As we move through hurricane season, now is a great time for homeowners in coastal regions to consider evaluating the security and protection that your windows are providing. If your windows are old, worn down, or even cracked, it can leave your home susceptible to damages. Ultimately, installing new impact windows provides increased protection against the wind, rain, and debris brought on by summer storms and hurricanes. However, impact windows don’t just protect your home from damages, they also improve insulation, lower noise pollution, and even help slash energy bills.
What are Impact Windows?
Impact windows combine a heavy-duty frame with impact-resistant laminated glass that includes an advanced low-emissivity coating. They are designed to withstand high winds and impact from objects, making them far less likely to shatter, even from direct blows. Being able to withstand impact is crucial, as a shattered window is the last thing you want during a hurricane. There are a few different types of impact windows, which we will discuss later in this article, but it’s important to know that the main differences come in style, size, material and degree of protection. A number of standard tests are utilized in order to determine the level of impact resistance they provide. For example, SoftLite’s Barcelona impact windows passed every durability test, including the Large Missile Impact Level “D” test, which requires a window to withstand sustained winds of 140 mph, and gusts of up to 212 mph.
Types of Impact Windows
Single/Double Hung Impact Windows
Single and Double-Hung impact windows are some of the most popular choices on the market. The ‘single’ and ‘double’ refer to the number of sashes on the window that slide up and down. A single-hung window will only have one operational sash, while a Double-Hung window will have two. Single and double-hung windows are also some of the most versatile and design friendly options available and come in various colors, allowing a homeowner to perfectly match the desired aesthetic of their home. The real genius of these windows is their simplicity- they’re basic, elegant, and easy to incorporate into any design.
Casement Impact Windows
One great benefit of Casement impact windows is that they swing open on a hinge, and can move either vertically or horizontally. This is ideal for a homeowner, as it provides the choice of opening the window either partially or fully. Opening the window partially allows a breeze to enter the home, while blocking debris and lawn clippings. Meanwhile, opening the window fully allows for maximum ventilation.
Casement windows are also known for their security, and have sturdy locks and solid frames. They perform very well against severe weather, so utilizing impact glass in a Casement window provides an extra layer of protection. Thankfully, Casement windows are also incredibly design friendly, and can be mixed, matched and customized according to a homeowner’s pallet.
All of SoftLite’s Casement windows come with:
- Single-lever, multiple-point locking handles
- Easy cleaning abilities
- Low-E coated energy-efficient glass
- Elegant fold-in handles
Picture Impact Windows
Picture windows are large pieces of stationary glass that are fixed in position, which means they do not open, close or slide. Picture windows are named for their ability to both maximize natural light and provide a picturesque view. Most are custom shaped and then fitted to meet the specific parameters of a project, allowing the homeowner to create a sense of style and personalization. Conveniently, the fact that Picture windows are simply large pieces of glass makes the cleaning process simple and efficient.
Picture windows are often utilized within a Bay or Bow window, but can also be placed by themselves in any room where you want to let some light in. The fact that they don’t open or close also adds to their insulation abilities, which provides energy savings to a homeowner down the line.
Sliding Impact Windows
Sliding impact windows are a lot like Double-Hung impact windows, only they’re turned on their side. Sliding windows are composed of two windows, one fixed, the other designed to slide horizontally. These windows can be ideal for homes with low ceilings, and conveniently require no interior space to open and close. For a homeowner, utilizing impact glass in a Sliding window provides the aesthetic appeal of a pure Slider, without the fear of window shatter. This allows you to implement a sleek, modern aesthetic, even if you live in an area heavily impacted by wind and rain. All of our Sliding windows come equipped with a range of features such as:
- Easy Sliding – Each Sliding window provides smooth, effortless operation on corrosion-resistant, tandem brass rollers. This allows your window to glide open and closed.
- Minimal Air Infiltration – Specially designed air barriers and weather stripping substantially reduce the amount of external air that enters a home.
- Easy Cleaning – The sashes in our Sliding windows tilt inward, much like a Double Hung, which allows easy cleaning. This ultimately prolongs the life of your windows, and helps ensure that they stay looking brand new.
- Energy-efficient Glass– SoftLite offers a variety of Low-E and energy efficient impact glass options to help ensure both security and efficiency.
SoftLite’s Impact Windows
We offer many different types of impact windows, all with their own unique shape, size and design. Regardless of the model, all of our impact windows are the most versatile and high performing options on the market. Our impact windows pass every durability test available, including the Large Missile Impact Level “D” test, meaning they can withstand wind gusts of over 212 mph. When narrowing down the list of impact windows to consider for your home, highlighting those that have passed this test is a good place to begin. Another aspect to look for when analyzing options is the HVHZ certification, which certifies a window has been approved for high velocity hurricane zones. SoftLite’s impact windows have this certification as well.
SoftLite’s Impact Windows also all come fully equipped with:
- Triple-pane laminated glass
- Stainless steel reinforced attachment points
- Two heavy-duty cam sweep locks
- High-performance Low-E coating and argon gas between the glass panes to block damaging UV rays, ensuring the highest energy efficiency possible
- Insulated foam wrap around the frame to help reduce air infiltration
Product Spotlight: Barcelona Impact Windows
When looking for the right impact windows, it’s important to take the overall aesthetic of your home into consideration. Just because you’re looking for heavy-duty impact windows, doesn’t necessarily mean you need to sacrifice design integrity to get them. SoftLite’s Barcelona impact windows are a perfect example of a fully customizable, high-performing impact window. These windows come with interior and exterior white vinyl, and the exterior frame is available in several colors to coordinate with a home’s style. Meanwhile, the windows come in a variety of specialty shapes like triangles, circles and trapezoids in order to fit any area. They can also come with a fully decorative grid to match the aesthetic of a true divided window. With heavy-duty glass, and a thick walled vinyl frame, our Barcelona Impact Windows combine unmatched strength with superior insulation.
Product Spotlight: Panorama Sliding Doors
One of the hottest design trends this summer is implementing new, beautiful sliding doors. SoftLite's Panorama Sliding Doors come with a "DP" or design pressure rating of 50. This means these sliding glass doors have passed a structural test, confirming their ability to withstand pressure up to 75 pounds per square foot, and wind gusts of over 200 mph. Panorama Impact sliding glass doors feature high-performance, Solar Low-E laminated glass, and a clear polymer layer sandwiched between two panes of glass. This helps provide additional protection against storm debris and projectiles.
Trusted Impact Window Dealers
Installing new impact windows ultimately results in raised resale value, improved security and stronger weather protection. SoftLite knows that; which is why we offer a wide variety of impact windows and hurricane windows that exceed industry standards. Since 1934, homeowners have relied on SoftLite’s ability to manufacture the most consistent, durable, and high-performing windows in the nation. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of installing our beautiful, tough impact windows, contact a dealer near you.