Tag Archives: Hurricane shutter

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”.

Advertisements

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.

 

What To Do With Your Old Hurricane Shutters

7 Oct

You just purchased new hurricane impact windows and want to know what to do with your old shutters? KEEP THEM!! The phrase “hurricane impact rated” is not synonymous with the word “unbreakable”. Your window salesman would love to see you get rid of those old shutters so that you will be forced to buy another new window when the ones that you just bought, end up broken.

In 1980 I was introduced to glass and I worked in a glass tempering factory where I learned an old saying that goes “If it’s made from glass, it’s gonna’ break.” That adage is as true today as it was nearly 35 years ago.

Protective layer.

Every week I see dozens of ads on Craig’s List and in newspapers with hurricane shutters for sale. I hope that these ads aren’t from recent impact window purchasers who have been duped into thinking that the shutters are no longer needed. Please remember this – when you get rid of your old hurricane shutters you’re losing the only protective layer that stands between you and an expensive, messy and inconvenient broken window replacement.

Video proof. 

Here is an example of WHAT WILL protect your windows from storm debris, smash & grab theft attempts, lawn maintenance accidents and vandalism – without breaking:

Go to any online video site like Youtube and search for “impact window test” and see what happens to any new impact window when it is subjected to a large missile impact, hammer blow or flying brick.  Your new hurricane windows might not let in the damaging hurricane winds after they are broken, but they will most definitely be destroyed and require replacing…….and at a significant expense.

Any salesperson that tells you that they have “hurricane proof” or “impact proof” windows that will survive a large missile impact is just plain lying to you to make a sale. There is no such product available for your home from any of the major window manufacturers.

The sales pitch.

As you have seen from the above video, impact windows will neither withstand nor survive a large missile impact. When your impact-rated windows suffer a concentrated impact the result will always be window replacement. Most impact window salespeople rely on the concept that using the term “withstand” or “survive” will sufficiently define the capability of impact windows with regards to hurricanes. In actuality, impact rated windows are a “sacrificial” form of protection that are designed to break but not allow the broken glass to blow out of the frames after the glass is broken. Salespeople try to gloss over the fact that the windows break and they also don’t demonstrate just how easily this happens. A simple center-punch, hammer, glass cutter or rock will work nicely and take little effort to quickly drain your wallet of a thousand dollars or so per broken window.

This video shows just how easy an impact window will break and how they can be protected:

 

Where impact windows work.

Don’t get me wrong…..impact windows work great in many instances. As long as they aren’t vulnerable to flying storm debris, theft attempts and vandalism they work rather well. If your home doesn’t have any tall trees nearby, the upper floors of your building are a good place to consider using impact windows without shutters. As long as it is a quality unit that won’t leak during a tropical storm event, they might be the thing to use. Be careful, though…….many sliding units will leak during hurricane conditions.

Replacement cost vs. insurance

If you aren’t concerned about the cost of replacing a broken window because you have insurance, call your agent and make sure about the limits of your policy. Many homeowners’ policies have a deductible that must be satisfied before any costs get covered by your insurance.

For example; if you have a $2000.00 deductible on your insurance and your replacement impact window cost is $1800.00, all of the expense comes out of your pocket. Compare that to  a regular window that costs only $200.00……….which one would you rather pay for? If you had  hurricane shutters installed, your cost might be less than $100 for the shutter repair.

What to avoid.

Steer clear of windows of any kind that have frames, exterior parts or hardware produced of plastic. Sunlight and exposure to the elements are the 2 big enemies of plastics. They degrade the plastics’ physical strength and dry out the polymer which makes these parts brittle. This is the main reason that PVC windows have the shortest life expectancy (20-25 years) when compared to painted aluminum or solid wood construction. Stay away from plastic windows if you intend on keeping your home for a lifetime. The energy efficiency of plastic windows vs. aluminum is far outweighed by the extended life cycle of aluminum. After spending 30+ years in the fields of plastic and aluminum, I know from where I speak.

Wood windows require the most maintenance but they offer the best overall performance. But remember, no matter which windows you install on the ground floor plan on outfitting them with shutters if you want to protect your investment, reduce maintenance and increase window life.

Also beware of “no” or “low maintenance” claims. Most warranties only offer no maintenance during the 1st year after installation. After that the homeowner is responsible for annual caulking of the exterior window joints and seams to keep the warranty valid. Read the warranty closely. Most warranties are pro-rated so the older that your windows are, the less they are worth towards replacement windows when they require any warranty replacement or repair work.

