What is the Difference Between Impact Windows and Hurricane Windows? 

Jun 03, 2024

When it comes to protecting your home during severe weather, especially in hurricane-prone areas, investing in the right kind of windows is crucial. The terms “impact windows” and “hurricane windows” are often used interchangeably, but is there a difference between them? Understanding the distinctions can help homeowners make informed decisions about their safety and property protection. 

Impact Windows: The Basics 

Impact windows are specially designed windows that provide protection against the elements and potential break-ins. They are constructed with layers of glass and a plastic interlayer, usually made of polyvinyl butyral (PVB). This construction ensures that even if the glass breaks, the window remains intact, thanks to the interlayer holding it together. 

Benefits of Impact Windows 

Key characteristics of impact windows include: 

  • Security: Impact windows offer excellent security benefits because they are tough to break through, making them a deterrent for burglars. 
  • Noise Reduction: The thick, laminated glass used in impact windows also helps reduce outside noise, making them beneficial for homes in noisy areas. 
  • UV Protection: These windows often come with UV protection, helping to block harmful rays from the sun. 
  • Versatility: Impact windows can be used in various applications, not just for hurricane protection. They are suitable for areas where enhanced security or noise reduction is desired. 

Hurricane Windows: The Basics 

Hurricane windows, on the other hand, are specifically designed to withstand the intense forces of hurricanes. They are typically a type of impact window, engineered to meet strict building codes in hurricane-prone areas. These windows undergo rigorous testing to ensure they can withstand hurricane-force winds and flying debris. 

Advantages of Hurricane Windows 

Homeowners are attracted to hurricane windows for their: 

  • Strength: Hurricane windows are built to be extremely durable, capable of withstanding strong winds and impacts from flying debris. 
  • Building Code Compliance: In many hurricane-prone regions, building codes require windows to meet specific standards, and hurricane windows are designed to meet or exceed these standards. 
  • Enhanced Safety: In addition to withstanding impacts, hurricane windows are designed to prevent injury from flying glass by keeping the broken glass together. 
  • Energy Efficiency: Hurricane windows often come with energy-efficient features, helping to regulate indoor temperatures and reduce energy costs. 

The Overlap and Differences 

The key difference between impact windows and hurricane windows lies in their intended purpose and the standards they meet. While all hurricane windows are impact windows, not all impact windows are hurricane windows. 


Impact windows and hurricane windows are typically similar in: 

  • Construction: Both types of windows feature laminated glass with an interlayer, which holds the glass together when shattered. 
  • Protection: Both types provide protection against impacts, whether from a storm or a break-in. 


Impact windows and hurricane windows differ regarding: 

  • Standards: Hurricane windows must meet specific building codes and standards, such as Miami-Dade County’s stringent requirements. Impact windows may not necessarily meet these standards, depending on their design and intended use. 
  • Purpose: Impact windows are versatile and can be used for various purposes, including security and noise reduction. Hurricane windows are specialized for storm protection. 

Learn More 

The difference between impact windows and hurricane windows comes down to their intended purpose and the standards they meet. For homeowners in hurricane-prone areas, investing in hurricane windows that meet specific standards is crucial for optimal protection. However, impact windows are a great option for those seeking enhanced security, noise reduction, and UV protection. Understanding these differences ensures that homeowners can choose the right windows for their needs, providing both safety and peace of mind.  

Contact SunBelt Home Solutions today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about the premium impact windows and hurricane windows we install for homeowners throughout Florida. 

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