Miami-Dade Impact Window Ratings: How to Understand Them When Shopping


If you live in Miami-Dade County, you know all too well the threat that hurricanes and tropical storms pose to your property. While you can't control the weather, you can take steps to protect your home or business from hurricane damage.

Installing impact windows is one of the most effective ways to do this. Before purchasing, it's important to understand how these products are rated.

Let's explore everything you need to know about Miami-Dade impact window ratings, including what they are, why they matter, and how to choose the best impact windows for your property.


What Are Miami-Dade Impact Window Ratings?

Window Ratings ExampleMiami-Dade impact window ratings are a set of strict building code standards established by Miami-Dade County in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

These standards dictate the minimum performance requirements for building materials used to construct or renovate buildings in the county's high-velocity hurricane zone.

Specifically, Miami-Dade impact window ratings refer to the impact resistance of windows and doors against wind-borne debris during a hurricane.

In the Miami-Dade County area, building codes and regulations related to window protection against large missiles are governed by the Miami-Dade County Building Code.

The county has strict guidelines for window ratings to ensure they can withstand high wind speeds and potential impact from debris during hurricanes and severe weather events.

Windows that meet the requirements of the Miami-Dade County Building Code are labeled with a product approval number, indicating that they have passed the necessary tests and are deemed suitable for use in high-velocity hurricane zones.

It's essential to consult with a licensed contractor or building professional familiar with local regulations to ensure compliance with the specific requirements for window protection in your area. They will be able to provide you with accurate and up-to-date information regarding the appropriate window ratings for your particular location within Miami-Dade County.


Why Do Miami-Dade Impact Window Ratings Matter?

Window installation Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade impact window ratings matter because they ensure that the building materials used in building or renovating buildings in the county's high-velocity hurricane zone meet strict safety standards.

Hurricane-rated windows can help protect your property from damage during a hurricane, including broken windows and doors, water intrusion, and structural damage. By choosing windows and doors that meet Miami-Dade impact window ratings, you can also potentially lower your insurance premiums and increase the resale value of your property.



How Are Miami-Dade Impact Window Ratings Determined?

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Miami-Dade impact window ratings are determined through a rigorous testing process in accordance with the County Building Code Compliance Office's testing protocol.

This testing protocol requires manufacturers to submit three specimens of their largest-sized windows or doors for testing. The specimens are then subjected to a series of impact tests that simulate wind-borne debris during a hurricane. 

If a specimen passes the test, it is deemed to meet Miami-Dade impact window ratings and is approved for use in the county's high-velocity hurricane zone.


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How Do Miami-Dade Impact Window Ratings Work?

Miami-Dade impact window ratings are designed to ensure that windows can withstand the impact of flying debris during a hurricane.

The window ratings in Miami-Dade County are based on the "Large Missile Impact Test" per the ASTM E1996 standard. This test involves firing a 9-pound 2x4 wooden stud at 50 feet per second (34 mph) and impacting the window glass to simulate the impact of a large missile.

In addition to the large missile rating, Miami-Dade County has a small missile rating requirement for windows. The small missile impact test assesses the window's ability to resist the impact of smaller projectiles, such as gravel or other small debris propelled by high winds.

The ASTM E1886 and ASTM E1996 standards define the small missile impact test. It involves firing ten steel balls with a diameter of 2.0 inches at the window at a speed of 80 feet per second (50 mph) to simulate the impact of small missiles.

To comply with the Miami-Dade County Building Code, windows must meet both the large missile impact test and the small missile impact test requirements. This ensures they offer comprehensive protection against different sizes of airborne debris during severe weather conditions.

Like the large missile rating, windows that pass the small missile impact test are labeled with a product approval number indicating compliance with the Miami-Dade County Building Code.

In addition to impact tests, Miami-Dade impact window ratings also require windows to pass pressure tests, which simulate the changes in air pressure during a hurricane. These tests ensure that windows will not break or become dislodged due to the internal structural pressure changes that occur during a storm.



Why Are Miami-Dade Impact Window Ratings Important?

Impact Windows Miami

Miami-Dade impact window ratings are important for several reasons. First and foremost, they ensure that windows can withstand the impact of flying debris during a hurricane, which can save lives and prevent property damage.

In addition, Miami-Dade impact window ratings can help homeowners and business owners save money on insurance premiums. Many insurance companies offer discounts to policyholders with impact-resistant windows installed in their homes or businesses.

Finally, Miami-Dade impact window ratings can increase the resale value of a property. Potential buyers are often willing to pay a premium for homes or businesses with impact-resistant windows installed, as they provide an added layer of protection against hurricanes and other severe weather events.


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How Do You Choose the Right Miami-Dade Impact Window Rating?

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Several factors must be considered when choosing impact windows for your Miami-Dade property.

First, consider the level of impact resistance that you need based on your property's location and potential hurricane risk. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, you will want to choose a window with a high impact rating, such as an A or H rating. A lower rating may be sufficient if you live in an area less prone to hurricanes.

Second, consider the type of impact window that best suits your needs. Several types of impact windows are available, including laminated glass, insulated laminated glass, and polycarbonate panels. 

Third, consider the framing materials used for the impact windows. The framing materials should withstand the same level of impact as the glass or polycarbonate panels. 

In addition to impact ratings, you will also want to consider other factors, such as energy efficiency, noise reduction, and aesthetic appeal. Look for windows certified by reputable organizations, such as Energy Star or the National Fenestration Rating Council.


Real-Life Example:

hurricane or tsunami

Hurricane Andrew To understand the importance of Miami-Dade impact window ratings, it's helpful to look at the devastation caused by Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Andrew was a Category 5 hurricane that landed in Miami-Dade County, causing over $25 billion in damage. One of the main reasons for the extensive damage was the failure of windows and doors to withstand the high winds and wind-borne debris.

After the hurricane, Miami-Dade County established stricter building codes, including Miami-Dade impact window ratings, to help prevent similar damage from occurring in the future.

Miami-Dade impact window ratings are critical to building safety in the county's high-velocity hurricane zone. By choosing impact windows that meet these strict standards, you can help protect your property from damage during a hurricane, potentially lower your insurance premiums, and increase the resale value of your property. When choosing impact windows, consider the level of impact resistance needed, the type of impact window, and the framing materials.


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.

Trust the 300+ 5-star reviews for Alco Windows and Doors. Contact us today for a free consultation!

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