Hurricanes have gotten severe, intense, and increasingly destructive over the last five years. The situation has led many local governments around the more vulnerable parts of the country to make changes in the building code. Now there are specific instructions on how doors and windows are to be built and installed. Government codes aside, it only makes sense from a safety perspective to have sturdy windows in your home.
Impact windows are the souped up versions of regular windows. To achieve the impact rating, they are put to extensive safety and toughness tests. Most impact doors and windows in the market today have a sign on them that looks like a missile and there are two types, a small missile and a big one. The small missile is a toughness test that is carried out by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), it involves firing thirty pieces of roofing materials and gravel at the window at a velocity of 80 feet per second. The second test is done by firing a six foot piece of 2×4 lumber at the window from a cannon. They are different tests designed for different situations and one may not necessarily be better than the other.
Benefits of impact windows
Safety is the first benefit. These windows are designed to withstand strong winds and keep their structural form even after getting hit by flying particles kicked up by the wind.
Cost of insurance will come down in homes that have impact rated doors and windows installed. The discounts are given simply because homes with these doors and windows are not only difficult to break, but also hard to break into.
Impact windows are known to give their users major savings in terms of heat and air conditioning. They have low-E coats, which make them good insulators and reduce the solar related heat transfer. Another important feature is the U factor, it is a number given to denote how much heat is retained inside the house; when this is done well, HVAC costs naturally come down. There is also the issue of UV filtration, which more recent windows can look into without reducing the visibility through the glass.
Impact windows effectively prevent noise outside the house from coming in. It can also keep the house calm even if there is a storm raging outside. It is an additional benefit if you live near a bus station, a busy intersection, or an airport.
While it is possible to get standard plate glass in a variety of shades, impact windows can do it while also providing increased protection. There is a wide range of colors and tints to choose from with finishes and styles to match your decor.
If you live in an area that is frequented by storms and hurricanes, you should definitely consider impact windows, even if the law does not require you to do so.