In Florida and other areas of the southeastern United States, hurricane season generally starts in early June and lasts until the end of November, with peaks in August and October.
It’s important to evaluate your property’s hurricane readiness each year to prepare for hurricane season and make any necessary security upgrades, such as installing hurricane impact windows.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at what hurricane windows are, why they’re so important, and what the best impact windows for hurricane glass protection are.
What Are Hurricane Impact Windows?
Hurricane impact windows can be made from a variety of different impact-resistant materials that make them strong enough to be used as hurricane damage mitigation barriers. The most common compositions are laminated security glass and polycarbonate glazing shields.
Other common names for hurricane impact windows:
- Hurricane windows
- Hurricane glass
- Impact glass
- Impact windows
- High/Hi impact windows
These types of high impact windows are most commonly used in Florida and other hurricane zones in the southeastern states as an alternative to hurricane shutters.
They are especially useful for large commercial facilities or high-end retail stores with large glass storefronts, where shutters aren’t always practical.
Florida Impact Windows Explained
In order for a high impact window to be truly considered strong enough for hurricane damage protection, it must pass hurricane glass testing to Miami-Dade standards.
These are a set of hurricane zone building code standards adopted by the county after Hurricane Andrew devastated Florida in 1992.
It’s important to note this because there are a lot of products out there being marketed as hurricane glass or hurricane windows that have not passed the proper tests.
Even if you live in a hurricane zone outside of Miami-Dade County, the county’s standards are still the benchmark for hurricane impact resistant windows.
In order for a window panel to pass this rigorous testing, it has to receive 2 impacts in different areas on its surface, from 2x4s propelled by compressed air, without breaking or failing in any way. This impact test simulates pieces of flying storm debris hurled at the window by hurricane-force winds.
Hurricane windows also have to pass a series of pressure tests that simulate the rises and falls in the internal pressure of a structure in a hurricane.
Why Are Hurricane Impact Windows So Important?
During a hurricane, there are 3 main storm damage concerns: flying storm debris (impact damage), heavy rains (flooding/water damage), and wind (structural wind damage).
Any structure’s most vulnerable points are its windows and doors. If you don’t have some type of physical barriers in place to protect them, all it takes is 1 piece of storm debris to cause some serious problems.
When a standard window gets impacted by debris tossed by hurricane-force winds, it easily shatters inwards into a bunch of sharp, jagged pieces. Not only do you now have a broken window that needs to be replaced, but anyone on the other side of the glass can potentially suffer serious injuries.
But wait, there’s more. Once a window is broken, there’s a gaping hole in the building that exposes the inside of your property to the heavy rains that occur during a hurricane. This can lead to even more expensive water damage.
Finally, when a hurricane’s winds are allowed into a building through a broken window, they can cause catastrophic structural failures. The high-force winds and changes in air pressure that occur can cause walls to crumble or rip roofing off from the inside.
In the majority of cases, all this can be avoided by installing the proper hurricane damage mitigation barriers over your windows and doors to protect the glass.
Hurricane windows can prevent:
- Storm debris impact damage
- Water damage
- Wind damage
- Major structural damage
What Are the Best Impact Windows?
Ultimately, choosing the best impact windows for you will come down to your goals, your property’s specific needs/constraints, and your budget.
However, when it comes to hurricane impact windows, there is 1 product that stands above the rest as a clear winner.
Our Top Pick for Hurricane Impact Resistant Windows
Without further ado, here it is, our top pick of the best impact windows for hurricane damage protection is *drum roll*: ArmorPlast™ AP25.
ArmorPlast™ AP25 is a model of containment-grade (non-ballistic) polycarbonate glazing shield. What’s a glazing shield, you ask?
These are polycarbonate panels designed to fit into or onto almost any existing glass framing system, protecting the existing glass from storm damage without the need to replace it or modify the existing structure in any significant way.
Remember the hurricane glass testing to Miami-Dade county standards we mentioned earlier? Well, AP25 passed the required series of tests with flying colors, meaning it’s strong enough to be used in the most damage-prone hurricane zone in the United States.
ArmorPlast™ AP25 is ideal for:
- Luxury retail stores
- Correctional/psychiatric facilities
- Large commercial buildings
- Many other high-profile applications
Other Benefits of Impact-Resistant Hurricane Glass
Hurricane windows don’t just protect your property during a hurricane. They provide 24/7 protection against a full range of security threats including forced entry, burglary, smash-and-grab theft, vandalism, rioting, and looting (including hurricane looting).
This makes hurricane impact windows a worthwhile investment and a favorable alternative to hurricane shutters, which you typically only put in place after a hurricane warning is issued.
When you’re looking to increase the overall security of your business, choosing polycarbonate glazing shields like AP25 is a very cost-effective solution.
Do You Live in Florida? Impact Windows Are a Must!
Now that you know a little bit more about the importance of impact-resistant windows for preventing devastating damage and financial loss, we hope you won’t wait any longer to secure your property — you never know when the next hurricane or tropical storm can hit.
Contact us today or have your local glass contractor in Florida give us a call to discuss how we can help you retrofit your building with the best hurricane impact windows on the market.