What makes windows impact resistant? That is a question that is relevant for anyone who lives in an area that is susceptible to a hurricane or tropical weather. Protecting your home and family is of the utmost importance. For fellow Miami residents, we understand the importance of hurricane proof windows all too well and are here to help you protect your most valuable assets. Part of being a homeowner is making improvements not just for aesthetic appeal but for safety and security as well.

Hurricanes and even tornados are known to hit Southwest Florida particularly hard. That’s why the experts here at Impact Windows & Doors want to make sure that you are fully informed and prepared for if and when that happens. Impact resistant windows are one of the best ways to prepare your home and it’s occupants for this possibility.

So how do they work?

In a nutshell, tough glass placed into a heavy duty frame is what makes windows impact resistant. The materials and structure used for hurricane resistant windows guarantees that severe winds and the debris they carry will not breach your home.

There are two types of impact-resistant windows and both are laminated glass:

Polyvinyl Butyral

This material, also labeled PVB, is a resin that is used for toughness and flexibility. The glass is constructed with two panes with the shatterproof membrane PVB, set between them. The bonding process takes place under heat and pressure. When the glass is impacted by debris, the outer pane may shatter but the membrane acts as a buffer ensuring that the barrier is not penetrated. Brittle cracks will not pass through. It is typically used for architectural and automotive purposes.

Sentra Glass Plus

This material, also known as SGP, is constructed in a similar fashion as PVG with outer panes that are 5 times stronger and sturdier than the laminate material used in the PVB glass. This glass protects against extreme wind and volatile elements, including a blast.

Thickness and type of the interlayer used in impact glass depend on panel size, location, and design pressure. These levels are determined by ASTM Large Missile Impact tests. For a typical PVB interlayer at .6, a Level C glazed area is utilized. For a stiffer and thicker interlayer of .9 providing better resistance, Level D glazed area is needed. It all depends on the geographic location of your home. For those of us in Florida, these levels are typical.  

The strength of the windows can be tailored to meet the specific needs of the customer. However, certain requirements must be met for all impact windows. The Energy Conservation Code requires impact resistant windows to comply with a maximum U – factor of .75 or less and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) between .3 or less. Impact resistant windows have been tested to withstand Category 5 winds using the guidelines from American Society for Testing & Materials. Florida has been the main driving force behind these regulations because of the state’s susceptibility to volatile and inclement weather. Also, Florida has adopted Building Codes that have been revised and renewed since 2001. Many states have followed suit, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

The benefits of installing high-quality impact-resistant windows far outweigh the cost. Impact resistant windows decrease homeowner insurance up to 45% in premium discounts. Additionally, they provide increased sound insulation while blocking 99% of UV light.

Laminated glass is constructed with a heavy duty aluminum frame and can be produced in a wide variety of colors. Impact windows greatly increase safety, reduce noise, intrusion resistance, and home value. Severe storms can arrive at any time and it is best to be prepared.

If you are a new resident of Florida or purchasing a new home, we invite you to give us a call with any questions or concerns you may have about making your windows impact resistant.

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