Hurricane Windows: What You Should Know

Monday, October 26, 2009
Brett Roth AvatarBrett Roth's Insight Into Hurricane Windows

What you need to know...

Many methods of protecting a home against hurricanes exist.  None are fool-proof, but they include hurricane windows.  The current gold-standard in testing is the Miami-Dade County hurricane impact test.  Be clear that products that meet or exceed this test are appropriate for all area that may be impacted by hurricanes, tornadoes or other high wind situations. 

Remember it is your life and your property.
Essentially all coastal areas of Florida should prepare for possible wind speeds of 110 mph or greater.

The Impact Test

The Miami-Dade Building Code requires that every exterior opening - residential or commercial - be provided with protection against wind-borne debris caused by hurricanes.  Such protection could be impact-resistant products.  There are two types of impact-resistant products:  large-missile resistant and small-missile resistant.

Large-Missile Resistant

A product is tested as large-missile resistant after it has been exposed to various impacts with a piece of lumber weighing approximately 9 pounds, measuring 2'' x 4'' x 6'' (no more than 8'') in size, traveling at a speed of 50 feet per second (34 mph).  Then the product must pass positive and negative wind loads for 9,000 cycles, with impact creating no holes larger than 1/16 x 5'' in the interlayer of the glass.  
***If you live in a building where doors and windows are located 30 feet or less above ground level then the products you install must pass the large-missile test. 
***If the doors and windows are located 30 feet from the ground then they must be either large-missile or small-missile compliant.

Small-Missile Resistant

A product is declared small-missile resistant after it had been exposed to various impacts with 10 ball bearings traveling at a speed of 80 feet per second (50 mph).  Then the product is subjected to wind loads for 9,000 cycles.

To ensure...

The hurricane impact windows you are looking at are Miami-Dade County approved, click here.
Brett Roth 10/26/2009

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