For the window to withstand hurricane conditions, something similar to the 9,000 cycles of positive and negative air pressure they undergo in impact testing, the installation is every bit as important as the quality of the window. Dave Olmstead, spokesman for PGT Industries in Venice, Florida, agrees that no matter how strong a window is the attachment to the building structure is critical. Olmstead says a window that is 53-inches by 76-inches would have 28 square feet of exposure, and with a wind speed of 146 mph from a category 4 hurricane would result in a load on the window equivalent to 1,958 pounds of pressure. For the window to perform correctly, the load has to be transferred to the building itself, which is done by using suitable anchors to transfer the load from the window or door frame to the rough opening without causing failure. Therefore, the installer needs to be knowledgeable in how to use this system and its different anchoring mechanisms.
Through the construction side of our business, we have had to make major repairs to structures as a result of poor window installations by other contractors – everything from using the wrong sealant to the extreme of installing regular windows instead of the hurricane impact windows the customer paid for. Something as small as the using the wrong sealant can cause significant damage to a home – rotting framing members, structural damage, mold, etc. Since leaks are often inside the walls long before a homeowner notices them inside the house, they are often not detected until there is major damage and then expensive repairs have to be made. This experience is invaluable for our installers. In addition to the installation training we give them, they get to experience firsthand the things that can go wrong with window and door installations and how to prevent them in the work that they do.
SECURITY, HEALTH & FINANCIAL BENEFITS
Benefits from impact-resistant windows extend beyond the storm belt to broader security and environmental concerns. Impact-resistant windows are considered to be security features because they are so difficult to penetrate or separate from their frames that they reduce break-ins, theft, and property damage. On top of physical and financial protection, impact-resistant windows also can preserve mental health. Who hasn’t been disturbed by car alarms, barking dogs or noisy neighbors?
“They do a good job of keeping outside noise outside,” Olmstead says. “With almost every homeowner, that’s the first thing they notice: How quiet the home [became]. Noise abatement is far more important than people realize.”
There are insurance breaks for new homes built with impact resistant windows, and for existing homes remodeled to include the tougher windows and frames. This discount can be as much as 50%. Check with your homeowner’s insurance carrier to see what kind of a discount is available.