Let’s do a quick recap- my family moved to Florida from Utah in January 2020. We bought the home remotely- without even stepping a toe into the property. We relied on a video tour of the house from our realtor and an inspection. From the inspection we picked our battles on what to request fixes on. The inspection showed that the windows were screwed shut and that we’d need new hurricane windows.
Well, being a naive couple from Utah, we thought- how much could new windows cost?! So we focused on the owner fixing other more pressing matters and we figured we’d take care of the windows. How bad could they be?
why did you get new windows?
Moving in, we saw that the windows were in bad shape- they were all screwed closed and if you took out the screws, you could easily get into the house. Plus, if there was a fire, we couldn’t quickly get out of the bedroom windows. So they were not safe AT ALL.
In addition, they were super loud- you could hear when a neighbor walked their dog past the house. And since they couldn’t be opened, we could let in cool air from outside. So we were spending more on air conditioning. The windows were very inefficient.
In this post I’m going to post before pictures, progress pictures of the installation and after photos so you can see where we’re at right now. As you can see, the exterior of the house needs to be painted sooner than later!
So we started getting quotes and found out that hurricane or high-impact glass are expensive since they have to withstand winds up to 150-200mph. They usually have a lifetime guarantee too. And they are energy efficient so they save you money on your monthly air conditioning bill. But all those features mean they’re expensive!
Once we started getting quotes, we saw that the price ranged anywhere from $15k-$30k for our small house. On average, hurricane windows cost $1085 for an medium size and up to $2000 for large windows. Plus installation costs (source).
We ended up selecting hurricane resistant windows at the higher end of our quotes- $26k for our new windows. We selected the windows that were the highest quality for the best price. There were cheaper ones for less, but we wanted to do the job right.
If that number ($26k) makes you want to throw up- me too. We had to finance it (which I don’t love). They should reduce our air conditioning costs and our home insurance costs since all of our windows and doors are now impact resistant. Home insurance in Florida is expensive (around $5k a year for us) so that’s a big deal. Even though they’re expensive, we’re really excited for them too!
Hurricane windows are constructed with three pieces of glass- two tempered sheets of glass with a polymer inner layer. That way, if the tempered glass does break they’re small pellets and not shards. Then the polymer sheet holds the broken tempered glass together. This protects the house from hurricane damage- think wind, water, and debris that might get in a house during a storm.
In Florida, windows have to pass a series of tests to be hurricane resistant rated. They’re tested to ensure they are wind and water- resistant. The Florida Building Code is very strict about what passes and what doesn’t. For example, one test they do by launching a missile from a canon into the window at 89 mph. Crazy!
Another good benefit about hurricane windows is that they block nearly 100% of the sun’s harmful UV rays. That means no more worries about faded furniture, carpet, or wall decor. Yay!
who did you get your windows through?
We ended up choose Reese Builders because we liked their combination of fair price for the quality. Note, this isn’t sponsored at all. I just wanted to share who we ended up liking in case anyone else is looking at getting bids. I’d suggest getting bids from at least 3 companies. We will be paying for the windows on our own.
did you have to get a permit?
Yes, the company we bought our windows through handles the permit. On Friday, an inspector will make sure the work is up to code. Until then, we have to leave up the stickers on the windows that say they are hurricane glass and their rating.
how many windows did you replace?
10 windows and 2 doors. We replaced the doors as well because the old ones weren’t rated for hurricanes. Again, safety is our priority. But also, since those are all impact resistant, our insurance should go down. That’s the only reason we added on the doors (they added $1800 to the cost).
Are you going to have screens on your windows?
Yes- they’re being installed today! I’m excited for them because in the winter here, the temperatures are mild and we can open the windows and get a breeze. We couldn’t do that with the last windows because they were broken and screwed shut.
Are you going to change the material that’s on the window sill?
