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.  

Hurricane Preparedness Guide

Before the Hurricane

Preparation is critical when it comes to hurricanes. Before hurricane season, securing one’s home, creating a disaster plan, and assembling a disaster supplies kit will help minimize potential risks and ensure a smoother recovery process.

Preparing Your Home

With Impact Windows and Doors you are always ready if a storm threatens.

Securing your home before a hurricane is even a threat can lessen the stress should a storm ever approach.   Most often, your home is your largest asset, so it needs to be protected. One of the best things you can do is replace your old windows and doors with hurricane-rated products. This way, your home is always ready when a storm threatens. Having impact-rated windows and impact doors already installed avoids scrambling to put up plywood or hanging hurricane shutters. Furthermore, since hurricanes hit during the summer months, your home is already protected even if you are away on vacation. In addition, before hurricane season, you should look to get your trees trimmed. It is also essential to familiarize yourself with the location of shut-off valves for your water and gas lines. If you have a generator, you should test it before hurricane season and once a month during season to ensure it is operational. 

Creating a Disaster Plan

Every household should have a well-thought-out disaster plan in place prior to hurricane season. This plan should include designated meeting places, evacuation routes, and clear communication channels. It is crucial to discuss the plan with all family members and ensure everyone is aware of their responsibilities and what to do in an emergency.

Assembling a Disaster Supplies Kit

A disaster supplies kit is an essential component of hurricane preparedness. This kit should include enough non-perishable food, water, and medication to last each household member for at least three days. Other important items to include are flashlights, batteries, a first aid kit, important documents, and cash. It is crucial to regularly check and update the supplies kit as necessary.

During the Hurricane

Safety Measures to Follow

Staying indoors during a hurricane is the safest course of action. It is important to seek shelter in a designated safe area away from windows and exterior walls. It is also advisable to have necessary supplies, such as a battery-operated radio and food, easily accessible. If evacuation is needed, follow the instructions provided by local authorities and evacuate promptly. Under no circumstances should individuals venture out into floodwaters, as they may be deeper than you think or have strong currents.

Communicating During a Hurricane

Establishing means of communication during a hurricane is crucial, as it allows individuals to stay informed and connect with loved ones. A battery-operated radio provides access to important weather updates and emergency information. Additionally, having a charged mobile phone and alternative charging methods is essential. However, using phone calls and texts sparingly is important to preserve battery life and facilitate communication in emergencies.

After the Hurricane

Once the hurricane has passed, assessing the damage and taking necessary steps to return home safely and cope with the aftermath is important.

Assessing the Damage

After a hurricane, it is crucial to carefully assess the damage to your home and property. However, ensuring safety is a priority, and do not enter or move near any damaged structures until it has been deemed safe. Take photographs of any damages to help with insurance claims and contact the relevant authorities to report any hazards or damages in your area.

Returning Home Safely

Returning home after a hurricane requires caution and careful consideration. Ensure that the area has been deemed safe and that roads and infrastructure have been cleared for travel. Be prepared for potential service disruptions and take necessary precautions to ensure your safety, such as wearing suitable protective gear when cleaning up debris and being mindful of potential hazards.

Coping with the Aftermath

The aftermath of a hurricane can be emotionally challenging for individuals and communities. It is important to seek support from loved ones and local resources. Additionally, be aware of the possibility of post-storm hazards, such as contaminated water and mold, and take necessary steps to mitigate health risks.

GM Door, Window & Screen has the most affordable solutions using the best products available to protect your home from hurricanes. GM specializes in the installation of hurricane-ready / impact windows, sliding doors, and entrance doors. In business since 1968, we are family-owned and operated. Upgrade and make your home safe from storms. Call today for a free estimate at (954) 797-0797.  

Impact Windows and Doors Frequently Asked Questions

What are Impact, also known as Hurricane, Windows and Doors?

Impact windows and Impact Doors are products tested for wind code requirements and impact for residential and commercial structures.   One of the most stringent testing requirements is referenced in the High-Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ) section of the Florida Building Code, which applies to Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. Wind load is the pressure that can be exerted without causing failure.   An independent laboratory tests the product to 150% of the design pressure rating. There is also testing for wind-borne debris striking an impact-rated window or door during a hurricane. This is done by firing a wooden 2×4 weighing 9 pounds out of an air cannon at an impact window. The 2X4 travels 50 feet per second to see if the window or door fails. 

How do Impact Windows and Doors save me on my homeowner’s insurance rates?

To qualify for insurance discounts on the wind coverage portion of your policy, your insurance company will request a wind mitigation inspection. All home openings must be enclosed with a hurricane-rated product, including all windows, exterior doors, and even your garage doors. This can result in substantial savings.  

What are some added benefits of installing Impact Windows and Doors?

Security – Impact windows and doors are virtually impenetrable. Breaking a window or kicking in a door and almost always how thieves gain access to your home.   Impact windows and doors are virtually unbreakable. Thieves will move on to easier targets if you have impact windows or doors. 

Sound Protection – Though not soundproof, adding impact windows and doors will greatly reduce the amount of exterior noise entering your home. 

UV Protection – Tints are often added to the windows to provide better UV protection from the sun’s damaging light, providing protection from fading for expensive furniture, artwork, and floors.

Are Impact Windows and Doors worth the cost?

