A hurricane-impact window option for all tastes
When shopping for hurricane impact windows and doors, there are typically three elements to consider: functional features, impact window design options, and company reputation.
These three elements are essential when considering hurricane windows. Still, aesthetic options are among the most critical considerations when buying hurricane-impact windows, so picking the right impact window design and style is an integral part of the process.
In many cases in the past, it was a trade-off to get a strong window as heat-strength glass, and similar high-velocity, high-strength products were offered at a 10-25% premium. Although, with many options, such as our ES Windows offerings, which provide a great compromise between great design options and stronger, heat-strength glass as an included feature. We typically encourage our customers to pursue both strength and style.
What design options are available?
The hurricane impact window design refers to the arrangement of glass within the aluminum frame. Eight major styles of windows are commonly used within the industry. Single Hung, Horizontal Roller, Fixed, Sliding Doors, and French Doors are the most common. Although for specific homes and implementations, casement windows and architectural impact windows may be used.
In general, when considering hurricane window styles, there are a few options in terms of window construction. We will display and explain each design in the section below. Remember, regardless of the design, any impact window in the list provided will not affect the window’s strength to any notably significant degree. Choosing a style is personal, and you should select options that best suit your taste. There are very few objective rights and wrongs. However, it is recommended to be consistent in your style choices because it may appear disorganized and jarring to use multiple styles throughout your home without having a practical reason for doing so. For example, if a bedroom needs egress, you may be required to use a horizontal roller, or a casement hurricane window.
Single hung impact windows
Single hung impact windows are the most common hurricane windows installed in South Florida due to their traditional style and cost effectiveness. Most homeowners are accustomed to this style where only the bottom half of the window opens sliding across the section portion of glass.
Single hung hurricane windows are available from all five of our hurricane window manufacturers. The difference in between our brands comes down to each particular frame style and finish. For example, ES Window is typically the most cost effective single hung impact window option, regardless of the line or style.
Horizontal Rolling Impact Windows
Horizontal sliding windows are mounted horizontally to slide past each other. They can be single sliders or double sliders. With single slider hurricane windows, the right or left sash is moveable and the opposite is fixed in place. Double sliders allow both sashes to slide resulting in more flexibility when opening the impact window.
Our most popular horizontal roller products are manufactured by ES Windows or CGI Windows. They are all extremely high quality products. We encourage our customers to check with their hurricane protection expert about which sale is going on from each supplier, as price often dictates the product choice in this case.
Fixed Impact Windows
A fixed hurricane impact window is a window that is not movable (cannot be opened or closed). These windows are often seen in South Florida to take advantage of additional sunshine and cosmetic attractiveness.
Just a few of the many fixed window styles available include: Picture Windows, Cathedral Arch Windows, Eyebrow Windows, Circle Windows (full, half, and quarter), Fan Windows, Trapezoid Windows, Doghouse Windows, Oval Windows, and Hexagon Windows.
Hurricane Impact Sliders
Assured Storm Protection has been installing hurricane impact sliding doors (sliders) for over 30 years in the South Florida marketplace.
During this time we have found that most USA manufactured sliding doors offer a high quality product. A customer’s decision often depends on slight differences in door design. For example, PGT offers a light door product which is easier to open and close. CGI offers a heavier slider, which is a more solid construction but heavier to operate.
All manufacturers will offer a solid sliding glass door. Although when considering pricing, CGI, and ES are typically the best bang-for-your-buck option.
French Impact Doors
French doors that are hurricane impact resistant are a high-end option. These are double doors that open on each side and may have an additional fixed window installed vertically on each side.
One of the reasons that we have so many door suppliers is so we can offer certain products from different manufacturers resulting in a lower price for the consumer.
After considering affordability, cosmetic appeal, and sturdy construction, our most recommended French door product comes from ES Windows. We are able to offer a lower priced French door product than virtually any of our competitors.
Other types of Impact Windows
Casement impact windows
Casement impact windows are one piece of fixed glass with a crank handle to open the window left or right. Casement windows are used to meet egress code when windows in a bedroom are too small (5 sq. ft. or less). They are mainly installed in high-end homes that upgrade to casements to allow a clear view with no frame obstructions. They are, however, almost twice the price of single hung windows or horizontal rollers.
Project out impact windows are similar to casement windows. Project-out windows are one piece of fixed glass that has a crank and handle to open the window. Project out impact windows can also be used to meet egress code, but are mostly used in bathrooms so they can be opened slightly while maintaining privacy. Just like casement windows, project out windows are almost twice the price of single hung windows or horizontal rollers.
What you should know about different hurricane impact window designs
Impact window tints: which options are available?
The hurricane impact window tint refers to a functional or decorative application of plastic, dye, or chemical treatment that affects the appearance of the glass pane. We’ll outline the most common tints into functional and cosmetic categories.
- Turtle tint is required near coastal communities to deter newly-hatched turtles from entering residential areas, and has been proven to be 10% more energy efficient compared to untreated, un-tinted glass.
- Low-E coatings increase energy efficiency by blocking and reflecting UV and heat radiation.
- Green tint
Vinyl vs. Aluminum Frame Hurricane Impact Windows
In general, vinyl frames are a bit better at preventing heat-transfer between the interior and exterior portion of your home. Similar to how a plastic cup will conduct heat better than a metal cup, the same principle applies to impact window frames.
Vinyl impact windows are exceptionally efficient in more northern communities because they function best at insulating a home from cold temperatures. Especially when combined with an insulated glass filled with argon gas. Vinyl frames could be more efficient at preventing hotter temperatures from getting in the home.
However, we typically do not recommend spending the extra 30% (or more) on upgrading to vinyl hurricane windows in Florida because these windows are designed to work best in drastic temperature differences, which is far rarer in the average Florida climate. In Florida, the internal temperature in your home is rarely more than 20° away from the exterior temperature, which in most cases, does not justify the additional cost.
You can read more about specific studies by the Florida Solar Energy Center, which explain why vinyl windows may not be worth the additional cost for most Floridians.
Hurricane window frame sizes & reinforced aluminum frames
Frame size has a negligible impact on strength, but a large impact on hurricane impact window design. Most impact window frame sizes are 2 1/4″ to 3″ thick. However, when trying to increase the strength of your window, the only frame option that makes a significant difference is using a reinforced aluminum frame.
A reinforced aluminum frame will help strengthen the structure of your window, allowing for style options such as smaller frames not to compromise the strength of your window.
When you work with us, we will ensure you understand all of the hurricane impact window design options available and their benefits and drawbacks. We will inform you of any special offers manufacturers currently offer and do our best to educate you on the best options depending on your home and your specific needs and goals.
Give us a call today and we’ll put you in touch with one of our hurricane protection consultants.