Are Impact Windows Required in Florida?

Nearly every state has building codes that homeowners must adhere to to ensure the safety of their homes. But what about Florida? Are impact windows required in the Sunshine State?

In this post, we'll explore the answer to that question and provide some tips on what homeowners should do if they're unsure whether their home needs hurricane windows.

What are Impact Windows?


Impact windows are designed to protect your home from hurricane-level winds and flying debris. They are made of heavy-duty glass or polycarbonate plastic that can withstand extreme wind pressures, flying objects, and even water intrusion caused by hurricanes.

Residents have long trusted these products in South Florida for superior storm protection. Hurricane shutters and plywood do not provide the ease of use and overall security impact windows can.


Are Impact Windows Required in South Florida?

While impact windows are common in many households and businesses, you may ask yourself: are they legally required in Florida? The answer is a tricky one.

Impact glass, also known as hurricane glass windows, is not required across the entire state of Florida. Still, they ARE required in some coastal regions, with some counties being more strict than others. 

Local governments determine this type of building and residential code based on zones that are more likely to be impacted by extreme wind speeds. These areas are often referred to as high-velocity hurricane zones (HVZV).

According to the Florida Building Commission (FBC), if your home sits within one mile of a coastal area that receives winds more than 100 mph, windows must be:

  • Impact-resistant
  • OR have some external protection measures, such as hurricane shutters.

In an HVHZ zone, every exterior opening, such as garage doors and windows, must be impact resistant or have shutters.

If you are unsure whether your home is in an HVHZ, check out our downloadable hurricane risk map to see current projections from weather experts.


where should I buy impact windows in south florida?


Miami & Broward Homeowners: You Face Specific Window and Door Requirements

hurricane season road sign

The Importance of Proactive Storm Preparation

Specifically, Miami-Dade and Broward counties must meet all High-Velocity Hurricane Zone requirements outlined in the Florida Building Code - regardless of how far inland your home or business may be.

Florida property owners in these two counties most commonly install impact windows. This is because they are the most cost-effective and provide the highest levels of protection.

Whether it's a precaution or required by law, impact windows are one of the best ways to protect your home against extreme weather conditions.

It's important to research local requirements to stay compliant with codes.


The Importance of Proactive Storm Preparation

Like many coastal states, Florida is no stranger to dangerous weather patterns such as hurricanes and severe rain. Impact windows offer several advantages to both safety and quality of life. For this reason, Alco Windows and Doors recommends installing impact products, even if not legally required. 

Taking this measure is a proactive step in storm preparation. Often when Florida residents hear of a pending storm, they scramble to safeguard their homes. Home and business owners try to act quickly and stormproof their traditional windows and garage doors. If you still need to get the hardware onsite, this can cost additional hundreds of dollars to ensure little damage occurs to your home. 

See our safety comparison chart for impact windows, hurricane shutters, and plywood to better understand the pros and cons of each solution.

To put it simply, avoid unnecessary headaches by installing impact windows and doors. These products arrive storm-ready, with no extra leg work. When a hurricane is on the horizon, you only have to close and lock your windows to protect your home adequately.

When installing impact windows and doors before hurricane season, you can be confident you have taken the necessary precautions before it is too late. There is no such thing as being too prepared to protect your property, loved ones, and other valuables. Turn your natural disaster preparation plan from reactive to proactive.

Why Should You Invest in Impact Windows?

Impact windows apartment

Florida does not require every structure to contain impact-resistant windows. Yet, many property owners still choose to invest in impact products for their multitude of benefits. Let's look at a few:


1) Long-Lasting Operational Reliability

Not only are impact windows incredibly reliable no matter the weather conditions, but they're also easy to operate. In case of an emergency fire or any other unforeseen circumstance, you can count on your impact windows.

With impact glass, you won't have to worry about pieces breaking or the window not working – it'll last for many years. This contrasts traditional windows, which often break down soon after installation.


2) Healthier Home Environments

Not only are impact windows more affordable in the long run, but they also don't encourage condensation like other options. Excess moisture often results in mold growth, and we all know how dangerous that can be for our well-being.

Moreover, impact windows protect against condensation build-up, which is a leading cause of window degradation. In other words, by preventing condensation, impact windows will keep your home in better condition and last significantly longer.

You can relieve asthma sufferers in your household by reducing pollen, dust, and other irritants.


3) Stronger Home Security

In Florida, a burglary occurs every 5 seconds on average. The burglar usually enters the home through a window or door, which is why impact products are necessary to ensure your safety.