In South Florida, as far as home remodeling projects go, replacing your windows has one of the best returns on investment of any home remodeling project, consistently ranking in the top 10 for ROI. Next, if you ever decide to sell your home, new windows will shorten the time it will sit on the market. Also, water leaks from old windows can cause significant damage and mold. Furthermore, old windows can leak air, causing your AC to work overtime and significantly increasing your utility bill. Old windows readily allow UV light to enter your home, which will prematurely fade furniture, artwork, and other prized possessions.

There are many variables when it comes to pricing the replacement cost of windows and doors. It is best to meet with a professional to review your options to see the best option for your needs and budget.  

When it comes time to replace my windows are hurricane windows required? 

If you are looking to replace your windows and live within one mile of the coast, Florida Building Code requires you to do the replacement with impact windows or provide hurricane protection such as hurricane shutters.   If you are doing window replacement that involves less than 25 percent of the glazing on your home, you are not required to have impact windows or shutters for the replacement.   It is best to check with your local municipality and HOA, as applicable, regarding the requirements for your community.   All of Broward County, Miami-Dade County, and the Coastline of Palm Beach County are located in what is designated as a high-velocity wind zone. Given that designation, these areas have some of the most stringent building requirements in the country regarding storm protection. It only makes sense when doing window replacement to do so with hurricane-rated products. That way, you are always ready in the event a storm threatens.  

Do I need a permit to replace my windows and exterior doors?

Just as important as purchasing quality impact windows and doors is to ensure they are properly installed. One of the first questions we get is – “Do we need a permit from the city?” And the answer is yes. Our expert team will guide you seamlessly through the process. An inspection ensures the impact windows and doors you select meet local building code requirements for both impact resistance against flying debris and meet the specified wind load requirements. The inspector will also confirm the windows and doors are installed according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Improperly installed windows and doors are subject to failure when you need them most, or just as bad a small leak from a poorly installed window or door can, over time, cause tremendous damage to the structure. Be cautious of companies that use subcontractors or use a handyman to do your installation.

How do impact windows work?

Impact windows are laminated glass consisting of two or more clear panes of glass bonded together with a clear plastic-like film (usually polyvinyl butyral) sandwich between the two. The inner filling can be ordered in various color tints to help reduce UV damage. If cracked or broken, the glass fragments will adhere to the plastic interlayer preventing water, wind, or debris from entering the home. Impact windows generally have heavier frames than regular residential windows.

What should I look for when it comes time to replace my front door?

In South Florida, you should replace your exterior doors with an impact-rated door, which will provide a number of added benefits. Your entry door is the first impression when people come to visit; it should be as beautiful as it is strong. A new impact door that is hurricane ready will provide you with peace of mind in storm-prone South Florida. Plus, there is an additional level of security when you have an impact-resistant entry, side, or garage door. Kicking in a door is one of the main ways thieves use to gain access to a home. Thieves know impact-resistant doors are so difficult to breach that they will opt to move on and choose an easier target.

How long does it take to have impact windows and doors installed?

If you plan to replace your old leaky windows and doors with hurricane-impact windows these days, you need to plan ahead. In the past, you could expect to have your windows installed in 4 to 8 weeks once the contract has been signed and the deposit received, but those lead times can now be 16 to 20 weeks depending on the product you select. Supply chain issues have affected many parts of our everyday lives, which is also true for windows and doors, so it is vital to act quickly. New windows and doors are part of a complex environment of raw materials, components, manufacturing, and labor that all come together to form the end product. Glass, resin, and vinyl are all in short supply due to hurricanes impacting chemical plants and refineries along the gulf coast. In addition, the slowdown of foreign supply lines that provide some of the raw materials needed to produce windows has also contributed to delays. This, coupled with strong demand and labor shortages, prevent the plants from operating at full capacity. Replacement windows are custom manufactured and ordered for the exact specification of your home, so it is not possible to buy a prefabricated product for installation off the shelf. Since product delays impact all window companies, you should deal with a company that has been in business for a long while, has roots in the community, and has expert installation.

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 craftsmen to handle your installation, and we will work within your budget. Call us for a free estimate at (954) 797-0797.

Reducing the cost of your Homeowner’s Insurance in South Florida

Impact Windows by GM Door Window and Screen in Plantation, FL.
Impact windows and doors can help you mitigate the high cost of home insurance. improvements that mitigate potential storm damage to your home are one of the best ways to reduce your homeowner’s insurance cost. In 2022 the cost of homeowner’s insurance has gone up dramatically. The average price for homeowner’s insurance for a $300,000 home is $9,700 in Broward County, $11,400 in Miami-Dade, and $8,600 in Palm Beach County.   Adding impact windows, and doors, including your garage door, will help you reduce your insurance cost. It should be noted to receive those discounts, all exterior openings on the home must be protected with impact-rated products.  

Aside from reducing your insurance cost by making these upgrades, you will benefit from energy savings, added security, and a reduction in outside noise. Adding impact products to your home will also benefit you when it comes time to sell your property.   You can ask for top dollar, and your home will spend a shorter time on the market once these improvements are completed.   Finally, adding new windows and doors can significantly improve your home’s curb appeal.

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 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 installation, we walk you through the entire process. At GM, we have our in-house team of installation professionals who will ensure the job is done correctly.   We are family-owned and operated and have been in business since 1968. Give us a call for a Free Estimate – (954) 797-0797. 

By |2023-02-10T17:45:00+00:00August 8, 2022|Door Category, Homeowner Insurance Savings, Impact Windows|
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