Demand the facts.

Make sure that the sales contract that you are about to sign has everything in writing that you and the salesperson discussed. Any handwritten notes in the margins are also valid and try to avoid using additional pieces of paper that might get detached or misplaced. Assume nothing except the old Latin phrase “caveat emptor” (let the buyer beware).

Lastly, don’t forget that you have 3 days to change your mind and rescind any deal made in your home – and applies to any sale, not just home improvements. Good luck.

Evolution Hurricane Shutters

“The rEvolution in Hurricane Protection”

 

 

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?

Why Impact Windows Aren’t Always the Answer

27 Dec

Window glass is a very hard but brittle substance traditionally made from a mixture of 72% silica + 14.2% sodium oxide (Na2O)  + 2.5% magnesia (MgO) + 10.0% lime (CaO) + 0.6% alumina (Al2O3). This basic glass alloy is also used for display cases, tableware, furniture, light bulbs, jars and other containers. It exhibits great clarity but is also a poor insulator of both heat and sound.

Early in my career, I worked in the glass industry for over 2 years as a custom and production glass cutter and tempering oven operator in the field of glass tempering. I was involved in all phases of tempering, heat strengthening and spandrel production. A few years later, I held a position where I purchased high performance glass for a company that manufactured residential, commercial and structural skylights. I also know people who have worked for a very large impact window and door manufacturer here on Florida’s west coast. I mention this only to let you know that although I’m not an “expert” on glass, I have more than a layman’s knowledge of glass and I still keep abreast of the happenings in the glass industry.

Here is the current issue at hand………there is a slew of window companies out there who have employees/dealers misrepresenting the abilities and capabilities of impact glass windows. Contrary to what many window company salespeople have been stating to prospective customers:

  • Impact glass is NOT indestructible
  • Impact glass is NOT hurricane proof
  • Impact glass WILL break from wind-borne hurricane debris
  • Impact windows are NOT cheaper than standard windows w/impact shutters
  • Impact windows are NOT the best form of hurricane protection
  • You CAN go wrong installing impact windows
  • Impact windows will NOT save you the most money in the long run

The simple truth is that impact glass windows are not the high-performance item that many salespeople would like you to believe. It is merely 2 pieces of window glass separated by a plastic film that has a clear gooey butyl sealant on both sides. It’s very similar to the glass found in automotive windshields and no matter what you do with it, it still breaks into tiny pieces and dust. Keep in mind that most impact glass doesn’t use tempered safety glass that is designed to break into round chunks. Somehow the impact glass industry has found a way to avoid the safety regulation that says safety glass (tempered safety glass) needs to be used in the windows of the 1st story of a building where breakage onto a pedestrian could occur.

So let’s call a spade a spade and put the cards on the table and call impact glass what it really is – sacrificial hurricane protection that is designed to break and sacrifice itself to maintain the integrity of the structure envelope. Then, after it is sacrificed (broken) it has to be replaced – PERIOD. There is no repairing it and it is no longer functional as a window. You can’t see through it and trying to open or close it will only make a bigger mess or result in injury.

After the storm has passed and your window has been impacted, the word that best describes impact glass is “junk”. If you have ever have an afternoon to spare and want an education on hurricane products, go to an impact testing lab and see what is left over after an impact window has been hit by a 9 lb. wood 2 x 4 at 34 mph (the current hurricane test standard). If you don’t think you will be able to see it in person, click here and here. The mess that it creates isn’t too bad until you realize that you’re standing in a huge building with concrete floors that are easily cleaned with a push broom and a shop vac. Unfortunately, your living room carpet won’t be quite so easy to clean. Your best bet is to replace the carpet because you will be hard pressed to get every minute piece of broken glass swept up – especially if some of the pieces have any of the gooey butyl sealant on them. And by the way, it doesn’t take very much force to break impact glass. That same board traveling at only 15 mph will still break the glass. The mess won’t be as big but the cost and inconvenience to replace the window will be the same. The best result that you can hope for is realizing that wind-borne debris will probably only hit one of your windows, right? Or how about a baseball from the boys playing outside, a golf ball from the tee box or a stone from the lawnmower??

Do yourself a big favor and the next time your window salesman says something like “…..having impact resistant glass windows and doors is an absolute must” or “with impact glass windows, homeowners don’t need to worry about making additional preparations such as shuttering the windows”, kindly escort him or her out of your home or, if your are in a store, turn on your heel and high-tail it out of there. The chances are that if he’s going to tell you one lie, he will probably not have a problem telling you more. When any salesperson has to mislead or not divulge critical information to a prospective customer to make the sale, that’s when I have a problem.

