What Are Impact Windows?
Wouldn’t it be nice if you never had to worry about a baseball busting through your windows when the kids are playing outside? Or maybe you’re like most of the others in the Gulf Coast region who don’t want flying debris in their home when an tropical storm or hurricane comes through.
Impact-resistant windows, more affectionately known, as impact windows are built using heavy-duty framing and laminated glass. During the design phase, they are built with a strong adhesive that keeps them from busting out of their framing. These windows go through extreme testing to ensure their safety, making them perfect for protecting your home.
Again, you live in the Gulf Coast region, where a lot of storms come through. So, it’s important that impact windows be strong enough to survive large debris like a 2×4 hitting them at 50+ mph! In Florida, impact windows have to be able to survive being hit with a 2×4 twice without being penetrated.
How’s that for safety?
Are Impact Windows The Same As Storm Windows?
For those who have already noticed, impact windows and storm windows can be used interchangeably as they are the same thing. However, impact windows have certain ratings that determine how safe they are and if they meet current state requirements for use in hurricane-prone areas.
Building Code Requirements for Replacement Windows
Since we’ve already broached the topic, let’s talk about building codes and permit requirements.
The latest building code and permitting requirements state most of the Gulf Coast counties in Alabama and Florida, fall under the “Wind Borne Debris Zone.” In Florida, the law states that if more than 25% of the total glazed area of the home is replaced, the openings must have “Large Missile Level D” impact rated protection for each opening involved.
“Openings” are defined as doors and window.
“Protection” is defined as either impact windows or hurricane rated shutters.
There are some local building departments that will permit the use of plywood if it conforms to the accepted state standards (precut panels with labels, designated plywood thickness and preinstalled mounting hardware that includes a certain fastener size, wall structure embedment and spacing.
In Mobile and Baldwin counties in Alabama, all openings must be protected in Mobile, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Foley and Fairhope. In other parts of Baldwin and Mobile counties, the code varies for each municipality. Check with a Folkers’ expert on local code requirements.
Install Impact Windows To Protect Your Family And Your Property
Impact windows are a great way to protect your home from the elements. Remember, impact windows must be certified to withstand the current State of Florida’s impact rating of an 8-foot 2×4 board being shot directly at the glass, while not allowing the projectile to penetrate the window itself.
Can Impact Windows Stop A Bullet?
Since impact windows are able to stop large flying debris like 2×4’s, it’s easy to wonder if they are bullet proof too. While these windows are designed to stop large objects, they aren’t designed to stop bullets. Does that mean they can’t? Not always!
These windows are built using the same principle of layered glass. However, the thickness and number of layers really determine the ability of the window to stop a bullet.
Can Impact Windows Keep A Burglar Out?
Baseball bats are similar to 2×4’s, right? Naturally, it makes since to ask if these windows can keep a burglar at bay. Impact windows are designed to take a few direct hits without breaking through. However, they will eventually give if hit enough times with a heavy enough object. However, if you are home, the amount of noise that will be caused from this activity should easily alert you to a problem where you can either investigate the situation yourself or contact the authorities.
Do I Need Shutters If I Have Impact Windows Installed?
If you have impact windows installed, you do not have to install shutters. However, shutters do provide another layer or protection from flying debris as well as light-blocking benefits if you don’t have blinds or drapes installed. Plus, shutters also give you another layer of security from prying eyes and potential burglars. While shutters aren’t necessary if you have impact windows installed, there’s nothing wrong with adding a little flavor to your outside decor.
Specialty windows can be hard to come by from conventional window distributors. Folkers knows how crucial window types such as impact windows can be, however. We offer a wide variety of impact windows that resist hurricanes, high winds, as well as collisions. Impact windows may be needed per local building codes, or they may be a personal choice to increase your own home security.
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