Spring is a magical season that promises the return of warmer temperatures and renewed life -- but that magic can also present a darker side in the form of violent spring storms. Hurricanes, tornadoes, strong winds, heavy rains and hailstones can all conspire to pulverize your windows, exposing your home's interior (and occupants) to the elements while racking up a list of extensive and costly repairs. Here are some steps you can take to "spring-proof" your windows before the seasonal weather turns nasty.
Replacing Annealed Glass With Tempered Glass
The first question you must ask yourself is whether the glass windows in your home will stand up to even moderate impacts from bits of flying debris. Ask a local contractor to determine whether you have tempered or annealed glass. Annealed glass was widely used in older homes, but it's still on the market today as a relatively cheap option. Unfortunately, it's four times more vulnerable to breakage than tempered glass -- and when it breaks, it shatters into giant, razor-sharp shards as opposed to smaller, safer pieces.
Tempered glass costs more than annealed glass, and its optical properties aren't quite as consistent. But if you live in a stormy part of the country, you'll be glad to have the extra safety it provides.
Reinforcing Your Window Glass
That crack in your window isn't just affecting your home's insulation; it's also weakening the window pane so that the next heavy blow from a hailstone or flying twig could shatter it altogether. A proper window repair can be a complicated, messy or even hazardous procedure, even if you're only trying to fix a single-pane window. Double-pane or triple-pane windows are completely outside the repair capabilities of a non-professional. The quickest and most sensible strategy is to call an experienced window repair technician who will do the job right the first time. If the crack is too extensive, consider replacing the glass entirely.
If you're worried about how well a large window or patio door will hold up to the mighty winds of March, you may want to reinforce it with hurricane window film. This clear plastic film adheres directly onto the glass's interior surface. In the event of a high impact, the glass may still break -- but at least it won't shatter and go flying all over your loved ones.
Installing Storm Shutters
Homes that face significant risks from spring storms should have permanent exterior shutters attached over or alongside the windows. You'll find that there are several different types of shutters to choose from. Some roll down from a permanent overhead fixture, while "accordion" style shutters collapse into side-mounted housings when not in use, Even traditional hinged wooden shutters can provide critical protection against hail and high winds.
If dirty weather is on its way and you can't afford to spend an exorbitant sum on rolling storm shutters, you can still protect your windows by covering them with plywood. Plywood shutters can cost as little as $1 per square foot (compared to up to $55 per square foot for roll-down aluminum shutters), and they have the virtue of being removable.
Fixing Leaky or Rotten Window Components
Has your window frame's wood or seals gone bad? If so, your home may play host to a lot of unwanted moisture this spring -- moisture that can exacerbate the rot already present in the window or spread to your walls, allowing mold and mildew to flourish. Examine the window frame carefully to see if rot has infiltrated the wood in more than 10 percent of the frame. If it has, then it's time to throw that old frame out and buy a new one. If it hasn't, you may be able to chisel out the rotted wood and replace it with epoxy and filler.
You also need to figure out where that moisture came from in the first place, and that means checking the window for leaks. Look for peeling caulk and sealant failures between the glass and the frame. In many cases you can apply caulk to re-seal these breaches. If you don't see any issues with these components, then you'll need to get the window frame and surrounding wall inspected by a professional.
Take the proper precautions now, and you'll be ready when the weather forecast predicts the worst this spring. Your windows, home and family are more than worth it! Contact a company like United Glass Service Inc to get started.