What Are Impact Doors And Windows?

Impact doors and windows are products that are designed to withstand harder strikes than typical doors and windows can. They are also sometimes called impact-resistant, storm protection, or storm-resistant doors and windows. If you're worried about the possibility that a winter storm, a tornado, or a hurricane might cause debris to fly through one of the vulnerable points of your house, these models represent something worth looking into.

Industry Standards

Due to the state receiving frequent hurricane strikes, Florida's statewide building code is widely recognized as the industry standard. The most recent updates to the standard were implemented in 2017. If you're shopping for impact windows and doors, it's worth taking the time to conduct a manufacturer search through the state's Product Approval web page.

The FBC requires that products be able to withstand a direct firing of 2x4 piece of lumber and three-inch steel bearings at them. Testing is conducted at 34 mph. If the product consistently holds up in testing, it is then considered to be impact-resistant. Look for the Florida Product Approval when you're shopping and ask for it, too.

How Does Impact-Resistant Materials Work?

Multi-pane glass is created in at least three layers of lamination. Air gaps exist between the panes, too. This combination of laminated layers of glass and pockets of air acts as a cushion when an object strikes a window or a door. An impact-resistant film may also be added.

Frames can be built with heavy-duty vinyl to provide greater distribution of applies forces. Placing the frame with at least 2.75 inches of depth into the wall for windows and 5.125 inches of depth for sliding glass doors is considered a minimum specification for impact resistance. It's also a good idea to add shutters for further protection.

Additional Benefits

The extra layers of laminates and film often provide the benefit of additional energy efficiency. Similarly, resale values on homes with impact-resistant doors and impact windows tend to higher, especially in regions where hurricanes, wind storms, and tornadoes are common.

If you have a homeowner's insurance policy, you should speak with your agent about getting a discount for having approved doors and windows. In fact, you may want to inquire with your insurance carrier prior to doing construction or renovations. They can tell you what models meet their standards for a discount, and you can compare their list to the Florida Product Approval list to narrow down your buying choices.