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Impact Resistant Windows vs Hurricane Shutters: What to Choose?

When looking into hurricane window protection, it’s necessary to analyze and compare the advantages of impact-resistant glass and storm shutters. Of course, it’s possible to install both – but with advancements in shatterproof glass technology, the best hurricane windows may be sufficient with or without the storm shutters (but usually not vice versa). Read on to get a brief rundown of the functional differences between impact-resistant windows and storm shutters from South Florida’s most reputable hurricane protection specialists.

Benefits of Impact Windows

Impact-resistant windows are essentially made with the same technology behind automobile windshields. The entire glass becomes much stronger by layering dual panes of glass over an incredibly resilient laminate interlayer. Even if flying projectiles crack the storm glass, it won’t shatter and bust apart like regular glass, which creates countless shards of glass by comparison. Instead, broken storm glass remains connected by the internal laminate membrane, keeping the glass in place – even when hit by a 2×4 at 50 feet per second, which is not uncommon in 200 mph winds.

The two strongest laminate materials for hurricane windows are polyvinyl butyral (PVB) and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) – and that’s precisely what you get with Elite Impact and CGI’s advanced Elite Impact Windows. Approved by Miami-Dade county, these high-impact windows are built with laminated glass treated with both PVB and EVA, then set deeply into a reinforced aluminum frame.

CGI windows are also unobtrusive, lending nothing unusual to the character of the home. We’ve created six different varieties, all customizable and available with a wide range of options:

  • Casement Windows
  • Single Hung Windows
  • Horizontal Rolling Windows
  • Fixed Windows
  • Designer Fixed Windows
  • Project Out/Awning Windows

The result is equal parts style and function – not to mention higher property values and lower insurance costs. With CGI’s time-tested and renowned hurricane windows, you’ll be ideally safe at home during even some of the fiercest storms.

Additionally, CGI hurricane windows provide these other great benefits:

  • Protection from intruders and vandals
  • UV-ray filtering
  • Greater insulation
  • Increased energy efficiency
  • Visibility during a storm

Benefits of Hurricane Shutters

Hurricane shutters are usually more affordable than hurricane windows, and some think they add to the curb appeal, adding a depth of charm and character to the house. A wide range of shutter types and features also provide unique functions. For instance, motorized roll shutters can be operated by a switch. That’s nothing new – but there are now innovative new models that can be operated remotely using home networks, providing the ability to protect one’s home even from afar.

Of course, this is a moot point for hurricane windows, which are typically stronger than storm shutters and function simply by being there. One of the best things about hurricane shutters is that they can be used in conjunction with storm windows, providing the highest level of protection possible for your windows.

Comparing Impact Windows and Hurricane Shutters

Compared to regular windows, there’s no question that either option will vastly improve your safety and protect your property. They also both tend to raise property values while reducing insurance rates. But if you’re trying to maximize your level of storm protection, line up the benefits side by side and judge for yourself.


Substandard window glass may offer similar levels of protection as storm shutters, but the best hurricane glass provides far greater protection. Unless someone starts building commercial storm shutters out of extremely advanced materials like bomb-proof steel alloys or jet-fighter-grade polycarbonate, the best impact-resistant windows are usually a better singular option.

Even if the more moderate protection of hurricane shutters seems sufficient for you, they still require glass strong enough to handle the shaking and banging of the shutters. Even excellent hurricane shutters, without impact-resistant glass behind, might break and scatter glass into the property anyways.

There’s nothing wrong with having both impact-resistant glass and hurricane shutters installed together; hurricane shutters without impact-resistant glass, on the other hand, are much less functional (although still much better than nothing).

Preparedness & Ease of Use

As with any emergency preparedness, it’s important to periodically look at your plan of action in the event of a storm. Here, the advantage also goes to hurricane windows, which are as set-it-and-forget-it as can be. Impact shutters, on the other hand, must be closed and locked to be useful – and what happens if you aren’t home to close and latch them? It could even be said that unsecured hurricane shutters are a potential hazard during extreme winds.

No matter which hurricane window protection you choose, be sure to have the right tools and PPE close at hand, such as:

  • Gloves
  • Screwdrivers
  • Duct Tape
  • Flashlights & batteries
  • Thick plastic sheets (or better yet, hurricane plastic film)
  • Pre-fitted boards (plus nails and a hammer or screws and an electric drill)

Such preparations are particularly important for any sliding glass door or french doors in the house. Their larger dimensions make them more vulnerable to breakage, and the consequences of a broken door are much higher than a broken window.

Stillness in the Storm

During a storm, you’ll need every psychological comfort you can get. If you’re dependent only on storm shutters, you’ll be blocking every natural light source and unable to see outside. Although seeing outside may be the last thing you want during a storm, most people who endure it with house wide storm shutters report feeling more afraid due to the dark, closed-in atmosphere.

The violent sounds of a storm can also be quite fearsome, especially for small children and pets. Fortunately, the same properties that make hurricane windows highly insulative will also reduce external sound levels, thus lowering the volume of the raging winds and providing a greater sense of calm when needed most.

Purchase Hurricane Shutters

The Best Impact Window & Hurricane Shutters in Miami

As mentioned earlier, industry-leading hurricane windows provide extremely high protection even without storm shutters. Regular windows can be hazardous, even with storm shutters. All it would take is one blowout, and you’d have shards of glass everywhere that could endanger you, your family, and your pets. However, there is a third option for the absolute highest level of protection: installing both impact windows and hurricane shutters. The choice is yours.

Since 1992, CGI Windows has been creating the most functional hurricane windows on the market – and with a variety of colors and styles to choose from, you won’t have to compromise on style for safety. With Elite Impact Glass, you’ll also receive an impeccable installation from a 5-star rated company. Voted “Miami’s Best Hurricane Impact Windows,” we’re proud to keep families and businesses in our community as safe as possible during even the most dangerous conditions.

For help settling on the best hurricane window protection for you, contact Elite Impact Glass today. We offer free estimates and great financing options, so you don’t need to wait to obtain the security you and your loved ones deserve.

Image Credit Ken Schulze