Most of the coastal areas, where there is the potential for hurricane exposure, are implementing codes that require the use of impact-resistant windows and doors. These products provide protection from wind-bourne debris, eliminating the need for shutters or plywood while maximizing natural light and viewing area. They also help maintain the traditional design aesthetics of the home.
Missile Impact Requirements
Research in residential construction practices found that window and door failure was a leading cause of total building failure during high-wind storms. By puncturing the "building envelope" internal pressure increases the uplift forces on the roof and the suction forces on the walls. While an impact-resistant product costs more than standard window or door, it can be a vital component towards protecting the home in the event of a severe weather event. While exact definitions and coverage can vary by code, body missile impact standards are defined for projects in wind-borne debris regions which can have wind speeds in excess of 120 mph.
Certified impact-resistant windows and doors must pass a stringent series of tests. The missile impact test fires an 8-foot long 2x4 at 50 feet per second at designated spots on the doorglass and door slab. The entire unit must then remain intact through 9000 pressure cycles and also pass water infiltration, structural loading, forced entry resistance, and air infiltration tests. One researcher's comment provides an insight into the performance level of current impact-resistant products. "Most will resist impact from objects that will easily penetrate most of the plywood people often board their houses with before a storm."
Product Construction and Selection
Impact-resistant windows and doors are available in a variety of styles. Builders are familiar with those approved systems that meet local code requirements. ODL Severe Weather® doorglass is available in both clear and decorative styles for use in either steel or fiberglass doors. Severe Weather doorglass is available in approved doors systems for use in 8 foot and double door applications.
Impact resistant glass is different than standard laminated glass. The outer surface is constructed of two 0.125" glass panels sandwiching a rigid 0.090" poly vinyl butyl inner layer. The inner panel is tempered safety glass. Another benefit of this construction is reduced sound transmission and increased filtering of UV rays.
Learn more about severe weather doorglass from ODL