A Miami Homeowners Guide To Impact Windows
As a homeowner in Miami, FL, you’re all too familiar with the weather extremes. Hurricanes breezing through in the middle of October, or a tropical storm in the middle of December, aren’t uncommon occurrences. And, the heavy rainfall and torrential downpours, have become routine in your neighborhood. Impact windows are not only a nice selling point if you’re listing your home for sale in Miami, FL, but they are also a must-have safety upgrade in certain regions in South Florida.
Whether you’re looking to increase your home’s value, improve your home safety and security, or simply keep the noise of those thunderstorms and hurricane force winds at bay, impact resistant window installation is the way to go about achieving these objectives.
Before installing hurricane proof windows on your home, there are several factors you’ll want to consider. The impact resistant windows must be certified as “impact resistant;” additionally, you’ll want to take the time to find a certified installation technician, and a company with a great reputation, to ensure the installation is done correctly, and that your home is properly secured from those dangerous wind gusts, flying debris, rain and thunderstorms, and hurricane winds that seem to sweep through South Florida every summer.
What Testing is Required for Windows to be Considered “Certified” Hurricane Proof Windows?
Windows which are rated as “certified” undergo a pressure test to determine their ability to hold up during a major storm. The test consists of three parts which tests:
- Water penetration
- Air Pressure
Air pressure is typically the first test conducted. Air filtration is simulated to measure pressure on the windows. The air filtration on its own, doesn’t affect the window’s rating. The second test is the water penetration test. This test focuses on how well the impact windows can keep water out of the home. A percentage of the water pressure kept out of the home is how the water penetration test is scored. The final test is the structural testing, which tests glass and frame strength. Thickness of glass and the frame’s hardware/structure, will dictate the scoring on this test. A higher rating is given when higher quality and structurally sound materials are used.
The “Florida Test”
In Florida, a fourth prong is added to determine if hurricane proof windows are rated as “certified” or not. An additional test, involves impact resistance. Using a 2 X 4 piece of wood, testers will fire the wood into the windows at a high velocity two times, to see if it can hold up. If the windows do, they are rated as “certified” and safe for sale and installation in Florida.
The Benefits of Installing Impact Windows
Certified impact windows are a great option to install on your home, even if you don’t want the protection from severe weather extremes. These are a few of the many benefits new hurricane proof windows will deliver, from the moment they’re installed on your home.
Certified impact windows are safer than tempered glass windows, glazed windows, and other sealed material finishes. These windows are capable of:
- Resisting wind gusts of 95 MPH or higher (15 psf rated windows are the minimum grade for South Florida and can withstand 95 MPH wind gusts)
- Increasing the structural strength of your home
- Provide greater insulation from wind gusts and keep water out of your home
- Prevent flying objects, debris, tree branches/limbs from shattering the glass
- Prevents glass from blowing outward when internal pressure increases due to hurricane force winds
Basically, your home is protected from shattering glass, water penetrating, and high noise/wind gusts, when hurricanes or major storms are passing through. With a thicker membrane, and greater ability to shield high wind gusts, your impact windows are less likely to crack under pressure, and protect your home, throughout the most severe weather extremes.
Improved Energy Efficiency
By reducing heat gain in the summers, and helping keep heat in the home during the winter, your impact windows will help cut your energy bills in half (or more). Some ways impact windows make your home more efficient include:
- The wooden frame used with traditional windows are more prone to energy waste, in comparison to aluminum/vinyl used with impact windows, which possess greater insulating capabilities and strength.
- Glazing, Low-e coating, and other material layers used in impact windows, help preserve energy in the home.
- Top installation techs utilize the best frames, insulation, and proper installation techniques, to help ensure less energy loss occurs in the home with the new windows.
- UV light penetrating through the windows is reduced.
Increased insulation, thicker window materials, glazing, and better framing materials, all contribute to increasing energy efficiency in your home, with new impact resistant windows and doors.
