Storm Windows vs. Hurricane Windows vs. Impact Windows

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When preparing your home’s windows for hurricane season, the windows you choose to install can significantly impact your safety and comfort. There are several options, from adding storm windows for extra protection to installing hurricane or impact windows as part of their home structure. Each option offers unique benefits and features, making them suitable for different needs and situations.

In this article, we’ll explore the differences between storm, hurricane, and impact windows, helping you understand why investing in the right type can be a crucial decision for complete storm protection.

What Are Storm Windows?

Storm windows are an innovative solution for enhancing your home’s resilience against harsh weather while preserving its original architectural design. These windows are additional units that can be installed over top of the exterior of your existing windows. They create a buffer against the elements, significantly improving your home’s ability to withstand wind, rain, and snow. This makes them an ideal choice for areas that experience varied seasonal weather, offering protection without needing complete window replacement.

Benefits of Storm Windows

Here are some benefits of installing storm windows overtop your existing windows.

  • Improved Energy Efficiency: By creating an air pocket between the storm window and the existing window, they act as an additional insulation layer, reducing heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer.
  • Noise Reduction: The added layer of a storm window can dampen external noise, such as traffic, construction, and neighborhood activity, making your home quieter and more serene.
  • Increased Home Value: Adding storm windows enhances your home’s functionality and curb appeal, which can be a significant factor in increasing its market value.
  • Cost-Effective: They are a budget-friendly alternative to total window replacement, especially for older homes where maintaining the original windows is desirable for aesthetic and historic preservation reasons.

What Are Hurricane Windows?

Hurricane windows are specifically engineered to withstand extreme hurricanes and high-pressure winds. These windows differ from storm windows as they are the actual windows and are not just an additional layer of protection. These windows are tested rigorously to meet specific building code requirements, ensuring they can handle the high pressure and impacts typical in hurricane-prone regions.

Benefits of Hurricane Windows

  • Energy Efficiency: Besides storm protection, these windows are excellent insulators against heat and cold, potentially reducing your heating and cooling costs.
  • Noise Insulation: They are effective in dampening outside noise, which is beneficial during storms and daily life, especially in urban areas.
  • Durability: Made to withstand extreme weather, these windows are also resistant to wear from the elements over time, making them a lasting investment in your home’s integrity.

What Are Impact Windows?

Impact windows are designed with the dual purpose of everyday functionality and protection against extreme weather. While they share many characteristics with hurricane windows, impact windows are often chosen for their enhanced versatility and performance in various weather conditions. They consist of two layers of glass bonded with a special interlayer of clear polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). This interlayer keeps the glass from breaking apart on impact, which is essential for preventing injury and property damage during severe weather events.

How Are Impact Windows Different From Hurricane Windows?

Impact windows and hurricane windows are designed for storm protection but differ in construction and protection level. Impact windows are built with a combination of glass and a shatter-resistant layer, providing superior protection against both high winds and flying debris. They also offer additional insulation and enhanced security. On the other hand, hurricane windows may use stronger glass, like tempered glass, but without the added protective layers, making them more suitable for less severe storms and a cost-effective alternative for homeowners in hurricane-prone areas.

Benefits of Impact Windows

  • Impact Resistance: They can withstand high-velocity projectiles and are a vital defense against severe storms’ high winds and debris.
  • UV Protection: These windows can filter out most of the UV radiation, protecting your furniture, carpets, and artwork from fading due to sunlight.
  • Energy Savings: Providing excellent insulation, they help reduce energy costs associated with heating and cooling your home.
  • Long-term Durability: Designed to be robust, they offer long-lasting protection, requiring minimal maintenance and rarely needing replacement.

Which Type of Window Offers The Best Storm and Hurricane Protection?

When comparing storm, hurricane, and impact windows, impact windows stand out as the most comprehensive option for storm and hurricane protection. Their robust construction and impact-resistant features make them highly effective in safeguarding your home against severe weather conditions. Additionally, their energy efficiency and UV protection capabilities add to their value, making them an excellent investment for safety and home comfort.

Why Invest in Quality Windows for Storm Protection?

Investing in quality windows, whether storm, hurricane, or impact windows, is a proactive step toward protecting your home and family. High-quality windows provide more than just protection from the elements; they also contribute to energy efficiency, increase your property’s value, and enhance the overall comfort of your living space. Moreover, in severe weather, having robust windows can be a decisive factor in preventing extensive damage to your home, potentially saving you from costly repairs.

Contact AAA Screen and Window for Expert Advice and Consultation

To learn which window option is best for your home or to schedule a complimentary window consultation, c. Our experts are here to answer your questions and provide professional advice tailored to your unique needs.

FAQ About Storm, Hurricane, and Impact Windows

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Yes, there is a difference. Hurricane windows are a broad category of storm-resistant windows, including various types. Impact windows are a specific type within this category, designed with a combination of glass and a shatter-resistant layer to withstand high winds and flying debris.


Impact windows are generally considered the best for hurricanes due to their robust construction, which includes a layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) that makes them resistant to shattering upon impact from debris.

The choice between hurricane shutters and impact-resistant glass depends on specific needs and preferences. Impact-resistant glass offers constant protection without the need for installation at the time of a storm and also provides additional benefits like noise reduction and UV protection. Hurricane shutters are a more cost-effective option and can be deployed when needed.

Windows that are designed as impact-resistant, commonly known as impact windows, are the best for strong winds. Their reinforced framing and special glazing can withstand the high-pressure and debris impacts typically experienced during strong wind events.

The primary drawbacks of impact windows include higher cost compared to standard windows, potential for reduced visibility and light transmission due to the thicker glass and protective layers, and the need for professional installation to ensure proper functioning and compliance with building codes.