Here in Florida, our windows serve many duties. Not only do they allow sunlight and air into our homes and keep heat and humidity outside, but they must also sustain the storm systems that we see on an ongoing basis. Consequently, come hurricane season, most Florida residents are well-versed in the protection of their windows and doors and often scurry to make hurricane protection accommodations as a storm system barrels in.
Our Preparations Weren’t Enough in 1992
Our biggest turning point came with Hurricane Andrew in 1992 which left us with an unfortunate example of the huge holes in our preparedness against large storms. Since then, the Florida Building Code has made many changes, one of which is the requirement of impact-resistant windows and doors for structures located within one mile of the coastline. But even for structures that are located more inland, many owners are now opting for the strength and ease of Florida hurricane resistant doors and windows.
Strict Criteria Has Been Enacted
Due to what we learned during Hurricane Andrew, Miami-Dade County now has the strictest criteria in the country for impact-resistant products. For any hurricane windows to be approved under these guidelines, their glass is rigorously tested in two different types of tests: a Missile Test and a Cyclical Test.
- The Missile Test — hurricane windows and doors must resist impact from a 9 pound, 2X4 wood plank at 50 mph
- A small missile test is also conducted to ensure resistance from 10 steel balls simultaneously, 3 separate times at speeds of 50 mph
- Cyclical Test — hurricane windows and doors in Florida must resist wind pressure of up to 200 miles per hour in a pressure simulator that flexes the glass pane for over 4,500 cycles.
When these windows and doors are installed, property owners can have peace of mind knowing that they will provide exceptional safety from most hurricane conditions. Although not all areas of Florida require impact-resistant windows, more homeowners are coming to rely on them as a stress-free way to navigate hurricane season knowing that their home is protected.
Standard Windows Vs. Hurricane Windows in Florida
The key difference between the standard windows and impact-resistant windows are the glass they use. Standard windows are made of float glass which provides a smooth and distortion-free clear view. Unfortunately, float glass is highly breakable.
Impact glass is a laminate glass made of two or more panes of glass bonded together by a plastic membrane that is sandwiched between them. If the glass becomes broken, this membrane keeps the pieces adhered together and intact. Consequently, a break to impact glass will not expose the structure to the water and debris that come with a hurricane occurrence. This laminated glass is further reinforced with heavy frames to hold it all securely in place.
Florida hurricane doors and windows lend strength and security to your home against our tropical weather systems without losing the clarity and beauty of the window itself. For more information on how impact windows and doors can protect you and your family this hurricane season, contact us at R&B Remodeling to speak with one of our window professionals.