Impact-Resistant Glass Windows: How They Work and Why You Need Them

Impact resistant windows are made to withstand high winds and more. Discover how they can protect you, your home and your family.
Impact-Resistant Glass Windows: How They Work and Why You Need Them

7 reasons why you should install impact resistant windows in your home or business

If you live in a coastal, hurricane-prone area, you need impact resistant windows to protect your family and your home. Debris propelled by hurricane-force winds and severe thunderstorms is the greatest threat to a building during a high-wind event. It can destroy windows, cause significant wind, water and debris damage to your property and lead to injury or death.

Designed and made to withstand winds up to 170 mph.

Impact resistant windows, also known as hurricane windows, are designed and made to withstand high winds (up to 170 mph) and resist shattering when struck. They’re engineered with laminated glass and held in place by layers of durable material that stays intact after impact, protecting against extreme wind and flying debris. Even when the glass is damaged, impact resistant windows remain secured in their frames.

In addition to protecting against property damage and bodily harm, impact resistant windows boost home security, generate energy savings, eliminate the need for storm shutters and increase the beauty and value of your home, among other benefits.

What Are Impact Resistant Windows? How Do They Work?

Impact resistant windows are constructed with impact-resistant glass. A strong polymer layer located between two panes of glass reinforces the glass and holds it together even if it shatters. The glass is surrounded by a heavy duty frame that is securely fastened to the window frame.

Impact-Resistant Glass

Impact resistant windows are made of tempered and laminated glass.

Tempered Glass

Tempered glass is heat-treated, so when it cools the surface and edges of the glass become compressed, making it three to five times stronger than annealed glass. This type of glass is an impact-resistant, storm-safe option because of its added strength and because when it does shatter, it breaks in a spider web pattern and into small pebbles without sharp edges or shards, reducing the chance of injury from flinging glass or during clean-up.

Laminated / PVB Glass

Laminated glass is made by joining two or more panes of glass with a thin but exceptionally strong layer or membrane of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) in between that is designed to catch shattered glass.

When debris impacts the glass, the outer pane may crack or shatter, but the inner layer holds the pieces together, and the barrier between the exterior and the interior of the building isn’t penetrated. Standard glass windows typically are made out of traditional float glass that breaks into large, sharp shards upon impact.

Some laminated windows are made with sentry glass plus (SGP) technology. SGP involves interlayers that are five times stronger and significantly stiffer than the laminate material used in PVB construction.

The result is a window that protects against extreme wind and debris impact.

In addition, the material used to make SGP impact windows is clearer than the inner membrane of PVB, which tends to be cloudier, especially after extended wear and tear. As a result, SGP windows maintain their ultra-clear qualities even after years of service, making them more suitable for larger windows and commercial applications.

Heavy Duty Framing

Even the strongest glass is only as good as the framing that holds it in place. If hurricane-force winds or high-impact forces knock the glass out of its frame, rain, wind, and debris can enter the building and cause property damage and bodily harm.

In extreme cases, the entire window could be pushed through, letting the storm into your home. Impact window frames are thicker than standard frames and are made of sturdy materials such as aluminum and vinyl. Furthermore, the glass is treated with a silicone glazing process that keeps it from separating from its frame.

Impact Resistant Windows

Why Do You Need Impact Resistant Windows?

It’s a no brainer: If you live in a hurricane-prone area, you need impact resistant windows. Yet, these windows do more than protect your home against winds and debris. Following are seven benefits of having impact resistant windows in your home or business.

1. Protection Against Extreme Weather Events

Homeowners and merchants in hurricane-prone areas usually board up their windows with plywood or install storm shutters to protect their property against strong winds, rain and debris during hurricane season. By replacing standard or traditional windows with impact-resistant windows, you can protect your property (and your life) during extreme weather events without any preparation (no boards, no tape, etc.). Once the windows are installed, you’re protected.

2. Protection Against Intruders

Impact resistant windows boost the security and safety of your home, deterring home invasions and keeping you and your property safe. Impact resistant windows can prevent the most common method of home entry that burglars use: breaking windows. This method allows a burglar to break into a house or business in less than a minute. Breaking through impact resistant windows is more difficult and tedious than most intruders anticipate, hindering home invaders’ ability to break in quickly and quietly and increasing their chances of getting caught.

3. Protection Against Accidents and Vandalism

Impact resistant windows also protect your home from accidents (such as a flying baseball) and vandalism (such as bricks or rocks), preventing them from going through the window and damaging property or hurting someone inside.

4. Energy Savings

Impact resistant windows stabilize indoor temperatures. Many impact resistant windows have a coating that filters out most UV rays, reducing heat caused by sunlight. Vinyl-framed impact windows also provide a tight seal, preventing unwanted outside temperatures and contaminants from infiltrating house.

5. Noise Reduction

Impact resistant windows absorb and block outside noise, reducing common disturbances and making your home more peaceful and comfortable.

6. Lower Home Insurance Premiums

Homeowners insurance in hurricane-prone areas like can be among the most expensive in the U.S. In Florida, for example, legislation passed in 2002 (Fla. Stat. Ann. § 627.0629) requires insurers to offer homeowners discounts on their insurance premiums when they install features that reduce damage and loss from wind storms.

7. Good Investment

Impact resistant windows are a good investment. Besides the protection, safety, security, peace of mind and energy savings they provide, impact windows increase the value of your home.

A Word About Certifications

How can you be sure you’re purchasing impact-resistant windows for your home or business? To qualify as impact-resistant, windows must meet the following criteria:

1. Compliance with local construction codes.

2. Certificate of impact resistance issued by an independent laboratory.

3. Proper installation.

Air Master Windows and Doors is the only manufacturer in Puerto Rico with Florida’s Miami-Dade County Notice of Acceptance (NOA) Certification against impact and air infiltration. Our windows can sustain the toughest wind-borne debris standard in the world and winds speeds of category 5 hurricanes.

Are you ready for the upcoming hurricane season? To learn more about Air Master Windows and Doors impact-resistant windows, schedule a free inspection of your windows or get an estimate for your window replacement project, call 787-999-0717.