When you’re replacing your windows, we strongly recommend using impact-resistant windows. Current building codes in Florida require protection from wind-borne debris as part of the strengthening of the home. Although there is an option to put shutters over conventional windows, there are many reasons you should consider impact-resistant windows as the best solution.
Impact-resistant windows have a shatter-proof membrane laminated between two pieces of glass. If the glass breaks, the membrane holds the glass in place, preventing the window from giving way completely. The frames of impact-resistant glass are also sturdier and have a stronger grip on the glass than conventional windows.
To meet the relevant certification, these types of windows are tested by firing a variety of objects at them from a cannon. For large impacts, they use a piece of 2×4 six feet long, traveling at 50 feet per second. For smaller impacts, they fire 30 steel ball bearings at 50 mph at the window. The glass has to remain intact – the glass may crack, but it will remain in the window frame, protecting what is on the other side. It’s not quite bullet-proof, but it’s the next best thing.
1. Hurricanes & Tropical Storms
We’ve been fortunate for the last few years here in South Florida – we haven’t had a hurricane or major storm in a long while. But that streak won’t last. Sooner or later, we will get hit again. That’s when you’ll be grateful for impact-resistant windows that are designed to withstand damage from storms or wind. Conventional windows can be torn out by the sheer force of the wind, or shattered by flying debris.
The strongest building can be ruined just by having one weak point. If even a single window goes, the wind will tear into your house, increasing the likelihood that a wall or the roof will give way. Even if the house survives intact, your possessions are likely to be destroyed, and your house will be drenched with rain, rendering your home uninhabitable until you’ve completed extensive work.
It’s particularly useful for non-resident homeowners. It there is a hurricane while you’re away, you may not be able to get down to Florida to install hurricane protection. With impact-resistant windows, you can relax knowing that your home is already protected even if you’re not there.
Impact-resistant windows also give you added security by reducing the likelihood of a break-in. Intruders cannot easily smash the windows and obtain entry. Even a hammer won’t get through the actual glass, and it’s almost impossible to force the window out of its frame without heavy machinery.
Obviously, this doesn’t guarantee you complete protection, but anything you can do to keep unwanted people out of your home or business premise is a good thing.
There are other options for providing protection from wind-borne debris for your windows, but only impact-resistant windows are permanent. No putting up and taking down as storms approach, hoping you have not lost any of the fasteners you need; no hand cranking because the power went off or a motor stopped working; no being inside in complete darkness during the day because the power went off. Impact-resistant windows provide the convenience and beauty of normal windows while offering enhanced protection, 24/7 from the day your have them installed in your home until… well, always!
Clearly, there is an added cost to using impact-resistant windows, but the benefits, you’ll agree, are well worth it.