What are impact resistant windows?

living room with PGT impact sliding glass doors
Brett Shaffer
SEO Consultant
August 1, 2021
Windows and Doors

What are impact-resistant Windows and what are the benefits of installing them?

There are a few key differences between standard tempered glass windowpanes and impact-resistant windowpanes.

Tempered Glass Windowpanes are made of glass that is heat treated to increase its ability to withstand higher stresses (up to 10,000psi) before breaking. A commonly known feature of tempered glass is its tendency to “dice” into small and relatively harmless pieces instead of shattering into large sharp pieces.

Impact-Resistant Windowpanes consist of two or more tempered glass panes that are sandwiched together by a clear plastic film. This film functions by holding the glass together if the window is impacted hard enough to shatter. If the window is shattered, the film will continue to hold the window in place to prevent rain, wind, or wind-borne debris from coming into your home during a storm. In addition to reinforcing the glass panes, impact-rated windows are also manufactured with a reinforced frame and require special fasteners to install them in your home.

Image courtesy of PGT
How can I be sure that my windows will stand up to the test of mother nature?

The American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM) has strict testing standards that a window system must meet before being certified as impact-resistant. One of the most stringent testing requirements is the large and small missile tests, as well as wind tests that go as high as 200mph.

Are impact-resistant windows required by code?

If you live close to the coast, then yes. In the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the Florida Building Code came to the conclusion that windows were a key entry point for wind, rain, and wind-borne debris. As a result, the building code was updated to require impact-resistant windows or hurricane shutters for structures built within one mile of the coast where winds can exceed 110mph.

But I don’t live by the coast! Do I really NEED impact-resistant windows?

Just because impact-resistant windows may not be required by code where you live, it does not mean they are not a great investment! Here are some additional benefits for impact-resistant windows:

  • peace of mind in the lead up to a hurricane or big storm
  • no need to install hurricane shutters (or needing to pay someone else to)
  • increase the resale value of your home
  • reduced homeowner insurance cost
  • greatly improved energy efficiency (see below)
  • soundproof
  • added security against break ins

Increased Energy Efficiency

One other great benefit of installing impact-resistant windows is their energy efficiency.

Because of the way the windows are manufactured and installed, they create an airtight seal between the outside environment and the inside of your house. Additionally, the plastic layer between the glass panes is often UV resistant. This allows the light from the sun to come through, but not the heat. This will save on cooling costs during the hottest months of the year. Each window installed will have an “NFRC” sticker that is checked during inspection. You can usually send this efficiency information to your electric company to get a rebate on your monthly bill.

If you’re interested, more information on impact-resistant windows can be found here.

If you have any other questions regarding windows or would like to get an in-home consultation for installation, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Clear-View Windows!

Give us a call at (813)-657-2090


Click here to schedule an in-home consultation.

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