Most installers and architects have a pretty good idea of commercial impact windows because they're a popular option for commercial buildings. However, all impact windows are not created equally, and when you're dealing with tougher, hurricane-prone climates, finding the perfect windows for a project can be challenging.
In this article, we'll go over the basics of choosing the best impact windows for Florida. Plus, we'll show you how you can select strong windows without sacrificing style.
The Window Requirements for Florida Buildings
From June 1st to November 30th, it's the traditional hurricane season. For those six months, the threat of hurricanes and tropical storms is heavy in Florida.
In fact, since 1850, every part of Florida's coastline has been hit by at least one hurricane per year. It's no secret that hurricanes can be extremely dangerous and damaging — after all, category one hurricanes reach wind speeds of up to 95 mph.
If you have a building in this hurricane-prone location, you're going to have to take measures to protect your property from costly damage. One of those things is installing hurricane or impact-resistant windows.
Some places in Florida require buildings to have sturdier windows as part of their building code. Be sure to check if impact-rated or hurricane-resistant windows are required in your area. Even if they aren't required, getting sturdy windows is highly advantageous because it prevents flying debris from shattering the windows and causing costly damages.
As with most building maintenance, proactivity is better than reactivity when it comes to protecting your property from hurricane damage. It pays to be proactive and prevent damages, rather than pay for them if and when they happen.
As a bonus, impact-resistant windows provide other significant benefits, including:
- Increased security
- Improved energy efficiency (Great for the hot and humid Florida climate)
- Reduced noise and sun exposure
However, it's worth noting that not all windows have the same advantages.
Comparing Impact and Hurricane Windows
The terms hurricane-resistant and impact-resistant windows are often used interchangeably. However, they are not the same thing, and their level of protection varies quite dramatically.
Wind Protection vs. Projectile Protection
Standard hurricane wind-rated windows are only meant to protect against wind — not the impact of flying debris. Conversely, impact-rated windows are built to withstand flying projectiles. In that way, impact-rated windows are better prepared to handle all the concerns with a building in Florida.
The Frames Are Part of the Package
For impact-rated windows, the frames are part of the package. In other words, they come upgraded with sturdier frames to match the stronger glass. On the other hand, hurricane windows don't necessarily come with a sturdy frame, so you may not have as much protection.
Thicker Glass vs. Flexible Glass
Impact-rated windows utilize multiple layers of glass and lamination to keep them safe from impact. This laminated glass must be securely installed into the impact-rated window frame to perform successfully as a system and withstand hours of buffeting wind after a large missile impact.
Although hurricane windows tend to be thinner and more flexible than the impact-rated alternative, this doesn't mean you can't get aesthetically pleasing impact-rated windows.
Marrying Strength and Style: Finding Aesthetically Pleasing Impact Windows
At Winco Window, we believe that you don't have to sacrifice aesthetics for protection — we combine strength and style with our impact-rated hurricane windows.
All our hurricane windows meet the standards ASTM E-1886 & 1996 standards, and they're designed to withstand winds up to 150 miles per hour and a five pound, 2x4 traveling at 34 miles per hour. We call our windows “hurricane windows” for clarity, but they are impact-rated and reinforced with frames to provide you with the premier option for commercial impact windows.
Here are a couple of examples of our recent projects so you can see how it's possible to merge durability and design seamlessly.
The Historic Loutrel Hotel
This beautiful hotel in Charleston, South Carolina needed impact-resistant windows that could match the history, beauty and style that the historic hotel required.
We were able to meet these demands with our 1150S and 3250 historic replica window series with hurricane-rated laminated glass. The result is a breathtaking hotel that's prepared for any weather conditions.
Davenport Elementary School
Davenport Elementary School is located in Polk County, Florida. The school was originally built in 1927 and was restored with the collaborative efforts of the City of Davenport, the Historical Society of Davenport and the Polk County School Board.
The windows needed to be sturdy and safe to protect the children, faculty, staff and the investment itself, but they also needed to be historically accurate and stylish. We were able to meet all of these needs with our beautiful 4410S impact single-hung windows.
Get Impact-Rated and Hurricane-Resistant Windows for Your Florida Commercial Building
If you want the best impact windows for your Florida building, consider Winco Window Company. We have a history of providing impact-rated hurricane windows with style — and we can even make that style work for historic buildings.