(updated Dec 2020)
While impact windows are a commonality in many households and businesses, you may be asking yourself: are they legally required in the state of Florida? The answer is a tricky one.
High impact or hurricane windows are 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.
Keep reading as Alco Windows and Doors share what areas in Florida require impact-resistant windows. Plus, learn why property owners should practice proactive storm preparation regardless of their area code.
Florida’s Ever-Changing Building Codes
When reviewing impact window requirements, the Florida Building Code (FBC) lists specific standards that windows and other building materials must meet.
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:
- OR have some external protection measures such as hurricane shutters.
In areas classified as High-Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ), requirements are even stricter. In an HVHZ zone, every exterior opening, such as garage doors and windows, must be impact resistant or have shutters.
Specifically, Miami-Dade and Broward counties must meet all High-Velocity Hurricane Zone requirements - regardless of how far inland your home or business may be.
Florida property owners in these areas most commonly install hurricane windows. These types of windows come built with both tempered and impact resistant materials. As always, consult your local laws and country requirements when upgrading your windows.
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 do not have the hardware onsite, this can cost additional hundreds of dollars to ensure little damage occurs to your home.
Avoid headaches with impact windows and doors. These products arrive storm-ready, with no extra leg work. When a hurricane is on the horizon, the only thing you have to do is 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 when it comes to protecting your property, loved ones, and other valuables. Turn your natural disaster preparation plan from reactive to proactive.
Why Invest in Impact Windows?
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.
First, impact windows are the best defense to the extreme wind speed and flying debris that natural disasters often cause. Flying debris is especially hazardous as severe winds can blow loose materials at speeds comparable to a speeding car. Fortunately, impact windows can protect homes and businesses from 90 to 185 mph wind speeds.
Additionally, impact windows and doors provide other benefits such as:
- Improved energy efficiency, leading to lowered heating and cooling costs.
- Heightened security with shatter-resistant glass.
- Reduced noise from the outside.
- Reduced sun exposure with UV-filtering.
Hurricane windows are more than a one-time purchase, but a long-term investment to increasing the value of a property.
Choosing the Right Installer
No two installers are the same. Choosing the right impact windows and doors provider is just as important as purchasing these types of products.
Why? There is an abundance of impact-resistant window manufacturers that offer different styles, colors, and designs. Each has unique guidelines for how their products must be installed.
If instructions are not followed correctly, the product will not offer maximum protection when confronted by extreme wind speeds. Therefore, the installer of your choice must understand how to execute the impact window installation properly.
When researching different impact window vendors in Florida, Start with Alco Windows and Doors.
We're South Florida's #1 option for installing impact products, including:
- Entry doors
- Garage doors
- Custom-size projects
We've been in the industry for more than 15 years and put customer service and quality workmanship first.
That's why we've garnered over 200 5-star reviews.
Begin your journey with some of our free resources, including:
- A Homeowner's Guide to Impact Windows
- Financing the Cost of Impact Windows and Doors
- The Florida Homeowner's Guide to Hurricane Safety
When you're ready, schedule a FREE consultation with one of our team members. We can't wait to hear from you!