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Impact windows are very are commonly used within the buildings in the coastal areas that are prone to frequent severe storms. Moreover, these impact windows also have high energy efficiency and are very popular in non-coastal areas of Florida and Georgia too. These are the ideal replacement windows for use in residential and commercial buildings.
Building Code Requirements
Homes and buildings in Florida coastal areas, as well as high-wind zones extending inland, should have impact windows according to the recent building codes in the state. The impact windows will benefit the home and business owners by keeping their properties safe from natural disasters like hurricane. If you want to renovate your home windows and are looking for some reliable windows, you should go for impact windows with for several reasons, one important reason being energy efficiency. Even if these are not mandatory for you by building code, the energy savings make them attractive as an investment, and the peace of mind in the event your area experiences high-winds is something you will never regret.
If you are living in a hurricane prone area, the impact windows are the best option for you. When there is a storm, the debris will fly at a high velocity and may hit your house. The impact windows will not shatter from these objects and make your home safe from the damage cause by driven rain and other perils when windows are broken. You need not worry about things like flying debris, broken glass pieces, branches of trees or small stones during a storm.
The impact windows also provide protection to your home in several other ways. These windows are very strong and they secure your home from storms and burglars. A top-of-the-line impact window will not break even with a sledgehammer (see the video below demonstrating the impressive strength of impact windows.)
Impact windows also help saving energy. They provide effective insulation and protect your house from the harmful Ultraviolet rays found in natural sunlight. These windows are highly rated for energy efficiency and can save about 25% on your energy bills for heating and cooling.
For the Southern Zone region, the windows are recommended to have a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient 0.40 or less. This factor is most important for window energy efficiency in warm weather. In addition, a low U-factor is useful for windows during cold weather when heating is needed. A U-factor below 0.65 is suitable for warm regions. Hurricane windows and doors are constructed to have high energy efficiency.
Impact windows are also extremely effective in decreasing noise pollution and provide a barrier from the noise. These are most useful for those living near busy streets, schools, parks, railways, or any public places or airports. They significantly reduce the noise levels by stopping the noise from entering your home. At the same time, as funny as this may sound, if you like to have parties, or you have young children or noisy teenagers, the noise in the house will not disturb your neighbors. This is also another benefit of selecting impact resistant windows for remodeling your house.
The impact windows undergo impact tests to confirm that they can withstand the impact of debris and hurricane force winds. In one test a large object is shot out of a special cannon at the window with a very high speed. The second test involves hitting the windows with several smaller objects. It should not fail any of the tests. There are additional air and water infiltration tests as well. Some tests include testing with structural load, etc.
The quality of installation is also very critical. In case you fail to install the window properly, it may be ineffective in protecting you from storms. There are building codes and specific methods for installing the windows, and it should be done by experts. It is essential to use the right type of fasteners, caulk, and other requirements, and only a licensed contractor should do the installation.
Construction of Impact Windows
Initially, the glass used in impact windows was designed and used for automobiles. However, due to their many advantages, they have become very popular for use in homes and commercial buildings. Impact-resistant windows and doors are available with smooth operation and very strong and durable materials. They are innovatively designed in beautiful styles for various applications in residential and commercial buildings. These storm proof impact windows are made in metal, aluminum or vinyl in different styles such as security impact windows, single hung windows, casement windows, horizontal roller windows and so on.
The quality of glass used in these energy efficient impact windows is crucial. The approved glass for these windows stops flying debris from a hurricane. The laminated impact-resistant glass consists of two glass panes laminated together with an intermediate polymer layer. This is the only type of real hurricane-resistant glass which passes the laboratory tests and meets all building codes. The impact windows are available in various styles and finish that will match your home decor and these will completely secure your home and add to its value.
Important Considerations When Selecting the Windows
The windows should be quality products that conform to the building codes of that specific state for different requirements. These laws regulate both the manufacturing as well as installation of impact windows. The windows that you are buying should be tested to the applicable Building Code standards and should have a high energy efficiency rating. In Florida, you should only trust windows recommended by the contractors that install them since they know every detail about the building code and how good the window manufacturer is at meeting the code and providing a high-quality product with a warranty. The contractor selected should be licensed to install these windows and should have a valid operating licence and get a permit to do your work. Also the contractor can ensure that your insurance company accepts the product you want to use for hurricane protection.
PGT Impact Test #1 on YouTube