Ever wonder what hurricane impact testing means for hurricane protection?

Hello there, South Florida! We all know that living in this beautiful slice of paradise comes with challenges, especially when hurricane season rolls around. Palm trees and sunshine aside, we’re talking about gusty winds, torrential downpours, and, unfortunately, flying debris. With hurricanes being as unpredictable as Florida’s weather, the importance of installing tested and approved hurricane shutters and impact windows can’t be overstated. 

What is Hurricane Impact Testing, Anyway?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s get acquainted with what impact testing for hurricane protection involves. Hurricane Impact Testing isn’t just dropping a hammer on a piece of glass and calling it a day. It’s a highly regulated and standardized process. Essentially, engineers and scientists hurl missiles—not explosive, but large objects—and fire small and large projectiles at hurricane-resistant products. Passing hurricane protection products are called impact-rated hurricane protection. Impact testing is science’s way of simulating that tree branch the wind might throw at your window.

The Science Behind Impact Testing

Hurricane impact window testing saves lives (Hurricane image)

So, what mysterious forces are at play during a hurricane that hurricane impact testing tries to replicate? Well, wind speeds can reach up to 150 miles per hour, and we’re talking about winds that can toss objects around like they’re feathers. Engineers perform small and large missile impact tests on these products to mimic these conditions during impact testing.

  1. Small Missile Impact Test: Think BB pellets or small rocks. They’re hurled at 50 miles per hour to simulate the smaller debris flying around during a storm.
  2. Large Missile Impact Test: We’re talking 2x4s and other large objects. These are shot at the window at around 50 mph as well to imitate those larger objects that can be flying around during severe storms.

If the product survives without cracking or showing signs of significant wear and tear, it’s certified as hurricane-resistant and passes the hurricane impact test.

Why Hurricane Impact Testing Matters

Picture this: A hurricane is brewing, and you’re hunkered down in your home. Do you really want to worry about your windows shattering or your shutters flying off? Of course not. Opting for products that have undergone rigorous impact testing significantly reduces the risk of structural damage and, more importantly, injury.

An Ounce of Prevention

We’ve all heard the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Installing impact-tested shutters and windows that have undergone hurricane impact testing is that ounce of prevention. Let’s look at why impact-rated windows and shutters are the gold standard:

  1. Safety: We can’t stress this enough. Impact-tested shutters and windows can literally save lives.
  2. Peace of Mind: Forget last-minute board-ups; your impact-tested windows allow you to concentrate on other crucial preparations.
  3. Insurance Benefits: Many insurance companies offer lower premiums for hurricane-ready homes. So, you’re also saving some cash! These benefits only apply to impact-rated hurricane protection products that have undergone impact testing.
  4. Resale Value: Houses with these features can be a selling point, especially in hurricane-prone areas like South Florida.

What to Look for When Buying Impact-Rated Hurricane Protection

The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) certification is the gold standard for impact-rated shutters and windows. Miami-Dade Approval is even better! If the shutters or windows you buy have either certification, it guarantees that the products have met stringent impact testing standards. Also, ensure that your installers are certified and experienced. Your product is only as good as its installation.

The Final Word

A hurricane’s force is nothing to be taken lightly. The winds may howl, and the rains may pour, but rest assured, impact-tested hurricane shutters and windows that meet and exceed hurricane impact testing will stand firm.

Stay safe, South Florida!

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