How to Protect Your Windows During Storm Season
Tornadoes, hurricanes, and thunderstorms can create high winds that can put the windows of your home at serious risk for breakage. The winds themselves may not be strong enough to break glass, but they can easily send branches, lawn furniture, outdoor décor, and other debris flying through windows. Strong winds cause significant storm damage; they can overturn cars and knock over trees. Broken windows allow rain, snow, and wind into your home which can damage the interior and its contents, creating safety hazards for your family and ruining valuables and precious belongings.
It’s vital to invest in window protection for your home before storm season begins. By taking a few precautions in advance, you can safeguard your family, protect your investment in costly windows, and save yourself the hassles of working with your insurance company to replace them. Follow these suggestions to make the windows of your home as wind-proof as possible.
Install Storm Shutters. If you live in an area that’s prone to storms with high winds, such as hurricanes or tornadoes, consider installing storm shutters on your home. These are permanently installed and close over the windows when a storm is approaching. They cost more but are more attractive than plywood sheets and save homeowners the trouble of rushing to buy plywood before a storm hits.
The shutters are made from translucent materials like aluminum, reinforced fabric, or foam wrapped in aluminum. Homeowners can choose from pull-down or accordion styles that are easy to pull across windows when a storm is on the way. They may be expensive, but they save time and money in the long run for people who live in areas that are prone to high winds, such as coastal areas. Be sure you know how to pull them down and can do so quickly; while a hurricane will give you a few days’ warning, a thunderstorm can arrive with little notice. Make sure you know how to install them properly or have a professional do the job; the last thing you need during a storm is to have your window protection blow away.
Use Hurricane Impact Windows. Another option to protect your home’s windows is to use specially treated ones that are designed to withstand high winds and impacts. These high-impact windows are made from two panes of tempered glass. That makes them more expensive than traditional windows, but you’re less likely to have to replace them due to a storm (or an encounter with a neighbor child’s baseball). They look like regular windows, so they won’t change the overall appearance of your home and unlike shutters or plywood, there’s no need to do any extra work before a storm. If you live on a barrier island or other place that has little protection from hurricane-strength winds, consider doubling up with storm shutters and hurricane strength windows to increase your chances of getting through storms with minimal damage.
Use Plywood to Board Up Windows. This is the least expensive option, but requires advance work, so be sure you pay attention to weather forecasts during hurricane season. Plywood can be bought at most home improvement and large hardware stores, but there may be a “run” on supplies if a big storm is on the way. If you have storage space, consider buying a few sheets of plywood in advance to avoid crowds. Be sure to put plywood over windows before the storm starts and use heavy-duty anchors and screws to hold them in place on wooden frames, or expansion bolts in masonry. Remember that plywood blocks out sunlight, so it will be dark indoors until the wood is removed.
Don’t remove your window coverings until the weather system has completely passed; you may think the storm is over and start to remove plywood only to find out it was the eye of the storm and your windows are unprotected at the worst possible time. Check windows from the inside for any damage before removing plywood or shutters; even hurricane -impact windows should be inspected. If there is damage, leave coverings in place until the glass can be replaced and call your homeowners insurance agent as soon as possible.
At ServiceMaster NCR, we’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond to storm damage caused by blizzards, hurricanes, nor’easters, and other storms. We remove all dangerous debris from your property in Alexandria, VA and Washington, DC, cover structural holes with our board up and tarping services, and provide comprehensive reconstruction services to repair all types of structural damage. We have over 30 years of restoration and rebuilding experience, so there’s no job too big or too small for us to repair and restore.
Storm damage restoration costs vary, depending on the extent and type of damage.