What Contractors Should Know About Hurricanes and Storm Protection
How Contractors Can Help Keep Homes Safe
In September 2017, Hurricane Irma made landfall on the coast of Florida and became one of the costliest Atlantic storms in history. Experts estimated that the storm caused $19.4 billion in wind damage alone.
Homeowners (and sometimes architects and contractors) are not always thinking about storm protection when they’re remodeling an existing home or building a new house. Often by the time homeowners are thinking about storm protection, it’s too late. However, contractors can help guide customers to think about incorporating hurricane protection into their building and remodeling plans.
Tom Johnston, research and development manager for Town & Country Industries, a division of ABC Supply, shares what you should know about hurricane protection:
Impact or “Hurricane” Windows Alone Are Not Enough
Impact windows are becoming more and more popular, and it’s not surprising, considering their impact resistance provides additional protection against both storm damage and the threat of break-ins. However, impact windows are not invincible. In coastal areas, sand blasts and flying debris can damage the glass, leaving homeowners with scratched and foggy windows or, even worse, shattered windows. In heavy rains, impact windows can leak as they are generally no more water resistant than standard windows, which are designed to stop water at only 15 percent of a window's structural design strength rating. For an extra barrier that will protect windows — and your home — from water and wind damage, hurricane shutters could be the answer.
Hurricane Shutters Protect Window Openings — and Roofs
While hurricane shutters do protect against rain and debris beating on a home’s windows, what they are ultimately preventing is wind damage. Their goal is to protect the structural integrity of a home. Roofs are built to withstand the pressures exerted on them from the outside, but when wind gusts in through a broken window or door, they often can’t handle the pressure pushing up on them. This can result in the roof blowing off of a home, leading to significant structural and property damage.
Fear Drives Hurricane Shutter Sales, but There Are Other Benefits
According to Johnston, homeowners are often not thinking about storm protection until a storm affects them. However, once the threat of a hurricane is imminent, homeowners may feel rushed to decide how to protect their homes. They can get ahead of this pressure by planning for hurricane protection when the house is being built or remodeled.
Not only will having storm protection give homeowners peace of mind, it can also provide financial benefits in the form of insurance discounts. Discounts vary by insurance provider. One such program is the FORTIFIED for Safer Living® program, which provides significant benefits to homeowners and businesses in Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina and Georgia. Insurance discounts can even cover the cost of installing impact windows and hurricane shutters over a short time frame. As value-added advice, contractors can suggest that customers look into the potential benefits that their homeowners insurance may offer for storm protection.
Many Options for Storm Protection Exist
There are more options for hurricane protection than just the traditional hurricane shutters. Johnston has seen two different types of products gaining in popularity: hurricane fabrics and rolling shutters.
Hurricane fabrics are high-strength, coated fabrics that are attached over windows and doors to provide protection. Some homeowners prefer the fabric option because it can be easily stored when not in use and is less of a hassle to handle than traditional shutters. Rolling shutters—shutters that roll up and down into a box — have been around for years, but the recent addition of a wind lock on many models has increased their popularity. The lock helps the shutter withstand tremendous pressure and stays in place in high winds.
Town & Country Can Help
If you’re unsure where to turn for help with hurricane protection, Town & Country Industries is a great place to start. Not only does it have a responsive team, but it also has extensive knowledge of the hurricane protection industry. It even offers training manuals to help contractors learn how to install products.
Additionally, Town & Country designs its products with longevity in mind. Homeowners can add storm protection to their homes and rest assured that even if they don’t experience a hurricane for 10 years, their home will still be protected.