You have been considering replacing your old windows and exterior doors with hurricane-rated products, and here is why you should move forward.

  • If you are not a year-round resident or go on vacation, this will free you up from coordinating or paying for hurricane protection to be installed in your home in the event a storm threatens. 
  • Putting up shutters can be physically demanding and dangerous, especially if you have a second floor. Having impact-resistant windows and doors means you are always ready if a storm threatens, giving you more time to do other necessary things to prepare for a storm. 
  • While they protect against hurricanes, roll-down or accordion-style shutters detract from the look of your home. These are permanently attached to the house and appear unsightly when not in use. 
  • Storage – shutters or plywood take up valuable garage space.
  • Nothing gives your home more of a facelift than getting new windows and exterior doors. Aside from tremendous curb appeal, your home is always protected with hurricane-rated windows and doors. 
  • When it comes time to sell a home, if you have new impact windows and doors, your home will move faster and at higher asking prices, providing a return on your investment.  

If you want to replace your old windows and exterior doors, call the pros at GM- Door, Window & Screen. We offer quality and great value. Selecting impact-rated replacement windows and a perfect front door can be overwhelming, but our expert staff will guide you through the process. From choosing the ideal style for your home to your final inspection, we walk you through the entire process. At GM, our in-house team of installation professionals will ensure the job is done correctly.   We are family-owned and operated and have been in business since 1968. Call us for a Free Estimate – (954) 797-0797. 

Are Hurricane / Impact Windows built to withstand a Category 5 Hurricane?

Impact windows, also known as hurricane windows, are designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, but many other factors come into play when facing a storm. Please note it is advisable to evacuate as directed by local authorities when facing a major hurricane.

Ever since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Miami-Dade County and Broward County have implemented the strictest building codes in the country to deal with threatening storms. Often, you will hear windows identified as Miami-Dade-approved windows. The code requires windows to have a design pressure (DP) rating of at least +/- 60 to protect against a hurricane.  A DP rating measures the strength of a window against winds. Standard residential windows have DP values between 15 and 50. A DP 15 window can withstand winds of roughly 77 mph before shattering, while a DP 50 window can withstand winds up to 173 mph. 

Impact windows and glass impact doors are made with impact-resistant laminated glass consisting of two or more clear panes of glass bonded together with a clear plastic-like film (usually polyvinyl butyral) sandwich between two panes. If cracked or broken, the glass fragments will adhere to the plastic interlayer, preventing water, wind, or debris from entering the home. Impact windows and doors generally have heavier frames than regular residential windows.

It is essential that your replacement windows meet the code requirements for your area’s minimum wind speed, exposure, and structural type. Broward and Miami-Dade Counties are located in a High-Velocity Hurricane Zone.

How hurricane windows are tested

New hurricane impact windows have a sticker that shows the pressure rating and that it have been impact tested. This sticker must remain on the window for the city inspector to give final approval for the job.

Design Pressure Rating / Wind Load  

Building codes require windows to be wind load tested. Wind load rating is the amount of air pressure that can be exerted against the window without causing it to fail. This pressure is measured against the outside of the window (called the positive pressure) and against the inside of the window (the negative pressure). Impact windows are engineered and manufactured to meet a design pressure rating. An independent laboratory tests the window to 150% of the design pressure rating. This is the test pressure rating. The design and test pressure ratings are stated in the pressure per square foot (psf).

Impact Rating

Impact windows are tested to simulate the impact of wind-blown debris during a hurricane. The test involves twice launching a 9-pound, 2×4 piece of lumber at the glass at 50 feet per second, which is considered a “large missile.” To test for “small missiles,” ten 2g steel balls are simultaneously launched at 89mph three separate times.

Hurricane Ratings

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a classification system used to measure and categorize hurricanes based on their wind speed and potential for damage. Understanding this scale is crucial in assessing the severity of a hurricane and determining the necessary evacuation and preparation measures.

