Storm Windows Vs Impact Windows: Ultimate Protection Guide

Storm Windows Vs Impact Windows Ultimate Protection Guide

Storm Windows Vs Impact Windows: Ultimate Protection Guide

Storm windows offer added insulation to existing windows, while impact windows provide enhanced protection against severe weather. Choosing between them depends on climatic concerns and security priorities.


Storm windows are typically a cost-effective addition that can reduce energy costs by improving home insulation; they fit over your existing windows and are particularly useful in regions with cold winters. Impact windows, on the other hand, are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions such as hurricanes, offering a sturdy barrier against high winds and flying debris.


They are built with a combination of heavy-duty frames and impact-resistant glass, ensuring both safety and potential insurance benefits. Homeowners must weigh factors including geographic location, weather patterns, budget, and desired level of protection when deciding between storm and impact windows for their household needs.



Definition And Purpose

Understanding the differences between storm windows and impact windows is essential for homeowners living in regions frequently affected by severe weather. These specialized windows offer protection and energy efficiency but serve unique purposes, tailored to diverse environmental conditions and requirements. Diving into the specifics will unveil why selecting the right type of window is not only a matter of safety but also of practicality and long-term investment in your property.

What Are Storm Windows?

Storm windows are secondary windows installed over the existing exterior windows. Their primary purpose is to provide an extra layer of insulation and to shield against wind and rain. Often composed of plastic panels or glass, these windows are a cost-effective option for enhancing energy efficiency and reducing noise without replacing existing windows.

Their main benefits include:

  • Improved home insulation
  • Decreased energy costs
  • Reduced noise pollution
  • Protection from the elements

What Are Impact Windows?

Impact windows, on the other hand, are designed to offer robust protection from severe weather conditions, specifically those involving high-velocity projectiles and windborne debris during hurricanes or violent storms. These windows comprise heavy-duty frames and laminated glass, which resist shattering upon impact. They are a permanent installation that replaces existing windows and are often required by building codes in hurricane-prone areas.

Key advantages of impact windows include:

  1. Enhanced safety and home security
  2. Significant improvement in energy efficiency
  3. UV protection for preventing interior fading
  4. Potential insurance premium reductions

Comparison Of Features

Comparison Of Features

When deciding between storm windows and impact windows for your home, understanding the various features both offer is crucial. Each option has distinct characteristics and benefits that can enhance your home in different ways. From material and construction to energy efficiency and security and protection, below is a thorough comparison of features to guide homeowners in making the best choice for their specific needs.

Material And Construction

The materials used in window design directly influence durability and maintenance needs. Commonly, storm windows feature aluminum or vinyl frames with single glazing, which adds an extra layer of protection to existing windows. In contrast, impact windows are constructed with reinforced frames often made from heavy-duty aluminum or vinyl, boasting laminated glass designed to resist shattering upon impact.

Energy Efficiency

  • Storm windows: Offer an additional layer of insulation, reducing air infiltration and enhancing the energy efficiency of existing windows. They work as a buffer against the outside temperature.
  • Impact windows: Typically include multi-layered glass and provide superior insulation. Not only do they offer increased energy efficiency, but they also filter out UV rays, protecting the interior from sun damage.

Security And Protection

When it comes to security, both types of windows enhance the safety of a home but in different capacities. Storm windows offer minimal deterrence against forced entry, primarily serving to protect against weather-related damage. Impact windows, however, provide a significantly heightened level of protection. The laminated glass in impact windows not only stands up to harsh weather conditions but also presents a formidable barrier against break-ins, as it is designed to remain intact even when forcefully struck.

Feature Storm Windows Impact Windows
Material Aluminum or Vinyl Frames, Single-Glazed Reinforced Aluminum or Vinyl Frames, Laminated Glass
Energy Efficiency Added insulation barrier Superior insulation, UV protection
Security Added weather protection, minimal security increase High resistance to impacts, improved burglary deterrence

Cost And Installation

Understanding the cost and installation factors for storm windows and impact windows is crucial in making an informed decision for your home’s safety and efficiency. The investment in your windows directly correlates with their ability to withstand severe weather conditions, as well as their longevity and performance. Let’s explore the details of how much these window types may set you back financially, and what the installation process involves.

