How Impact Resistant Windows Protect the Structural Envelope

You have likely seen the destruction—shattered glass, scattered possessions, decimated homes. The damage done by hurricanes and tropical storms isn’t a pretty sight. If you live in the larger Fort Lauderdale area then you are all too familiar with what these types of natural disasters can do. It is no wonder why meeting the stringent building codes is so important. Impact resistant windows are part of that code. These windows withstand natural forces and maintain the exterior envelope of your home.

What is the Structural Envelope?

The building envelope is the physical divider between the inside and outside of a building. It includes walls, floors, roofs, doors, and fenestrations. A fenestration is any opening like a window or skylight. A well-designed envelope works with the climate of the area. In a tropical climate like that of Fort Lauderdale, FL, you need a roof to keep the hot sun off, and plenty of ventilation to move the humid air. But with windows comes weakness.

Why is Maintaining the Envelope Important?

During a natural disaster, a break in the envelope can trigger massive destruction. The weakest link in most cases is your windows. Windows fail because of broken glass, weak frames, and water coming through the joints. When a window is broken it allows air to enter the space, changing the internal pressure of the structure. The roof can lift off and the walls can blow down. Total destruction will take only a matter of minutes. This is why impact resistant windows are so important.

What are Impact Resistant Windows?

These windows are specifically designed to withstand impacts from projectiles and high force winds. Manufactures sandwich a resin membrane between two or more panes of glass. If the window is compromised it will not shatter and collapse. Instead, the broken glass will stick to the impenetrable membrane and remain mostly intact. As such, the structural envelope is also intact—keeping the wind and moisture out.

Impact Resistant Window Standards

To be labeled as hurricane or impact resistant, windows must undergo rigorous testing by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). For the large projectile test, they fire a nine pound 2×4 piece of lumber at the center of the glass at 80 feet per second. If the glass remains intact they fire another large missile projectile at one of the corners. If the window remains intact they subject it to cyclic pressure both inward and outward. If the window remains intact, and inside the frame, only then does it pass.

If you are interested in upgrading to impact resistant windows in Fort Lauderdale, FL, we hope you would give us a call at 954-782-7100. At High End windows, we take great pride in our work and offer unparalleled service. You get expert installation by professionals are licensed and certified. Want to see some of our products firsthand? Visit our showroom at 1472 S. Dixie Hwy. E., Pompano Beach, FL 33060. We won’t bombard you with high-pressure sales tactics. Instead, we will answer all your questions and find the best way to help you protect your home at a reasonable price.

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