Categories of the Saffir-Simpson Scale

The Saffir-Simpson Scale is a classification system that categorizes hurricanes based on their wind speeds and potential for damage. It provides valuable information to help communities prepare and respond to these powerful storms. Let’s explore each category in more detail:

Category 1 Hurricanes

Category 1 hurricanes have wind speeds of 74-95 MPH. While they are considered relatively weak compared to higher categories, they can still pose a threat. These hurricanes have the potential to cause damage to roofs, trees, and power lines. Additionally, storm surge heights typically range between 4-5 feet, which can lead to coastal flooding and erosion.

Category 2 Hurricanes

Category 2 hurricanes have wind speeds of 96-110 MPH. These hurricanes are stronger than Category 1 and can cause more extensive damage. With their increased wind speeds, they have the ability to uproot trees, damage structures, and lead to prolonged power outages. Storm surge heights range between 6-8 feet, posing a significant risk to coastal regions and increasing the potential for flooding.

It is worth noting that categories 1 and 2 are still considered relatively moderate hurricanes. However, their destructive potential should not be underestimated, and appropriate precautions should be taken to ensure the safety of individuals and communities.

Category 3 Hurricanes

Category 3 hurricanes have wind speeds of 111-129 MPH. These hurricanes are classified as major hurricanes and can cause significant damage. With their powerful winds, they have the ability to cause extensive damage to buildings, infrastructure, and vegetation. Storm surge heights can reach 9-12 feet, posing a severe threat to coastal areas and increasing the risk of widespread flooding.

Category 3 hurricanes are often associated with extensive power outages, flooding, and the potential for significant structural damage. As a result, evacuation is typically recommended for individuals in affected areas to ensure their safety and well-being.

Category 4 Hurricanes

Category 4 hurricanes have wind speeds of 130-156 MPH. These hurricanes are considered extremely dangerous and have the potential to cause catastrophic damage. With their intense winds, they can completely destroy buildings, uproot large trees, and lead to widespread power outages. Storm surge heights can exceed 13 feet, posing a major threat to coastal regions and increasing the risk of devastating flooding.

It is crucial to heed evacuation orders for Category 4 hurricanes, as the potential for injury and loss of life is high. These hurricanes can have a long-lasting impact on affected areas and may require significant recovery efforts to rebuild and restore essential services.

Category 5 Hurricanes

Category 5 hurricanes have wind speeds exceeding 157 MPH. These hurricanes are the most severe and have the potential for catastrophic damage. With their extremely powerful winds, they can completely destroy buildings, uproot trees, and cause prolonged power outages. Storm surge heights can reach over 18 feet, posing an extreme threat to coastal areas and increasing the risk of devastating flooding.

When facing a Category 5 hurricane, it is imperative to evacuate immediately. The potential for devastating impacts is high, and individuals should prioritize their safety and follow official guidance. These hurricanes can leave a trail of destruction in their wake, and communities may require extensive support and resources to recover.

Understanding the different categories of hurricanes is essential for preparedness and response efforts. By being aware of the potential impacts associated with each category, individuals and communities can take appropriate measures to protect themselves, mitigate damage, and ensure a swift recovery.

Over the years, the scale has undergone several revisions and refinements to improve its accuracy. Meteorologists and scientists have analyzed data from numerous hurricanes, studying their impact and wind speeds to further enhance the scale’s ability to predict the potential damage caused by these powerful storms.

Home Preparation

There are no guarantees if a major storm hits. Still, if you install impact windows, hurricane-rated entrance doors, an impact-rated garage door, and a new roof attached with hurricane straps, you will ensure your home is always ready if a storm threatens. There are also issues to be concerned about if you are in a flood zone or near the coast where storm surges could cause significant damage.  To qualify for discounts on your homeowner’s policy, every opening on your home must have a hurricane-rated product in place, and you should consider flood insurance.  

GM Door, Window & Screen has the most affordable solutions for your home remodeling project. We specialize in the installation of hurricane-ready / impact windows, sliding doors, and entrance doors. In business since 1968, we have been family-owned and operated. GM takes your vision and works within your budget to provide the perfect finished product. Upgrade and make your home safe from storms with new doors, windows, shutters, and more. Call today for a free estimate (954) 797-0797.  

