During a storm, the atmospheric pressure inside your home remains constant because the windows and doors remain closed. Outside, the pressure rises in relationship to the storm’s strength. The differential in pressure is what can become dangerous.
Any piece of flying debris can penetrate the window and when this happens (even with just one window) your entire residence is at risk for catastrophic damage.
This is why impact windows are constructed with laminated glass and sealed to an aluminum frame with structural adhesive. Impact windows and doors are designed to withstand flying debris. Laminating involves combining two pieces of annealed glass with a special resin sandwiched between. Unless you are looking at the glass from the side, an untrained person would not be able to tell that it’s laminated.
The next important element of the window or door is the frame design. Florida’s Best uses a reinforced meeting rail (see diagram) to prevent the sash from being blown in or out. A sash failure would cause the same amount of damage that could occur from a glass penetration.
The final key element impacting the window performance is the weather stripping. Significant amount of water damage can occur even if a window or door remains intact during a bad storm. There are two ways this can occur: First, in a severe storm with high winds, the window frame and glass will bend and create small exposed openings where water can penetrate. With storms that have high winds sustained for several hours, a home can literally take on hundreds of gallons of water.
The best line of defense for this type of problem is weather stripping. The type of weather stripping and whether it’s done on one side or two is very important. FB uses a top quality weather stripping material and seals both sides of all moveable parts.
In addition, how weather stripping materials hold up over time in Florida’s harsh environment is another factor to consider. Lower quality materials will shrink and crack and expose the window to failure. Good weather stripping also makes for a smoother opening and closing of the window and door.
Common glass is also known as annealed glass. To strengthen annealed glass, manufacturers can heat the glass. Heat strengthened glass is twice as strong as annealed glass and tempered glass is 4 times as strong.
In addition, annealed glass can be manufactured with tints and special coatings to provide UV protection. Reducing UV rays inside your residence can help you significantly reduce your monthly cooling expense. It can also provide protection from normal fading that can occur on your interior treatments (drapes, furniture, etc.).
Tinted glass should not be confused with automobile aftermarket films that are applied after the glass is installed. This process does provide UV protection, but over time the film will degrade thus diminishing the glass quality. With Florida’s Best tinted glass, there is not loss in UV protection over time because of the way the tint is manufactured right into the glass itself.
There is also a clear glass coating called low e, which is applied to the glass to provided enhanced UV protection. There are two types of low e coatings (soft coat or sputter and hard coat). See the chart below showing how much UV protection is offered by each glass option.
% of UV Rays Blocked
Hard Coat Low e
Soft Coat Low e
The main reason you would consider glass with a low e coating is that it’s clear and provides the highest optical rated glass. Tinting is typically a lower cost alternative method of reducing UV rays, but it will impact the exterior appearance of you residence and also impact the view from inside your home & reduce the amount of natural lighting.
* Reflective glass is typically used in office buildings, but is sometimes used in residential homes.
There are some limitations with low e coatings. First, once they are applied, they are susceptible to scratching and shouldn’t be washed. Therefore the best way to use low e coating is with insulated or laminated glass. It can be applied in between the glass so that it will never come in contact with damaging elements.
Here is a quick visual of the cross section of an insulated impact window glass that can block as much as 75% of all UV radiation and provide excellent insulation properties.
Following the destruction of hurricane Andrew in 1992, Miami Dade County began working on a new building code rating system to reduce loss from future storms. Today, Miami Dade maintains some of the toughest product evaluation requirements in the industry. In 2002, The Florida State government introduced its own product approval requirements that encompass all areas outside of Miami Dade County. The main difference is that Miami Dade Approved Products must meet 150 mph & zone 5 applications (higher pressures).
Wind zone maps are used to establish product performance requirements (see chart). As the chart shows, residence in the Miami Dade County must use windows and doors rated to withstand 150 mile per hour winds.
In order to receive NOA (notice of acceptance) for any window or door, the manufacturer must supply a third party testing organization actual product samples. These samples undergo numerous tests and then receive a rating. Products that pass Miami Dade’s testing requirements will pass the State of Florida’s requirements.
All Floirida’s Best windows and doors carry the Miami Dade County approval rating. This evaluation involves a large and small projectile test. In this test, materials (for large missile, a 2x4 piece of lumber) is shot from a gun at the test window. The reason they test for large and small missiles is to accommodate building heights. Windows and doors installed from ground level to 30 feet must pass large missile tests. For windows and doors installed over 30 feet off the ground a small missile test will suffice.
In order to determine what window performance level you need, it is best to consult a Florida’s Best dealer. They will calculate the design pressure requirements for your home and ensure you have the right amount of protection and fall within building code requirements.
The Florida Building Code stipulates that building permits are required for replacement of windows and sliding glass doors, as well as screen enclosures, storage sheds and carports of canvas or metal. Working without a permit is illegal and can result in fines, causing problems when you want to sell your house. Only licensed contractors or homeowners (acting as owner-builders) may obtain a permit to perform the job.
HOW CAN YOU OBTAIN A PERMIT?
You don't have to worry about the hassle of obtaning a building permit. COLET CONSTRUCTION is a licensed general contractor of the State of Florida and will obtain the permit for you if you agree to do so in our quote. We will make all the necessary drawings and wind-load calculations to submit a complete application to the corresponding municipality.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO OBTAIN A PERMIT?
The turn-around time to pull a permit varies significantly from municipality to municipality. Once we submit the necessary paperwork, it takes us between 2 to 6 weeks to obtain a building permit approved. Some times, the process can take longer if permit reviewers have comments about a drastic change in style between the existing windows and the proposed new windows. Each municipality has its own turn-around time and its specific workflow processs.