Window and Door Replacement – Impact vs. Standard
Many South Florida owners are replacing their old exterior windows and doors with new impact resistant glass and frames. Impact windows and door offer many benefits to standard non-impact rated. They include the following:
Cost – These new impact rated windows and doors on average cost 1.5x to 2x more than non-impact rated windows and doors but are almost the same cost when compared to the cost of installing an alternate hurricane protection device on the same opening such as storm shutters. In many cases non-impact windows and doors installed with roll-up shutters are more expensive. Additionally, the cost of time to install the hurricane shutter and the other benefits below that come with impact glass seem to outweigh the negatives of costs in the long run.
- Laymen Terms: costs more initially but headache of shutter installation and energy, noise reduction outweigh cost.
Security – Impact rated window and doors are very effective in preventing break-ins due to the PVB layer between the two layers of glass. In fact, it is very difficult to break through without proper equipment such as the fire department.
- Laymen Terms: greater security benefits, hard to break in
Appearance – Impact glass windows and doors come in various shapes and sizes to both accommodate new and existing construction installations. They are available in single hung, casement, double hung, sliding, hinged, and fixed.
- Frames colors – typically available in white and black/bronze, depending on manufacturer other custom colors may be available
- Glass Tint – There are glass color tint options available, such as: grey and bronze with none to minimal upgrade costs and blue and green with more expensive upgrade costs.
- Frame Materials – frames are available in wood, aluminum, vinyl, composite, and combinations of these materials. Typically in Florida we have seen and would recommend both aluminum for low to mid-range homes and wood for estate homes due to the availability of the styles and types available and costs.
- Laymen Terms: many choices, colors, costs available
Insurance Premium Discounts – Impact windows and doors are an effective hurricane protection system that is recognized by the insurance industry and the insurance companies will usually provide a discount based upon having these installed.
According to Florida Statue 627.0629, all insurance companies that provide homeowner’s insurance to Florida residents must offer some type of discount for dwellings that have an “effective” windstorm protection system installed. Each insurance company discounts and requirements vary so check prior to purchasing.
- Laymen Terms: insurance companies give better rates to homes with impact resistant glass and opening protection throughout.
Note: this discount is usually based upon an inspection of the residence and is potentially considered only if ALL of the openings are protected. Most homeowners don’t realize this includes the garage door, side service door, and front door in addition to all other exterior doors and windows. The weakest and most vulnerable is the garage door due to its size.
UV Protection – Laminated glass blocks approximately 99% of (UV) ultraviolet lighting. This prevents damage to interior drapes, blinds and other valuables located near these openings.
- Laymen Terms: furniture and artwork does not fade as fast.
Noise reduction – Impact glass windows and doors also reduce the sound transmitted due to the layers of glass on each side and polyvinyl butaryl (PVB) between the layers of glass, offering a much higher insulating rating thus reducing the noise compared to standard single-pane glass. Note: Laminated impact glass typically does not have a higher rating than insulating glass as the air space between the glass layers is the main sound deadening factor increasing the noise reduction.
- Laymen terms: two pieces of glass with plastic between them reduces noise.
Note: PVB is the most common laminate interlayer procedure due to its impact absorption capabilities.
Energy Efficiency – impact glass windows are more efficient in preventing heat gain / loss than standard single pain glass windows and doors and as a result reduce energy costs. Additionally, many older window installations and assemblies such as jalousie windows and awning windows have air gaps which leak air conditioning / heat directly adding to the loss of energy and therefore causing additional air conditioning costs.
- Laymen terms: Impact glass windows are more energy efficient than single pane glass
For additional information about impact resistant windows and doors goto: Hurricane Retrofit Guide