Impact Windows: Strengthening Home Protection



What are hurricane windows? 

Hurricane windows, often referred to as impact windows or reinforced windows, are specially designed and fortified windows aimed at providing protection against damages caused by hurricanes, strong winds, rain, and other extreme weather conditions.

The main features of hurricane windows include:

  1. Reinforced construction: These windows are made of durable materials such as aluminum, steel, or special plastics, which are much stronger than traditional windows.

  2. Strengthened mounting systems: Hurricane windows are installed using special mounting systems that provide a solid connection between the window and the building structure, making them more resistant to strong winds and atmospheric pressure.

  3. Resilient glass: The glass used in hurricane windows is typically tempered or laminated, making it much more resistant to impacts and fragmentation, minimizing the risk of damage and accidents during hurricanes. Additionally, the glass is protected by a special film that contributes to increased flexibility against strong pressure and potential shattering.

  4. Testing and certification: Hurricane windows must undergo rigorous strength tests to obtain appropriate certifications confirming their ability to protect against the effects of hurricanes and other extreme weather phenomena.
Thanks to these features, hurricane windows are an effective way to protect buildings from damages caused by extreme weather conditions, while also ensuring the safety and comfort of building occupants.

Types of hurricane windows:

There are several types of hurricane windows, each offering special features and benefits.

  1. Windows with reinforced laminated glass: These windows feature laminated glass composed of two or more layers of glass bonded with a laminated film. This construction makes the glass more resistant to impacts and dispersal, reducing the risk of damage.

  2. Windows with tempered glass: In these windows, the glass undergoes a tempering process, increasing its resistance to impacts and reducing the risk of damage. This is particularly useful in regions with a heightened risk of hurricanes.

  3. Windows with reinforced aluminum or steel frames: These windows have frames made of aluminum or steel, which are reinforced to increase resistance to wind pressure and other external forces.

  4. Windows with reinforced PVC profiles: uPVC (unplasticized polyvinyl chloride) windows can also be reinforced to increase their resistance to hurricanes and other extreme weather conditions. Reinforcement can be achieved by adding metal inserts or increasing the thickness of the PVC profiles.

  5. Windows with high-strength locking systems: Some hurricane windows are equipped with advanced locking systems, providing additional protection against wind and rain.

  6. Windows with hurricane certification: There are windows that have been specially designed and tested to meet rigorous standards for hurricane resistance and other extreme weather phenomena. These windows often have special certifications confirming their effectiveness.

The choice of the appropriate type of hurricane windows depends on individual preferences, local building codes, and specific climatic conditions in the region. It is worth consulting with a professional to choose the best solution for a particular building.

What happens to windows during a hurricane:

During a hurricane, windows can be exposed to intense wind and rain forces, leading to various reactions and potential threats. Here are a few ways windows can behave during a hurricane:

  1. Wind pressure: Strong winds can exert significant pressure on windows, attempting to enter the interior of the building. Without proper reinforcement, traditional windows may be damaged or even completely broken.

  2. External impacts: During a hurricane, tree branches, debris, or other objects can be carried by the wind and strike windows, leading to damage or glass breakage.

  3. Pressure on closures: Intense winds can exert significant pressure on window closures, leading to their damage or opening, increasing the risk of building damage and water leakage into the interior.

  4. Flooding: In the case of floods or heavy rain, windows can be flooded, especially if they are not properly sealed or protected from water.

  5. Air leaks: With weak or damaged windows, hurricane winds can cause air leaks into the building, leading to energy loss and difficulty maintaining proper room temperature.

Therefore, it is important to invest in hurricane windows or take appropriate preventive measures, such as installing hurricane shutters, to minimize the risk of damage and threats associated with windows during a hurricane.

How are hurricane windows tested?

Testing hurricane windows is extremely important to ensure they are effective in providing protection against strong winds, impacts, and other extreme weather conditions. There are various standards and testing procedures used to assess the strength and effectiveness of hurricane windows.

Here are a few main testing methods:

  1. Impact resistance tests: During these tests, windows are subjected to impacts simulating the effects of debris, branches, or other objects carried by strong winds during a hurricane. Various parts of the window are tested, including glass, frames, and mounting elements.

  2. Wind pressure tests: Windows are subjected to wind pressure tests, during which intense winds of varying strength and direction are simulated. Windows are evaluated for their ability to maintain structural integrity and prevent air leakage during extreme wind conditions.

  3. Waterproof sealing tests: Windows are tested for their ability to prevent water leakage into the building during heavy rain or external water inundation, which can be significant during hurricanes and floods.

  4. Opening and closing cycle tests: Windows are subjected to tests to evaluate how well their opening and closing mechanisms function during extreme weather conditions. These tests assess the strength of locks and hinges and their ability to maintain structural integrity.

  5. Extreme temperature resistance tests: Some tests may involve exposing windows to extreme temperatures to assess their durability and stability during changing weather conditions.

These tests are often conducted according to specific industry standards and norms, such as the American standard ASTM E1996 for hurricane windows and doors. Testing ensures that hurricane windows meet the necessary requirements for strength and effectiveness in extreme conditions.

Models of hurricane windows:

Imperial I+