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How do Impact Windows Work?

Updated: Oct 17, 2022

Property owners who live in Florida or other storm-prone areas know they need to invest in quality preventatives to avoid injury and ensure their homes aren’t seriously damaged. Impact windows are a popular choice because they are specially engineered to withstand high speed winds. With Florida’s history of hurricanes and tropical storms – as you know, some of them have been quite devastating – it’s important to be proactive when it comes to protecting your loved ones and your property. Impact windows can make a huge difference.

What is an Impact Window?

Impact windows are specifically designed to prevent flying shards of glass that can occur when a strong force, such as hurricane winds, pushes against them. As you know, flying glass can lead to serious injury or damage to a home. Impact windows eliminate many of the threats caused by high-speed winds.

Shattered and flying shards of glass is such a hazard that the State of Florida changed building code standards to require windows to be impact-resistant – or protected – if located within one mile of the coast where wind speed is 100 miles-per-hour or greater during a storm. Furthermore, Dade-Miami area has its own stringent building codes since it’s located in what’s considered to be a “high velocity hurricane zone.”

Homeowners throughout the rest of Florida and other hurricane-prone states often turn to impact windows as a proactive option. It’s less stressful than dealing with installing plywood and shutters in the days leading up to an imminent storm. Living near the coast comes with higher risks, but that doesn’t mean the threat doesn’t exist in nearby areas.

Are There Different Options?

Impact glass has been around for a long time and has historically been used in automobile windshields. Impact windows for homes is rooted in this philosophy and creates a barrier that is very similar to the materials used in car windshields. In terms of options, there are two types of impact glass which are shatter-resistant film windows and windows constructed with inner-membrane technology.

Shatter-resistant film is a material that is applied to both sides of a window’s pane, sealing the glass between the film. How it works is if a window is struck by debris or facing high winds, the glass will not move. It might crack, but you won’t have to worry about any debris flying into the house, causing injury or damage.

Inner-membrane is the more popular of the two. Constructed with tempered and Polyvinyl butyral (PVB) glass, very similar to the materials used in car windshields, essentially making these home windows shatterproof. How it works is the inner-membrane technology fills the space between a window’s panes. Coupled with shatter-resistant film, it can withstand extremely high winds, such as those associated with a CAT 5 hurricane.

Other Benefits of Impact Windows

Aside from the obvious benefits associated with the dangers that come with hurricane-force winds, impact windows offer numerous other benefits.

  1. Energy efficient. Due to the heavy construction of impact windows, coupled with the strong frames used with them, a side benefit is this seals them tightly, making them far more energy efficient than standard windows.

  2. UV protection. The sun in the southeastern section of the U.S. is hot and the dangers of UV damage or injury is high. Impact windows installed with Sun Protection can filter out up to 99% of harmful UV rays.

  3. Deters intruders. Once burglars or other intruders realize they can’t simply break a shatterproof window to enter a home – not even with a crowbar – the chances are they’ll leave the scene before an alarm is triggered or someone sees them.

  4. Sound barrier. Impact windows, thanks to their heavy-duty construction, offer homeowners more peace and tranquility than traditional windows. Even in areas of high traffic or in the vicinity of an airport, you will notice a significant decrease in distracting sounds.

  5. Add to a home’s value. Unlike some installations, impact windows won’t decrease your home’s value or curb appeal. Looking at them, there is no noticeable difference between impact windows and traditional windows. If anything, they add to a home’s value because buyers will want the best protection for themselves.

  6. Insurance reductions. Due to the heavy protections impact windows offer, many insurance companies are recognizing their benefits and offering reductions on insurance premiums.

As you can see, impact windows are most importantly designed to protect against hurricane-force winds, but also come with many financial and other tangible advantages.

Today’s technology has advanced significantly and is able to provide property owners with the strong protection they desire. FAS Windows and Doors is committed to providing our customers with the products they need to keep their household members safe. To learn more about the different styles and brands of hurricane impact window options we offer, contact us today. We’re happy to answer any questions and provide any additional information.



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