Right now the window sills are a yellow/sand color tile. Eventually we’d like to replace them with white tile. A reader commented that marble slabs are common for windows here and I love that idea! Maybe we can get them made out of the same material our counter tops will be made from when we redo the kitchen?
this is the old awning that we took off the window
All of our windows had black awnings over them. This protected the old windows from rain (I’m sure they would have leaked) and it keep the heat down. The awnings were also designed for the middle to roll down over the window and screw over it for a storm. BUT they were painted and didn’t work for that.
Since we got the high impact windows, we no longer need the awnings for heat, rain, or hurricane protection. These new windows are WAY more energy efficient so even though more sun will come through, it won’t increase the temperature inside the house. The frames are made from vinyl are have insulation and energy-efficient glazing. The windows we got exceed Energy stars guidelines.
We’re so grateful to have the awnings off! We have a much better view and can see the clouds and palm trees. Literally 50% of the window you couldn’t see through before so this feels like a huge upgrade. Watching the sunset while we had dinner yesterday was so great! We didn’t realize how much we were missing.
Don with the new windows
will you be adding interior trim?
The windows weren’t trimmed out. Eventually we’ll put molding up and I think that’ll be beautiful! Right now it isn’t high on the priority list. But I like to slowly upgrade my house and one day that will be a layer that I’ll add that’ll make a subtle difference.
Yes, black is a super popular option right now for window trim. And it looks beautiful in lots of houses! But it’s not the right look for me. I like a light and bright home so you’ll see very little black in my designs. The windows feel so much less jarring now that they are white. I LOVE the white trim in my house! Plus, it was actually the cheapest option so it was a win win situation!
do you have to do any patching inside?
No, the installation company who put up the windows have touched up everything. The caulked the sides and put in cement at the bottom for a tight seal. It was nice to not have to worry about that! The team who worked on our house have been amazing! They cleaned up the majority of their mess and treated our stuff with respect. It’s been really nice.
Honestly, I thought long and hard about this and it wasn’t a decision I took lightly. The safety of my family and our community is a priority to me (obviously, since that’s why I’m getting these windows). But since it’s a small crew (4 guys), and we kept our distance, I felt ok about it. All day we washed our hands and after everyone left, I cleaned/sanitized everything in the house.
I figure that if we stop spending all money, our economy is really going to suffer. These guys have families to feed and I so appreciate their hard work.
The team was at our house for 11 hours yesterday and they’ve been here a few hours today. I’m guessing it’ll be a total of 14 hours. Or course, that’ll be different for every size house and how difficult the installation is.
That was something we didn’t feel comfortable with. Why? We didn’t want to spend a bunch of money on the windows and then botch the installation. They need to be installed square and level so they open and close properly which is tricky (they used lots of wedges to get them just right). Plus a proper water barrier must be installed so that hurricanes don’t cause damage around the window.
Plus, our windows required professional in stallion to get the lifetime warranty. For us, even though we do a ton of DIY, we didn’t really consider it all.
Because I wanted to- lol! Sure it wasn’t the smartest move, but that wallpaper has brought me so much joy being up! I think sometimes in life, we wait too long for everything to be perfect before working on our houses. I’m not suggesting to be irresponsible, but it’s ok to do things because they make you happy.
The wallpaper wasn’t at all damaged in the installation. That window was the only one my husband pulled up the tile on to see what was underneath. So we’ll have to fix that soon.
For our family, yes. I’m really happy that we got them! It is so much quieter in the house! You could used to hear every car drive past and now it’s nice and peaceful. If a hurricane comes, it’ll give us such peace of mind.
Right now, I’m mostly excited about the aesthetics! The inside of the house is lighter and brighter and feels filled with light! Plus the view is so much better without the awnings blocking everything.
Yes, it was crazy expensive. But we needed new windows so we figured that we’d get some that should last the lifetime of this house. I’m happy with them and it’s a huge upgrade to the house! If we ever sell this place, it’ll be a major selling point.