Hurricane #Irene: Taping Windows is Total Bull

BHB regular commenter/voice of reason “Hoppy” notes in our Hurricane Irene Open Thread that taping your windows to prevent breakage seems silly. Well according to the premiere urban fable busting site, he’s right. It’s total bull.

Snopes writes:

Contrary to popular belief (and a frantic rise in the sales of these items before a hurricane hits), taping a home’s windows with masking or duct tape does nothing to protect them. The windows will still break, with the tape doing nothing to impede the process. It’s questionable that either sealant will even keep broken glass from dispersing, says the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH).

They add that plywood is pretty useless too.

And as far as lighting candles instead of cursing the darkness:

One last caution: If you stay in your home during a hurricane and the power goes out, do not light candles or gas or oil lanterns because of the potential for gas leaks from storm-damaged lines. Instead, use only flashlights or battery-powered lanterns during and after a storm until power is safely restored and all gas lines are checked.

NOAA’s Hurricane preparedness site agrees. Check it out here.

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  • Mickey

    It doesn’t stop the window from breaking but it DOES minimize the shattering. And if done correctly it will prevent many pieces of glass from breaking away and becoming airborne.

  • stuart

    according to the NY Times, taping windows does more harm than good, probably because there are always those who fall and hurt themselves while taping or removing tape. Don’t waste your time, it does nothing for residential windows and the sticky residue is hard to remove the day after.

  • AnnOfOrange

    I think that applying blue painter tape around the edges of the frames of older windows, especially across the bottom of windows that are near sidewalk level of basement apartments, must be helpful in reducing minor flooding. At least doing that made me feel better!

  • Arch Stanton

    @ Mickey your an idiot. what the hell are a few strips tape going to do to “prevent many pieces of glass from breaking away and becoming airborne” if even plywood is “pretty useless”.

  • Zorg
    “Unlike older windows made of plate glass, modern day windows (or at least as of the last 20 years) are much safer with respect to shattering. Windows today are made with safety glass. The most common type of safety glass is where the glass is coated in clear acrylic or plastic that will hold the pieces together should the window get struck with an object. The glass in effect shatters and remains trapped between the plastic coatings. In addition, the glass breaks into small round pieces that do no have any sharp edges. So applying tape to this type of window does not decrease the chance of sharp fragments being produced nor will increase the strength of the window.

    “Older homes that still have some of their original windows could be made of plate-glass. These types of windows have no plastic coating and when they break they do create large and very sharp fragments. However, applying tape to these windows will still not increase their strength nor will it reduce the number of fragments produced should the window break. The glass is simply too heavy and will easily break away from the tape.”