For those living in South Florida, on the islands or anywhere along the coast in the U.S., hurricane-proof glass may make the difference between an intact home and total destruction. In this guide, we’ll tell you all you need to know about what impact glass is, the benefits it provides and how to install it in your home. 

What is hurricane-proof glass?

Hurricane-proof glass, also known as impact glass, consists of glass panels installed in windows and doors that are manufactured to withstand winds of at least 175 miles per hour and have successfully passed projectile tests for impact. Impact windows and doors are placed in heavy-duty frames made of aluminum, vinyl, or other strong materials. 

The panes are sealed together with a special sealant similar to how windshields are constructed. At Ocean Impact, our products are missile tested and can withstand hurricane-force winds of up to 200 mph. After Hurricane Andrew in 1992, many local building codes in South Florida were updated to require impact glass in new construction. 

How safe is hurricane glass?

Impact windows and doors are a mandatory part of the Miami-Dade building code for a simple reason: these products are built to last. Impact glass is a no-brainer for South Floridians because it keeps your home safe in a few simple ways:

  • Impact glass is shatter-resistant, meaning that even if your window or door is struck by flying debris in a storm, the windows won’t blow in due to shattered glass. Even if the glass does crack, your home will be protected from the outside elements. 
  • More importantly, the shatter-resistant glass protects against sudden pressure changes when a window fails during a storm. These changes in pressure are catastrophic, causing walls to collapse and may even blow the roof off so protecting the integrity of the window is critical during a storm.

safe windows

Other benefits of impact windows and doors

While storm protection is critical during South Florida’s busy hurricane season, impact windows offer several other benefits year-round. For one, the heavy-duty glass and frames help protect against forced entry from would-be burglars. Furthermore, they also offer noise reduction, UV protection and improved insulation, which can save money on energy bills. Impact windows can often mean an increased home value and significant savings on homeowners’ insurance policies and local taxes. 

How to buy hurricane impact windows

Replacing windows with hurricane impact windows depends on several factors, including the number of windows or doors, window/door size, and materials used. While they may cost more upfront than traditional windows, impact windows pay for themselves by preventing extensive damage to your home. Impact windows will last for approximately 20-25 years, so it’s extremely valuable to schedule a free in-home consultation. When shopping for impact windows, look for features such as heat-reducing tints, and low-emissivity (low-E) choices. Also, check your local building code to make sure your choice meets the design pressure (DP) rating of the building code. 

DP testing consists of three parts to ensure impact glass will hold up during dangerous storms:

  • Air pressure testing simulated to measure the pressure on the windows or doors
  • Water penetration testing to measure the percentage of water pressure kept out
  • Structural testing of the glass and frame of the window or door. A stronger frame can help boost the rating in this area.

Impact windows and doors are required for many areas around Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, especially coastal or low-lying areas. If you’re considering installing impact doors and windows, contact us. We’ll provide a free consultation about our products, as well as financing options and rebates.