Impact Windows Questions and Answers

If I install hurricane impact-resistant windows and doors in my house, does this make me eligible for insurance premium discounts

Correct. The Citizens Property Insurance Corporation assigns discounts for impact-resistant windows and doors, provided that all of the home’s openings are protected. Policyholders with questions concerning mitigation should contact their insurance agents to ensure that proper credit is being received for strengthening the home. According to an article published on Citizen’s website, premium discounts of up to 45% can be available to those policyholders who show proof of risk mitigation alternatives. You can access additional information at the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation website. Florida statute 627.0629 (regarding residential property insurance) requires all insurance companies, providing homeowner’s insurance to Florida residents, to offer some type of discount for dwellings equipped with an effective windstorm protective system. The first paragraph of the statute reads: Effective June 1, 2002, a rate filing for residential property insurance must include actuarially reasonable discounts, credits, or other rate differentials, or appropriate reductions in deductibles, for properties on which fixtures or construction techniques damonstrated to reduce the amount of loss in a windstorm have been installed or implemented. The fixtures or construction techniques shall include, but not be limited to, fixtures or construction techniques which enhance roof strength, roof covering performance, roof-to-wall strength, wall-to-floor-to-foundation strength, opening protection, and window, door, and skylight strength. Credits, discounts, or other rate differentials for fixtures and construction techniques which meet the minimum requirements of the Florida Building Code must be included in the rate filing. All insurance companies must make a rate filing which includes the credits, discounts, or other rate differentials by February 28, 2003. By July 1, 2007, the office shall re-evaluate the discounts, credits, other rate differentials, and appropriate reductions in deductibles for fixtures and construction techniques that meet the minimum requirements of the Florida Building Code, based upon actual experience or any other loss relativity studies available to the office. The office shall determine the discounts, credits, other rate differentials, and appropriate reductions in deductibles that reflect the full actuarial value of such revaluation, which may be used by insurers in rate filings.

How does a a standard-glass (single glazed) from a hurricane impact-resistant window in terms of assembly?

The key design characteristics of impact windows and doors: shatter-resistant glass secured to a heavy duty aluminum frame. Impact-resistant glazing is comprised of two layers of annealed or tempered glass that is bonded to an intermediate layer of a shatter-proof membrane composed of Polyvinyl Butyral (PVB), a plastic film that varies between .015 to .090 inches in thickness (this varies depending on the required design pressures). Should the outer glass break, the shattered pieces will adhere to the PVB film. Standard-glass windows are made of standard float glass that when broken, will fracture in large sharp pieces.

Do hurricane windows and doors come in different glass colors?

Yes, hurricane windows and doors come in a variety of color tints, such as gray, bronze, blue and green. Gray, bronze and green colors carry an approximate 5% premium, while blue is often more expensive.

Why are high-impact windows (or any other impact protection systems) so important in maintaining the structural integrity of the roof of a property?

Windows and doors play a crucial role in upholding a structure’s building envelope. A broken window can act as a trigger for massive destruction of a structure during sustained hurricane forces. As high-speed winds enter a home, a substantial difference in inside/outside air pressure is created. As a result, the structure is likely to lose its roof. When a structure loses a window, allowing a point of entry for wind, massive destruction will ensue.

How can I be sure that the hurricane impact front doors or windows I am purchasing are impact-resistant products?

Before window or door system can be impact-resistant certified, the products must first meet the American Society for Testing and Materials’ (ASTM) testing standards. The Florida Building Code has been updated to include more rigorous requirements, due to the increase in hurricane frequency and strength in recent years. These changes reflect the lessons learned from weather-related disasters: e.g. all exterior structure openings must be protected against wind-borne debris. Storm shutters and/or impact-resistant windows and doors are necessary to secure this standard of protection. Inquire to your window dealer, requesting a copy of the Notice of Acceptance (NOA) issued by Dade County. This document provides a wide range of information on a given product, including dimensions, parts, materials, accessories and installation guidelines. It is the NOA that certifies a product as “impact-resistant” and provides a label on the product that will denote how long the certification will last. You may also download a copy of the NOA from the Miami-Dade county website.

What is the difference between small missile and large missile impact products?

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What are wind load calculations?

Wind load refers to the application of wind pressure on a structure and its components (garage doors, entry doors and windows). Wind-load pressures are measured by pound per square foot (psf) and are displayed in positive and negative numbers because wind pressures are acting both toward and away from a building surface. When the forces act toward the structure, they are categorized as positive pressures, and when wind pressures act away from the structure, they are labeled as negative pressures. Impact-resistant windows and doors are tested for both pressures, negative and positive. The NOA shows detailed wind-load pressures for each window dimension that passed the test. Wind-load calculations refer to both negative and positive pressures that structural engineers will calculate for us in order to cost-efficiently design a glazing solution for a specific property or structure. Without the wind load calculations, we don’t know with certainty if the window meets the potential wind forces during a hurricane.