The Different Types of Impact Windows: A Comprehensive Guide

Impact windows, also known as hurricane windows, play a crucial role in our homes, allowing natural light to filter in and providing views of the outside world. And in South Florida, they can play a critical role in protecting your home in the event of a hurricane. There are various types of impact windows to choose from, each with its unique features and benefits. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the different types of windows available today, helping you decide when selecting windows for your home.

Impact Glass Sliders

Understanding Impact Window Basics

Before delving into the various types of impact windows, it’s essential to understand some window basics. Hurricane windows enhance a home’s aesthetics and affect its energy efficiency and overall functionality. In addition, impact-rated windows can provide protection should a storm threaten and provide added security against intruders. Proper window selection can improve insulation, lower energy costs, give your home a beautiful facelift, and increase comfort. Hurricane or impact windows and doors are made with heavy-duty frames and impact-resistant laminated glass. Broward County, the coast of Palm Beach County, and Miami-Dade County are in a High-Velocity Wind Zone. Impact windows are tested to meet the most stringent building codes in the country. Although the glass may crack when hit by wind-borne debris or an attempted break-in, the window is designed not to fail and compromise your home’s envelope.

Window Materials and Their Properties

When selecting impact windows, it’s essential to consider the materials they are made from and their associated properties. Common window materials include vinyl, wood, aluminum, and fiberglass, but in South Florida’s harsh environment, vinyl and aluminum are your best choices. 

Vinyl windows are known for their durability and low maintenance requirements. They are resistant to rot, corrosion, and fading, making them an excellent choice for homeowners seeking long-lasting, hassle-free windows. Additionally, vinyl windows offer good insulation properties, helping to keep the interior comfortable and energy-efficient.

Aluminum impact windows are also known for their strength, allowing for larger window sizes and expansive views. In addition, aluminum impact widows are very durable and can last 30 years or more with proper care. They are resistant to rust and corrosion, making them ideal for coastal areas or regions with high humidity.

Window Styles

Horizontal Slider Windows

Horizontal Rollers

These windows are straightforward to operate, with the widow sliding open from side to side, similar to a sliding glass door. Large panes of glass provide excellent views and give the home a contemporary, modern look.  

This window type operates by sliding up the lower, operable sash, and the top is a fixed window sash. Another way to put it is that the bottom portion slides up and down while the top remains stationary. Single-hung windows provide a more traditional look to a home. 

Single Hung Window

Single Hung

This window type operates by sliding up the lower, operable sash, and the top is a fixed window sash. Another way to put it is that the bottom portion slides up and down while the top remains stationary. Single-hung windows provide a more traditional look to a home. 

Single Hung

Casement Window

Casement Windows

This type of window opens with hinges at the side and opens outward right or left, typically with a crank handle. Casement windows need regular maintenance as the hinge arm that opens with the window is often subject to binding, getting stuck, or damaged.   Often this is a good slection for a small opening, but need to be able to open the window for ventilation purposes. 

Octagon Fixed Window

Fixed Windows

Fixed windows, or stationary windows, do not open or close. They are designed to let in natural light and offer unobstructed views. This window type is typically used when ventilation is not a primary concern, but aesthetics and natural light are essential. Fixed windows are a popular choice for modern architectural designs.

Picture Window flanked by a pair of Slider Windows

Picture Windows

Picture windows are large, single-pane windows that provide expansive views of the surroundings. They are often used as focal points to showcase scenic views or architectural features. Picture windows are excellent choices for rooms with abundant natural light and scenery.

Transom Window installed over Slider Windows

Transom Windows

Transom windows are windows installed above doors or other windows. They are usually decorative and serve the purpose of allowing additional light into a room. Transom windows can be fixed or operable, depending on the desired functionality.

Double-Hung Windows

Double-hung windows consist of two sashes that slide vertically within a frame. They can be opened from the top or bottom, allowing airflow control. These windows are popular due to their traditional look and easy maintenance. Double-hung windows are not a common choice for homes in South Florida. 