Don’t get me wrong, impact glass is good stuff – it’s just not the “hurricane savior” that many window folks would like to lead you to believe. I encourage all of my strip plaza and mini mall owners to have their full glass entrance doors replaced with impact rated units. What I don’t recommend is replacing all of their storefronts with impact glass. Why? Because they don’t insulate as well, reduce outside noise as well or resist large missile impact , smash and grab theft or vandalism attempts as well as Evolution Hurricane Shutters. Impact glass or windows will cost them way more, too, and when it’s all said and done you will still have the problems associated with glass breakage.

Like I stated previously, impact glass is a great product when used in it’s proper place. Storefront entrance doors and multistory commercial buildings are good applications. Any place where it’s not important or convenient to be concerned with breakage and replacement. Anywhere that the concern of energy conservation is outweighed by a certain architectural look or where the weight and energy costs aren’t important also makes impact glass a good choice. For the average homeowner or commercial property owner who is looking for a faster return on investment, energy savings, reduced interior noise and no breakage concerns, impact glass in the windows or storefronts might not be the best idea.

Hurricane Shutters on Strip Malls and Shopping Centers

27 Sep

Commercial Property Owners

  •   Do you want your units to be the most desirable in the area?
  •   Do you want higher rents, loyal tenants and lower overhead?
  •   Do you want to be done with the “11th Hour Scamper” and expense to get all of your storefronts secured before the storm moves in to your area?
  •   Are you always left guessing as to how long after the storm passes when your boarding will be removed?

Here’s what Evolution Hurricane Shutters can do for you:

  •   Increase space desirability (lower utility costs, higher security and full time hurricane protection)
  •   Provide lower utility costs for tenants  (the more storefront area, the more your tenants will save on heating/cooling costs)
  •   Reduce smash & grab thefts of tenants (thieves go elsewhere as soon as they hit resistance)
  •   Allow drive by police inspections during storm activity  (clear panels means no unseen inside activity)
  •   No seasonal hurricane protection costs (no plywood, hardware or labor to board up or take down)
  •   Quicker return to “business as usual” for you AND your tenants.

All of these features translate into:

  •     HIGHER MONTHLY PROFITS
  •     LOWER VACANCY RATES
  •     LOWER OVERHEAD
  •     NO PRE-STORM PREPARATION PANIC
  •     NO POST-STORM DOWN TIME FOR STOREFRONT PROTECTION REMOVAL

Secure tenants are happy tenants.  Your units will be in higher demand and bring higher rents while your insurance and storm preparedness costs go down.

Visit our web site and then contact your local contractor or a hurricane protection installer to see how soon Evolution Hurricane Shutters can start making your properties more profitable.

2 story plaza in Marco island

Typical strip plaza application.

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.

To Shutter or not to Shutter – Your Hurricane Plan

12 Sep

Selecting your type of hurricane protection is really not much different than selecting a new automobile. Simply pick out the one that you want and decide which place to buy it from. However, bringing home a “demo” for a couple of days or even taking a “test drive” is probably not going to be an option.

The next best thing to a test drive is seeing what friends and neighbors are using or have used. After that, viewing web site photo galleries are probably the next best thing because many types of aftermarket hurricane protection won’t be visible until a storm is imminent. If you’ve waited until a storm threatens to decide, it’s most likely too late to do anything but screw plywood or OSB (if there’s any left at the big box stores) to your windows.

Brand loyalty will probably not come into play so you will have to rely on online research, forums or the tried and true “word of mouth” info gathered from office water-cooler discussions and, of course, media advertising.  There are also a multitude of charts available with pros and cons of different shutter method. Our patented Evolution Hurricane Shutters will not be on any of those charts because it’s too new and, until now, hasn’t really been advertised. Enough about that….let’s get started on your plan. Check out these links to get a basic idea of what’s available.

http://floridabuilderresources.com/fort-myers-fl-home-hurricane-impact-windows.htm 

http://dev.lemonbayglass.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Windows-Buyers-Guide.pdf 

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/broward/sfl-hc-shutterguide,0,4823608.htmlstory

http://www.floridadisaster.org/hrg/index.asp  

 

