10 Essential Hurricane Glass Facts for Your Home

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Hurricane rated glass, or impact-resistant windows, are crucial for homes in hurricane-prone areas. These windows are made by bonding two sheets of glass together with a strong interlayer like polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA).

This lamination process strengthens the glass, preventing it from shattering into harmful pieces upon impact. Although the glass may crack, it remains intact, safeguarding the home from dangerous projectiles.

Noise Reduction Properties

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It’s not just during hurricane season that impact-resistant windows show their worth. One of the lesser-known benefits of this type of glass is its noise-reduction capabilities. The laminated structure of hurricane-rated glass serves as an excellent barrier against external noise.

Whether it’s heavy traffic, loud neighbors, or the incessant hum of lawnmowers, the additional layer in the glass helps to dampen these noises. This can be a significant advantage if you live in a bustling city or a noisy neighborhood, providing you with a more peaceful and quiet home environment.

Thickness and Strength Compared to Regular Glass

Hurricane rated glass is significantly thicker and stronger than regular window glass. The exact thickness can vary depending on the specific product and manufacturer, but in general, impact-resistant glass tends to be about 5/16″ to 9/16″ thick.

This thickness, coupled with the added strength from the interlayer, makes it much more resistant to breaking. Even when subjected to high winds or struck by flying debris, the glass may crack but will typically remain in its frame. By comparison, regular glass tends to shatter into dangerous shards when impacted, posing a risk of injury.

Types of Framing Materials Used for Hurricane-Rated Glass

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Just as important as the glass itself is the framing material. The frame must be robust enough to hold the impact-resistant glass securely in place, even under the stress of a hurricane. Many different materials can be used, including aluminum, vinyl, wood, and steel.

Each of these materials has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, aluminum frames are strong and lightweight but can be less energy efficient. On the other hand, vinyl frames offer good insulation but may not be as durable as other materials.

When choosing framing material, consider the climate, building style, and personal preferences.

Different Installation Options for Hurricane Rated Glass

Installation of hurricane-rated glass can be done in various ways. One option is to replace your existing windows completely with new, impact-resistant ones. This method ensures that your entire window system, including the framing and sealing, is designed to withstand hurricane conditions.

Another option is to install impact-resistant film on your existing windows. Although not as protective as a full replacement, this option can enhance window resistance to wind and impact damage at a lower cost.

Lastly, some people opt for removable storm panels or shutters that can be installed when a storm is imminent.

Cost Considerations for Installing Hurricane Rated Glass

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While hurricane-rated glass offers numerous benefits, it does come with a higher initial cost compared to regular glass. The exact price will vary depending on factors such as the size and type of the windows, the chosen framing material, and installation costs.

However, it’s important to consider the long-term savings as well. Impact-resistant windows can lead to significant savings on your homeowners’ insurance premiums due to the enhanced protection they provide. In addition, these windows are stronger and need less upkeep than regular ones. They also last longer and give more value over time.

Maintenance and Care Tips for Hurricane-Rated Glass

Despite their superior strength and durability, hurricane-rated windows still require proper care and maintenance to ensure their longevity. Regular cleaning using non-abrasive cleaners can keep the glass clear and free from dirt and grime.

It’s also important to regularly inspect the windows for any signs of damage or wear, such as cracks or chips in the glass, or deterioration of the frame or sealant. Any issues should be addressed promptly to maintain the window’s integrity and performance.

Other Uses for Hurricane-Rated Glass Beyond Storm Protection

While storm protection is the primary purpose of hurricane-rated glass, its unique properties make it suitable for other uses as well. For instance, its strength and durability make it an excellent choice for security glazing in buildings where enhanced security is a priority.

Also, due to its noise reduction capabilities, it can be used in buildings situated in noisy environments to create a more peaceful interior. This type of glass has superior UV protection. It is great for buildings with lots of windows. It helps control the sun and saves on cooling costs. It also protects the furniture inside.

How to Choose the Right Hurricane-Rated Glass for Your Home or Building

Choosing the right hurricane-rated glass involves considering several factors.

  1. First, consider the specific requirements of your local building codes. Some areas have specific requirements for wind load and impact resistance that the windows must meet.
  2. Second, consider the design and architecture of your home or building. The windows should complement the style of the building and meet your aesthetic preferences.
  3. Third, consider your budget. While impact-resistant windows are an investment, various options cater to different price points.
  4. Lastly, consider the manufacturer. Choose a reputable company with proven track records in providing high-quality, durable impact-resistant windows.

What is hurricane rated glass?

Hurricane rated glass, also known as impact-resistant glass, is a type of safety glass that is designed to withstand the force of high-speed winds and flying debris typically associated with hurricanes. The glass has two sheets bonded together with a layer that makes it stronger and prevents shattering. As Calleja’s Windows and Doors explains –

  • Impact glass is created by layering two pieces of glass with a pvb interlayer in between that holds the glass together when broken. Tempered glass is used as it shatters into small pieces.
  • Common impact glass thicknesses are 5/16″ and 7/16″. 5/16″ is the minimum requirement in FL while 7/16″ provides better sound reduction.
  • Low-E glass has a metallic coating that helps reduce heat/UV rays entering the home. It also gives the glass a reflective appearance.
  • Popular Low-E options are Solarband 70 for max efficiency and N70/38 for efficiency without making the home too dark.
  • Proper window frame and installation is key for impact glass to withstand hurricane winds and pressures. Anchors and county inspection help ensure wind/impact resistance.
Calleja’s Windows and Doors

Is hurricane glass worth it?

Yes, the initial investment in hurricane glass can be high, but the long-term benefits make it a worthwhile investment. These benefits include protection against storm damage, noise reduction, UV protection, enhanced security, and potential savings on homeowners’ insurance premiums.

How thick is hurricane rated glass?

The thickness of hurricane rated glass can vary depending on the specific product and manufacturer, but typically, it can range from 5/16″ to 9/16″. The thickness and interlayer make it harder to break than regular window glass.

How much does a hurricane impact glass cost?

The cost of hurricane impact glass can vary widely depending on factors such as the size and type of windows, the chosen framing material, and installation costs. When calculating the total cost, remember to think about the long-term savings from these windows. These savings can include lower insurance premiums and less upkeep.

By Anita Brown

Anita Brown is our go-to contributor to our emergency preparedness website. Anita brings a wealth of personal experience and professional expertise to the table, having weathered several awful natural disasters. Anita is currently working towards obtaining her Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) certification.