Depending on where you live, you may be faced with hurricanes and violent storms that can kick up debris and damage the windows in your home. Replacing all the glass in the house with impact-resistant windows can make a significant difference in the amount of damage your home sustains in a major storm, and it is easy to do in most houses.
In most parts of the country, window requirements don't include impact-resistant windows for residential properties, but there are requirements for impact-resistant windows in parts of the southeast. These are typically in areas prone to hurricanes, where flying debris is not uncommon, and keeping the glass intact can significantly affect the amount of damage to the home.
Once the windows are broken out of the house, rain, wind, and debris can get inside, cause damage that you will have to repair later. The water damage can be catastrophic and strong winds can use the opening in the home to lift the house off the foundation and damage the structure.
As a result, some of the cities and counties in these southeastern states now require impact-resistant windows for new construction and recommend installing replacement impact-resistant windows for existing homes.
The glass used in impact-resistant windows is a laminated, multipane glass that contains polyethylene sheets embedded between the glass to help reinforce it. The design is similar in construction to the glass used in automotive glass but is typically thicker than windshield glass in a car.
The glass is a critical component of these windows, and it must be right, so it is tested by manufacturers to ensure that wood and other materials will not penetrate the glass when fired at high speeds into the glass pane. The glass can be cut to fit nearly any window, and you can order custom sizes for your home just like any other window design.
The windows frames that are part of the impact-resistant windows are also made to a higher standard to ensure the frame does not break, compromising the window's structure. The frames for these windows are heavy and made from aluminum or steel, depending on the impact rating, and often require the window contractor to add some additional support under the window opening to support the extra weight.
Once the old window is removed from the frame, the new window can be put in place, leveled, and then secured using screws around the window's exterior. The rest of the installation is done the same as a normal window, and when complete, you will not be able to tell that the house has impact-resistant windows in it from the street, but the house will be better protected the next time a major storm comes through the area.
Contact a local impact window supplier to learn more.