Do I Need a Permit for Impact Windows?

Thankfully, the Miami area escaped hurricane season unscathed this year but with Hurricane Irma still in many residents thoughts', it should come as no surprise that more and more South Floridians are looking to upgrade their home's hurricane protection. Impact windows are an excellent investment that homeowners can make to protect their home and enhance the overall value of their property.

The Importance of Impact Windows

Impact windows, sometimes called hurricane windows, are comprised of two pieces of heavy-duty glass that have a tough laminated interlay installed between them. This laminated interlayer helps the glass resist breaking and, in the event, the outer glass is hit by an object with enough force to cause it to break, the window's design ensures that the glass breaks in a spider web pattern without actually shattering.

The importance of this design is twofold. First, by ensuring the glass doesn't shatter by flying objects, impact windows prevent flying debris from being flung into the house and potentially injuring people or causing extensive interior damages. Secondly, and the primary reason behind the invention of impact windows, studies showed that in the event of high wind storms, homes that kept their exterior envelope intact (meaning no broken windows or doors) had a greater chance of keeping the roof likewise intact and atop the building. Additional side benefits of impact windows include enhanced noise reduction, frequent insurance premium discounts, and improved UV protection.

Getting a Permit for Impact Windows

To answer the headlining question, yes, every county in South Florida requires homeowners to obtain a permit before installing impact windows. In fact, permitting is required to install any window that requires the removal of a building's existing wood or metal sashes, or in situations where any other alterations must be made to the existing opening. The only time a homeowner or contractor will not need a permit is when windows can be replaced using inserts and installing them directly into the frame of old windows.

Impact windows require a bit more attention also because different floors will require impact windows to be rated for different wind loads. The permit cost for installing impact windows varies across municipalities and will depend upon the size of the project or how many impact windows are being replaced.

When working with a building contractor to install impact windows, they will take care of the entirety of the permit process for your home. In general, however, the following are the basic steps one should expect to perform if they choose to undertake the permit application process:

  1. Complete the application. Permit applications can be found on your municipality's website or at Town Hall. Complete all of the relevant information about the project, including permit type, the property's square footage, the full value of work to be done, and comprehensive description of how the work is to be completed and by whom.
  2. Return forms for approval. Residential permits generally take between a week to 30 days for approval while commercial permits can be up to 60 days. Sometimes, if an inspector is available at the time you turn in your forms, you may even receive your permit the same day.
  3. Pick up permit and plan for post-installation inspection. An inspection of the project will need to be done before any framing or electrical work is concealed.

For More Information, Contact Us at ALCO

As we exit hurricane season and enter more of the drier season, now is a great time to get started on a project like installing impact windows. Contact our team at ALCO to learn more and to get started today.

Hurricane Impact Windows & Doors 

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