Dos and Don’ts of Protecting Your Windows During High-Wind Events

Whether it’s a storm with straight-line winds or a hurricane that’s going to hit your yard with high winds at almost every angle, protecting your windows should be a big concern. The brittle glass can be vulnerable not only to high winds but also to wind-blown objects. Here are some dos and don’ts of minimizing the storm’s impact on your windows.

1. Do Use Sturdy Storm Shutters

If you have a week or two of warning before the storm (such as when a slow-moving hurricane is predicted to hit your area), you may be able to have storm shutters installed if you move fast. Sturdy wooden storm shutters are one of the best available options. They’re great at absorbing impacts and they can be reused over again next time you have a hurricane.

2. Don’t Tape the Windows

You may have heard that putting some strong tape, such as duct tape, on the inside of your windows in an X pattern can help hold them together. But experts say it doesn’t actually give the window any extra strength.

In fact, the tape may help hold the broken window into larger fragments. This may help with cleanup later but can also make the flying shards a more serious safety hazard if you’re in the room when the glass shatters. So don’t tape the windows and expect the tape to help avoid breakage.

3. Do Use Thick Plywood If You Don’t Have Shutters

If you don’t have time or budget for wood shutters right now, plywood is generally considered the next best option. It’s sturdy and relatively affordable, but you have to make sure you buy thick plywood. Thinner plywood (under 5/8 inch) isn’t considered strong enough to stand up to hurricane-force winds.

If you’re just expecting a straight-line windstorm rather than a hurricane, you may not find it worthwhile to board up all your windows. However, if debris is likely to blow towards your house during the storm, you should board up the windows facing in the direction high winds are expected to come from.

4. Don’t Leave Windows Open

Because a hurricane brings a huge area of extremely low pressure with it, one urban myth that’s circulated is that you should leave windows a little open so pressure can equalize between your house and the storm. The idea is that this makes your windows less likely to shatter.

However, according to the Hurricane Research Division of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, this step doesn’t help because pressure equalizes on its own. And opening windows can actually make your home more vulnerable to the forces of the wind. So no matter what kind of windstorm it is, keep your windows closed.

5. Do Clean up Yard Before the Storm

In preparation for the storm, clean up anything in your yard that’s light and likely to blow away. But even more importantly for your windows, pick up heavier items that will only blow around if wind is very strong. Heavier items are especially likely to smash a window if they hit it.

Don’t underestimate smaller objects, though; in a strong hurricane, even a small- to middling-sized object can smash through glass.

6. Do Use Impact-Resistant Window Film

Although duct tape doesn’t do the job, you can buy window films that will make your window more shatter resistant and help the window hold together instead of shattering even if it does manage to break. These are often called anti-burglary films because they make it very difficult for a burglar to break into your home.

However, don’t believe any window film that promises to be hurricane-proof; hurricane-force winds can completely collapse houses, so even really great window film isn’t going to be proof against the storm. You should never use window film as a substitute for storm shutters or plywood.

Fischer Window & Door Store can help out if you’re in search of impact-resistant windows before the storm or window replacements after the storm. Give us a call today to discuss your window needs.