As hurricane-proofing professionals, we often field questions from clients and prospective clients alike about how, exactly, hurricane impact windows differ from regular windows. We’ve put together a brief primer about the differences between these kinds of windows – so without further ado, here is the Paradise Exteriors list of the top 2 ways that they differ from each other.
What is the physical difference between impact windows and normal windows?
Standard glass windows are made of a single pane of what is called float glass, meaning that it is not reinforced. That means that if they are broken, standard windows will shatter into sharp glass shards of all sizes, creating an unsafe environment inside of your house. Impact windows and doors, on the other hand, are constructed of shatter-resistant glass that is firmly attached to a heavy-duty frame that made of aluminum. To make glass shatter-resistant, two layers of Paradise Exteriors annealed glass – or glass that has been cooled slowly to make it stronger and less prone to breakage – are sandwiched around a layer of what is referred to as a shatter-proof membrane, which is typically made from a very thin kind of plastic called Polyvinyl Butyral (PVB). This way, if the glass breaks, instead of falling into shards, the pieces of the window will stick to the PVB and fracture like a spider web, instead of crumbling to pieces. For this reason, it’s far safer to have impact windows if you live in a location that experiences extreme weather events.
Aside from breaking differently, why do impact windows do a better job of maintaining the stability of a house?
As you probably know, windows are one of the main structural components of a house and help keep it upright and intact. If the windows in your house break, say, during a hurricane, it will immediately cause a very dangerous change to the pressure inside versus the pressure outside, most commonly manifesting as high-pressure winds blowing forcefully into your house. This is very dangerous, because it increases the likelihood that the roof of your house will tear away to let the pressure out, which will obviously cause extreme damage to the physical structure and put your family in harm’s way. Impact windows, for the reasons listed in #1 of this post, are much less likely to break, which means they are better at maintaining the integrity of a house than standard windows are in an extreme weather event.
There are many other reasons why hurricane-proof, or impact, windows are a much wiser choice to install in your house if you live in a place where hurricanes or severe winds are common, but these are the 2 most important reasons why. If you worry about the safety of your family in a hurricane or want to increase the stability of your house, please contact us today for a consultation about how we can help give you peace of mind!