Impact Resistant Windows vs Hurricane Shutters: A Comprehensive Comparison

When it comes to protecting your home from the devastating effects of hurricanes, two popular options stand out: impact resistant windows and hurricane shutters. Both have their unique benefits and drawbacks, and the choice between the two often comes down to individual needs, preferences, and budget. This comprehensive comparison will delve into the key aspects of each option, helping you make an informed decision.

Understanding Impact Resistant Windows

Impact resistant windows, also known as hurricane windows, are designed to withstand the high winds and flying debris associated with hurricanes. They feature a layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) sandwiched between two layers of glass. This construction ensures that even if the glass breaks, the window remains intact, preventing wind and water from entering your home.

One of the main advantages of impact resistant windows is their ability to provide year-round protection without the need for additional preparation ahead of a storm. They also offer other benefits such as noise reduction, UV protection, and increased energy efficiency. However, they come with a higher upfront cost compared to hurricane shutters.

Installation and Maintenance of Impact Resistant Windows

Installing impact resistant windows is a job best left to professionals due to the precision and expertise required. Once installed, these windows require minimal maintenance. Regular cleaning and occasional inspection for any signs of wear and tear are typically all that’s needed.

While the initial cost of these windows can be high, they can lead to significant savings in the long run. They can increase your home’s value, reduce insurance premiums, and lower energy bills by improving insulation.

Exploring Hurricane Shutters

Hurricane shutters, on the other hand, are protective coverings installed on the exterior of a home to shield windows from storm damage. They come in various styles, including roll-down, accordion, Bahama, and colonial, each offering different levels of protection, aesthetics, and price points.

Hurricane shutters are generally more affordable than impact resistant windows. They provide effective protection against hurricanes when properly installed and closed. However, unlike impact resistant windows, they require manual preparation before each storm, which can be time-consuming and physically demanding.

Installation and Maintenance of Hurricane Shutters

Hurricane shutters can be installed by homeowners or professionals. The complexity of installation varies depending on the type of shutter. For instance, roll-down shutters require more expertise to install than accordion shutters.

Maintenance of hurricane shutters involves regular cleaning and lubrication of moving parts. It’s also important to inspect them for damage after each storm to ensure they remain effective for future use.

Impact Resistant Windows vs Hurricane Shutters: Making the Choice

When deciding between impact resistant windows and hurricane shutters, consider factors such as your budget, the level of protection you need, and the amount of time and effort you’re willing to invest in storm preparation. If you prefer a set-and-forget solution and don’t mind the higher upfront cost, impact resistant windows may be the better choice. However, if you’re looking for a more affordable option and don’t mind the manual preparation, hurricane shutters could be the way to go.

Remember, the best protection for your home is a combination of measures that address all potential vulnerabilities. Regardless of your choice between impact resistant windows and hurricane shutters, ensure you also consider other aspects of hurricane preparedness, such as securing doors, inspecting your roof, and creating a disaster plan.


Both impact resistant windows and hurricane shutters offer effective protection against the destructive forces of hurricanes. The choice between the two depends on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. By understanding the features, benefits, and drawbacks of each option, you can make an informed decision that best protects your home and gives you peace of mind during hurricane season.

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