A Guide to Coastal & Hurricane Windows for Your Home
Whether you’re getting ready for the upcoming hurricane season, or have just made it through another year of storms and want to make sure your home is better protected the next time around, you may be considering having high-impact windows installed. While pretty much all modern replacement windows undergo extensive testing during production and must meet a number of federally mandated performance standards, hurricane windows—or “impact windows” as they are commonly called—must comply with an even more rigorous set of performance regulations.
How Are Impact Windows Different From Other Replacement Windows?
The main difference between regular replacement windows and impact windows is that the latter have been constructed using impact-resistant glass, which is treated with a layer of ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) or polyvinyl butyral (PVB). The EVA or PVB layer is sandwiched between two panes of annealed glass and the three components are laminated together to create an ultra-durable barrier that can stand up to heavy impacts from windblown debris as well as sudden fluctuations in air pressure, which commonly occur when a hurricane hits.
Testing, Testing & More Testing
During production, the impact-resistant glass undergoes both impact testing and wind cycle testing. Impact testing involves firing a weighted projectile at the glass at various speeds and from various angles to determine how intense of an impact the glass can withstand. Similar to the laminated safety glass that is used to construct car windshields, impact-resistant glass is still breakable, but the main difference is that when it does break, the flexible inner layer holds the broken pieces together rather than allowing shards of broken glass to go flying across the room.
For wind cycle testing, the impact-resistant glass is placed in a simulation of storm-like conditions that includes both hurricane-force winds and negative pressure. During wind cycle testing, the windows are subjected to wind speeds of up to 150 mph with gusts of more than 170 mph. And not just momentarily—these extreme conditions are maintained for two to three hours to ensure the windows are truly strong enough to withstand the level of atmospheric punishment they would likely face during a hurricane.
Specially Constructed for Coastal Conditions
Even when impact windows aren’t being subjected to hurricane-force winds, they still face a unique set of conditions being located near water, which is why they’re also sometimes referred to as “coastal windows.” Certain metal components of these windows—such as the hardware, balances, and spacer systems—are made of non-corrosive stainless steel to better deal with the higher salinity content in the coastal air. They also commonly feature sill risers and sloped sills that are devoid of weep holes to guard against water infiltration and also prevent water from pooling on the outside surface of the windowsill. Other features, like silicone glazing and polyurethane-insulated frames, help to prevent air infiltration in the face of heavy coastal winds, and extra-thick weatherstripping provides an additional layer of protection against air leakage.
Most commonly, the sashes on coastal windows are made of vinyl as this material stands up to moisture, salinity, humidity, and extreme temperature fluctuations much better than wood, metal, and fiberglass, and the vinyl sashes on these windows are often reinforced with aluminum or other metal supports to provide extra rigidity.
The Drawbacks of Hurricane Windows
Historically, hurricane windows have had some drawbacks, despite the many benefits they provide in terms of safety during a storm. For example, for the longest time, hurricane windows were only available in single- and double-hung configurations, which many homeowners found frustrating as it limited their options. Similarly, the frames on many hurricane windows were made with low-quality vinyl that yellowed over time, which meant that many homeowners had to sacrifice appearance for adequate protection from coastal storms. Lastly, because impact glass tends to be thicker than a standard glazing system, some hurricane windows had less visibility than normal replacement windows, which was an unfortunate drawback, especially if you were at your coastal residence trying to enjoy the sunshine and breathtaking views. Thankfully, hurricane windows have come a long way in more recent years and many of these drawbacks have been eliminated.
Coastal Performance Impact Windows
Here at Sunrise Windows & Doors, we believe that whether it’s your primary residence or a vacation getaway, your coastal-area home should be equipped with windows that provide comfort and security from anything Mother Nature can throw at them. What’s more, we feel that you can have this security and peace of mind without having to sacrifice style. Our Coastal Performance Impact Windows by Paragon® (a Sunrise Company) are expertly crafted to deliver on all fronts.
Featuring sleek, low-profile frames that provide an expansive viewing area, Coastal Performance Impact Windows will allow you to soak up all the beautiful scenery that surrounds your beachfront home, lakeside cottage, or whatever other type of coastal retreat you have. What’s more, the frames on these windows are crafted from 100% virgin vinyl, which is an incredibly durable material that won’t yellow over time, nor will it fade in the face of prolonged sunlight exposure or chalk from exposure to high airborne salinity conditions.
Impact-Resistant Glass System
Our Coastal Performance Impact Windows include the industry’s most innovative impact-resistant glass system. This system features two panes of annealed glass that are laminated to a flexible inner layer of 0.90” polyvinyl butyral (PVB). The exterior surface of the glass is then coated with our patented SB-70® silver-based low-emissivity coating, which reflects harmful UV rays and prevents the sun’s heat from coming into your home. However, unlike the Low-E coatings of yesteryear that prevented sunlight from penetrating the glass, because these metallic layers are microscopic, they won’t obstruct or darken your view at all!
The PVB laminated inner layer is designed to keep the glass intact should it be struck by an airborne projectile during a hurricane or tropical storm, and our exclusive silicone glazing process keeps the impact glass system firmly affixed to the frame and sash. All in all, these windows are designed to handle an incredible amount of impact and stand firmly in place.
A Wide Selection of Window Styles
We know that no two homeowners are alike and that many want to create unique architectural statements for their homes—especially their seaside vacation homes. That’s why we’ve made it a priority to offer our Coastal Performance Impact Windows in all the most popular replacement window styles. Choose from:
- Double-hung – Featuring two moveable sashes that tilt in for easy cleaning, double-hung windows are versatile, functional, and complement just about any style home.
- Single-hung – For those who are looking to impart a traditional, understated aesthetic to their homes, single-hung windows are a perfect choice.
- Sliding – Sliding windows feature fewer moving parts than other window styles, which makes them less likely to need repairs and helps them last longer. Choose either a two- or three-lite configuration.
- Picture – Designed to showcase your home’s surroundings, picture windows feature a fixed sash and thus offer the best energy efficiency of any window style.
- Casement – A great choice for both traditional and contemporary homes, casement windows feature sleek frames, expansive glass area, and an easy-to-use crank mechanism that allows you to position the sash at different angles for ventilation.
- Architectural shapes – Select from full round, half-round, quarter round, extended, octagon, triangle, hexagon, trapezoid, pentagon, and eyebrow.
Our Coastal Performance Impact Windows also allow for many different configuration choices that provide optimal structural integrity while maximizing glass viewing area. You can choose different window styles and have them mulled together into a single unit that features two, three, four, or five windows side by side, or two windows with one on top of the other. With Coastal Performance Impact Windows, your options are truly endless when it comes to designing windows that meet your every need. And, because they’re built to withstand even the fiercest effects of coastal storms, you can rest easy knowing that your home is well protected.
Get Started Today
To learn more about having Coastal Performance Impact Windows installed at your home—or your home-away-from-home—click here to locate a Sunrise Windows dealer in your area.