7 Things to Know About Hurricane Impact-Resistant Performance

7 Things to Know About Hurricane Impact-Resistant Performance

May 18, 2022

Understanding the importance of impact-resistant windows and doors.

Anyone who has witnessed the unrelenting power of a hurricane, whether by watching a video or experiencing it first-hand, understands the importance of impact-resistant windows and doors.

1. Damage comes from more than wind


Hurricanes are a devastating force of nature. Their high-speed winds can exceed 180 miles per hour, turning unanchored objects into missiles. In addition, the storm surge they create produces powerfully destructive waves on the shoreline and torrential rains that cause flooding in low-lying areas.

2. Atlantic and Gulf Coasts are at greatest risk


The last 10 years unfortunately demonstrated that any community close to the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico is potentially at risk for hurricanes and intense tropical storms. Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the New Jersey shoreline in 2012, causing an estimated $80 billion in damage, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey hit South Texas, damaging more than 200,000 homes and businesses, resulting in more than $141.3 billion.

Hurricane and high-wind events occur far and wide. Without impact-resistant products, the results can be costly and sometimes deadly.

3. What’s your wind speed?


Building codes, while occasionally challenging to understand, are intended as essential tools to preserve public health and safety. Contributing to this effort, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) shares its research-based, location-specific data for maximum expected wind speeds and related hazards, including the likelihood for experiencing wind-borne debris. The ASCE’s wind speed zone map data guide building codes and help establish risk-mitigating performance criteria.

Depending on where your home is located, code-compliant windows and doors must be built to withstand rigorous tests appropriate to the ASCE-designated wind zone.

4. Do you really need HVHZ?


To meet building codes’ performance criteria, impact-resistant windows and doors undergo testing that simulates the anticipated wind loads, the positive and negative air pressure changes, and the impact from flying debris. Among the most stringent requirements a product can meet is to earn certification for use in the High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ), which includes Miami-Dade, Broward and Coastal Palm Beach Counties in Florida.

Remember that HVHZ represents the highest performance criteria, and may not be necessary for your home’s location

5. Hallmark of success

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Architects and builders can narrow the search for products suitable for your home’s location using the Window & Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) Hallmark Certification Program. WDMA Hallmark-certified products adhere to specific standards of impact performance and structural integrity, guaranteeing a window or door will meet requirements in specific wind zones.

Recognized by many federal agencies and building code organizations across the country, the WDMA Hallmark Certification Program also is approved by the State of Florida for Product Certification, Quality Assurance and Product Approval Validation, and by the Texas Department of Insurance.

6. Keep it together with laminated glass


Hurricane impact-resistant windows and doors typically utilize laminated glass to achieve their protective performance. Like the glass used for your windshield to minimize damage during a car accident, laminated glass for windows and doors is manufactured with a flexible interlayer that keeps the glass intact even if it is impacted by airborne debris.

When the glass holds together, it also helps preserve your home’s structural integrity through the storm. If the glass were to shatter, it would create dangerous flying debris and it would allow the wind to make a terrible situation even worse. Wind infiltration can generate upward lift on the roof and outward pressure on the walls, compromising the safety of your entire house.

7. Expect high style with high performance


There’s no need for you to sacrifice beauty for brawn. With Kolbe Windows & Doors, every item is custom crafted to not only meet your performance specifications, but also your personalized, architectural aesthetic.

Kolbe’s impact-resistant products are thoughtfully designed without unsightly brackets or visible rods to hold the sash in place. There’s no need to worry about fastening extra locks when every moment counts.

We offer a wide range of impact-certified products. Choose from casement, double hung, awning, sliding and direct set windows, plus swinging, sliding and folding doors in many sizes, styles and materials. Our Forgent® Series products feature a proprietary, high-performance Glastra® material with optional wood interiors. Our all-wood Heritage Series can be customized in almost any wood species, color or stain. Our Ultra Series presents the warmth of wood on the interior paired with a strong, durable extruded aluminum exterior.

Combine the perfect look with peace of mind. Click here for our Impact Performance brochure or contact your Kolbe dealer for a personal consultation.

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