Tag Archives: unbreakable window

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”

 

 

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