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Upgrading to Hurricane Impact Windows: A Better Option Than New Shutters?

Impact Windows
hurricane shutters vs hurricane windows

Hurricane season is a time of worry for many homeowners in Florida, especially those who live in coastal areas or areas prone to high winds. With the recent changes in Florida Building Code standards, it’s essential to know the best options for protecting your home from severe weather conditions. While hurricane shutters are still a common option for many, upgrading to hurricane impact-resistant windows is becoming a more popular and cost-effective choice.

What is the difference between hurricane windows and impact windows?

According to industry experts, hurricane impact windows are the best way to protect your home against high winds and flying debris. However, many Floridians are unclear about the differences between impact-resistant windows and a New Hurricane Shutter. To help you decide, we have summarized the key benefits of Hurricane Shutters and Hurricane Impact Windows below. All these improvements will help reduce the risks of severe storms and add value to your home.

Impact Windows

Florida Building Code and Hurricane-Force Winds

The Florida Building Code was established in 2002 to ensure that new construction can withstand hurricane-force winds and features shutters or impact-resistant glass in all openings. This statewide code was implemented after Hurricane Andrew struck South Florida in 1992, which revealed the need for a more consistent and comprehensive building code across the state.

To ensure the safety of its residents, the code now requires a mandatory windproofing system in all new homes and commercial buildings. This means that all homes built on or after 2004 must have shutters installed in every opening to protect against severe weather.

Additionally, all windows and doors must be constructed of impact-resistant materials to withstand the forces of a hurricane. These requirements are intended to reduce disaster-related injuries and property damage in the state and ensure that homeowners are adequately prepared in case of an emergency. Homeowners who want to protect their families from natural disasters should consider upgrading to hurricane windows. As a result, they will be more comfortable and safer in their home during a severe storm.

Most new homes built in Florida are built with hurricane shutters. You can also choose to upgrade your existing windows and doors to be certified and compliant with the Florida Building Code for Hurricane Shutters. Certified doors and windows have a yellow label to indicate that they meet the strict safety requirements of the Florida Building Code. You can have your window and door labeled and certified by an insurer or your lender if you have a home loan.

impact windows

Types of Hurricane Shutters

There are several types of hurricane shutters that meet the Florida Building Code standards, including manually installed aluminum hurricane panels, Bahama shutters, and Barracuda shutters. Bahama shutters are a popular option because they look like typical home shutters and can fit into the design of your home. Barracuda shutters can be up to 15 feet wide and 20 feet tall, making them a good option for larger openings like garage doors and balconies. They also come with end retention bolts, eliminating the need for storm bars.

Both Bahama and Barracuda shutters can be installed using pre-assembled boxes that make it easy to install in a tight space or to be moved.

With this, Hurricane Shutters seems to be a better option for most of us, especially those who live in the coastal areas of South Florida. There is always a higher chance of storm-related disasters. A hurricane shutter can help you save your home and provide better protection for your family. It will also prevent any water from coming into your house during a severe storm. But we do have a better option.

hurricane impact windows

Benefits of Impact Windows

While hurricane shutters can provide protection for your home during a storm, upgrading to hurricane impact windows offers a number of benefits. These impact windows are designed to withstand high winds and flying debris, reducing the risk of damage to your home.

Additionally, impact windows can provide a more aesthetically pleasing look compared to shutters, which can often be unsightly and take up space when stored. When you upgrade to hurricane impact-resistant windows, you are also providing additional protection to your home by preventing damaged windows from opening up during a storm.

This can help to reduce the risk of injuries and property damage caused by debris flying around during a storm. This is especially important for areas where homes and businesses are located close to the coast or on coasts with high waves.

Here are the top key benefits of choosing Hurricane Windows versus Hurricane Shutters

Energy Efficient

Another advantage of impact windows is that they can increase energy efficiency. They are made with multiple layers of glass and a laminate interlayer, which helps to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. This means that you can save money on your energy bills while still protecting your home from severe weather. This is a key advantage for homes located in tropical areas, where humidity and temperature are always high. 

In the summer, hurricane impact windows can help to reduce the amount of heat that is absorbed into your home, making it more comfortable for you and your family. In the winter, hurricane impact windows will allow you to warm up to a lower temperature than you would normally, which can save you money on heating bills. 

Hurricane Impact Windows can help to save you thousands of dollars over the life of your home. Impact windows have higher insulating value than traditional glass windows, which helps to reduce the heat loss that occurs during the winter months and reduce the temperature inside your home during the summer months.

hurricane windows


While upgrading to hurricane impact windows can be more expensive than installing new shutters, it can be a cost-effective option in the long run. With the “My Safe Florida Home” program, qualifying homeowners can receive $2 back for every $1 spent on home improvements that strengthen their homes. This program provides $115 million in two-to-one grant funding, which can help to offset the cost of upgrading to hurricane impact-resistant windows. 

Other grant programs can also be used to help you to afford the costs of upgrading to impact-resistant windows. Many state and local government agencies offer grants to homeowners who are upgrading their homes. Federal programs such as the Affordable Housing Tax Credit and the Energy Affordability Tax Credit are available for homeowners who upgrade their windows.

In contrast, non-federal programs such as Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) are enabled by state legislation and implemented by local government, allowing property owners to finance energy efficiency upgrades, water conservation measures, or renewable energy installations with funding through a voluntary assessment on their property tax bill.

hurricane windows


In addition to being eligible for grants, upgrading to Impact windows can also help you to save money on your homeowner’s insurance premiums. Many insurance companies offer discounts to homeowners who have taken steps to protect their homes from severe weather, so upgrading to hurricane impact windows can result in lower insurance costs over time.

Your insurance costs will depend on the type of home you live in and your home’s risk level. If your home is located in a high-risk area, you may need to have additional insurance to cover losses caused by natural disasters, such as hurricanes or tornadoes.

impact windows

Reduce Risk

However, by upgrading to hurricane windows, you can reduce the risk of damage to your home and lower your insurance costs. 

Furthermore, if a storm does occur, impact-resistant windows are designed to withstand strong winds, flying debris, and heavy rain, helping to prevent water damage, broken windows, and other forms of damage that can result from severe weather. 

By making this investment, you can protect your home and reduce the risk of costly insurance claims, which can help you to save money in the long run.


While hurricane shutters are still a standard option for protecting homes from severe weather, upgrading to hurricane impact-resistant windows is becoming a more popular and cost-effective choice. Impact-resistant windows offer a number of benefits, including improved energy efficiency, better aesthetics, and lower insurance costs.

With the “My Safe Florida Home” program, homeowners can receive financial assistance to help offset the cost of upgrading impact-resistant windows. When it comes to protecting your home from severe weather, upgrading to hurricane impact-resistant windows is a smart investment that can provide peace of mind for years to come.

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