The Atlantic Hurricane Season officially started on June 1 and will end on November 30. During hurricane season, your property’s windows and doors are especially susceptible to wind and flood damage. Wind sends debris into windows and siding, resulting in broken glass and damage to the façade of buildings. Wind damage is the number 1 risk during hurricane season. Additionally, properties with commercial windows and doors that aren’t properly sealed can quickly be breached by water, resulting in extremely costly water damage. Fortunately, these risks can be reduced by following a few steps to secure windows and doors from hurricane winds and rain.
The financial benefits are clear, too. For starters, preparing your property for hurricane season provides the building with greater protection. This can help diminish the risk for costly window damage, as well as prevent flood water from seeping in through doors and windows. But hurricane risk mitigation can also help property owners qualify for lower insurance premiums. So just how costly is hurricane damage? And what can businesses do to prepare?
Hurricane Damage is Expensive
Each year, hurricane season in the U.S. results in $5 billion in damages to commercial and residential properties. Larger storms, though, can cost billions more. For example, Hurricane Katrina resulted in $108 billion in damages, while Hurricane Sandy resulted in $50 billion.
Wind damage is the No. 1 cause of damage. When wind enters a building, it lowers the air pressure inside the property and the wind then seeks to exit the property. This can result in blow-out windows and damage to the roof or siding of a property. Additionally, damage to windows can also be caused by windswept debris. Hurricane-resistant window glazing, for example, is one of the most effective solutions for mitigating wind damage. That’s why in areas prone to hurricanes, like the Mid-Atlantic and Florida, this type of glazing is often required in new construction commercial properties.
Flood damage, though, accounts for the largest share of hurricane damage costs. For example, according to the National Flood Insurance Program, one-inch of flooding in a 1,000 square foot residential property results in an estimated $10,600 in damages. For commercial properties, the cost of flood damages is even greater. From 2010 to 2014, the NFIP found that the average commercial flood claim was $89,000, and hurricane damage can have longer lasting effects.
Up to 25% of businesses that experience water damage do not reopen following a flood.
For property owners, mitigating the risk for flood and wind damage is important. Although it’s impossible to completely eliminate the risk for hurricane damage, property owners can greatly reduce the risk. You can invest in a high-tech solution, like the latest hurricane proof windows, or by employing low-tech options, like sandbags and plywood.
Tips for Protecting Commercial Windows during Hurricane Season
During hurricane season, windows are the most susceptible to hurricane damage. Property owners have several options to reinforce the integrity of a window system, including:
- Impact-Resistant Hurricane Windows: Hurricane windows are built with two layers of laminated glazing, similar to that used in automobiles, held together with a membrane in the middle. Additionally, they’re designed with heavy-duty frames that are secured to the window header. The windows aren’t shatter-proof, but instead, the membrane holds the glass together. This keeps the barrier intact, which prevents wind and debris from entering the property. These types of windows are often required for hurricane- and tornado-prone areas.
- Hurricane Films for Windows: Another type of impact-resistant window covering is a hurricane film. These window films are a transparent coating that is applied to the exterior of the window and secured to the window frame. Like impact-resistant windows, hurricane films are designed to hold the glass together following an impact and uphold the integrity of the window barrier.
- Plywood Coverings for Windows: Plywood is not an option for large, multi-story commercial properties; although protecting ground-floor windows with plywood can help. Smaller single-story commercial properties, though, can benefit from heavy-duty plywood coverings which are secured to the window frame or exterior of the building.
- Weather Stripping, Sealing Windows: Properly sealing windows is often an overlooked step in preparing a property for hurricane season because it’s difficult to tell if the weather stripping needs to be replaced. That’s why it’s important to have your property’s windows regularly inspected to determine the integrity of the window seal.
Tips for Protecting Doors and Doorways during Hurricane Season
Glass doors and storefronts, like windows, are at risk for wind damage, and thus, they should be reinforced accordingly. Hurricane-resistant glass storefronts and doors are one of the most effective strategies, and plywood covering can be used as a second line of defense. In addition, property owners should consider:
- Three-Hinged Doors: Exterior doors with at least three hinges are often required in hurricane-prone environments, as they’re better able to withstand extreme hurricane winds. In general, metal and solid wooden core doors are best equipped to withstand extreme air pressure changes and flying debris. Glass doors, hollow-core wooden or metal doors, or double-entry doors should be reinforced with plywood or shuttering. Plus, property owners should consider the integrity of the lock. Dead-bolt locks with at least 1-inch of bolt throw can help prevent doors from flying open during a hurricane and a potential break-in.
- Reinforce Overhead Doors: Commercial and industrial hanging doors are extremely susceptible to wind damage. Hurricane windows can push the door off the track. Additionally, these types of doors, if not properly sealed, can allow wind to enter the property, which can cause costly damage to the roof and siding. Hurricane-resistant overhead doors can help mitigate this risk, as well as a wind-pressure system.
Since 1999, Aeroseal Corp has retrofitted properties in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic with hurricane-resistant windows and doors. We’re a vendor-installer, handling sales, design, and installation. And we have long relationships with the country’s most-trusted hurricane-resistant window and door manufacturers. If you’re interested in ways you can prepare your property for hurricane season, contact Aeroseal today. We’d be happy to talk over your options with you!