Windows?? Impact windows worth the cost?

6 Replies | Tampa, Florida

Hi Everyone,

I'm currently rehabbing my first BRRRR and am planning on replacing the old windows.

The property is in Port Richey Florida. Just spoke with a window company and they are recommending impact windows.

I don't live in Florida so impact windows are new to me. Did some research online.

Would like some feedback on whether they are worth the extra cost.

Thanks!

from what I've read online there would be insurance savings and improved property value, which would help during my refinance.

I'm waiting for the quote to compare the cost of impact vs non-impact. If I amortize the additional cost over the life of the house (plan on long term hold) with the savings on insurance then it may be worth it. 

Since this is my first one I don't want to over analyse...

Here's the kicker: If you plan to pull permits for the windows (which you're supposed to), or have them professionally installed (which means they will pull permits), you either have to use impact-rated windows, or also install impact-rated window coverings (i.e. storm shutters) in order to meet the current Florida Building Code. 

Thus you may find that the cost of impact windows, compared to the cost of non-impact windows + storm shutters, is roughly the same. 

(Admittedly, many people just buy the non-impact windows from a big box store and install them themselves, or have a handyman do it. They are arguably better than the old windows that were there before, and doing it this way can be a big cost savings. But you run the risk of running afoul of your local building department if you get caught doing work without a permit, and replacing windows is pretty obvious and hard to hide)

From a convenience standpoint, impact windows are awesome, especially on rental properties. 

I have about 17 windows on my own home, and it used to be an extremely difficult all-day affair to install storm shutters on all of my windows if a hurricane was approaching (meaning it had to be done 1-2 days before being really sure it was even necessary). 

Since upgrading to impact windows, I don't really have to do anything, as far as my windows are concerned. 

When you multiply that convenience times several rental properties, the time savings alone can be worth it, in my opinion. Not to mention the potential insurance discounts. 

The insurance discounts can be significant, but keep in mind that every opening in the house has to be covered (including garage doors, patio doors, entry doors, windows, etc). 

As an example, I have a rental that happened to have professionally installed Roll-A-Way shutters on every opening. When I bought it initially, I didn't really shop for insurance, just slapped a policy on it for a few months, which was $1741/yr. 

When I refinanced it recently, I took the time to shop around for insurance. With a wind mitigation inspection showing the shutters (and a new insurance carrier) that premium dropped to $674/yr!

hey @Jeff Copeland , thanks for the thorough response. what you are saying about permits and code is exactly what the window contractor told me. (which makes me more comfortable, as I was researching code to make sure he wasn't just trying to up sell me).

I agree that I like the idea of the convenience since I would have a hard time getting someone over there to install the storm shutters since I live out of state.

I'll have to contact my insurance company and see what the difference in cost will be.

Thanks again!!

These are just a few points to address:

  • Impact windows aren't hurricane proof so when they break the replacement cost and availability of a matching replacement will be a consideration. A broken window that was purchased as "clearance model" or is more than 10 years old may no longer be available so a mismatched replacement window is what you will be stuck with. This also holds true for replacement of broken or worn out parts-the older the window the less chance that replacement parts will be available.
  • Windows constructed of PVC only have a life expectancy in Florida of about 25-30 years even less in areas where UV exposure is multiplied by proximity to water. Quality constructed aluminum models last twice as long.
  • Resistance to water penetration can be just as important as hurricane compliance. If your expensive impact windows don't break but still leak during a tropical event you can still incur significant damage. Check this performance aspect of your window consideration. Many hurricane rated windows are not leakage rated in wind driven rain above 75mph.

Of course all of this is dependent upon whether you're flipping, renting or building your dream home that will be passed down in the family.

Good luck on your project(s).