Homes, buildings, and businesses in some counties in Florida, in the United States, have windows and metal shutters specially designed to withstand the passage of hurricanes and their fast winds. For a window to be considered “hurricane-proof” it has to pass severe tests.
In order to determine if a glass or metal shutter can withstand the winds and deluges of hurricanes, its manufacturers must subject them to extreme tests such as firing wooden boards under certain conditions, thus simulating the impact of debris.
In addition, the crystals are subjected to gusts of wind at hundreds of miles per hour.
The glass must resist and not break completely in order to be approved for use in infrastructure in the state. The tests are quite a visual spectacle of destruction.
Why is Impact Glass such a Great Material?
Impact glass is used to defend a home from damage caused by severe weather, such as a hurricane. When something impacts a standard glass window, it breaks into huge shards because it is comprised of a single layer of glass called float glass. Not only are these shards incredibly sharp and hazardous, but the open window also exposes the interior of the home to the roaring storm’s wind, rain, and debris, which is the last thing anyone wants or needs during a hurricane.
Door glass, on the other hand, is not the same as window glass. Tempered glass is used indoors because it is engineered to shatter into little, comparatively harmless pieces. Tempered glass is heated and immediately cooled to create tension and strength in the glass, forcing it to shatter into minute fragments when struck.
What to Take into Consideration
If you are ready to improve the security of your property by installing impact windows, you should ask yourself two questions at the beginning of your journey:
- How do I choose the right brand of windows?
- How do I choose the correct installer?
Let’s take a look at how you can make the right decisions by exploring both questions. There are multiple factors to consider when choosing the right windows for your home, as not all windows are created equal.
In addition to impact-resistant films, some hurricane impact windows feature internal membrane technology that fills the space between window panes. This membrane consists of a layer of PVB that holds the glass together, preventing it from being thrown out.
By combining such technology with window film, the window becomes virtually immune to any type of cracking or penetration, even in wind speeds of up to 200 mph, or a Category 5 hurricane.
The frame construction of impact windows also makes them much stronger. Most impact-resistant windows are built- using aluminum, vinyl, or steel frames. These types of frames resist warping, weakening over time, or rust buildup. Steel and aluminum frames are obviously extremely strong but can be more expensive than vinyl.
Impact windows are not only convenient and meticulously crafted, but they also have the necessary testing to back up their durability. A design pressure rating, or DP rating, is used to identify how much wind impact windows can withstand before bending or breaking.
What makes the DP rating unique is that it’s not just based on metrics like glass thickness or window size, but is only awarded after a specific model has passed a number of lab tests.
How to Choose the Right Windows Installer?
Choosing the right installer is vital to not only getting the best price on impact windows, but also the best service! It can be tempting to just go to one of the big chain stores and do the work yourself, and that can be a viable option.
If you prefer to have someone else install your impact windows, you need to make sure the contractor has experience installing these products. You will not enjoy the full benefits of your windows if they are not installed properly.
But most of all, your manufacturer’s warranty could be voided if the windows are installed incorrectly or if you don’t use a professional contractor.
When choosing a contractor, ask these five questions to make sure they’re a quality choice:
- Are they licensed and insured? (Make sure you get copies of both!)
- Can the contractor offer you client references?
- How many projects the contractor is working on at the same time?
- Have your technicians been certified by the window manufacturer?
- What guarantees do you offer for the windows and the service?
Finally, make sure to carry out a cost study of your future project to ensure that the installer is offering you the best price. Our impact window financing options can be a good starting point.