I moved to Florida for so many amazing reasons. The weather, primarily, because the sun shines almost all the time and it’s always warm here. And the people, because they’re friendly and fabulous, and because life is slower, more mindful and meaningful.
But there are hurricanes! I mean, I knew this before I came here and I knew that there is no state more prepared and ready for hurricanes than Florida. But it means as a homeowner, we need to make our houses as hurricane-resistant as possible. So, do we need to use impact glass in our windows? There is only one answer to this. Yes.
Yes, because you don’t want to spend hours putting up shutters and still having your windows blown out. Yes, because you don’t want to have your windows blown out anyway, shutters or no shutters. And yes, because of safety.
So, to specify, here are a few tips on Impact Glass, where it came from and what it can do.
1. The Origin of Impact Glass
Impact Glass was first developed in 1930 when manufacturers made windshields on cars stronger and tougher. They then started using it in building products for safety, as well as on windows for safety and noise.
It was only during the shocking Hurricane Andrew in 199 did people realize how impactful (pun), Impact Glass in Florida could be.
2. Building Code Requirements in Florida
When you are building or renovating your house, look up the Florida building code requirements. It’s different all around Florida but I can tell you that Miami-Dade Country changed their building requirements after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Impact resistant glazed windows are a necessity, not a luxury.
3. Damage from Hurricanes
A huge amount of hurricane damage comes from when windows and doors blowing out (or in) and the subsequent water, mud and water damage thereafter. If there is a way to protect doors and windows from failing, the damage will be far less. Everyone shutters their doors before a hurricane but impact glass in Florida lessens the damage. If the glass doesn’t break, the damage is far lower.
4. What can Impact Glass be Used on
In Florida, impact glass can be used on windows, doors, skylights and curtain walls. The glass goes through several tests to ensure it is strong and resistant, almost to the point of having missile aimed at it.
Impact glass also goes through the air, water, and structural tests. Debris flies around during a hurricane, you don’t want any flying through your window. Or your skylight.
5. Impact Glass can also be Used for Sound Proofing
When you get to a certain age, like me, sleep can become an issue. I used to hear every sound and even the birdsong in summer would wake me up. Since I put Impact Glass on my windows, my house is pretty quiet. The glass is laminated and layered and it’s not just good for hurricanes – it’s great to keep out any traffic noises.
6. Do we know that Impact Glass actually Works?
The answer is yes.
Many new buildings had, according to business regulations, impact glass in 2005 when Hurricane Wilma struck. And yes, the damage was definitely limited. It wasn’t limited entirely because that is not possible in a hurricane, but it was certainly lessened. And the insurers and builders who conducted tests were very clear that houses and buildings without impact glass in Florida were much more badly damaged.
7. Impact Glass is pretty Accident-free
If you don’t want a child flying through your window during a game of ‘Cops and Robbers’ and you don’t want an adult walking through your door when he’s had a glass or two too many, impact glass will help!
It’s a good shield against ordinary accidental disasters, especially if you have enthusiastic kids running around with a soccer ball.
8. Hurricane Windows with Impact Glass
A hurricane window is an impact resistant window that offers protection from damage. You don’t need to put a shutter up as well, which means you have time to focus on other hurricane worries.
For me, putting in hurricane windows was a no-brainer. I have a bad back and the idea of sawing and cutting and putting up shutters is not for me!
9. Impact Glass or a Window Film?
If you have the budget, definitely use impact glass. If you are a bit strapped for cash, use a window film. They do the job although, in very high winds, your entire window can still blow out if they haven’t put in that well during building. But window film is inexpensive, protects from the noise and if your windows are securely built in, it could just do the job.
So. If you had to ask me about living in Florida with the risk of hurricanes, I would answer you this way. Florida life is fantastic. It has met my every expectation and I couldn’t be happier here.
Sure, it gets a bit tense during hurricane season but – you get into a routine. My neighbors and I help each other get ready, even with our impact windows we still shutter and board parts of our homes, we put away valuables and photo albums ‘just in case’ and we make sure we have plenty of food and water. Chocolate, in particular. And if I am not at home during a hurricane, I know my home watch will look out for my house, but also that my impact glass will help.
I’m happy to give advice. In Florida, we are really happy to help one another and share our tips. Bad weather can be debilitating but we’ve all learned how to get through it together. Plus, we all know a good handyman or two for those shutters!