If you live in Florida, you’re probably used to extreme weather by now. You’re also probably used to the preparations necessary when a storm is bearing down on you.
From filling clean containers with water to anchoring outdoor furniture, there are many protective steps to take to minimize damage and maximize safety during hurricanes and other extreme weather events.
However, experts agree that there is one above-and-beyond thing you can do to safeguard your home (and its inhabitants) long before you find yourself in the path of a storm: install high performance, impact resistant windows and doors made with hurricane impact resistant glass.
All of which may have you wondering what makes hurricane impact resistant glass so effective.
Read on to learn more about what hurricane impact resistant glass is, how it works, and its many benefits. We’ll also share some lesser known advantages offered by upgrading to high performance impact resistant windows and doors.
What is Hurricane Impact Resistant Glass?
All glass isn’t created equal. In fact, there are many types of glass—each with different properties across transparency, strength, workability, transmittance, U value, and recyclability.
Often non-impact window and door glass is made with flat glass, the initial product produced through the glassmaking process. Flat glass is also the base for more other types of glass like tinted glass, coated glass, and laminated glass (one type of impact glass), all of which undergo further processing to reach their final form.
Which brings us to what makes impact glass different from regular glass. Rather than comprising a single pane, impact glass is actually made with three layers: two glass outer layers and an internal layer polyvinyl butyral (PVB) layer. Through a process combining heat and pressure, these layers are fused together—or laminated—to create stronger and durable hurricane resistant windows. Laminated insulating glass, another form of impact resistant glass, is made up of a laminated piece of glass and monolithic piece of glass with an insulating air space between them.
Why is Impact Resistant Glass Better?
While regular glass may shatter into large shards upon impact, impact glass is engineered to withstand pressure from high winds and airborne objects. While laminated impact glass is not unbreakable, it is much more shatter-resistant than regular glass. Instead of breaking into large and dangerous shards, it shatters into small, pebble-sized pieces in a spiderweb pattern.
Not only that, but thanks to the PVB layer, even if impact glass does shatter, the resulting pieces of glass will adhere to the interlayer and remain in the frame—thereby leaving the overall glass structure intact even following impacts.
The same reasons that make impact resistant glass desirable in homes, is the same reason it’s used to make windshield glass: It offers the highest safety levels—both in terms of minimizing shattering and fortifying your home’s structural integrity.
Given that Category 5 hurricanes can have sustained wind speeds in excess of 157 mph or higher, the value of this protection cannot be overstated. But even Category 1 hurricanes can produce life-threatening winds, which is why impact windows and doors offer unparalleled peace of mind to all homeowners in storm-prone regions like South Florida.
Additional Benefits of Impact Resistant Glass
Why storm protection is plenty of reason in and of itself to upgrade to impact glass, there are additional benefits as well, including:
The same factors that make impact resistant glass less penetrable to extreme winds also make them less penetrable to other threats, too. Most crimes are ones of opportunities, and would-be intruders are far less likely to choose a home with formidable windows than with ones that can easily be broken into.
Even if a burglar can manage to shatter an impact window, the intact inner layer makes them much harder to pass through.
UV Light Protection
Speaking of unwanted intruders, not all are of the human variety. While Floridians love their sunshine, there are some downsides to living in one of the country’s sunniest cities, including that the sun’s rays are not only harmful to humans, but can also wreak havoc on fabrics and furniture.
While regular windows admit UV light, impact glass with low-E blocks UV rays from entering. In other words, you’ll still enjoy all the wonderful warmth of a beautiful, sun-filled home with lesser risks.
Your home is your haven…until your days and nights are interrupted by external sounds related to everything from noisy neighbors to honking horns. It’s not just impact resistant glass’s thickness that makes it an effective sound barrier. In laminated insulating glass, the air between the layers also traps and reduces noise.
All of this can be music to your ears—especially when you factor in that 90 percent of noise enters through windows (not walls).
Improving energy efficiency is a top priority for many homeowners, and with good reason: In addition to being better for the planet, the improved energy efficiency you’ll gain from impact resistant glass will translate to major savings on your utility bills.
Improved energy efficiency also means that you’ll pay less to keep your home at a comfortable temperature while also enjoying fewer drafts, keeping out rainwater, and other breaches.
The housing market is competitive, with buyers and sellers alike competing for the best homes and prices. Impact windows are an excellent way to differentiate your home from other listings.
When choosing between a home with regular windows and one with the many benefits of impact resistant windows, homeowners will almost certainly opt for the latter. Not only that, but impact resistant windows and doors are also associated with increased home value.
And because today’s impact resistant glass products are available in a variety of styles, sizes, shapes, and colors, they also have the potential to boost your home’s curb appeal—just one more advantage you’ll enjoy when the time comes to put your home on the market.
Can’t afford to pay the cost upfront? Some companies offer affordable financing so you can spread out the expense while immediately accessing all the benefits of hurricane windows and doors.
Invest in Your Home with Impact Resistant Glass
With NOAA forecasters anticipating somewhere between 12 and 17 total named storms during the 2023 hurricane season and with Florida leading the pack among states for catastrophic weather, there’s never been a better time for homeowners in coastal and other high-risk areas to upgrade to doors and windows made with high performance, impact resistant glass.