Do garage doors have to be tested for impact-resistant compliance?

Yes, garage doors typically account for the largest opening in a building and are a critical component to the structural integrity of the building’s envelope

How long does it take to get a permit?

The turn-around time varies between municipalities. Once we submit the necessary paperwork, it takes us about 1 to 2 weeks to obtain a building permit approval. At times, the process can take longer if permit reviewers have comments about a drastic change in style between the existing windows and the proposed new windows. Each municipality has its own turn-around time and its specific workflow process.

Why shouldn't I buy standard size windows and doors?

Installing standard-size doors and replacement windows for homes may require additional stucco work to the exterior-and drywall or other materials to the interior-all of which can give your home a major “patched-up” appearance. When it comes to storm windows replacement, most manufacturers will not charge you “extra” for custom sizing. Custom-manufactured windows and doors are the best value in the long run because installation is faster and little or no “cosmetic” work to the inside or outside of your home is required. Moreover, an exact fit means better waterproofing and better thermal performance which result in lower energy bills. We order custom-manufactured windows and doors to fit your home perfectly, making your home more energy efficient and helping to curb fuel bills. They also allow you to “custom design” your windows and doors. There are several options for storm windows replacement available to you that affect appearance, performance and functionality.

Do replacement windows and doors really pay for themselves?

Yes, replacement windows for homes do really pay for themselves – if you select high-quality, energy-efficient windows and doors. Savings will vary, but well engineered and built impact windows and doors effectively lower home energy consumption. These energy and maintenance savings will allow you to recoup your window and door investment over time. Please feel free to contact our team of skilled specialists if you have any further questions regarding storm windows replacement.

What makes window or doors energy efficient?

Numerous factors, including how the frame and sashes are engineered and built, type of impact glass used (single-, double- or triple-pane), weather stripping, type of low-emissivity coating on the impact glass and the presence of argon or krypton gas.

I am a first-time homeowner and need to purchase windows for my house. What are the characteristics that I should look for to differentiate one window contractor from another?

The answer to this question is complex, but it is a very important question. There are key categories to consider when purchasing new windows and doors from a contractor: Price versus quality and service: Price always comes to the top of any list when comparing any two items or services. Deciding between window contractors is no exception. However, you must be careful since you get what you pay for. What at first seems inexpensive can quickly become costly and lead to a very stressful situation. Typically, companies charging less, take significant shortcuts in order to deliver on their promises, if at all. Window installation requires particular techniques and labor training, some window companies save on labor expenses by hiring untrained installers. Appearance and function: The majority of the manufacturers have impact-resistant windows and doors made out of aluminum framing offering somewhat the same product styles, such as single-hung, horizontal rollers and casement windows. However, not all of the windows are made equal. Look for the finished quality of the paint and the silicone used to seal the joints. Also, look for consistency in the way the window is assembled. It is very important that you see and operate the offered product before signing any contracts. Service: Once your windows are installed, it is important to know how reliable the manufacturer’s service department is. If for any reason something happens to your windows in the future, you want to know that the manufacturer will stand behind the service that was provided initially.

What is A Practical Approach to STC and OITC Ratings Sound Transmission Class (STC)?

Simple Definition: For STC ratings, a higher number is better. A higher number correlates to less sound passing through the window assembly. The STC rating is based on frequencies of speech and is most applicable to interior office environments where vocal noise is of importance. Technical Definition: A single-number rating calculated in accordance with ASTM E 413 using sound transmission loss values. It provides an estimate of the sound insulation performance of an interior partition in certain common sound insulation problems. The frequency range used is typical of indoor office noises. What the Numbers Mean: A generic single pane window will receive an STC Rating of around 25. PGT impact windows are rated between 25 and 38. The chart below shows the perceptible difference as the STC ratings increase or decrease. *For further information go to www.stcratings.com Outdoor-Indoor Transmission Class (OITC) Simple Definition: For OITC ratings, a higher number is better. A higher number correlates to less sound passing through the window assembly. The OITC rating is based on frequencies of traffic noises and is most applicable to exterior windows, where traffic and airplane noise is of importance. Technical Definition: A single-number rating calculated in accordance with ASTM E 1322, using values of outdoor-indoor transmission loss. It provides an estimate of the sound insulation performance of a façade or building elements. The frequency range used is typical of outdoor traffic noises. What the Numbers Mean: A generic single pane window will receive an OITC rating of around 18. PGT impact windows are rated between 22 and 32. The chart above, although specifically used for STC, can be used in principal to depict that perceived noise will considerably decrease by moving toward a higher OITC rating.