Whether you live along the coastline or in a non-coastal area in a state with the likelihood of hurricane activity, high winds, and flying debris, securing your home from whatever nature may throw at it is crucial. Thankfully, SoftLite’s Barcelona impact windows and Panorama impact sliding glass patio doors are an ideal solution for protecting your home against extreme weather — and even deter break-ins or other hazards.
Do You Need Impact Windows?
Hurricane season is well underway and continues through the end of November this year. However, even if you don’t live in an area with tropical storms, choosing windows that can stand up to that kind of destructive force tells you that they are built to last and gives you peace of mind. Because of their sturdy construction and a tight seal engineered to minimize water leakage, impact windows offer a host of other benefits as well, including protection from UV damage, sound dampening capabilities, and often enhanced energy efficiency.
For those in the path of a destructive storm, impact-resistant windows protect the home and its occupants in three main ways:
- Impact windows are designed to not shatter into large shards, eliminating the risk of glass fragments shooting through the air and injuring people or causing property damage.
- Their multi-pane structure gives added layers of protection, the inner panes continuing to guard the home against water and wind ― even if the outer pane were to break.
- Constructed with a tight seal, impact-resistant windows reduce hurricane-force winds from seeping into the home and causing the air pressure inside to skyrocket. Otherwise, this rapid rise in air pressure can cause a structural collapse that is often far more devastating than the risk of water damage.
Requirements for Impact-Resistant Glass
Impact windows are specifically designed to withstand the pressures of hurricane-force winds and wind-borne debris. Our impact windows feature a strong frame and have two panes of glass with a PVB (polyvinyl butyral) or SGP (Sentry Guard Plus) laminate interlayer as well as an annealed or tempered outer pane of glass for added protection. In addition, some window styles feature reinforced frames. Even with those elements in place, a window is not considered impact-resistant until it gets the official designation from the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). These tests include:
Large missile impact: To pass the large missile test, the impact window must be able to withstand a nine-pound wooden two-by-four projectile that is hurled at the window at incredible speeds. For homes in South Florida, for example, the “missile” is shot at 50 feet per second, while those outside South Florida are subjected to tests with lower-speed projectiles.
- Small missile impact: For the small missile test, steel ball bearings or 2”x4”x4’ missiles are shot like bullets at the glass at 40 feet per second.
- Wind simulation: In the wind simulation test, wind speeds of up to 194 miles per hour are simulated and the window must be able to maintain its structural integrity for a period of time.
Protect Your Home with SoftLite Impact Windows and Patio Doors
Rigorously tested against all measures, SoftLite Barcelona impact windows provide durability that exceeds the Large Missile Impact Level “D” test, meaning they are able to protect against sustained winds of hurricane-force winds. Barcelona Level “D” Windows include single slider, single-hung, and double-hung windows with design pressure (DP) ratings between 55 and 65. These windows have also achieved HVHZ certification, which means they are tested and approved for high-velocity hurricane zones.
For those more inland, Impact Level C’ windows are built for non-coastal areas that are still prone to violent weather and require windows that reduce wind and water. Our Impact Level C single slider, single-hung, and double-hung windows pass the ASTM Large and Small Missile Impact Level “C” test and carry DP ratings between 50 and 65.
Made of strong, impact-resistant, triple-pane laminated glass, SoftLite Barcelona impact windows employ a rigid, tubular master window frame design with fused corners and reinforced aluminum attachment points. Marine or wet window glazing provides a tight seal and our insulated foam wrap around the frame further reduces air infiltration and minimizes water leakage. In addition, our impact windows come with two heavy-duty cam sweep locks and a nearly impenetrable PVB and SGP interlayer that prevents shattering against even the most aggressive blows with sharp or blunt objects. These added benefits further secure the window from both violent storms and intrusion.
Panorama sliding patio doors are perfect for areas where a DP50 rating is required. The doors offer laminated, Solar Low-E glass and are able to withstand high forces, shocks, projectiles, and positive and negative design pressure.
Another bonus to our impact windows and doors is you can rest easy knowing they have the excellent energy efficiency that SoftLite is known for. High-performance, Low-E coatings and argon gas infills between the glass panes help block damaging UV rays and ensure the highest energy efficiency possible.
Whether or not you live in a hurricane zone, protecting your home from whatever it may face is what we’re all about Impact windows by SoftLite are available in a variety of colors, different grid designs, and in multiple styles, including double-hung windows, picture windows, and sliding windows. Contact your local dealer for more information.