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Impact & Hurricane Windows FAQ

  • What is an impact window?
    Impact windows are windows designed to resist impact and violent wind speeds. Impact windows are typically two or three glass panels laminated together with a PVB interlayer within an aluminum or vinyl frame.
  • Can impact windows protect against tornadoes and hurricanes?
    Yes, impact windows are tested to resist wind speed and pressures that are superior to category 5 hurricanes. Keep in mind that the most vulnerable structural components of your home are your window and door openings. The majority of damage comes from a breach from one of those openings, which can result in the worst-case scenario of a roof being blown off.
  • What's the difference between impact windows and hurricane windows?
    There is no difference between impact windows and hurricane windows. Here in South Florida, impact windows are at times marketed as hurricane windows to have a greater appeal, but they are essentially the same thing.
  • Do impact windows reduce insurance fees?
    Most insurances offer rebates for impact window and doors, but you should check with your provider.
  • What category of hurricane can impact windows withstand?
    Impact windows are tested to withstand specific design pressures. For example, at the base thickness of 5/16", windows usually have a design pressure of +65/-65, which translates to 161 mph. Based on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale (a scale used to categorize hurricanes), a category 5 hurricane has wind speeds of 157 MPH or higher, which means the window is rated to withstand a category 5 hurricane.
  • Should you board up impact windows for a hurricane?
    It is not necessary to board up impact windows for a hurricane.
  • Do impact windows cost more than regular windows?
    Yes, but the added security and protection can help you avoid unnecessary costs from property damage or burglary.
  • Do impact windows raise the value of a house?
    Here in South Florida, they most definitely do. Speaking anecdotally based on our conversations with customers and real estate investors, impact windows are the best bang for your buck to raise your home's value.
  • Do impact windows protect against burglars?
    Impact windows make it more challenging to break into a home and make it almost impossible to break in unnoticed. The double-pane glass and PVB interlayer make it extremely difficult to trespass and practically impossible to shatter. By the time they can breach into your home, you or a neighbor will likely have heard them banging against the glass. More often, they just give up. Impact windows are not a replacement for burglary alarms or any type of home security, but they can add another layer of protection.
  • How can I tell if my windows are approved by my city/county?
    All products need to have a NOA (Notice of Acceptance) that certifies that the product has gone through the rigorous testing set forth by the State of Florida or Miami-Dade County. If the product isn't registered or doesn't have a NOA, the product is not approved.
  • What is egress?
    Egress requirements indicate how big the window's opening must be to comply with the Florida Building Codem, which ensure it works as an emergency exit from a bedroom if the door is blocked or unsafe.
  • What is design pressure?
    The design pressure rating represents the fenestration performance of a window or door, including the max positive and negative windload that a window or door can withstand, the higher the rating the more resistant it is to wind, and other pressures. The Florida Building Code requires different windloads depending on the zone that you are in.
  • What is Low-E?
    Low-E glass was created to minimize the amount of infrared and ultraviolet light that comes through your glass, without minimizing the amount of light that enters your home. It is a thin film that goes on the inside of the exterior pane. It works by keeping infared light out without affecting the visible transmittance and allowing your home to stay cooler hence making your home more energy efficient.
  • What is the difference between impact windows and regular glass?
    The biggest difference between Impact and regular glass is that Impact glass does not shatter like regular glass, it does crack when struck forcefully but wither it be a large debris object or someone with a hammer it does not trespass through the glass. This is due to the fact that impact glass is basically two panes of glass sandwiched tohgether with a thin,strong interlayer. Impact glass also has energy efficiency capabilities in comparison to its regular counterpart.
  • Is it more cost effective to replace all my windows at once?
    It is more cost-effective to install windows in your whole home at once, mainly because if you split your installations up, you will be paying more for permits, shop drawings, and calculations. We offer payment plans that customers can take advantage of to reduce costs. We offer no down payment and no interest if paid in 12 months, as well as other plans.
  • What type of financing do you offer?
    The financing process is quick and simple and you get an answer right away. We have two styles of financing: we offer the PACE program where the loan is based on the applicants home equity, and is not connected to the homeowner rather the property itself; or a traditional financing option based on the client's credit. We offer a 12 month deferred payment plan with no down payment or interest if paid in a 12 month window as well, as a 7 year fixed rate plan at 9.99% interest. For more info visit our financing page.
  • Does Alcon offer a warranty?
    Yes, we offer a 1-year warranty on stress cracks and hardware malfunctions as well as a 4-year guarantee that covers leaks on OUR installations (not DIY or third-party installers).
  • Can I install impact/hurricane windows myself?
    While you may be able to install impact or hurricane windows yourself if you have the necessary expertise and equipment, you should have an expert handle this for you. You don't want to be in the middle of a Cat 5 when you discover you made a mistake. At Alcon, we also warranty our windows if we perform the installation for you.
  • Can impact windows withstand Cat 5 hurricanes?
    Impact windows are designed and tested to withstand hurricane-force windows and high speed impacts from debris. This doesn't mean that impact windows will never break under real world conditions. but they are more likely to survive Category 5 hurricanes than any other type of window available.
  • What are the cons of impact windows?
    Impact windows have many advantages over other types of windows, but with that comes a a higher price tag, which are their only real downside. Despite the higher price, we believe they pay for themselves by protecting your property and potentially reducing your heating/cooling bills.
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