Impact Windows: The Ultimate Protection for Bad Weather

Impact Windows: The Ultimate Protection for Bad Weather

Living in the Gulf Coast region comes with its fair share of weather challenges. Tropical storms and hurricanes are regular occurrences, making it essential for homeowners to safeguard their properties. One of the most effective ways to protect your home from the elements is by installing impact windows. But what exactly are impact windows, and how do they provide such robust protection? Let’s delve into the details.

impact windowsWhat Are Impact Windows?
They are, often referred to as hurricane windows, are designed to withstand the severe conditions brought on by hurricanes and other extreme weather events. These windows are constructed with heavy-duty framing and laminated glass, which includes a strong adhesive layer that prevents the glass from shattering. This design ensures that even if the glass cracks, it remains intact within the frame, significantly reducing the risk of debris entering your home.

Key Features:
• Laminated Glass: Similar to car windshields, impact windows feature laminated glass that holds together even when cracked.
• Heavy-Duty Framing: The frames are robust and designed to withstand high pressures and impacts.
• Adhesive Layer: A strong adhesive layer keeps the glass from shattering out of the frame.
• Stringent Testing: They undergo rigorous testing to ensure they can withstand the force of flying debris during a storm.

The Importance Of Having These Windows in the Gulf Coast Region
The Gulf Coast is notorious for its hurricanes and tropical storms. As a result, homeowners in this area need to take extra precautions to protect their properties. They are specifically designed to handle these extreme weather conditions, making them a critical investment for anyone living in this region.

Safety Standards
In Florida, for instance, they  must be able to withstand being hit by a 2×4 piece of lumber at high speed without being penetrated. This stringent standard ensures that the windows provide maximum protection during hurricanes.

Differences Between Impact Windows and Other Window Types

Impact Windows vs. Storm Windows
They are not the same. While impact windows are built with laminated glass and heavy-duty frames, storm windows are simply additional windows installed over existing ones. Storm windows do not provide the same level of protection against hurricanes as impact windows.

Impact Windows vs. “Hurricane Rated” Windows
There is no such thing as “hurricane rated” windows; this is a misleading marketing term. Impact windows are designed to “spider web” like a car windshield upon impact, whereas so-called hurricane-rated windows will shatter, allowing debris to enter the home.

Building Code Requirements for Impact Windows
In the Gulf Coast region, building codes are stringent to ensure homes can withstand extreme weather. Most counties in Alabama and Florida fall under the “Wind Borne Debris Zone.” This means any replacement windows must meet specific impact resistance criteria. For example, if more than 25% of the glazed area of a home is replaced, the new openings must have “Large Missile Level D” impact-rated protection.

Local Codes
In Mobile and Baldwin counties in Alabama, all openings must be protected. This includes cities like Mobile, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Foley, and Fairhope. Requirements can vary, so it’s essential to check with local experts like those at Folkers Window Company to ensure compliance with all building codes.

Protection from Storms
Impact windows are designed to withstand flying debris and high winds, providing robust protection during hurricanes and tropical storms. This significantly reduces the risk of damage to your home and ensures the safety of its occupants.

Increased Security
Beyond weather protection, impact windows also enhance home security. The laminated glass and heavy-duty framing make it difficult for burglars to break into your home, offering an added layer of security. Noise Reduction The thick, laminated glass used can reduce outside noise. This is especially beneficial for homes in noisy areas, providing a quieter, more peaceful living environment.

UV Protection
The windows block a significant amount of harmful UV rays, protecting your furniture, carpets, and other interior items from fading over time.

Energy Efficiency
These windows offer excellent insulation, helping to maintain a consistent indoor temperature. This can lead to reduced energy bills as your HVAC system doesn’t have to work as hard to keep your home comfortable.

impact windows


1. Are they the Same as Storm Windows?
• No, impact windows and storm windows are not the same.They consist of laminated glass and heavy-duty frames, whereas storm windows are additional windows placed over existing ones and do not provide the same level of protection.

2. Are they the Same as Hurricane-Rated Windows?
• No, the term “hurricane-rated windows” is a marketing ploy. They are designed to withstand impacts and prevent debris from entering your home, unlike non-impact windows that may shatter upon impact.

3. Do they Require Shutters?
• If you have impact windows installed, you do not need shutters for hurricane protection. However, shutters can provide additional benefits such as light blocking and added security.

4. Can they Stop a Bullet?
• While they are designed to stop large flying debris, they are not specifically designed to be bulletproof. However, their construction can offer some resistance to bullets depending on the thickness and number of layers of glass.

5. Can they Keep a Burglar Out?
• Impact windows can deter burglars due to their strong construction. They can withstand several hits, making it difficult for intruders to break in. The noise generated during an attempted break-in can also alert homeowners or neighbors to the intrusion.

6. What Are the Building Code Requirements ?
• Building codes in the Gulf Coast region require impact windows to meet specific impact resistance standards. These windows must be able to withstand high-speed impacts without allowing debris to penetrate the glass.

7. How Do Impact Windows Benefit Energy Efficiency?
• They provide excellent insulation, helping to maintain a stable indoor temperature and reducing the workload on your HVAC system. This can result in lower energy bills.

8. Do Impact Windows Provide UV Protection?
• Yes, they  block a significant amount of harmful UV rays, protecting your interior furnishings from fading.

Impact windows are an essential investment for homeowners in the Gulf Coast region, providing unparalleled protection from hurricanes and tropical storms. With their robust construction, these windows offer additional benefits such as increased security, noise reduction, UV protection, and energy efficiency. Understanding the differences between with them and other window types, as well as the local building codes, is crucial for making an informed decision.

For expert advice, visit Folkers Window Company or call 888-FOLKERS. Our team is here to help you protect your home and family with the best in impact window technology.