin saying of “let the buyer beware” still applies.

To the best of my knowledge, there are only 2 or 3 manufacturers of windows that are both Energy Star compliant AND impact rated. In my opinion, these windows haven’t been on the market long enough to be proven effective or reliable. The thin PVC material used in their frame profiles hasn’t proven itself tough enough for the severe Florida climate and although I have seen many companies offering “lifetime warranties” on their windows, be sure and read the fine print to see if it covers both the new windows, shipping charges AND all installation costs. Even if they do offer total coverage, you still have to put up with the mess and inconvenience of having your replacement windows installed again.

Non-impact hurricane windows can be ordered with extra energy saving characteristics that make them qualify for an Energy Star discount. Things like thermally broken design, multi-pane insulated glass* and low-e and other coatings are a few popular options. If you install this type of window in your home, office or church, you have done a good thing. The only thing left for you to do is to protect them from large missile impact and presto! – you have totally compliant window openings for wind mitigation discounts and are eligible for Energy Star tax credits.

If you choose to get your impact protection via Evolution Hurricane Shutters, you will not only get distortion free, clear hurricane impact protection, you will also increase your monthly savings on your heating and cooling costs over what your new windows will provide. No other kind of hurricane shutter offers you permanent protection like ours.

Impact hurricane glass windows have some energy upgrades available, too, but upgrading to IGUs at this level will cost quite a bit more and give you some added energy savings and quiet your home. These windows are expensive, extremely heavy and make your home quieter. Unfortunately, they too still break upon hurricane large missile impacts and must be replaced. Don’t waste your hard earned dollars on gas filled units. The experts say that they lose some of their efficiency every year until they rank the same as unfilled units. (about 2% per year)

 

The Bottom Line

Do not let any window salesman tell you differently. The simple truth is that no matter how much you pay for them, hurricane impact glass windows break. They are a form of “sacrificial” hurricane protection. Sacrificial meaning that they give themselves up and are destroyed during the process of protecting against large or small missile impacts. If you have already had impact glass windows installed in your building, now is the time to protect them from any damage with Evolution Hurricane Shutters. You will still get the added energy advantages, as well.

Once again, the information in this post is based upon what I have gathered through internet research. If anyone has information that I have omitted about the topic of hurricane and impact rated windows, please comment.

*Multi-pane insulated glass units (IGUs) have long been questionable as to their reliability and ability to retain a seal. In my opinion, until a clear high quality front runner has been identified in the marketplace, the jury is still out as to which brand(s) of IGU impact windows are a good investment.

 

Check out the following links for more information:

http://chicagowindowexpert.com/2011/01/25/insulated-glass-seal-failure/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermopane

http://windows.lbl.gov/adv_Sys/hi_R_insert/default.htm