If you are thinking about living on the Florida coast, you have probably already considered hurricane season. Most people know this is a high-risk area for these types of storms, but many may not realize just how big the risk is. According to statistics, 40% of the hurricanes that hit the United States will hit Florida and 85% of category 4 or above have hit either the Florida coast or Texas.
Impact glass is specially designed to withstand high winds and potential impact from debris, as the name suggests. There are several manufacturers and retailers of these types of windows, which means there are also some variations in the process. Generally, impact glass is two independent layers of glass adhered to a plastic sheeting, (much like what you find in automotive glass). The differences are in the thickness of the glass sheets and the type of inner layer that is used.
Polyvinyl Butyral or PVB is the sheeting material used to manufacture your car windshield and is a very popular choice for hurricane impact glass. The vinyl center is soft and pliable which means it will give and absorb the force of an impact however, it is also tough and will not rip through easily. All this means your window may give but in most cases, the interior of your home will be protected.
Sentry glass plus or SGP is another variation of hurricane glass that is becoming popular. This material is much stiffer and tougher than PVB and is used in some of the roughest situations. For instance to protect from bullets and bombs! As you would imagine this type of impact, glass is quite expensive.
You may think that choosing your level of impact glass will adequately protect you during hurricane season. True hurricane protective windows are more than just the glass they contain; you must also consider the framing and sealing materials. Heavy-duty aluminum framing is often used, but this will vary depending on which contractor you hire. To ensure you get the best quality materials ask a lot of questions and even visit previous work sites if possible. Impact resistant glass will do you very little good if the frame caves in!
Insurance and Code
Florida has instituted some tough policies when it comes to hurricane glass. Changes in codes have led to a mandate on insurance companies to offer discounts for homes or businesses that have installed up to code impact glass. Many homeowners’ insurance policies will of course already require a certain level of protection; however, you should check your policy and local codes. You could get superior protection and save money on your insurance.
Do your homework about impact glass and hurricane activity in your local area. Building and city codes may vary depending on the history of damage to the area. The one thing you can know without a doubt, if you are going to operate a business or live along the Florida coast, some type of hurricane impact glass is practically a necessity. Do not leave your inventory or belongings up to chance or hope, hire a reputable contractor to install the best glass and frames available!