What are Hurricane Windows Made Of? (Complete Guide)

July 19, 2023

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Protect Your Home From Hurricanes with Impact-Resistant Windows

Hurricane season is upon us. Are you prepared? One of the best ways to safeguard your home is by installing durable hurricane windows that can withstand high winds, flying debris, and storm surges. But, what are hurricane windows made of?
The main component of hurricane windows is impact-resistant glass made up of layers of laminated and tempered glass. The glass is encased in a durable frame typically made of reinforced vinyl, aluminum, or composite.

So, let's go deeper on what hurricane windows are make of and how this impacts you as a homeowner during a storm.


hurricane protection - storm brewing off the coast of Florida

Types of Impact Resistant Glass Used for Hurricane Windows

The glass is layered into the frame to create the window. Depending on the size and type of window, there may be one or multiple lites (panels of glass) that make up a single hurricane-rated window.

The three most common types of impact-resistant glass used for hurricane windows are:

Laminated Glass

This “sandwiches” a plastic layer between two panes of glass. The plastic holds the shards together if the glass breaks, preventing hurricane windows from shattering or falling apart.

Tempered Glass

This type of glass is heat-treated, so it can withstand greater pressure. It is 4-5 times stronger than regular glass. Tempered glass won’t leave dangerous shards if it gets damaged so it is used on the external layer of the window (it's also called "safety glass.")


This is a synthetic plastic resin that is extremely durable. Polycarbonate sheets can withstand heavy impacts. Thinner than glass, polycarbonate also blocks UV rays.

graphic of hurricane window layers

What are Hurricane Impact Window Frames Made Of?

In addition to impact-resistant glass, hurricane windows also have heavy-duty window frames. These sturdy frames keep the window securely fastened to the building, even during high winds with flying debris. Some common sturdy frame materials include:

  • Reinforced vinyl: Durable PVC frame materials with steel reinforcements.
  • Aluminum: Corrosion-resistant aluminum framing anchors windows firmly in place.
  • Impact-resistant composite: Fiberglass and other composites make robust window frames.
  • Reinforced wood: Laminated woods like mahogany give added strength.

Hurricane window frames often use multiple fasteners, thicker metal, extra bracing, and other features for maximum wind resistance. Advanced window seals also help improve protection.

hurricane andrew - extreme wind speeds

The Difference Between Hurricane Windows and Standard Windows

When it comes to protecting your home during hurricanes and tropical storms, not all windows are created equal.

Standard glass windows will shatter under impacts of 70-90 mph – far below hurricane wind speeds. This leaves structures dangerously exposed to howling gusts, pouring rain, and flying debris.

In contrast, hurricane impact windows are specifically engineered to withstand the forces of major weather events. These ultra-durable windows utilize multilayered, high-density glass designed to prevent breakage from debris traveling over 100 mph. Rather than splintering into sharp fragments, impact-resistant hurricane glass has special interlayers that hold it together when cracked.

Reinforced framing strengthens the impact resistant windows

Reinforced framing is also key. Hurricane window frames are made from robust materials like steel, dense composites, and laminated wood. They are rigorously tested to survive powerful gusts above 120 mph. While regular vinyl or aluminum frames would flex, bend and fail, hurricane frames anchor firmly in place even when bombarded for hours by screaming winds, trees, and airborne junk. No detail is overlooked; hurricane windows have advanced weather stripping and multiple fasteners to control water infiltration and prevent the entire unit from being ripped out.

Don’t settle for flimsy standard windows during storm season. Investing in genuine hurricane windows means getting unyielding protection when you need it most.

What are Hurricane Shutters Made From?

Hurricane shutters provide another valuable protective barrier for homes and buildings during major storms. The most common materials used in their construction include galvanized steel, aluminum, and polycarbonate.

  • Galvanized steel is durable, resistant to rust, and capable of withstanding high wind pressure and impacts.
  • Aluminum is also an ideal shutter material given its strength, light weight, and corrosion resistance.
  • For transparent hurricane shutters, polycarbonate plastics offer impact protection while still allowing light to pass through. Advanced polymer resins make these clear shutters highly shatter-resistant.
  • Some hurricane shutters utilize laminated glass, reinforced woods, or other sturdy composites to provide security during extreme weather events. However, the most effective shutters are made out of steel, aluminum, polycarbonate, or other high-performance materials.

shutters on standard windows - florida home

Guard Your Home from Storms with Confidence

When a hurricane or tropical storm strikes, you need windows that can withstand extreme conditions. Hurricane windows made of impact-resistant glass and sturdy framing provide reliable defense for your home.

Don’t take chances with subpar panes during turbulent weather. Invest in trustworthy hurricane resistant windows for peace of mind during the season. Protect what matters most with proven storm protection.

***Please note that there may be state-wide assistance programs and benefits to cover some of the costs of impact and storm windows.

Proper Installation is Key to Performance! Trust Our Team

Contact our team today at Sarasota Home Windows to learn more about outfitting your home with high-performance hurricane proof windows. We have durable and attractive options that will safeguard your family and property without sacrificing aesthetics. It's important to work with a company who are experts in installing impact resistant windows. Let’s work together to make your home storm-ready with storm proof windows!

impact resistant windows for a Florida home

Frequently Asked Questions

Are hurricane impact windows shatterproof?

No, hurricane windows are designed to be highly impact-resistant, but not fully shatterproof. Their durable glass and framing make them extremely unlikely to shatter during storms. However, no window can guarantee 100% shatterproofing under extreme conditions.

Are hurricane impact windows bulletproof?

No, hurricane windows are not bulletproof. They are engineered to withstand specific pressure loads from wind events, not high-velocity projectiles. For bullet resistance, specialized ballistic glass is required.

What is the difference between impact glass and hurricane glass?

There is no major difference. Impact-resistant glass and hurricane glass both refer to windows with durable panes designed to prevent breakage from striking debris. Any glass marketed as hurricane-proof will have heavy-duty impact resistance as well.

How thick are hurricane proof windows?

Hurricane window glass thickness typically ranges from 1/4” to 1” thick. Laminated glass layers and security films add further reinforcement. Frames are also several inches thick on most impact-resistant windows.

Will a Category 4 hurricane break windows?

Category 4 storms with 130-156 mph winds are extremely dangerous and absolutely could break regular windows. Hurricane impact windows rated for these wind speeds should remain intact through a Category 4 hurricane. But the damage is still possible at the highest wind speeds.

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