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Wind & Impact Testing for Hurricane Windows

Posted by Jimmy Hawley on Aug 18, 2016 11:36:08 AM


In 1992, Hurricane Andrew swept a path of devastation across south Florida. The loss of life and millions in property damage were widely attributed to inadequate safety and construction measures. In hopes of preventing future damages, the government stepped in to create new regulations to minimize the damages caused by another major natural disaster.

How do Hurricane Windows actually protect your home?

Hurricane windows are an essential part of any safe home. Many people think hurricane windows just provide protection from windborne debris. As a matter of fact, keeping the glass from breaking is vital to maintaining the structural integrity of your home. If a window is breached during a major storm, the sudden increase in pressure puts tremendous force on the walls and ceiling - it can literally blow the roof off! With the structure breached, contents can also be damaged by heavy rains.

Who Tests Hurricane Windows?

The toughest window testing standards are actually right here in florida. Since it bore the greatest damage from Hurricane Andrew, Miami-Dade County Hurricane Approval Certification sets the national standard for windows testing. Products that meet or exceed these standards are considered appropriate for any area impacted by hurricanes, tornadoes, or high winds.

How do the Hurricane Window tests work?

You can go the Miami-Dade County Hurricane Approval Certification web page with your dictionary and read through the testing process, but we already did that for you:

The Test: what you need to know

Of the six different tests under the Miami-Dade County Hurricane Certification, the tests measuring Impact and Pressure are most important:

  • Impact Requirements: The Missile Test
      1. Large Missile: 2’ by 4’ missile weighing 9 pounds is fired from a canon to strike the window at 50 feet per second. This test is repeated one time. This test is required for windows placed in buildings less than 30 feet in height.
      2. Small Missile: Ten small steel balls are fired from a canon to strike the window at 89 miles per hour. This test is required for windows placed in buildings over 30 feet in height.
  • Pressure Requirements: The Cyclical Test
    1. 4,500 positive cycles in a pressure chamber (calculated pounds per square foot)
    2. 4,500 negative cycles in a pressure chamber (calculated pounds per square foot)

When you install Hurricane Windows, you can rest assured knowing someone in a laboratory in Miami fired a cannon at your window to verify its performance. Despite this assurance, many people living in hurricane prone areas, like here in Florida, still invest in hurricane shutters to provide extra protection for their family and possessions. After all, what’s the harm in just another level of perfection?

Impact Window FAQs


Topics: Impact Windows