If you live in Miami or the South Florida area, you know this region is prone to experience natural disasters that involve hurricane-force winds. As a result, you must be aware of the damage these winds can cause.
Therefore, window replacement in Miami is more than finding appealing products and a competent team of installers. Your windows should combine beauty with durability to withstand Miami's hurricanes, even as they give your home character and charm. That is why replacing your windows with the best impact windows in Miami may be a good solution for your home.
Why Impact Windows are Essential for Miami Homes
Living in Miami has several benefits, from the beautiful beaches, warm weather, an affordable cost of living, and beyond. However, it isn't just about the sun and the sand; it's also preparing for the storms. Miami residents are all too familiar with the extreme weather that living in the South can bring, and hurricane season is of top concern to them.
For that reason alone, it's essential to consider the value impact-resistant windows bring to homes and buildings throughout Miami. Hurricanes destroy properties in record numbers without them because of the high wind gusts and torrential downpours. If you own a property in Miami, understanding the necessity of a Miami home window upgrade is highly beneficial.
While there are many ways to protect your home from hurricanes, one of the most critical aspects from a structural standpoint is the house's windows. That's where the importance of impact windows for Miami homes comes in.
As their name suggests, impact windows are designed to withstand the severe impacts of flying debris during hurricanes. They are made of two sheets of tempered glass with a space between them. These two sheets of glass are laminated to make them flexible enough to withstand strong winds and the small debris that comes with it.
While they shatter when hit by flying debris during a storm, their glass remains attached to the window frame and inner membrane. When impact windows break, they don't send shards of glass flying into your home. Instead, they crack in a fine, web-like pattern.
Understanding Miami-Dade Window Regulations
After Hurricane Andrew hit Florida in 1992, Miami-Dade County adopted stricter building codes to construct homes and commercial buildings to higher standards regarding storm damage protection. This zone requires more robust impact products that meet wind speeds of 170 mph to 200 mph.
Therefore, the county mandates windows to meet rigorous impact standards designed to safeguard against the threat of flying debris.
Windows in the county are evaluated based on the "Large Missile Impact Test" as per the ASTM E1996 standard. This involves simulating the effects of large flying debris by firing a 9-pound 2x4 wooden stud at a velocity of 50 feet per second (34 mph) against the window glass.
Alongside this, there's a small missile rating requirement. Under the ASTM E1886 and ASTM E1996 standards, the small missile impact test assesses a window's resilience to smaller airborne threats. This is carried out by launching ten steel balls, each 2.0 inches in diameter, at the window at 80 feet per second (50 mph).
To comply with the Miami-Dade County Building Code, windows must satisfy the criteria of both these tests, ensuring that they provide comprehensive protection against varying sizes of projectiles during extreme weather events. Windows that successfully pass these tests are given a Notice of Acceptance (NOA) by Miami-Dade County, signaling their compliance with the Miami-Dade County Building Code.
Beyond impact resistance, the Miami-Dade impact window ratings necessitate windows to undergo pressure tests, which mimic the fluctuating air pressures experienced during hurricanes. This ensures that windows remain intact, not breaking or detaching due to the internal structural pressure shifts that transpire during stormy conditions.
Steps to Choosing the Right Window Installer in Miami
Choosing the right personnel for Miami-Dade window installation, especially given the region's specific needs due to its vulnerability to hurricanes, involves a sequence of steps to ensure an accurately done job. Here's a step-by-step guide for homeowners:
Step #1: Research and Recommendations
Start with getting personal recommendations from friends, family, or neighbors. Online reviews can also provide insights into the reputation and reliability of potential installers. Look for window replacement Miami reviews and read what other homeowners are saying.
Step #2: Check Credentials
Your installer must have the necessary licenses and insurance. In Miami, window installers should be familiar with the Miami-Dade building codes, especially those on impact windows.
Step #3: Experience with Miami-Dade Regulations
Given the specific regulations in Miami-Dade regarding impact windows, choose an installer with extensive experience in the area. They should know about the Large and Small Missile Impact Tests and the associated ASTM standards.
Step #4: Get Multiple Quotes
It's advisable to get estimates from at least three installers. This gives you a sense of the market rate and an understanding of what each installer offers in terms of service and warranty.
Step #5: Visit Past Installations
Visit a few of the installer's completed projects or ask for case studies. This gives you a tangible sense of their work quality.
Step #6: Read the Contract Carefully
Before finalizing, read all the terms and conditions in the contract. Ensure that it covers aspects like costs, time estimates, warranty information, and any potential additional fees.
Benefits of Upgrading to Impact Windows
Beyond compliance and safety, impact windows offer a lot more. When working with trusted Miami-Dade County impact window installers, there are a few other benefits you can enjoy:
1. Energy Efficiency
Your utility bill will thank you for installing impact windows. This is because impact windows are great for improving energy efficiency in the home. Impact windows often have improved insulation properties, helping to reduce heat transfer. This can decrease energy bills by maintaining a consistent interior temperature that requires less heating or cooling.
2. Noise Reduction
Aside from keeping your home safe from flying debris, impact windows can lower the amount of outdoor noise entering your home. The laminated glass in impact windows can significantly reduce outside noise, leading to a quieter indoor environment.
3. UV Protection
These windows can block up to 99% of the sun's harmful UV rays, which can fade furniture, carpets, and artwork over time.
4. Improved Security
Beyond weather protection, impact windows act as a deterrent against break-ins. Their design makes them more resistant to shattering, making it difficult for burglars to access your home.
5. Increased Curb Appeal
Upgrading to impact windows can boost the curb appeal of your property. Impact windows come in various styles—from classic casement and single-hung to sleek picture and sliding. They are customizable, making matching your units with your home's architecture easier.
6. Insurance Discounts
Many insurance companies offer premium reductions for homes with impact windows. This is because of their enhanced protective features against weather events and potential break-ins.
Making the Right Choice for Your Miami Home
For a Miami homeowner, upgrading to impact windows isn't just about enhancing the home's beauty. It invests in safety, peace of mind, and long-term savings. While many choose to rush and set up shutters or plywood every time a storm hits, these are temporary fixes that might not be sustainable.
If you're looking for a dependable, long-term solution to protect your home and family from Miami's severe storms, trust Alco Windows and Doors for your Miami home window upgrade. With our expertise and range of product options, we will help you find the best windows for your home. In addition, our certified experts ensure you will receive only the highest-quality installation services.
Explore More Topics for Miami Residents:
- The Homeowner's Guide to Buying Impact Windows in Miami
- Investing in Safety: The Cost and Value of Impact Windows
- 5 Florida Building Code Requirements Every Homeowner Should Know
- How to Ensure You're Getting GOOD Impact Window Installation in Miami
- A Complete Guide to the Best Impact Windows Manufacturers Miami Offers