In the United States, there is an average of 17 hurricanes per decade. Most of which are classified as major (category 3, 4 or 5). After hurricane Andrew killed 65 people in 1992 and caused major damage in the city, new hurricane-resistant building codes were instituted. Hurricane or impact windows or doors are made with laminated glass.
Laminated glass is a type of safety glass that holds together when impacted with an object. It has been used in the automotive industry, used in vehicles’ windows. The interglass is typically made of polyvinyl butyral or ethylene-vinyl acetate. This keeps the layers of glass bonded, and its high strength prevents the glass from breaking into large sharp pieces.
How can a Hurricane or Impact Resistant Windows And Doors protect you in storms?
Hurricane windows and doors have a real structural advantage. It’s been shown by studies that total home destruction is mostly caused by sudden pressure changes. They often occur when windows and doors blow out entirely when strong winds hit. The increased air pressure entering the home can blow off roofs and cause walls to collapse. Having hurricane windows can save a home from suffering a devastating collapse.
Impact Resistant Windows And Doors help reduce damage from severe thunderstorms that can have damaging wind. Storms can hit anywhere at any time. Being prepared and safe is fundamental when these storms hit. Having windows and doors installed that can withstand these storms, ensures the safety of your home.
Benefits of choosing hurricane or Impact Resistant Windows And Doors.
In addition to preventing the glass from breaking, laminated glass also has other benefits. It acts as a barrier, protecting the interior from the exterior’s sounds. As well as protecting from burglary and from UV fading. While the construction cost may increase thanks to their installment, insurance rates can be reduced by as much as 45 percent. There are three options when it comes to the framing of the windows; aluminum, vinyl, and wood.
Among the pros and cons of each material, we can find that aluminum is stronger and lightweight. Aluminum is also aesthetically pleasing, low maintenance and recyclable, but on the downside, it needs to be painted. Vinyl is an excellent insulator, with low maintenance, cost, and high energy performance, however, its recyclability is still being researched. Lastly, wood is recyclable with high energy performance, but it rots and warps.
Read More About Benefits OF Install Hurricane Or Impact Resistant Windows And Doors.
Commonly used materials for hurricane windows and doors.
When it comes to the glass itself, there are several options. Laminated, which consists of two sheets of glass bonded together with a plastic film. Insulated laminated, an additional pane of glass is added to a laminated unit, with hermetically sealed air space in between. The former is used in colder climates, where temperatures can differ 50 degrees between the inside and outside on winter.
Another option is SentryGlas Plus, a technology created by DuPont. An interlayer of proprietary aminoplast material sits between panes of glass. It’s lighter in weight, stronger and less susceptible to yellowing over time than other storm-proof options. These windows are more common for commercial windows but they can be ordered for residential purposes.
Also, liquid glass resins can be permanently applied to glass. The UV light is used as a catalyst to cure and harden it. Sometimes a PET film is also added to make the glass even stronger. There are glass/plastic hybrid windows, between two panes of glass there is a thin sheet of polycarbonate Lexan. Thus, making the materials bond together. Making the glass stronger. However, in warm climates, polycarbonate tends to expand.
No glass is entirely break-proof, but hurricane impact windows and doors break in a manner that cracks. This is an advantage because it doesn’t send shards of glass flying. Some other benefits include surviving winds up to 200 mph without blowing out. They’re also available in different styles and sizes.
Hurricane resistant windows and doors maintenance.
Once windows and doors are installed, they must be taken care of to make sure they stay strong. The frames should be cleaned regularly with mild soap and water. First, it’s important to test a small area of the frame with the cleaning solution. The seals or weather stripping should be checked, as well as the locks and sills. The frames’ design should not be modified and nothing should be attached without consulting a window expert.
For single pane glass, condensation is very common, especially when temperature differences are extreme. To reduce condensation the air needs to circulate better, by opening the window a little or installing an exhaust fan. The screen should be cleaned separately from the glass, and nothing sharp should be used.
Difference between standard and hurricane windows.
In the Fort Lauderdale area in Florida, hurricanes are a common natural disaster. Extra precautions need to be made, and windows and doors need to meet modern building codes. However, not all homeowners know whether their windows meet the standards. There are many differences, like the glass itself, normal windows are made of float glass. When it is impacted it breaks into shards, which can be dangerous during hurricanes.
There are signs to look for to tell if the windows are hurricane resistant or not. Often times, tempered glass has a label in one of the corners. Laminated glass, which is often used in hurricane windows doesn’t always have this mark. However, many manufacturers place a temporary label on the glass to help identify it. This label will outline the thickness, date of manufacture, and place of fabrication.
Another way of checking whether or not your windows are hurricane resistant is to examine your reflection. Since laminated glass has two or more sheets of glass, there should be two or more reflections. If you can’t find any labels and aren’t sure about the reflection, asking a professional will clear any doubts.
These windows may have some disadvantages, like the increase in construction costs. Some typed of glass can yellow over time, and visibility can be reduced when the glass is too thick. Despite these disadvantages, hurricane windows have more pros than cons. Spending a little more is worth it when the safety of your family and home is guaranteed.