Most homeowners install impact windows in their homes to provide their families with added storm protection. That makes perfect sense because that’s specifically what these windows were created for in the first place!
After Hurricane Andrew left a path of destruction in its wake back in 1992, Miami-Dade officials called for stricter building codes that included hurricane protection on all new construction. During the change, they called on window manufacturers to figure out a way to make windows less susceptible to storm-tossed debris and high winds.
It didn’t take them long to come up with a solution.
How’d they do it?
Impact windows are manufactured using tempered glass which is a bit stronger than normal glass. However, during the rapid heating and cooling process that the glass undergoes, the molecular structure of the glass changes causing it to break into tiny rounded pellets rather than shards and splinters. A huge step in the right direction, manufacturers didn’t stop there! Even tiny rounded pellets striking with the force of a hurricane behind them will cause significant injury or damage.
The answer to the problem was to keep the glass from breaking apart, but how? The solution was to insert a sheet of high-tech polymer, or some other resilient material, between the panes of glass. The polymer absorbs the impact of the blow and because it’s adhered to the glass, it prevents the glass from breaking apart.
Some manufacturers use vinyl frames that contribute to the strength of the window as well. “Vinyl might not seem like a great defense mechanism because it’s light weight and somewhat pliable.” said Randy Reece, CEO at Reece Windows / Builders. “However, when frames are constructed using a process called heat welding, the pieces of vinyl meld together into a solid piece. There’s no way for a storm to break them into pieces.”
To be classified as impact resistant, windows undergo a series of tests that include both the large and small missile tests. They both involve shooting objects, such as 2×4’s and steel ball bearings, from a cannon aimed directly at the glass. They’re projected across the room with the force likened to that of a hurricane behind them.
Glass and frames that hold together during a severe storm would certainly guarantee that your family is safer while waiting for it to pass.
Burglars think twice
Intruders think windows are the easiest point of access into a home. They’re likely to think again after coming across a home that has impact windows installed. If they stand up to storm debris smashing into the glass at speeds reaching up to 100 mph or more, it stands to reason that they’re going to stop a burglar’s attempt to break-in to your home.
It might be a bit comical to see the expression on the would-be intruder’s face when instead of hearing the anticipated crash of breaking glass, their strike is stopped short with a dull thud instead.
A variety of additional benefits
It’s great to have the added security that impact windows provide you and your family regarding storms and break-ins. Thankfully, those things aren’t something that we worry about happening daily. However, there are several benefits that homeowners experience 365 days a year.
- Energy-efficiency—Some homeowners have reported seeing as much as 30% in savings on their energy costs after installing impact windows. Of course, other factors come into play that contribute to the total savings you’ll experience. However, you’re comfort level is sure to increase and you’ll see a savings on your bill to boot.
- Noise reduction—Impact windows do a great job at muffling or even eliminating outside noise. We often grow accustomed to noises we’re subjected to regularly—probably so they don’t drive us crazy! If you’ve gotten used to the sounds of the neighborhood bombarding you at all hours, you might not realize the value of this fringe benefit until you have experienced it for yourself.
- UV protection—Impact windows block over 90% of the sun’s harmful ultra-violet rays. That means you’ll never have to worry about your possessions being ruined by sun fade again.
- Insurance premium savings—Many insurance providers offer premium discounts for adding storm or security protection. If your provider’s one of them, impact windows can qualify you for both!
Long-term benefits all the way around
Many manufacturers provide lifetime guarantees to their customers who purchase impact windows.
And, in addition to enjoying all the benefits listed here from the moment these windows are installed, homeowners could gain another benefit when it’s time to sell. “Listing impact windows as a selling point is a good idea. Some buyers let them be the deciding factor if they have things narrowed down to two homes.” said Joshua Silva, CEO of Silva Group.
When you’re ready
Choosing a contractor to install your new windows is probably a good idea. Installing windows is a job that requires precision to ensure proper installation. Furthermore, many manufacturers will void that lifetime guarantee if the job isn’t completed by a professional.
When it’s time to choose the right person for the job, ask a few questions even before you have them come out to give you an estimate.
Here are a few you might consider:
Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?
This question is important to ensure your contractor is on the up-and-up. If they can’t provide you with a yes on all three counts, it’s wise to move on.
How long have you been in business?
Asking this question can help you determine their experience.
Will you provide references?
Of course, you can check out online references, but asking directly can help you eliminate those troll comments. And, should they stammer over the answer, again, it might be best to pass on this one.
Do you background check and drug test employees?
This may not be a question that you’d have thought to ask on your own. However, in today’s world, better safe than sorry is a mantra most of us hold dear when it involves our families. “Construction crews are working in your home. They’re around your family. It’s totally reasonable to ask a contractor if they conduct background checks and if they drug test employees.” says David Bell, CEO of USA Mobile Drug Testing.
It doesn’t matter if you’re adding storm protection or guarding against break-ins by upgrading your windows, or if you’re hiring someone to work in and around your home, taking every precaution to ensure your family is safe is always a good call.
Michelle believes construction is in her DNA. She spent many happy summers on the job site alongside her dad. As time passed, writing became her first love. She’s a contributing author at Roofing Lawton and loves the gig! However, she doesn’t hesitate to strap on the tool belt and tackle a project on the side. Her kids love the playhouse!