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.