Hurricane Shutters vs. Impact Glass

As we enter into the more active months of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, now is a good time to talk about hurricane protection for your home.

A common question we get from customers looking to buy on Sanibel, and even those who already own a home on island, is whether they should invest in hurricane shutters or impact glass for their windows and doors. Honestly, the answer depends on your unique needs and of course, your budget.

To help in your decision process, let’s first discuss the pros and cons of each…

Hurricane Shutters vs Impact Glass?

Impact Glass


  • Provides 24/7 protection that doesn’t require your presence to secure
  • Saves you money on insurance premiums
  • Provides UV protection for 99% of the sun’s harmful rays
  • Provides burglary protection from broken windows/doors
  • Improves energy efficiency and lowers energy bills
  • Provides natural light during storm power outage
  • Serves as a point of noise reduction inside your home
  • Updates the look of your home


  • Can be expensive!
  • Must remove window/door frame to install
  • (Contrary to popular belief) The glass can break – which would call for replacing the entire window/door


As Sanibel Glass & Mirror Inc. explains – Hurricane glass is similar to the make up of your car windshield. It is a heat-strengthened piece of glass on the exterior, .090 plastic layer in the middle, and another heat strengthened piece of glass on the interior. So, even though one layer of the glass may crack, it’s tested to not allow any penetration into the home!

Moving on to…



  • Typically cheaper than replacing windows/doors with impact glass
  • Can be manual or electric – both fairly easy to operate
  • Saves you money on insurance premiums
  • Come in a variety of shapes and sizes (see list of shutter types below)


  • Must be present to secure shutters over windows/doors before a storm
  • Require you to go outside to fasten and secure the shutter
  • Not safe for use over any type of hand-crank windows
  • Can come unlatched if not properly secured
  • Can become sources of debris if unlatched and blown through the window/door

Types of Hurricane Shutters:

There are a number of options out there, here are a few common types of hurricane shutters.

Accordion Shutters – Some of the most common types, accordion shutters move horizontally between an upper and lower track system. They can be controlled from inside or out, and can open from the right, left, or center. 

Roll-up Shutters – Another common shutter type, these are mounted above your windows/doors, and can be rolled up and down using a hand crank, electric switch or remote control device. There are even shutters that roll from the bottom, up, with the shutter housing placed beneath the window as opposed to above the window.


Colonial Shutters – Similar to the original decorative window shutter mounted on the exterior of your home, these shutters are hinged and can be folded over the window for protection.

Bahama Shutters – These shutters have telescoping side arms to prop open the shutters such as a louvered awning, and can be operated from inside or out.

Outside Blinds – These are similar to indoor blinds, except they are mounted outside your windows and provide storm protection for the glass window/door. 

Decision Time

Hopefully this gives you a better understanding of both products, but you still might be wondering how to decide.

I would suggest that if you have the money set aside, go ahead and install impact glass throughout your home, especially if your windows need updating anyway. If your windows and doors are fairly new, but not impact glass, I would ask for a professional opinion on the best option for your home.

Again, each home offers a unique situation. Seeking a professional opinion of both a shutter company and glass company can pose new pros and cons that I might not have mentioned above.

TIP: Another area of your home that is often overlooked is your garage door! During a storm, these too can be sucked in or blown out. Ask a shutter professional if he/she installs retractable garage door braces that can fit your current door. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Where should you start? We have a list of shutter and glass companies that we’ve worked with in the past that we’d be happy to recommend. Feel free to call or email us at 239-472-1950 or

Jim McCallion About Jim McCallion

Meet the "Marketing Megaphone" and Webmaster behind McCallion & McCallion. After selling his software company, Jim, Susan and kids moved to Sanibel in 2008. With his tech experience, he and Susan bring a fresh approach to island real estate.