Are Container Home Windows Strong Enough?

As I’ve been doing research into container homes, I’ve come across quite a few homes that are in the tropics and hurricane zones, and started to wonder about the quality and durability of container home windows. 

So are container home windows strong enough?

Container home windows are generally the same as conventional home windows.  Options include double-pane, tempered glass, impact-resistant, and various frame types.  You can further increase their durability with add-ons like storm shutters.

What are Container Home Windows Made of?

Container home windows should be constructed from the same grade of material and durability as a traditional stick-built home.

A double pane window is much stronger and more durable than a single pane window and is much more energy efficient as well.

Hurricane, or Impact-resistant windows are perfect for areas in hurricane zones or with strong winds that may fling debris in the air.

As long as the windows are installed per the manufacturer's specifications, and it is the correct window installed for your region, they will be strong enough to endure the harshest weather.

Improper installation can result in damage to property and personal injury.

In addition to having the proper windows, there are some other things that you can do to ensure that your windows are ready for the worst storms and weather possible.

What is a Double Pane Window?

A double pane window, also known as a double glazed or insulated glass, is a window made up of two single panes of glass that are parallel to each other.  Triple-pane windows are also available.

Double pane windows, and even triple pane, are great for extreme climates.  Double pane windows are the standard now for both new construction and replacement windows.

They can be made so that there is just dead air space in the gap between the panes, but it is more common that the space is filled with an inert gas like argon or xenon, which helps with resistance to energy transfer through the glass. 

This helps with energy efficiency by reducing the amount of heat that is generated when the sun hits the glass.  Your central heating and cooling doesn’t have to work as hard.

Triple-glazing, which is made of three panes of glass, is often used in harsh climates to improve the insulating value of the window.  This gives an even better energy efficiency to your container home.

What is an Impact-Resistant Window Made of?

Impact-resistant windows, or hurricane windows, are made with impact-resistant glass that is treated with a layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA). 

This glass will still shatter when flying objects hit it, but in general will remain attached to the inner membrane and to the frame of the window.  When this glass breaks it cracks in a spider-web pattern, similar to the windshield of a car, instead of sending out shards of glass.

Is it Better to go With a Metal Frame, Vinyl Frame, or Wood Frame?

There are four types of window frames used today: aluminum, steel, vinyl, and wood.   Each have their pros and cons.

Aluminum and steel frames are going to be the strongest frames and the most expensive.  Because of the strength of aluminum and steel less material is needed in the frame to hold the glass.

Due to the strength of metal, it is possible to create larger windows which is great for increasing visibility.  This also helps to make your indoor and outdoors seem to come closer together.

If going with a metal frame,  aluminum is the better choice due to the fact that it doesn’t rust.  Steel on the other hand will rust.   Since we are discussing using windows in a container home, it is still a viable option since you should be inspecting your home regularly for rust.

Vinyl framed windows are a more cost-effective solution and provide great insulation from the elements. 

Vinyl frames are usually thicker than aluminum frames and come in options of smooth, textured, or faux wood finishes.  This is a great way to have the wood frame look without paying for the wood frames.

In general,  vinyl has better durability than metal frames regarding dents and chips.  Vinyl frames are constructed of the same material all the way through from front to back.  This means that they are less likely to show scratches and chips the way an aluminum frame would.

Wood framed windows offer a great insulating value, but because wood needs to be painted regularly the cost of maintenance is higher than the other three options.  Additionally, over time wood window are prone to warping.

What is a Tempered Window and is it the Same as an Impact-Resistant Window?

Tempered glass and impact-resistant glass are not the same.  Tempered glass is a heat-treated glass which is heated then rapidly cooled.  By doing this, the center of the glass remains relatively hot compared to the surface.  As the center cools it compresses the surfaces and the edges. 

When tempered glass breaks it fractures into small and relatively harmless fragments, reducing the likelihood of injury to yourself or others.

Are There Other Ways to Protect my Windows?

Storm shutters are a great way to protect your homes windows.  Roll-up or accordion-type storm shutters work best because they are permanent features. 

They are very easy to deploy when a storm comes through.  All you would have to do is pull the shutters into place before a hurricane or heavy storm. This will prevent damaged and broken windows.

If being in the dark is an uncomfortable feeling for you, look for shutters that have perforations or ones that are made from tough, translucent fiberglass that will let light in.

Hurricane film is another solution. It is a clear plastic film that is unobtrusive and can be left in place year-round.

It also blocks ultraviolet light from coming in so that your carpet and fabrics will last longer from fading. You can install peel-and-stick hurricane film for around $25 per linear foot.

The downside to film is that while it can keep glass shards from becoming dangerous projectiles, it doesn’t prevent wind from blowing in the entire window frame itself.  Due to this fact, most insurance companies don’t offer discounts for hurricane film.

Container home windows are just like windows found in conventional homes.  They are strong, durable, energy efficient and come assembled for your container home!