Do you live in Fort Lauderdale?
Did you know the city is one of the highest-risk hurricane zones in America? Since 1930, there have been 79 recorded hurricanes in Fort Lauderdale. The largest hurricane to hit Fort Lauderdale was only 15 years ago when Hurricane Wilma swept across the city.
When building a new home, making repairs, or working on additions, you must take the necessary precautions to ensure your home is hurricane-proof.
The Need for Durable Windows in Fort Lauderdale
Hurricane protection like impact windows isn’t just a way to safeguard your home from a storm. They’re also a legal requirement in Fort Lauderdale.
The Florida Building Code states that if your home is within one mile of a coastal area that receives winds of over 100 miles per hour, you are in a High-Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ). This reality means anyone living in Broward County – including Fort Lauderdale residents — is legally required to have impact-resistant windows and doors or other protective measures like hurricane shutters.
While impact windows are a requirement in Fort Lauderdale, they’re not all created equal. Impact-resistant windows come in various styles, including single or double-hung, casement, horizontal roller, and picture windows.
In this article, we’ll break down these four impact window styles to help you determine the best fit for your home and needs.
Type 1: Single-Hung Impact Windows: Traditional Style with Modern Protection
While there are various impact window types, the most common ones are single-hung windows. They have one operational sash you can use to open the window.
They’re a cost-effective, low-maintenance option with a traditional design, which makes them a popular choice among Fort Lauderdale homes.
Double-hung windows aren’t as popular, but still very common. They come with two operational sashes, allowing you more freedom to improve ventilation in your home.
While single and double-hung windows offer a traditional style, they’re some of the most versatile impact windows available, and you can get them in various colors, making them a reliable solution for almost any style of home.
Type 2: Horizontal Roller Windows: Ease of Use Meets Durability
Imagine you took single-hung windows and turned them on their side. Horizontal roller windows are similar to single-hung windows, except they’re essentially turned 90 degrees for a flatter look.
So, instead of opening your window up and down, you can slide it open from side to side.
While horizontal roller windows offer similar benefits to single and double-hung windows, they’re best suited for homeowners with lower ceilings or space limitations.
Horizontal impact windows are easy to clean and come in various colors to match your home’s design. The windows are easy to operate, offer versatile ventilation, and are perfect for opening up light to tight spaces or countertops.
Type 3: Casement Impact Windows: Combining Elegance with Robustness
Casement windows are similar to horizontal roller windows in that they open horizontally. But, instead of sliding the window to open it, casement windows swing open.
These impact windows move on a hinge, allowing you to open your window horizontally. They can also be designed to swing open vertically, depending on your chosen design.
Casement impact windows are great for stronger home security than single-hung and horizontal roller windows.
These options offer great hurricane protection, flexible ventilation, great energy efficiency, unobstructed views, and a tight seal upon closing.
Type 4: Architectural/Picture Impact Windows: Uninterrupted Views with Maximum Safety
The fourth most common type of impact windows are called picture windows, or architectural windows. These are simple windows designed to stay in a fixed position. Picture windows remain closed since they don’t slide or swing open.
Picture impact windows are a great option for maximizing the natural light in your home while providing a beautiful view.
These impact windows are typically square in design, but they can be customized in various shapes and sizes to match your home’s design. They’re also the easiest type of impact window to clean.
The Science Behind Impact Windows: Understanding Their Superior Protection
Hurricane windows offer protection from heavy windows, including Category 5 hurricanes. They’re designed not to shatter but are impact-resistant, so if a large object hits them, they form a contained spider-web pattern.
Impact window glass doesn’t shatter like regular windows, even under extreme conditions.
This means whether you’re bracing for a severe storm hurricane or an attempted home invasion, you can rest assured your home remains protected.
The question is, what’s the science behind impact windows? A few key elements impact their superior protection: laminated glass, pressure equalization, and frame construction.
Laminated Glass and Its Role in Impact Resistance
Windows can be designed with a variety of glass types, with the most common being annealed glass. This type of glass creates jagged shards of glass upon impact. If improperly handled or if hit with a blunt object, it can damage items around it and lacerations if you’re nearby.
Tempered glass is a more protective type of glass that’s been heat-strengthened. It’s four to five times stronger than annealed glass. This type of glass shatters into tiny cubes known as “dice”.
However, the third type, laminated glass, is the strongest of the three. It's layered with polyvinyl butyral (PVB) and ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) in between two layers of glass. This middle layer is binding, flexible, and strong. It’s designed to make the windows more resilient. The thicker the inner layer is, the more protection the window will offer.
Frame Construction: The Unsung Hero of Window Durability
Most impact windows come designed with aluminum, vinyl, or steel frames. These frames are resistant to warping and weakening. They also are mostly immune to the accumulation of rust.
Aluminum frames are the most robust option, though they come at a higher price than vinyl.
Vinyl frames are cost-effective while offering great support for impact windows. They also provide excellent energy efficiency and insulation.
Pressure Equalization: How Impact Windows Handle Extreme Winds
Impact windows can withstand any debris that may be windborne during a storm. These products have previously withstood Category 5 winds, which are speeds of 157 mph and beyond.
Standard windows pose a serious threat to homes in hurricane zones. This is because if they’re breached, the combination of water and air pressure can rapidly build up within the home.
Without a way to equalize pressure, something can eventually give in within your home, leading to additional windows, doors, or even your roof or walls giving in. Worst of all, your home could collapse entirely.
With impact windows installed, if they’re struck by windborne debris, the exterior laminated glass may crack into a spider-web pattern, but due to the layered design, your window should remain intact to prevent a pressure build-up inside your home.
Making an Informed Choice for Your Fort Lauderdale Home
Living in Fort Lauderdale comes with a wide variety of benefits, including the beautiful landscape and weather.
However, the area also receives extreme weather conditions, including severe storms and hurricanes. To keep your home and your family safe, installing high-quality impact windows is important.
They provide ample protection from high-velocity wind and offer additional security from break-ins. Plus, they make your home more beautiful, comfortable, and valuable.
At Alco Windows and Doors, we offer decades of experience and a wide range of impact windows so you get the perfect protection and design for your home.
We guarantee our certified specialists ensure you’ll only receive the highest-quality installation services so you know that your impact windows will last for many years to come.
Since our beginnings in 2017, we have committed to strengthening South Florida communities. Our communities can be safer and stronger when people confidently understand how best to protect their homes, families, and livelihoods.
Schedule a FREE consultation with one of our team members today. We can't wait to hear from you!