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How to Tell if Your Windows Are Already Impact

We’ve all heard talk about hurricane impact windows, and all the pros and cons of installing impact windows in your home. When it boils right down to it, if you live in a high-risk hurricane area, such as South Florida, installing hurricane windows is the only smart option. But what if impact windows have been installed already?

Let’s face it, hurricane windows aren’t a new invention, and it’s quite possible that the previous owner already thought about this. So many homeowners wonder if their home is already fitted with hurricane windows. Well, here’s how to tell!

First off, what are the differences?

Well, for short, that one won’t shatter in case of a hurricane, and one will. The main difference between normal and hurricane windows is the glass. Traditional, non-resistant windows are made from float glass, which breaks into large and perilous shards, during storms or hurricanes.

Impact windows, on the other hand, have been put through several resistance tests, and are made with two slabs of fortified glass stuck to a thin film of resin that will hold the glass to it, even if shattered.

How can you tell if your windows are hurricane resistant?

1.   Impact windows have a permanent marking.

While traditional windows often have a peel-off mark with the supplier’s info, hurricane windows are supposed to have a permanent mark etched directly into the glass. This mark should contain relevant information, such as the name of the manufacturer, the thickness of the glass, and so on.

However, because some impact windows have been cut to size, they may be missing this permanent marking. So even if your windows are missing a permanent marking, this isn’t necessarily a sign that they’re not impact. So, keep looking. Sometimes, when the manufacturer was forced to cut the glass to size, they will attack a stick-on temporary mark containing the same information. This should clarify whether or not the glass is hurricane resistant.

2.   Check your reflection.

This is a particularly interesting method. As mentioned earlier, hurricane resistant windows are made of two separate slabs of glass, held together by polyvinyl butaryl (PVB) interlayer or an (SGP) interlayer. Therefore, it stands to reason that they should show two separate reflections when you hold up your hand or an object to them. Standard windows, on the other hand, being made of a single slab of glass, should only display one reflection.

3.   Check with the manufacturer.

If possible, contact the manufacturer or installer, and get their input on the matter. Theoretically, you should have access to such information, as a buyer. If the manufacturer can’t help, we suggest reaching out to the previous owner, who may well know.

4.   Get your windows professionally examined.

As a last resort, you can get a professional opinion. This will tell you whether or not the windows are hurricane-resistant, but also help establish the condition of your current windows. In case they aren’t impact, this inspection can help spot any potential weak points that may, in the future, endanger your family.

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