More Than Just Protection

July 15th, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs

The latest impact-rated products provide function and aesthetics

Hurricane season is upon us and, while experts and industry officials say there’s little to report among code changes, that hasn’t stopped manufacturers from rolling out plenty of new impact-rated products. From tougher glass and archtop windows to impact-rated hardware and mini blinds, the latest offerings prove that gearing up for hurricanes doesn’t require sacrificing aesthetics or features.

Electronic Locks

Officials for WinDoor recently announced that they’re the first to offer a luxury entry door system that not only features impact resistance, but also a multi-point lock and smart home, keyless entry system. Offered on the company’s Estate Entrances, electronic locks and handle sets are available in multiple styles and can be controlled by touch-to-open Bluetooth technology, a smartphone app or key fob, activating and deactivating multiple bolts within the lock to engage and secure an impact-resistant door panel. Manufactured by Baldwin, officials for PGT Innovations (WinDoor’s parent company) say their company has exclusive rights to use the hardware on impact-resistant products.

Contemporary Sliding Door

Weathershield announced this year that its next-generation Contemporary Collection Sliding Patio Door features improved performance—including impact-rated options. With 2-1/4-inch-thick panels, the company’s slider offers design pressure (DP) ratings and additional upgrades that are now available for coastal, hurricane-rated applications. A low-profile (1-1/4-inch) sill includes a wept design, channeling water away from the home, while integrating with finished flooring for seamless indoor-outdoor transitions. The product installs like a standard sliding door for the convenience of contractors.

HVHZ Sliders

In April, officials announced completion of laboratory testing for Sky-Frame Hurricane, an impact-resistant series of sliding glass doors and windows that now meets the highest test requirements for hurricane-prone areas—including Miami-Dade standards. The product’s 91-inch wide by 138-inch high panels are among the largest hurricane-rated sliding doors available, officials said, while multi-track design allows for an unlimited number of doors and windows to be installed in sequence.

With pressure ratings as high as 75 pounds per square foot (PSF), the product meets High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ) criteria as defined by the Florida Building Code, making it suitable for all hurricane-prone areas. Panels can be motorized or manually operated.

Zone 4 Sliding Glass Door

With independent laboratory tests on its direct-set door achieving DP50 performance, Bavarian Polymers’ new Series 5050 Sliding Glass Door is projected to meet Zone 4 impact testing. Meanwhile, with this beefed up design, product designers didn’t forget aesthetics. With a 4-9 /16-inch frame depth, integral siding J-channel and 3-inch-wide panels, frames feature dual-weather stripping and snap-in covers to enhance their appearances. Two-track and direct-glazed styles are available and direct-set doors can be rotated for reversibility, while fixed glass adapters offer equal glass heights. Insulating glass thicknesses range from ¾- to 1-1/4-inches, producing U-value ratings of 0.25 to 0.18 via dual, low-E, triple glazing.

Impact-Rated Mini Blinds

When you think of hurricane protection, the word “mini” might not be first to mind. But Masonite’s Impact-Rated Mini Blinds are designed and certified to protect coastal homes from hurricane-force winds and wind-borne debris. Of course, they offer privacy and control over daylighting just like traditional, integrated door blinds, but company officials say they also serve as an alternative to storm shutters. A modern, plugless frame is designed to provide year-round noise reduction and energy efficiency.

Hurricane-Impact and Efficiency

Designed for the company’s Florida-based customers, West Shore Home recently introduced a new line of impact-rated windows. Officials for the St. Petersburg, Fla.- based company say its hurricane-impact window series is designed to help customers prepare for severe weather, while allowing them to maximize energy and cost savings across all seasons.

Design Flexibilities

The EuroSeries Sliding Patio Door system by Ply Gem proves that impact-rated products don’t have to limit your customers’ options. The product is High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ) tested, meeting Florida building code and Miami-Dade County requirements, while also offering plenty of design flexibilities.

Vinyl frames can be customized with low-maintenance, two-tone, white or woodgrain interior colors that can be combined with white, grey or bronze exterior colors that are designed to resist fading. Optional glass packages also offer sound transmission class STC) ratings for reducing outdoor noise levels.

Options for Multi-Family

For dealers looking to cross over into the multi-family sector, St. Cloud Window offers several options with impact resistance. While each product is custom designed for individual projects and applications, officials say the company’s SCW900i Series windows are selected to mitigate infiltration from wind-driven rain and coastal sand, including 20 pounds per square foot (PSF) of resistance to water. The product also features a dual-glazed design that allows for indirect ventilation amid rainy conditions.

The company’s SCW960i Fixed Windows are designed for impact resistance in coastal applications and were recently used in a condominium project to incorporate curved glass into its corners.

Single-Hung Arch-Top

Who says you can’t have aesthetics, energy efficiency and impact resistance? Soft-Lite Windows recently introduced an all-new single-hung, arch-top window that’s designed to provide all of the above. The product features a foam-filled frame for added energy efficiency, as well as an exterior that includes architectural millwork.

As with the company’s Barcelona Series windows, its new single-hung is offered with two levels of protection. “Impact Level D” windows passed ASTM Large Missile Impact Level D tests and also have achieved HVHZ certification. “Impact Level C” windows passed ASTM Large Missile Impact Level C tests.

Flat-Profile Door Frame

To provide impact resistance with a more modern look, ODL recently introduced a new, flat-profile door frame for its Severe Weather Door Glass. According to officials, the frame is watertight and designed to add strength and security to entry doors capable of withstanding extreme force, including from hurricane-speed winds.

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