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Impact Resistant Windows: The Comprehensive Buying Guide

The aftermath of a hurricane is an actual nightmare. The amount of damage it can do to your house or building is astounding. Hurricanes are particularly damaging because they pick up objects as they move along and those objects then get thrown around at massive speeds. The debris acts as projectiles/ missiles and can penetrate the doors and windows of your house. So, you need something strong enough to resist the impact of the debris. Here, the impact resistant windows come into play. Impact resistant windows are much stronger and durable than regular ones and can help you and your home survive a hurricane.


Impact resistant windows are made up of three layers of materials. The materials used depend on the desired impact resistance. Resins like PRB or PET are used as reinforcers along with the glass. The glass used in the construction of these windows is not normal glass but tempered glass which is processed through a special heating procedure to make it tougher. The outer two layers are made from tempered glass while the inner layer is of the resin.


Impact windows also require special frames to support them and make them effective against the strong wind forces. An impact window pane paired to a regular frame may not stand much chance in a hurricane. The frames are made from a variety of materials like metal, wood, vinyl or composites. These are stiffened up using reinforcements to increase their strength multiple times. A special silicone sealant is used to secure the window panes to the frames.

Impact Test:

Impact testing is done to ensure that a given impact resistant window is able to withstand the forces of the hurricane and sustain for the whole duration. There is a standard test procedure consisting of two tests and a certification system based on performance. One of the tests involves testing the impact strength against a missile at a predetermined speed at various points on the window. The other test requires the windows to face intense pressures mimicking an actual storm. If a window passes both these tests, then it is certified as an impact resistant window.

What to consider when buying an Impact-resistant window?

• Look up the building codes in your area. Building codes vary from region to region and depend on the weather conditions. Building codes can be obtained from the local governing authority. It enlists the rating of the impact window that matches your area.

• Always keep in mind that replacing just the windows and keeping the regular frames is not going to work. You must change the whole set of window and frame to an impact certified one.

• There are two types of impact windows available: one for small missiles and other for larger missiles. The latter has greater impact resistance. However, a lot depends on the type of hurricanes occurring in the area. Going for a latter option gives you greater security and peace of mind.