Specialty Windows

Specialty windows are designed to add unique visual appeal and architectural interest to a home. They come in various shapes and styles, allowing homeowners to customize the look of their house.

Impact Glass Door with a pair of Side Light Windows and a Trapezoid Fixed Transom Window.

Side Light Windows

These windows are placed next to entrance doors, allowing natural light to brighten the house’s entrance.   An impact-rated entrance door with obscure glass is another great way to add more natural light to an entryway and can be matched with the side light window.     

Bay and Bow Windows

Bay and bow windows are larger windows that protrude from the exterior wall, creating a dramatic and panoramic view. Bay windows typically consist of a central fixed window flanked by two operable windows, while bow windows are curved and typically consist of four or more windows. These windows not only provide additional interior space but also enhance the aesthetic appeal of a room.

Palladian Windows

Palladian windows are large, arched windows with smaller rectangular windows on each side. These windows are often featured in classical architecture and add a touch of elegance to any home.

With this comprehensive guide to the different types of windows, you can now make an informed decision when selecting windows for your home. With impact windows, you will always be ready should a storm threaten. 

GM – Door, Window, and Screen is a family-owned and operated company that has been doing business in South Florida since 1968. We pride ourselves on providing the best products with experienced in-house craftsmen who will handle your installation. Call us for a free estimate at (954) 797-0797.    

By |2023-11-22T21:59:39+00:00November 22, 2023|Condominium Window Replacement, Hurricane Windows, Impact Windows|

How Condo Associations and HOA’s look at Window and Door Replacement

If you live in a Condominium or have a Home Owner’s Association (HOA), there are usually strict rules about making improvements to the outside of your home or unit.  As hurricane season rolls around each year, you might be looking at replacing your old windows, entrance doors, or sliding glass doors with hurricane-rated products. Here are some guidelines that you should understand before making any home improvements to the exterior of your unit or home, and who might be responsible for payment. These questions always depend on the restrictions outlined in the unit owner’s association’s declaration.   

How do Condo Associations and HOAs look at Window and Door Replacement?

Generally, there are private and shared elements to a condominium or HOA.   It is as if you bought a private home and shared interest in the common spaces. The community’s declaration defines the shared elements, broken down into common elements and limited common elements. A common element is normally defined as all parts of the condominium or community other than the units. A limited common area is a common element that is restricted for the exclusive use of one or more but less than all of the unit owners. Limited common elements may include things directly connected to individual condominiums, such as entrance doors, windows, and balconies.   Maintenance, repair, and replacement of a limited common element in a condominium is usually the association’s responsibility, except to the extent the declaration shifts that duty to the unit owner. In an HOA, the homeowner is almost always responsible for window and door replacement. 

For some condominiums, the condo association may decide to replace all exterior doors, windows, and/or sliding glass doors to maintain a consistent aesthetic of the property. The association would cover the cost and would likely require a vote and an assessment, if needed, to cover the cost.   Having all impact-rated products throughout the building will likely reduce insurance costs and help offset the expense. Again, the unit owner’s association’s declaration will determine if that would be the case. 

Condominium Associations and HOA Approvals for Window and Door Replacement?

If the unit owner is responsible for window or door replacement, they will need written approval to replace their entrance doors, windows, and sliding glass doors. This includes submitting plans and a building permit from your local municipality. Your contractor will help you with this process. In addition, the contractor most likely must be approved by the association to do work on the property. Also, the contractor must adhere to the condominiums or HOA’s rules, such as hours and days in which the work can be performed.   The association will often have regulations about the color and style of entrance doors or windows you may select for replacement. They may also mandate specific products or manufacturers be used for replacement purposes to maintain a consistent look to the community. 

Door Installation by GM Door Window and Screen in Plantation, FL.
Read your Condo or HOA”s declaration carefully to make sure you understand all the rules and get all the needed approvals for your window and door replacements.

What to look for in a contractor to satisfy your Condo Association and HOA?

