Hurricane Protection Guide: The Difference Between Hurricane Windows and Impact Windows

When it comes to protecting your home and family from the devastating effects of hurricanes, choosing the right type of window and door is crucial. The terms “hurricane windows” and “impact windows” are often used interchangeably, but they represent different products with distinct features and benefits. Understanding these differences can help you make an informed decision and ensure that your investment provides the maximum protection.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the differences between hurricane windows and impact windows, discuss their unique benefits, and provide valuable insights on how to safeguard your home during hurricane season. By the end of this blog, you’ll have a clear understanding of which option is best for your needs and how to enhance your home’s defense against severe weather.

The Importance of Hurricane Protection

Hurricanes are powerful natural phenomena capable of causing significant damage to homes and properties. High winds, flying debris, and heavy rainfall can all contribute to the destruction. In such scenarios, standard windows and doors are often the weakest points of entry, making them susceptible to breakage and allowing wind and water to infiltrate your home. This can lead to structural damage, loss of valuables, and even endanger the lives of your loved ones.

Investing in hurricane-resistant windows and doors is essential to protect your home, family, and belongings. These specially designed products are built to withstand extreme weather conditions, providing an additional layer of security during hurricane season. But what exactly are hurricane windows and impact windows, and how do they differ?

Hurricane Windows: A Brief Overview

Hurricane windows, also known as hurricane-resistant or storm windows, are designed to protect homes from the destructive forces of hurricanes. These windows are constructed with laminated glass, which consists of two layers of glass with a durable interlayer in between. This interlayer holds the glass together even if it shatters, preventing the window from breaking into sharp, dangerous shards.

Key Features of Hurricane Windows

  1. Laminated Glass: The primary feature of hurricane windows is their laminated glass, which provides enhanced strength and durability.

  2. Resistant to Wind and Debris: Hurricane windows are tested to withstand high wind speeds and the impact of flying debris, making them a reliable choice for hurricane-prone areas.

  3. Noise Reduction: The laminated glass also helps in reducing noise from the outside, creating a quieter indoor environment.

  4. UV Protection: Hurricane windows offer protection against harmful UV rays, which can fade furniture and damage interiors over time.

While hurricane windows provide significant protection, they are not specifically designed to withstand repeated impacts. This is where impact windows come into play.

Impact Windows: A Comprehensive Guide

Impact windows, also known as impact-resistant or impact-rated windows, are engineered to provide the highest level of protection against hurricanes and other severe weather events. These windows are constructed using a combination of laminated glass and a robust frame system, ensuring they remain intact even under extreme conditions.

Key Features of Impact Windows

  1. Enhanced Laminated Glass: Impact windows use a thicker interlayer and multiple layers of glass to provide superior strength and durability.

  2. Strong Frame Systems: The frames of impact windows are reinforced with materials like aluminum or vinyl, offering additional stability and resistance.

  3. Multi-Impact Resistance: Unlike hurricane windows, impact windows are designed to withstand multiple impacts without compromising their integrity.

  4. Energy Efficiency: Impact windows are often energy-efficient, helping to reduce heating and cooling costs by providing better insulation.

  5. Security: Impact windows offer increased security against break-ins due to their robust construction.

Testing and Certification

Impact windows undergo rigorous testing to meet stringent standards set by organizations such as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and the Miami-Dade County Product Control Division. These tests simulate the conditions of a hurricane, including high wind speeds and flying debris, to ensure the windows can withstand the worst-case scenarios.

Comparing Hurricane Windows and Impact Windows

Strength and Durability

While both hurricane and impact windows are designed to provide protection during severe weather, impact windows offer a higher level of strength and durability. The enhanced laminated glass and reinforced frames of impact windows make them more resilient to repeated impacts and high-pressure situations.


Hurricane windows tend to be less expensive than impact windows due to their simpler construction. However, the initial savings may be offset by the need for additional protection measures, such as storm shutters. Impact windows, though more expensive, provide comprehensive protection without the need for supplementary products.


Both hurricane and impact windows require professional installation to ensure they function as intended. However, impact windows may require more specialized installation techniques due to their robust construction.

Aesthetic Appeal

Hurricane and impact windows come in a variety of styles and designs, allowing homeowners to choose options that complement their home’s aesthetics. The choice between the two types will not significantly impact the overall appearance of your home.

Insurance Benefits

Many insurance companies offer discounts on premiums for homes equipped with hurricane or impact windows. The higher level of protection provided by impact windows may result in greater savings on insurance costs.

Protecting Your Family and Investment

Choosing between hurricane windows and impact windows ultimately depends on your specific needs, budget, and the level of protection you desire. Both options provide significant benefits and can enhance the safety and security of your home during hurricane season.

Additional Protection Measures

In addition to installing hurricane or impact windows, there are several other steps you can take to protect your home and family during hurricanes:

  1. Reinforce Doors: Ensure all exterior doors are sturdy and equipped with high-quality locks and deadbolts. Consider installing impact-resistant doors for added security.
  2. Install Storm Shutters: For homes with hurricane windows, storm shutters can provide additional protection against flying debris.
  3. Secure Outdoor Items: Bring in or secure outdoor furniture, decorations, and other items that could become projectiles during high winds.
  4. Trim Trees and Shrubs: Regularly maintain your landscaping to remove dead branches and reduce the risk of damage from falling debris.
  5. Create an Emergency Kit: Prepare a kit with essential supplies, including food, water, medications, flashlights, and batteries, in case of power outages or evacuation.

Long-Term Benefits

Investing in hurricane or impact windows not only provides immediate protection during storms but also offers long-term benefits for your home:

  1. Increased Property Value: Homes equipped with hurricane-resistant features often have higher resale values and appeal to potential buyers.
  2. Energy Savings: Impact windows, in particular, can improve your home’s energy efficiency, reducing heating and cooling costs over time.
  3. Peace of Mind: Knowing your home is well-protected can provide peace of mind for you and your family, especially during hurricane season.


When it comes to protecting your home and family from hurricanes, both hurricane windows and impact windows offer valuable benefits. While hurricane windows provide substantial protection at a lower cost, impact windows offer the highest level of durability and resistance against repeated impacts and severe weather conditions.

By understanding the differences between these two types of windows, you can make an informed decision that best suits your needs and budget. Whether you choose hurricane windows or impact windows, the investment will provide lasting protection for your home and peace of mind for your family.

Remember, the safety and security of your home depend on the quality of your windows and doors. Don’t compromise on protection – choose the best option for your needs and ensure your home is prepared for whatever nature throws its way.

For more information on hurricane and impact windows, or to schedule a consultation with our experts, contact Mister Window today. Protect your investment and your loved ones with the best hurricane protection solutions available.

Mike Cvetetic

July 2, 2024

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