A very frequent question that we get from clients is "will my windows withstand a category 5 hurricane?". There is a couple of things that we need to clear up in order to help you better understand the role impact windows and doors play in protecting your home and family. We do want to bring to your attention that if you are living in Florida you are living in a state with one of the strictest if not the strictest building codes in our country, and if you are working with a licensed contractor and are pulling permits for your job you can rest assured that you will be protected as much as humanely possible. With that being said mother nature is un predictable and it is impossible to predict the environment in your particular home during a category 5 hurricane, Impact windows are designed to be hurricane resistant not hurricane proof, and I advise you to be wiry of anyone that tries to lead you on otherwise.
Something that is not understood by the general public is that Impact windows and doors are not tested through wind speeds rather through pressures. It is put through various test where the window is tested to withstand up to 1.5 times more than its targeted design pressure, it is tested to withstand negative and positive pressures as well as cyclical pressures that resemble a real life situation. It is also put through an impact test where a large missile debris impacts the windows glass, and then is put through thousands of cyclical positive and negative pressures, the window must maintain its integrity in order to pass. What I'am trying to get at is the test that Impact windows are put through are not black and white, how much wind speed it can resist and you will not see wind speed in the products label or NOA rather its design pressure. In order to convert the design pressure into wind speed you will need to ask someone smarter than me, perhaps a civil engineer. From my experience from talking with our engineer's and pulling permits I know that our windows can handle wind speed's from 160-180 mph, being that our windows PSF are +65/-65 - +80/-80. A category 5 hurricane has sustained winds from 157 mph and higher.
With all this being said hopefully you have a better understanding of how impact windows are tested and what they can do for your homes security. Impact windows require very strict guidelines from the manufacturing process to the installation process and are very detailed and complex products, therefore you should only use licensed professionals that can do the job well done from the beginning. If you need help with anything window and door related don't hesitate to contact us or call us at 305-553-0229, we are here to help!!