If you’re thinking about making the switch from storm shutters to impact-resistant glass windows or hurricane-safe doors, it’s important to do your research.
While it’s smart to read comparison posts, there are other fun facts about these storm-ready additions that you might not learn while analyzing their product features.
Here are five things you might not know about hurricane windows and doors to start educating yourself on these popular storm solutions:
1. Hurricane windows and doors often don’t need to be activated pre-storm.
When a hurricane warning is announced, many Floridians start scrambling to prepare for the upcoming storm. From stocking up on milk and bread to packing an emergency kit, your plate is full. The fewer things you have to worry about, the better!
A key advantage of impact-rated windows is that they are passive protection systems— permanently in place and ready to protect you 24/7. Unlike shutters, storm panels or other window treatments, impact glass does not need to be put up or engaged while you are busy with other storm preparations. They also provide protection against unexpected weather events, such as when you are out of town and can’t come home to buckle up the house.
2. All impact-resistant windows are laminated glass systems, but not all laminated glass systems are impact rated.
Simply because a storm window is labeled “laminated,” it does NOT mean it has passed the large and/or small missile impact tests necessary for a true impact rating. Laminated glass is created by bonding together two or more panes of glass with a thin layer of film or vinyl in between, called Polyvinyl Butyral (PVB). This shatter-proof membrane is designed to catch broken glass, allowing it to stick like a fly on sticky paper— a feature not seen in traditional windows. Additionally, impact-rated window systems are a combination of laminated glass and reinforced window frames.
For a window protective system to be certified as impact-resistant, it must meet testing standards established by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Although a window’s impact rating is not always etched on the glass, reputable window manufacturers and dealers are able to provide appropriate documentation that the window is consistent with one of the following standards:
- ASTM E 1886, E 1996 • AAMA 506
- Florida Building Code TAS 201, 202, 203
- Miami-Dade Protocols PA 201, 202, 203
Learn more about laminated PVB glass specifically, or The Differences Between Tempered, Laminated & Hurricane Impact Glass for further clarification.
3. Pressure rating matters.
A hurricane window is just a hurricane window, right? Wrong. While impact-rated windows are designed and certified to protect your building from both wind pressure and windborne debris without any additional exterior protection system (such as shutters), storm-safe glass and doors have unique pressure and impact ratings that are indicative of their strength and durability.
All hurricane windows and doors will come with a marking, detailing their:
- Supplier's name
- Place of fabrication
- The date it was manufactured
- Certifications or safety standards that the glass meets
For more information on determining a window or door’s storm ratings, read our blog, 5 Ways to Tell if Your Windows Are Impact-Resistant.
4. If your windows and doors are more than 15 years old, chances are that they don’t offer sufficient hurricane protection.
Like anything in life, windows and doors don’t hold up forever. Depending on the brand and materials, impact windows are only rated to function properly from 10 to 25 years. We chose the 15-year mark as a general rule, but after they hit 10-years-old, it starts to become more important to evaluate your windows— knowing they are reaching an age where they may soon need to be replaced. That’s because their seals start to wear and the glass can lose its strength, reducing your overall protection.
If your hurricane products are getting up there in age, consider exploring your options for replacement. Here are some of the best-rated brands out there for impact windows to start your search.
5. There are a number of myths about hurricane preparation.
Even impact-rated windows will not protect your property if they are left open during a storm. It is a myth that windows should be cracked a smidge during a storm so that air pressure doesn’t build up in the building. In fact, open windows allow wind and water to enter the building!
And that’s just one misunderstanding about impact windows, there are more related to hurricane preparedness circulating around Florida. For instance, some folks think putting force up against your door can stop it from blowing in, but if the wind is strong enough, the wind could rip off the door with or without something in front of it!
More Must-Knows About Impact Windows
If you are thinking of investing in storm windows, we have the perfect resource for you.
In our short, to-the-point 12 Things You Need to Know About Impact Windows ebook, we detail specific facts about ENERGY STAR-qualified impact glass, low-emissivity information, and more to learn all about impact windows! Download the free offer, today.