Impact windows cost more, but they perform better in extreme weather. If you live somewhere with hurricanes, tornadoes, hail, strong winds, and other bad weather conditions, then impact windows are worth a look.
The main difference between impact-resistant windows and regular windows is that impact windows are made with a layer of durable laminate between panes of glass.
One of the main benefits of impact windows is that they stand up very well to strong winds that could shatter standard glass windows.
If you’ve ever seen photos of homeowners and businesses boarding windows or taping glass “X”s on them, you know how concerning high winds are.
With impact windows, you reduce the chances of shattered glass flying around at high speeds that risk injuring anyone in its path.
Here’s a breakdown of the difference between impact-resistant windows and regular windows to help you decide which ones are best for your home or commercial property.
The Benefits of Impact Windows
In Florida and other parts of the east coast, more homes have impact windows because the risk of high winds is much greater. During hurricane season, strong winds frequently break glass or damage their frames’ windows.
Impact windows are typically made of glass that’s resistant to shattering. This prevents damage to your property and reduces the risk of injury during a storm.
Most impact windows offer more protection because they have both an exterior and interior pane of glass. Even if the exterior pane breaks, the interior pane is still in place and stops any shattered glass from getting indoors.
They’re also strong enough to withstand objects flying into them at high speeds.
During severe storms, winds are strong enough to pick up branches, mailboxes, toys, bushes, and other things in the storm’s path. If your house is in the way, the object, like a branch, will slam into your window.
With a standard window, a sharp edge or a point is enough to shatter the glass. Impact windows, however, are much stronger and can repel the impact and stay in one piece.
Impact windows do a much better job filtering UV rays than standard windows. That means less heat gets through the windows.
When you get high-quality impact windows, you also benefit from better noise reduction versus a new or older standard glass window. The stronger materials and custom fit mean less outside noise makes it into your house.
Impact windows are perfect for people who live near busy streets or have loud neighbors.
Perhaps the most significant benefit of impact windows is that you don’t have to worry. When a large storm system approaches, it’s enough to make people scramble.
The safety of one’s life is the top priority. In the chaos of getting people safe, it’s normal to forget to prepare your house or other property for the storm.
Impact windows give you peace of mind knowing they are ready for whatever happens.
How Thick Is Impact Glass?
Impact glass windows are thicker than regular windows. They’re usually around half an inch thick, which is much thicker than a standard glass pane.
They also often have laminate on top of the glass that adds strength and prevents the glass from shattering.
How Much Do Impact Windows Cost vs. Regular Windows?
On average, homeowners will pay more for impact windows than standard glass windows. The protection and durability require better materials and a longer production process.
While standard windows cost less, you must consider how much you’ll spend in time and money prepping your windows during storm season.
You can mitigate risks a bit by installing shutters that close when a storm comes, but that’s no guarantee, and they cost money too.
Do Impact Windows Increase Home Value?
Installing impact windows can increase the value of your home.
The higher initial investment cost for impact windows pays off long-term. You’ll have lower maintenance costs, and you won’t have as many storm damage repair costs.
In addition, potential buyers will pay a premium for homes with impact windows installed if you ever sell your house.
Impact Windows vs. Hurricane Windows
If you look online, you’ll see many references to hurricane windows.
What’s the difference between impact windows and hurricane windows? Essentially, nothing separates the two.
Hurricane windows earned their name because they’re most often installed in places like Florida, the Carolinas, and other places with more hurricanes.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Impact Windows?
The major disadvantage of impact windows is that they cost more.
When people build or renovate a house, they sometimes want to put their money into other things like granite countertops or new wood floors. As a result, it can be hard to invest in storm protection when you don’t see the storm right in front of you.
Another concern with impact windows is that they’re not invincible. They’re meant to protect you and anyone else inside, but the outer glass panel will occasionally break if something sharp like a broken branch smashes it at high speed.
If your impact window breaks, it will cost more to fix than a standard glass window. However, you’ll also likely have lower costs overall because the interior panel protects your furniture and everything else in the house.
Choosing Between Impact Windows and Standard Windows
How do you decide whether to upgrade to impact windows?
Typically, all it takes is a homeowner living through one major hurricane to decide that impact windows are worth the cost. It’s no fun lying awake all night worrying about whether that howling wind will shatter the glass and send water and dirt flying into your home.
People who prepare for storms also appreciate the advantages of impact windows. When you board up your windows, you usually leave marks on your siding or stucco that damages the exterior of your house.
In addition, it’s harder to keep these boards up and guarantee security when using temporary storm measures.
However, if you don’t live in a place with a lot of intense storms, then impact windows may be a luxury rather than a necessity.
Nevertheless, impact windows are still very beneficial in terms of the security and the noise reduction they provide; though, you may not feel like you’re getting your money’s worth unless a strong storm rolls through.
For example, people who live in California or Utah may not get as much benefit out of impact windows as their friends on the east coast. In that case, it’s sometimes an issue of whether people have the budget or inclination to buy more robust windows.
Of course, impact windows may also come in handy if local crime rates are a concern. A burglar or anyone else trying to get into your house will have a more challenging time getting through impact windows than a standard glass panel.
At the very least, you’ll probably have more time to call the authorities, or the windows will effectively deter anyone who tries to break in.
Ultimately, impact windows are a brilliant investment for property owners who live in areas with frequent storms.
You can have peace of mind knowing your home is in good shape, and the windows will give you more time to prepare for the storm rather than standing outside nailing boards to your windows.
If you have the budget, invest in impact windows to get better long-term performance, reduce storm damage risks, and increase the value of your property.