Establish your plan

  • First and foremost, at what point do you evacuate? Safety for you and your loved ones and pets should be 1st on the list. Consider all risks before riding out ANY storm – not just wind and rain.
  • Do you want just hurricane protection? Today’s market focus is put on versatility, multitasking and return.
  • Are you able to deploy and take down your own shutters? If you work on the road or are a seasonal resident, this item alone can get pricey.
  • Establish your budget. How much do you want to spend? Lower utility bills and insurance premiums may allow you to spend more on your hurricane shutters.
  • Do you want your protection done all at once or in stages to make it more affordable? Outfitting your windows in stages may ease the strain of your budget.
  • Will you need financing? Some types qualify for loans.
  • Are your existing windows in good shape but just need impact protection? If your current windows are in good shape or are already impact rated, you may only want impact protection.
  • Have you already explored the cost of replacing your windows but the price is out of your budget right now? Adding non-porous, clear hurricane shutters will extend the life of your existing windows AND save energy.
  • Are you willing to “mix and match” types of protection to be the most cost effective? Relying on one method of hurricane protection may not be the best approach for your building – or your budget.
  • Are you forced to match the protection in the rest of your neighborhood?(i.e. HOA rules) A good looking product will get approved by architectural review boards with little hassle.
  • Do you want your hurricane protection to do more? Vehicles, cell phones and computers have evolved to do more and now your hurricane shutters have, too.

What level of protection do you want?

  • Are you a person who simply wants the best available?
  • Are you just wanting to satisfy your lender or insurer? Sometimes the best isn’t required.
  • Is the building you are protecting your primary residence/business?
  • Is it a place that you can afford to be without and not be homeless?
  • Is it a vacation home or cabin?Is your structure “uninsurable” or is insuring your structure not cost effective?
  • Are your monthly premiums more money that your building payments?
  • Do you own your structure outright but insurance premiums seem out of line?
  • Would you rather protect your building to survive a major hurricane or count on your insurance company to pay to replace it?
  • Based on your insurance companies track record, how long will the wait time be with the insurance company to get repair or settlement check if they have 1000 or more similar claims?

Is multifunction protection for you?

  • Is increasing the resale value of your home a priority? Unsightly protection can actually reduce the value of your structure. A more energy efficient building demands a higher market value. What percentage would you consider to be a reasonable return on investment?
  • Are there security concerns with your structure? Do others in the surrounding area have burglar bars over their windows?
  • Have smash and grab attempts or vandalism from BBs, pellets or rock and other propelled objects been a problem? Are you located in somewhat of a “rough neighborhood”?
  • Is energy savings on your priority list? Would a 30% savings on your heating and cooling costs be a worthwhile savings?
  • Are you environmentally conscious and concerned about your “carbon footprint?
  • Is sound abatement something that you need, want or even thought about? How noisy is your street or neighborhood?
  • Is interior exposure to the effects of ultraviolet rays a concern? Do you have photos, artwork or expensive fabrics in you home, business or church?
  • Do any of your windows or doors have lead camed or stained glass? What would be the replacement cost? Has your insurance company put exclusions on certain items that they will or won’t cover?

Consider all of the points above and make the choice that’s best for you. Any plan is better than no plan at all. If all you can afford is high performance window film and plywood, go for it. Just remember that these forms of protection are not recognized by your insurance company. Many municipal building departments will approve it for installation, but your insurance company is quite strict on it’s guidelines and are the ones who control your premiums.

Which Hurricane Shutters Are For Me?

7 Sep

It is my personal opinion that an informed consumer, armed with the facts, stands a much better chance of making an intelligent decision than one who is not. No one likes to have the second thoughts of “buyer’s remorse” because they found out the facts after the sale and not before. They may have simply failed to ask that one simple question that would have been a “deal-breaker” before they signed the sales contract that wasted thousands of the homeowner’s money. (i.e.”Is it true that hurricane windows won’t break?” OR “Are these windows really hurricane proof?”)

It’s not just about hurricane shutter knowledge, either. I research damned near everything that I buy – from hardware at the big box stores – to computers – to vehicles. I want to know what I’m shopping for and what to avoid, who’s got the best quality and can I return it if I don’t need it or it doesn’t perform as advertised?. Even with all of this forethought, I still manage to screw up a personal purchase every once in a while, due mostly to relying on my memory instead of taking time to review my research.

