Disclaimer: There is no such thing as “stormproof windows,” “hurricane-proof windows,” “hurricane-proof buildings,” or “hurricane-proof window film.” If you find yourself in the path of a hurricane, please evacuate the area and stay away from windows.
You may have heard that the Florida Attorney General’s office is calling window film “a scam” when used to protect against hurricanes or windstorms – but is it? Hurricane season is here, so it’s time to get to the bottom of this question.
When it comes to window film, let’s start separating fact from fiction.
Here are a few statements you may have heard:
In the state of Florida, it is illegal to sell or market window film solutions as “hurricane, windstorm, or impact-resistant.”
This is a fact. Florida HB 849 (2011) makes it a violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act to “advertise, sell, offer, provide, distribute or market any product as hurricane, windstorm or impact-resistant” unless it is in compliance with the provisions for product approval in the Florida Building Code.
Since the Florida Building Commission only approves products that are part of a complete window system and assembly, the retrofit solution of window film does NOT meet the criteria for building code compliance. According to the state of Florida, window film is NOT a form of hurricane window protection.
Window films can make your building or windows “hurricane-proof.”
This is fiction. Florida is correct. Though high-quality commercial window film strengthens your building’s glass windows, doors, and architectural features against a range of safety and security events, it does not make your glass unbreakable. Nothing can make glass unbreakable.
In fact, there’s actually no way to make your building truly 100% hurricane-proof because hurricanes are unpredictable, often resulting in roof destruction, uprooted trees, and flood or fire damage. However, many building managers turn to security film solutions such as 3M shatter resistant film to reduce the damage from many of the side effects of hurricanes.
Window films can help protect your property from dangerous weather conditions.
This is a fact. According to a statement made by the International Window Film Association, which is an educational organization, “Safety/security window films applied to glass are tested to the same break-safe standards required of tempered glass, heat-strengthened glass, and laminated glass. Window film manufacturers have copies of the actual laboratory test reports validating that their products do, in fact, meet specific impact testing.”
In practice, this means that, although window films are NOT part of a complete window system, like tempered glass, heat-strengthened glass, and laminated glass – and are, therefore, NOT approved for hurricane protection per the Florida Building Code — window films have been tested and shown to provide added protection against many storm-related events.
Considering the high average cost of hurricane-proof windows and window systems, building managers who supplement their safety plans with the added support of films often find that they can increase their building and tenants’ safety, cost-effectively, with products such as 3M window film. Hurricane protection isn’t complete with window films, of course, but it is stronger – and in a destructive natural weather event, every extra bit of safety matters.
Florida building managers must rely on steel storm shutters for adequate hurricane protection.
This is fiction. Since the Florida Attorney General’s office has deemed window films inadequate for truly hurricane proof windows, you may think that your only option for storm safety is those ugly, cumbersome storm shutters that require pre-storm installation by you or your building management staff. Thank goodness, storm shutters are only one of your many options for adequate hurricane protection.
Instead of troublesome storm shutters, many building managers choose to use thick polycarbonate panels to ensure that they have shatterproof windows for approved hurricane protection. Plus, in addition to storm safety, polycarbonate windows such as Riot Glass offer enhanced protection from thieves, smash-and-grab opportunists, and explosions – and they can provide additional security in an active shooter scenario.
How to Investigate Further
Though it may be difficult right now for you to determine what your best option is for protecting your building and windows against a hurricane, windstorm, explosion, or other destructive impact event, it’s important to understand that you have a wide range of safety solutions.
Explore all your options for storm, blast, and impact safety when you get in touch with NGS, the #1 Commercial Window Film Company in the U.S.
NGS’s team of nationally recognized experts can help you understand all your options for window film, polycarbonate storm protection, and other methods of strengthening your building’s envelope. And, once you’ve decided on the right safety solution for your buildings and tenants, NGS can also help you achieve the fastest, easiest installation you’ve ever experienced.
Start the conversation with NGS today, so you can get the facts – and only the facts – on how to hurricane-proof buildings and windows.