Cost Of Storm Windows

The purchase price of storm windows can vary widely based on size, material, and quality. Typically, they are known as a more economical option compared to impact windows. The average cost can range from:

  • Low-end models: $50 – $150 per window
  • Mid-range models: $150 – $300 per window
  • High-end models: $300 – $500 per window

When considering the overall expense, remember to include potential additional costs like hardware, labor, and any extra features like energy-efficient coatings or custom sizes.

Cost Of Impact Windows

Impact windows, built to withstand the force of hurricanes, generally come with a higher price tag, reflecting their durability and the advanced technology used in their construction. Prices vary depending on the level of impact resistance, frame material, and glass quality, usually in the following range:

  • Standard options: $250 – $750 per window
  • Premium models: $750 – $1,500 per window

Don’t overlook the long-term value; these windows can also potentially lower insurance premiums and increase energy efficiency.

Installation Process

The installation process is another important consideration and varies by window type:

  1. Storm Windows: Installation tends to be straightforward and often doesn’t require professional assistance, especially for secondary storm windows that fit over existing windows. It usually involves:
    • Measuring the window opening
    • Placing the storm window frame into the opening
    • Securely fastening the frame with screws
    • Ensuring proper seal and functionality
  2. Impact Windows: Due to their complex structure and the precision needed for optimal performance, professional installation is recommended and sometimes required by law. Key steps typically involve:
    • Removing the existing window and preparing the opening
    • Inserting the impact window frame and ensuring correct alignment
    • Sealing with caulk and securing with heavy-duty bolts
    • Conducting thorough testing for fit, seal, and function

Considerations And Recommendations

Deciding between storm windows and impact windows is more than just a choice; it’s a commitment to protecting your home. As a homeowner, it’s vital to weigh several aspects before making this investment. Factors such as the climate you live in, your budget, and the long-term advantages each option provides should guide your decision. Let’s delve into the key considerations that’ll help you determine which window solution aligns best with your needs.

Climate And Region

Your geographical location plays a pivotal role in choosing the right type of window for your home. If you reside in an area prone to hurricanes or severe storms, impact windows are designed to withstand extreme conditions, offering robust protection against high winds and flying debris. Conversely, for those living in regions with less intense weather, storm windows provide an additional layer of insulation, keeping your home cozy and energy-efficient.

Budget Constraints

Cost considerations are crucial when upgrading your home’s windows. Impact windows represent a larger initial investment but deliver significant durability and can lead to reduced insurance premiums. On the other hand, storm windows are more cost-effective and can be a practical choice for those on a tighter budget, offering decent protection without breaking the bank.

Long-term Benefits

Looking into the future is essential when considering window upgrades. Impact windows not only enhance the safety of your home but also improve energy efficiency and noise reduction, which contribute to a higher property value. Meanwhile, storm windows can prolong the life of your existing windows and offer flexibility, as they can be installed seasonally or as a permanent fixture. When evaluating long-term merits, consider the potential energy savings, maintenance costs, and overall impact on your home’s worth.

Frequently Asked Questions Of Storm Windows Vs Impact Windows


Are Storm Windows The Same As Impact Windows?


No, storm windows differ from impact windows. Storm windows add insulation but aren’t shatter-resistant. Impact windows are built to withstand flying debris and high winds during severe storms.


Are Impact Windows Or Storm Windows Very Expensive?


Impact windows and storm windows typically involve a higher initial investment compared to regular windows due to their enhanced durability and protection features. Prices vary depending on size, material, and specific design configurations.


What Type Of Windows Are Best For Hurricanes?


Impact-resistant windows, also known as storm-proof or hurricane windows, are best for hurricanes. They withstand high winds and flying debris, enhancing home safety during storms.


Do Storm Windows Help In A Hurricane?


Storm windows are not designed for hurricane protection; you should install impact-resistant windows or hurricane shutters for effective defense against hurricanes.




Deciding between storm windows and impact windows hinges on your needs. Storm windows offer affordability and versatility, while impact windows provide superior protection and energy efficiency. Assess your local climate, budget, and safety requirements before choosing. Both options promise enhanced home security and comfort, ensuring peace of mind during harsh weather conditions.


Choose wisely for long-term satisfaction.

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