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.