A happy home is filled with life, laughter, and cherished belongings. It is a safe harbor, loved as much for the way it looks, as for the way it makes you feel — at ease, relaxed, and protected.
Creating a safe home and keeping your loved ones out of harm’s way requires a skillful combination of both form and function. In Southwest Florida, that means integrating effective hurricane protection into your home design. Happily, homeowners looking to retrofit their properties have a myriad of options from which to choose when designing for safety.
“Securing your home against the elements is important to the safety and well-being of your property and your family,” explains Mark Schwartz of the Naples-based firm, Storm Force. “There are many ways to do it, and they don’t need to compromise your home’s appearance to be effective.”
The most important thing, stresses Schwartz, is to have an emergency plan and code-compliant hurricane protection in place. Wind and water damage can leave a home uninhabitable with cherished belongings destroyed. Having the right hurricane protection can also make a significant difference to insurance premiums, as well as to peace of mind. “With all the care and attention people put into their homes, protecting against hurricane damage just makes sense. It’s not a question of ‘if’ we’ll get a storm here in Southwest Florida, but ‘when’ it will happen,” cautions Schwartz.
There have been many recent advances in the design and technology of storm doors and windows, and the materials and colors available are more varied than ever before. The first step in the selection process is to first understand the plethora of options available for protection.
High-impact doors and windows offer the highest level of defense and also blend easily and attractively into a home’s exterior design. They are an expensive option, in part, because they are designed from the ground up as a whole system including the window and door frames. However, as compared to other protection solutions that require manual installation or deployment, high-impact doors and windows are always at work, whether the homeowner is on the premises or not.
There are additional benefits to high-impact protection: energy-efficiency, thwarting crime with virtual burglar-proof design, blocking out 99% of damaging UV rays, and significant noise reduction. The doors and windows are available in a variety of colors and custom shapes.
Roll-down and accordion shutters are another popular form of protection. Made of high strength aluminum, they are a series of horizontal slats linked together, and are permanently installed in a box above or beside the window or door. Opened and lowered electrically or manually by a crank, switch, or remote control, they are quick and easy to operate and maintenance-free.
Armor Screen® is a transparent, lightweight, and strong hurricane-resistant fabric that comes in detachable sections for homeowners to put up as needed. It is easy to handle and store and blocks 97% of wind and water penetration. There are several attachment systems available.
Lastly, storm panels are the most basic hurricane protection. Comparable to plywood in price, these removable panels are cut-to-fit and provide a solid barrier over window and door surfaces. The panels can be made from Lexan, which is a clear plastic, or from aluminum, white aluminum, or steel. This is a fantastic option for arched windows especially those with custom bend headers. Although they are easy to stack, they must be properly stored when not in use, and the homeowner must put them up and take them down.
Consulting with storm protection professionals best determines which hurricane protection to choose for your home. An expert will visit the property, taking many variables into consideration before making a recommendation. These factors include the height of the home, its age, location relative to water, nearby landscaping hazards, and structural weak spots, among others. Once the evaluation is complete, individual preferences and budget considerations come into play.
Schwartz concludes, “Think of the peace of mind that storm protection provides. There’s nothing like owning a beautiful home and knowing that you have protected it against the most unexpected and severe weather. And, that you have done what you need to do to keep your family and your favorite possessions safe and sound.”
4160 Corporate Square
Naples, Florida 34104
Written by Sarah Adams
Photography provided by Storm Force