Impact windows and doors are much more difficult to break than traditional products. They're also fitted with stronger locking mechanisms that make them even more resistant to forced entry.

In addition, impact windows can't be removed from the outside, so even if a burglar does manage to break the glass, they won't be able to enter your home.

This is an important consideration for any Florida homeowner.


4) A Quieter Home Interior

Impact windows significantly reduce exterior noise and provide a more peaceful environment, whether you live in a high-traffic area or near an airport.

Impact windows create a barrier with thicker glass and a tighter seal that significantly reduces the amount of noise coming into your home.

You'll be able to enjoy peace and quiet in your own home, even if the outside world is anything but quiet.


5) Protection from Harmful UV Rays

UV rays not only cause damage to your skin but also to your home's interior.

Impact windows filter out harmful UV rays, protecting both you and your home. This can help to prevent fading of furniture, flooring, and other household items.


6) Lower Energy Costs

Not only do impact windows create a seal that makes it difficult for intruders to enter your home, but this sealing also helps with insulation. This means that your HVAC system won't have to work as hard and thus, lead to lower utility bills.

In the summer, you'll be protected from the heat, and in the winter, you'll be protected from the cold. Either way, you'll save money on your energy bills.


7) Similar Temperatures Across Your Home

Ever notice how the temperature changes as you walk from one side of your home to another? This is especially common in properties with traditional windows. The rooms on the south and west sides of homes get hit with the hottest sun, so they often end up hotter than other rooms in the house.

Impact windows keep the entire residence at an even temperature, so you'll never have to worry about hot or cold spots again.


8) More Noticeable Savings From Your Investment

Impact windows make your home safer and more comfortable and increase its value. Because buyers are willing to pay more for a home with impact products installed, it's a wise investment to make if you're planning on selling your home in the future.

This means that you'll get a higher return on your investment when it comes time to sell.


aluminum vs vinyl impact windows in Florida



How to Choose the Right Impact Window Installer

Alco Installation Team

No two installers are the same. Choosing the right impact windows and doors dealer is just as important as purchasing these products. Empower yourself by taking the following steps before contacting potential options:

  • Start By Educating Yourself. Doing plenty of research is critical in helping you find the best impact products for your home. We recommend checking out content from The National Glass Association and browsing Energy Star publications & reports.
  • Look for Vinyl Windows Made in North America. When looking for quality, it's often best to stick with products made in North America. The byproducts used in windows is typically sourced from Canada, so look for products that proudly display this origin. Options from China do exist, but the quality is usually inferior.

  • Avoid "Recycled" or "Reclaimed" window frame materials. Some companies may try to sell you the idea of using recycled or reclaimed frames in their impact windows. While this might sound good at first, the reality is that these products are usually of lower quality. The recycled product isn't as strong as new options, so it's more likely to warp or crack over time.

  • Ask About the Installation Details. Even the highest-quality impact window will only perform as well as it's installed. Make sure to ask the company about its installation process.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can be sure to find the best vinyl impact windows (and installer) for your next home upgrade.


Free questions to ask impact windows installers checklist


Consider Alco Windows and Doors for Your Next Installation. Here's Why


Alco Windows and Doors provides impact windows and installation services to residents throughout South Florida. With products from only the most reputable brands, you'll sleep soundly knowing you made a great purchase.

Furthermore, our certified specialists guarantee you will receive only the highest-quality installation services. Here's what the Alco difference looks like:

  • Better results come from our practice of using superior products during installation, like marine-grade sealants and tap-con screws when mounting new windows and doors.
  • Not only do our installation teams remove your old windows and doors with no fuss, but they also fill in any gaps in your home's concrete. This makes way for a more seamless installation of your new products so that they fit better and resist damage.
  • We follow the standards of the Better Business Bureau and are licensed to conduct business in Florida.
  • We carry full business insurance to protect you and our employees during installation.
  • We guarantee our installation work, so you know that your impact products will last for many years.

Since our beginnings in 2017, we’ve committed ourselves to making South Florida communities stronger. Our friends and neighbors deserve a better path to protecting homes and families. 

This mission is why we continually focus on two goals: superior product quality and outstanding customer service. 

We believe our communities can be safer and stronger when people confidently understand how best to protect their homes, families, and livelihoods.

Begin your journey with some of our free resources, including:

When you're ready, schedule a FREE consultation with one of our team members. We can't wait to hear from you!

Contact Us Alco Windows and Doors

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