Brevard County is designated as a wind-borne debris region. In layman's terms, when a hurricane threatens, our homes will likely be pummeled by winds and projectiles traveling 140 mph or more.
That is why Florida Building Codes for the Space Coast require some kind of protection for windows and doors. Some builders and homeowners opt for a combination of windows and hurricane shutters. We contend the better option is impact windows and doors.
What Are Impact Windows and Doors?
Impact windows and doors are specially designed to withstand strong winds and flying debris that are commonly associated with hurricanes and severe weather. They are constructed in different ways using laminated glass, resilient layers of plastic material, and reinforced frames. This superior strength and durability comes in a variety of styles so that you don’t have to sacrifice aesthetics for practicality as you might with traditional hurricane shutters. This is just one of several perks of impact glass.
Safety and Security
Impact doors and windows come in different strength ratings, but they are all designed to withstand force. So this means they can stand up to hurricane-propelled projectiles and can make life more difficult for intruders who intend to smash their way into your sanctuary. Even if the glass does break under an amount of pressure beyond what it’s rated for, it won’t shatter into infinite dangerous shards.
As a side benefit, the layered and protective construction of impact windows also secure your spaces against aggravating outdoor noise. The sound transmission coefficient is the metric the industry uses to measure sound transmission. Regular windows have an STC of about 28. Every additional 10 points of STC cuts down noise by half. Quality impact windows have an STC of about 50! If your sleep has every been interrupted by neighbors mowing the lawn at 6am on a Sunday, or you’ve ever had an infant woken by the barking dogs across the street, that STC has to be music to your ears!
Cooling and Heating Costs
Impact glass is better in insulating the home so that heat from scorching summers is transmitted more slowly into the space. This benefit can add up to major savings. Heat gain and loss through windows is responsible for up to 30% of the energy used to cool or heat your home. Impact windows cut down on solar heat between 40% and 78%!
Like any big home improvement project, replacing windows and doors can be a significant upfront cost, but unlike projects where the benefits are mostly aesthetic, installing impact windows can be the investment that keeps on giving! There are potential insurance rebates and lowered premiums for securing your home against severe weather and break-ins. There are also federal and state programs that may confer tax benefits for energy efficiency upgrades.
Now Is The Time!
The end of November marks the end of hurricane season — or the beginning of the “get-your-act-together-for-next-summer-because-storms-are-getting-more-severe-every-year” season. Uhhh… we’re still working on the name. Regardless, it’s a great time to consider refitting your home with beautiful, durable, money-saving impact–resistant glass so the next time a storm threatens, you can swap your powerdrill for a hurricane drink!