How Are Impact-resistant Doors and Windows Tested?

If a window or door is impact resistant, this means it is built to resist permanent distortion caused by shock or impact energy without breaking. Impact-resistant windows and doors are often referred to as hurricane windows and doors.

The components that make up an impact-resistant window or door include the quality of the glass. You’ll usually see laminated glass used for these durable products, which is composed of two layers of heat-strengthened glass with a vinyl layer in between. 

Heat-strengthened Glass

It provides resistance to wind pressure or thermal stress. Some glass is designed to resist both. This type of glass is designed to shatter into large pieces so it does not fall and hurt someone below.

Tempered Glass

This is an incredibly strong and durable type of glass. It is four times stronger than annealed glass with the same dimensions. You’ll find this glass is used when someone is looking for a glass that has these qualities: strength, thermal resistance, and safety. Tempered glass meets the standards set by the American National Standards Institute and the Standard Consumer Products Safety Commission.

Insulating Glass

Use this type of glass when looking to reduce the amount of noise outside a structure from seeping inside. It also works well to save energy by preventing outside temperatures and weather conditions from entering a home.

Laminated Glass

This is a versatile glass option with many attractive qualities such as security, durability, safety, and sound control.

Insulating Laminated Glass

Use this glass for its solar control features. Solar control glass permits sunlight to pass through the glass while reflecting away much of the sun’s heat. Insulating laminated glass also has the features of the laminated inboard component. It permits cool temperatures to remain inside your home while keeping warmer temperatures outside. This is achieved with the help of a Low-E glass coating.

Low-E Coatings

This type of glass coating lowers the amount of ultraviolet and infrared light passing through the glass. It does this while allowing visible light to pass through the glass. This is a glass coating used for its energy-efficient qualities.

What Lies In-between

There are two common types of interlayers. They are known as Polyvinyl Butyral (PVB) and SentryGlas® Interlayer (SGP). Glass panels bonded together with either PVB or SGP interlayers make impact-resistant glass.

PVB – This is a popular interlayer option because it complies with standards and is a cost-effective option. It’s easy to find this interlayer option in different colors and finishes. However, if both glass panels surrounding a PVB interlayer are broken, PVB will flop over and not remain rigid.

SGP – Unlike PVB, if both glass panels are broken, SGP will remain upright, rigid, and in place. You can also find SGP interlayers in different colors and finishes to match your desired design scheme. However, SGP is typically the more expensive option for an interlayer and it is only provided by one manufacturer.

Determining Durability Doesn’t End There

Another component that determines whether a window or door is impact-resistant is the frame. It has to undergo rigorous testing to determine its durability. Part of that testing includes missile testing and design pressures. 

Missile testing determines the window or door’s ability to withstand impact, while design pressure testing indicates the wind load that a window or door can withstand. Missile testing involves twice launching a nine-pound 2×4 piece of lumber at 50 ft. per second at the glass. In this test, the lumber is considered a large missile object. Tests involving small missile objects involve 10-two gram steel balls launched at the glass at 89 miles per hour in three separate instances.

A cyclical test is used to measure the level of pressure that the glass can withstand, in particular, storm-force winds. This is an important test for windows and doors set up in areas prone to hurricanes and other extreme weather events. In this test, the glass is put inside a pressure simulator where positive and negative pressure is applied to the glass pane for 4,500 cycles. Some glass panes are subjected to 9,000 cycles of hurricane pressure to determine their durability.

Understanding Testing Standards

In North America, fenestration testing is conducted in laboratories per the North American Fenestration Standard. Windows and doors must also meet standards set by local building codes. This can include requirements set by a particular state, province, or local municipality.

Knowing What Each Rating Means

Impact ratings are designed to help determine how a window or door performs against force and impact. An impact rating test involves launching a lumber missile into a glass system. To pass, the glass has to remain unbreached. Here are some common terms and ratings you might encounter:

Design Pressure rating – It determines a window or door’s ability to withstand wind pressure. The higher the number on the scale indicates the better impact resistance it will offer.

Performance Grade rating – It includes water infiltration, air infiltration, and structural load. In some cases, PG ratings are being used to replace design pressure ratings. It is believed that PG ratings provide a more accurate measure of efficiency. A product receives a performance grade rating if it complies with structural loading requirements and all the other required areas.

Benefits Worth Considering

Impact-resistant doors and windows offer certain benefits that other similar products may not provide.

Protection – Impact-resistant windows and doors are built to withstand hurricane-force winds and flying debris. The glass should remain secure to protect your important items inside from damage.

Security – If a window or door is impact resistant, it should be durable enough to deter criminals from breaking inside. Each product is designed for strength and durability.

Noise – Impact-resistant products absorb noise and reduce unwanted sounds from outside from seeping inside your home.

Durability – Purchasing these items can be looked at as an investment. They are built to last. They can also increase efficiency and home value while lowering insurance premiums.

Enrich Your Home With Custom Fenestration

Elevate your home with impact-resistant windows and doors with support from Prestige Island Exports. We are a leader in the custom fenestration industry. Our products are built to offer the highest protection from extreme weather conditions. We’ll also work with you to make sure that each window or door is tailored to fit your design specifications.

Take a look at some of our previous projects. We work with the highest quality of products and employ experts in design and construction. Prestige Island Exports will ensure that your home is a model example of luxury and comfort. Explore your options and let us start transforming your home.