One window that winds up breached during a hurricane, can potentially cost you your home! The following article is a culmination of information provided by post-disaster investigations, about what hurricane-force winds can do to your home after a breach has been made through a window.
Strong Winds and Debris
Studies have shown that pressure from bursts of high winds can cause a window to break and fail. However, the bigger (and more common) problem that homeowners face, is the debris that is carried by the wind. It’s more likely that debris comes shooting through a window before wind pressure will be able to do anything to it.
Your Building Envelope
A building envelope is a dividing barrier between the conditioned and unconditioned environment of a building. Your windows, doors, and walls would be considered the envelope of the structure. When a building’s envelope is breached, the wind-driven air pressure increases suddenly- and at times in a dramatic fashion.
A Flood of Pressure
Quite often after there is a breach through a window, structural as well as nonstructural parts of the building become compromised, resulting in extensive damage. This is caused by the sudden pressurization inside the home. The pressure often wants to leave the home just as suddenly.
Pressure Wants to Escape
Under some conditions, this may result in an immediate problem, say, within the same room as the broken window. But in more severe winds and under other circumstances, this can cause a complete failure in the entire structure. Meaning, the sudden change, and the increase in pressure were great enough to blow the roof off the building. Pressure coming into the home wants to compress the existing air in the home and push it out through the easiest route possible. The greater and more sudden the change, the less of an obstacle things such as a door, roof, or wall becomes. This phenomenon is often called internal pressurization.
Here is an article about this subject from FEMA.
Protect Your Windows!
Storm shutters are designed to stop debris before any of the above can happen. They can take a beating compared to windows, even storm rated windows. Protect your family and protect your home, by getting the ball rolling to have storm shutters installed to keep your windows safe.