New hurricane products seem to appear on the scene every year – after all, necessity is the Mother of Invention and innovative technology puts ideas into motion. All of these need to be investigated using common sense as well as laboratory and field testing methods. And another point that I would like to make……Just because some schmoe paid a bunch of money to get their product approved and it works in the lab and looks good on paper doesn’t necessarily make it a quality product that will perform storm after storm – season after season. Sometimes it’s all about marketing – like the infomercials for cleaning towels, mini-coffee grinders or collector “gold” coins……if you spend enough money pushing the product on TV, sooner or later someone’s bound to fall for it. Like Grandpa used to say, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

Exterior mounted panel

I don’t know what has changed over the years, but when I went to school (it was quite a while ago) my history teacher taught us that “good legislation” was something that did the most good for the most people. It seems that today “good legislation” is something that benefits an industry, a specialized group or a few select individuals. Is it just me???

Steel corrugated panel and channel type shutters

The only hurricane protection that I use is that which I have built myself. Now I freely admit that I am NOT an “expert” on every brand, style, design or patent on everything out there being sold. And no, I haven’t scoured the Web to find every single brand and type of hurricane protection that’s out there. Everything written to describe the products that appear in this blog is a generalization of the category, that has been published many times over on the internet. But every personal experience is real. For example, I have never owned rolldown or accordion shutters, but some of my customers, friends and relatives have. When one of them told me that they didn’t like their rolldowns or accordions because they rattled from the wind and being hit by tree limbs during the last storm, I’m not about to look them in the face and call them liars. Now, there may be some newer model rolldown or accordion that have found a way to eliminate the rattle but I have not seen any literature stating that their design eliminates rattles. When they tell me that during the last storm the corrugated panels covering their patio doors made loud buzzing noises at the overlapping seams or that when the tropical force winds came out of the south the rain and wind came in between the panel and the stucco walls, I kinda’ hafta’ take their word for it that it happened. What I can tell you as a fact is that there are many distinct advantages to aluminum framed hurricane shutters constructed of flat polycarbonate as opposed to all of the other aftermarket types of hurricane shutters.

In my next post, I’ll give you some questions to ask yourself and points to ponder concerning your own hurricane protection needs.

Crystal Clear Hurricane Shutters

30 Aug

Do a Google search for “clear hurricane shutters” and see what pops up. Every time I see this advertising claim it makes me scratch my head. After spending 3 years in the glass business and 20+ years in the plastic sheet, rod & tube business, some Einstein had the great idea to call these hurricane panels “clear”, which they most definitely are not.

The correct description of these clear corrugated hurricane panels is “colorless obscure”. Colorless obscure glass or plastic is any colorless transparent sheet, lite or pane that can be seen through but is not optically clear. Some common glass and plastic names are pattern 60, pattern 62, Aquatex, Spraylite, bottle bottom, colorless chinchilla, DP30, DP32, ribbed and fluted among others names. This type of glazing (in glass or plastic material) is used where you want to be able to see a silhouette on the other side but not in perfect detail. Some examples where this might be used are shower doors, bathroom windows and room divider panels. It is also used in restroom doors and restaurant kitchen swinging doors to prevent collisions resulting from egress at the same time someone on the opposite side is reaching for, or approaching the door.

Cellular, hollow, honeycomb or twin skin type materials (sometimes referred to as PCSS – polycarbonate structured sheet) that are used for “clear” hurricane shutters suffer the same misnomer. They are marketed under such names as Twin-wall, Thermoclear, Verolite, Polygal, Royalplast, Plastilux, Sunnex, Polynex, Greenhouse to name a few.

One simple rule is, if you can’t read a newspaper through it from 6″ away, it is NOT CLEAR. You can call it colorless but to call it CLEAR would be incorrect. Clear would indicate optically clear or crystal clear with the characteristics of having no discernibleImage distortion to the naked eye. Just for the record, to the naked eye, Evolution Hurricane Shutters are crystal clear.

Definitions of clear:

Mariam Webster: b : adj.;easily seen through : transparent <clear glass>

Cambridge dictionary: not cloudy, foggy or with any marks, but pure or easy to see through
clear glass. The water in the lake is so clear that you can see the bottom.

Dictionary.reference.com: free from darkness, obscurity, or cloudiness; light: a clear day.

Definition of crystal clear:

Marion Webster: crystal clear; adj.; 1 : perfectly clear : able to be seen through completely

The Free Dictionary:Adj. 1.crystal clear – transmitting light; able to be seen through with clarity; “the cold crystalline water of melted snow”; “crystal clear skies”; “could see the sand on the bottom of the limpid pool”; “lucid air”; “a pellucid brook”; “transparent crystal”