Insurance Benefits for Homeowners
This is an obvious benefit which will follow with the others. For example, if your home is less likely to be burglarized with thicker, more durable, windows and doors, your homeowner insurance could potentially decrease. Additionally, if you have energy efficient windows, and your home is less likely to flood or require damage repair, because it’s capable of preventing shattering during a major storm, your insurance costs are going to be lower.
The safer your home is, and the better protected it is from damage, the less you’ll pay in insurance premiums to protect it (as you’re less likely to file a claim for repairs). Every homeowners situation will be different though so it’s a good idea to contact your insurance carrier to inquire about the cost savings benefits impact resistant windows could bring for you.
Thicker glass, better insulation, glazing, and sound-proof frames, are all going to result in better noise cancellation and reduce sounds which penetrate your home through the windows. These windows are designed to block 90 to 95% of sound that enters the home through the windows/glass. Impact windows have an STC (sound proof) rating of 32 to 35; standard windows are rated 29 or less. The level of noise penetration, and how much noise these windows can block out is astounding.
Improved Curb Appeal
Hurricane proof windows give your home a brand new look. There are numerous design options you can choose from, to blend in with your home’s architecture and design. The glazing, decorative design elements, and simply indicating that you have impact resistant windows installed in South Florida, is a major selling point for home buyers today. So, even if your property doesn’t look nicer, when you list a home with “certified” impact resistant windows, it’s a major selling point.
Safety for Your Family (Deter Burglary/Theft)
Again, these windows are thicker and more durable than traditional glass windows. The PVC and inner layer is harder to break. And, remember the 2X4 test that’s conducted, to ensure your windows are “certified” for installation in South Florida? Obviously, it’s going to be harder for a burglar to break through these durable, tough windows, which won’t shatter with wind gusts of 100 MPH or higher. If that much pressure and wind can’t take your windows out, a burglar or potential thief, isn’t going to have much of a chance against them without specialized tools and knowledge.
Protect Your Home From Severe Weather Extremes
As highlighted above, your home’s protected from the elements. Certified impact windows are sturdy, they’re meant to prevent total home destruction by eliminating sudden pressure changes which occur when windows completely shatter in the home. So, even if the windows crack, they’ll remain intact, and protect your home’s interior, from major storm damage, water damage, and wind damage, that would otherwise cause hundreds, if not thousands of dollars worth of damage to most homes.
Rain, sleet, hail, severe wind gusts, and other South Florida weather extremes, are no challenge for certified impact windows. If you’re on the fence about making the transition due to the higher cost, it’s well worth the investment to protect your home, it’s interior, and obviously to keep your family as safe as possible when a major storm hits. It’s not a matter of will another hurricane blow through, it’s more a question of when in South Florida.
Select a Certified, Insured, & Bonded Company to Install Certified Impact Windows on Your Home
Before having the impact resistant windows installed on your home, make sure you know who to call. When choosing a contractor for impact window installation, homeowners should:
- Get more than one quote to compare pricing.
- Choose contractors who are fully licensed, and insured in impact resistant window installation.
- Top rated installation technicians with positive reviews on Google My Business (other online rating sites).
- Utilize online resources like BBB to check a contractor’s reputation, negative reviews, and local reputation.
The more time you take in comparing the top-rated impact windows installation technicians, the more likely it is you will find the best professionals for the job. This will result in the hurricane proof windows being properly installed, complete safety checks being performed, and the best certified windows protecting your home, for the most affordable price.
As a homeowner in Miami, FL, you already know that hurricane season is just around the corner (no matter what time of year it is). So, you can’t ever begin preparing for the season too soon.
Even if you don’t plan on remaining in your home, and plan on selling it in the near future, the impact window installation work you have done on your home, will instantly increase it’s curb appeal, and resale value immensely.
Don’t wait until the next storm hits. Make sure your family and home are protected, so you can sleep soundly at night. Call Omega Doors And Windows Inc. Today for impact window installation or to get a quote for new windows and doors for your home. Not only will they safeguard your home and your possessions, these impact windows and doors will keep your family safe, regardless of how bad the weather gets.
If you’d like to schedule a consultation and estimate to install impact resistant windows or doors in your home please call 954-416-3020 or fill out our contact form and we’ll get right back to you.