Impact windows or impact-resistant windows provide more protection against powerful winds than regular safety glass. They are designed to prevent the destruction of homes by high winds. In Florida, where hurricanes are a risk every single year, high impact windows can save lives and dollars.
What makes them impact-resistant?
Impact windows consist of two panes of heat-treated glass bonded to a layer typically made from polyvinyl butyral (PVB). PVB is a high-strength resin. Sitting between the glass panes, it keeps the window glazing intact. The strength and durability of high impact windows depend on the thickness of the PVB interlayer. Sentry Glass Plus (SGP) is another interlayer that is becoming increasingly popular for its structural durability and performance ratings.
The frames of impact windows are made of steel, aluminum, vinyl, or wood. Metal frames are the strongest you can buy. Vinyl is less durable but budget-friendly. Impact windows with wooden frames have more curb appeal, although their price also runs higher than those made of other materials.
High impact windows can withstand up to a Category 5 hurricane, the strongest of all tropical cyclones, characterized by wind speeds of 157 mph or higher. It poses the highest danger to people and pets from flying debris, even indoors. Fortunately, Category 5 hurricanes are rare.
Hurricane windows are subjected to pressure tests and then rated based on their ability to withstand different categories of hurricanes. This is their Design Pressure (DP) rating. Generally, every 10 points on the rating equals one hurricane level. So, a DP rating of 30 should be able to stand up to a Category 3 hurricane and a DP rating of 40 should be able to withstand a Category 4 hurricane.
The impact and wind resistance will be specified on the product labeling or installation manual. Your window installation company is the best source to understand DP ratings and what they mean for your home’s protection.
Why install impact windows?
Impact windows offer a number of advantages that make them a worthwhile investment. The good news is that they’re a one-time installation and come with a limited lifetime warranty. The best impact windows are built to last and hold up to severe pressure without shattering. These are the five main reasons to consider impact windows.
1. Protect against flying debris from storms
If you live in a hurricane-prone area, installing impact windows can contain Mother Nature’s wrath to your doorstep. But protection against flying debris isn’t the only reason to invest in high impact windows. They can improve and protect your abode in other ways.
2. Keep the noise out
Your windows let in noise from the outside. Depending on where you live, you may be dealing with quite a bit of noise pollution and wish you had more peace. High impact windows do double duty as a sound-proofing agent. The PVB interlayer absorbs sound energy and sends it back to the source it came from.
DIY methods like placing a heavy rug next to your window or moving your couch near it so that it absorbs sound waves can only do much. Impact doors are a vastly better solution for a quieter home.
3. Keep UV rays out
While a well-lit home is desirable, constant exposure to UV rays inside your home can pose issues that may be unacceptable for many homeowners. This is better understood with a quick look at UV rays. UV light is of three forms – UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C.
Standard windows block 100% of UV-B and UV-C rays but allow UV-A rays to pass through. UV-A rays can penetrate the skin and cause premature skin aging changes like wrinkles and fine lines. Overexposure to UVA-rays has also been found to suppress the immune system. Effects are minimal when you’re cocooned indoors and not receiving the direct rays of the sun for extended periods of time.
There’s also the fact that wooden furniture, photographs, and carpets exposed to direct sunlight can fade while plastic chairs and decor can wear out and crack over time. If you wish to keep out UV rays entirely, installing impact windows – which block all types of UV rays – can do the trick.
4. Prevent break-ins
The inner PVB membrane once again proves heroic against attempts by robbers to break your window glass in order to gain entry into your home. Even though impact glass isn’t infallible, it would take the ordinary burglar a lot of effort and creativity to shatter it, if at all. This would deter break-ins and keep you safe. At the very least, it would increase the amount of time taken to shatter the glass, giving you the advantage to respond to the threat effectively.
5. Decrease energy bill
Impact-resistant windows help keep heat loss and air leaks to a minimum, preventing temperature shifts during a change of season. This means your heating and cooling units have to do less work to keep you comfortable, translating to lower energy bills.
Bonus tip – Lower your home insurance premium
If you’re based in Florida, home strengthening improvements can reduce your home insurance premium under the My Safe Florida Home Program. The improvements relate to your home’s roof, structure, and openings, and cover window upgrades.
The purpose of the program is to encourage Florida homeowners to build hurricane-proof homes and save money. For every $1 spent on eligible home strengthening improvements, you can apply for $2 in grant money, up to $10,000. You’re also spared sales tax (6%) on retail purchases of impact-resistant windows until June 30, 2024. Improving your home’s safety can potentially lower your homeowner’s insurance premium.
An intense hurricane can rip apart a home. Windows are nothing in the face of, say, a Hurricane Ian. Danger presents itself when windows break down from the force of powerful winds, letting airborne debris and rain into your home. Impact windows withstand severe weather conditions. Their job is to keep the storm out. They can shatter but not dangerously, which means your home’s interiors and its occupants remain safe.
Installing impact windows can provide an additional layer of defense against burglars and vandals. If your home is oriented such that it receives most of the direct sunlight in spaces containing expensive furniture or paintings, high impact windows can do their bit to preserve their look. By blocking outside noise, they can create a calmer environment, just how you prefer.
A window installation company near you can provide technical and other details that help you make an informed decision on the best impact windows for your home. As impact windows add value to your home over time by saving you thousands in energy costs and storm damage, you may want to consider getting them sooner rather than later.Get in touch with A2Z Impact Windows & Doors to avail of great deals on premium-quality impact windows.