Many condo associations and HOA’s require that contractors be properly licensed and insured as part of the approval process for architectural review. Often contractors must submit a written proposal describing the scope of work to be performed and work schedule prior to commencement of the work. As applicable, the plans must be certified by a registered architect and/or engineer and must state all work that shall be performed in accordance with the State of Florida in addition to any applicable municipality’s building codes. And the answer is “yes” to the question “Do I need a building permit to replace my windows and exterior doors?” In addition, the association and/or manager must approve all contractors and project submissions.   The contractor will be responsible for removing all construction debris, and deliveries are only permitted during authorized hours. 

You must work with your contractor to read and follow your association’s declaration to ensure the work goes smoothly.  

Call the pros at GM- Door, Window & Screen. We are licensed and insured and have been in business since 1968. Having done thousands of window and door installations over the years, we have already dealt with many condo and homeowner associations. We are well-versed in following all the rules and regulations associated with window and entrance door replacement in condominiums and units within an HOA. Our expert staff will guide you through the process. We have our own in-house team of installation professionals who will ensure the job is done right.   GM- Door, Window & Screen is family-owned and operated. Give us a call for a Free Estimate – (954) 797-0797. 

When should I replace my windows and doors?

Window and Door Replacement by GM Door Window and Screen in Plantation, FL.
New impact windows and doors will add tremendous curb appeal to your home.

In South Florida, windows and doors should last from 10 to 25 years before you start seeing issues.  The life span of windows of doors depends on the materials utilized and the quality of the installation.  Salt air, using inferior products, lack of maintenance, and poor installation can all lower the life expectancy of your windows and doors.  

 You should regularly inspect and maintain your windows and doors, which can extend their life expectancy.   Every six months and more, if you live near the ocean, you should clean your windows, doors, and sliding glass doors.  Maintenance includes cleaning and washing your windows and doors, checking for proper operation, and clearing the tracks of dirt and debris.

Cleaning the window and sliding glass door’s window tracks is especially important to ensure smooth operation.   The first thing you should do is use a vacuum or shop vac to remove the debris.  Next, spray a mild household cleaner and wipe the tracks with a paper towel or old cloth to remove the dirt and grime.  Paper towels tend to fall apart, so we recommend using a cloth for this job, but you can certainly use paper towels.  To get into the corners, you can use an old toothbrush, cotton swab, or wrap the cloth around a butter knife to reach into the corners.  Use a dry cloth to wipe down the tracks till they are completely dry.  As a final step, you can lubricate the track.  Petroleum-based lubricants attack dirt, so we recommend using a spray silicone lubricant.  Spray down the track two or three times and exercise the door to make sure everything runs smoothly. 

Exterior door failures are most likely caused by wear and tear in addition to weather damage, or the door becomes out of plumb from the house settling.   High humidity will cause wooden doors to swell and stick.  It is essential to direct water away from the door.  Door gaskets should be replaced every 5 to 8 years.   Fiberglass, steel, and solid core wood door can last the lifetime of your home if properly maintained.  However, in storm-prone South Florida, you should have an impact-rated entry door, also known as a hurricane-rated door, that has been installed correctly in the event of a hurricane.      

It would be best if you regularly inspect your windows and doors for water and outside air intrusion during your cleaning.  You can sometimes repair small leaks in your windows by removing the old caulk and re-caulking with a silicone caulk designed for windows and doors.   However, if you have significant air and water intrusion or your windows and doors no longer operate properly, have major rotting, it is time to look at getting them replaced.  The window or door was most likely not correctly installed, leading to its failure. 

When it comes time to look at replacement options, it only makes sense to look at impact-rated products in storm-prone South Florida.  If you have impact-rated windows and doors, you are always prepared in the event of a storm.  Plus, nothing gives your home a new facelift like new windows and doors.  You also might be able to save money on your homeowner’s insurance if you have installed all impact-rated windows and doors.  New windows and doors have a great return on investment that will pay off when you sell your home.  Prospective buyers come to expect impact windows and doors when looking for a new home. 

GM Door, Window & Screen is a family-owned and operated business.  GM has been servicing South Florida since 1968.  Call us for a free estimate at (954) 797-0797.      

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