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If you’re considering replacing the windows of your home, maybe you ought to think about getting impact windows. I know the first thing that comes to mind is how expensive storm impact windows are. But a lot of experts agree that these windows make for the increased cost by being more durable, energy-efficient, and offer your family and you additional security.
Let’s take a closer look at what impact windows are, what they cost, why they’re expensive as well as pros and cons of investing in them.
What are impact windows?
Impact windows, also known as hurricane impact windows, storm windows, impact-resistant windows, and hurricane proof windows are a type of windows that are built to withstand a Category 5 storm. That means a storm with winds blowing at speeds of up to 200 miles per hour!
Of course, while these windows will offer you some protection against the glass and flying debris in the case of a storm, it does not mean they will not break because of those high winds. However, even if they do crack, they will still remain attached to the window frames, making the home much safer for you.
These windows are made using an impact-resistant glass with an extra protective layer of resin-like PVB (polyvinyl butyral) or EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate).
This protective layer of resin is what offers you extra protection against flying debris. However, if the cost of these storm impact windows is way more than you’re willing to stretch your budget, you might at least give your windows an extra coat of resin to offer some amount of protection as the hurricane season approaches.
Hurricane windows come with various frame options and sizes, ranging from single hung windows, double hung that allow access to cleaning the floor above, sliding glass doors, and more.
The cost of retrofitting a single-family home with impact windows varies from a low of around $2,449 to $13,395. The national average is $7,922. This includes the cost of installing the windows.
This brings the average cost of a single window to between $90 and $400, depending on the size and customization, or around $55 per square foot of windows.
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Factors that affect costs
Size of the window
This is pretty self-explanatory. The larger the opening, the stronger and thicker the impact glass needs to be in order to withstand high wind speeds and flying debris. And the larger, stronger, and thicker the glass needs to be, the more it is going to cost you.
Read more: What is a window mullion
Type of window
Any window that needs a single, large piece of glass is going to be more expensive. That is why awnings, casements, and fixed windows cost a bomb.
Other windows like single hugs and horizontal rollers need two or more pieces of glass per window. This means there is less pressure on a single piece of glass, so it doesn’t need to be as strong.
The functionality of the window also has an impact on the cost. For example, since casements and awnings have more moving parts, they tend to be more expensive than fixed windows even if the glass size is the same.
Similarly, double-hung windows cost more than single-hung windows do.
If you want custom grid patterns on your impact window glass, the manual work that goes into creating the template will definitely take the cost up.
Materials and finishes
Different framing materials have different costs.
Aluminum or steel framed storm windows cost around $160 per window, and will last you around 45 years.
Vinyl frames are most used, and cost around $200 per window. Depending on how you maintain them, these will last you between 20 and 40 years.
The frames that have the shortest shelf life, but top the list for curb appeal and cost are wooden frames. Each window will cost you around $290.
Choosing custom colors and finishes will also affect the cost of your impact windows.
Pros of impact windows
- Unlike hurricane shutters, impact windows need little to no maintenance, other than cleaning them with soap and water.
- Impact windows have Energy Star ratings and are designed to make your home more energy-efficient, reducing your energy bills.
- Even if a burglar took a crowbar to your home’s windows, the glass on impact windows would not shatter into pieces. Just like with wind-borne debris, the glass will splinter, but remain attached to the window frame, denying burglars easy access into your home. This offers your home extra protection.
- If you live near a highway or any area that’s noisy, these windows will help make your home more silent.
- A lot of insurance companies offer discounts on your annual homeowners’ insurance costs if you have impact windows installed.
Cons of impact windows
- The cost factor is the biggest drawback with impact windows. If you want to replace all the windows of your home with impact windows, you are looking at investing more than twice what regular windows of the same size would cost. Not everyone can afford those costs.
- While impact windows will not shatter when hit by flying objects during a hurricane and will protect your home, you will need to replace them immediately to enjoy the continued protection they offer.
Do I really need impact windows?
While it may be a good idea to invest in impact windows irrespective of where you live, some places are more prone to storms than others. The American East coast sees a lot more storms than the rest of the country. The Miami-Dade County in south Florida, and in fact, the rest of that state as well are a prime example of hurricane-prone regions.
Teas, Louisiana, South Carolina, and North Carolina are the other four states most affected by hurricanes and storms. Mississippi, along the Gulf coast, has also seen a fair bit of stormy weather.
In addition, mountainous areas in Alaska, Wyoming, and New Hampshire also see strong winds that warrant installing storm windows.
So, are they really worth it?
While spending on impact windows may seem like an expensive investment, the advantages of having them installed in your home, right from storm protection and additional security to increased energy efficiency and insurance discounts, overshine the disadvantages by a mile. So if you can afford to put the money down, we’d say this is a good investment for any homeowner to make.