There are a lot of things that can blast your glass, and glass door manufacturers are always looking for the best way to make high impact glass for hurricane sliding glass doors. Here’s why glass door manufacturers are so busy, how impact glass doors and windows work, and what you need to think about before you buy.
Why Hurricane Glass Doors Are Crucial
During the 20th century there were 158 hurricanes that hit the United States. Florida saw the most hits, with 57 impacts, and Texas was second with 26. But hurricanes can and do strike all along the lower East Coast and Gulf regions, especially during hurricane season, which runs, officially, from June 1 through Nov 30 each year. As if hurricanes weren’t enough for glass door manufacturers to have to plan for, it’s also not uncommon for a hurricane to spawn a tornado. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew spawned 62 of them, and hurricanes are a possibility for days after the main storm has landed and the first danger is passed.
The challenge for window and glass door manufacturers is to craft glass that can withstand the power of these mighty storms. Florida’s Building Code, for example, requires that any windows located within a mile of the coast be impact-resistance. Hurricane Irma’s total strength was 7 million watts, or twice the energy of all the bombs dropped during World War II. That hurricane damaged 90% of Barbuda’s buildings and rendered well over half the population homeless.
How Does Impact Glass Work?
The great thing about impact resistant windows and impact sliding doors is that they don’t just protect your home from storms. They provide extra protection against burglars, and they’re even convenient to have when you’ve got a pet that can’t tell when the glass door is closed and when it’s open.
Impact glass was first experimented with in the early 1900’s, and the initial use was for car windshields. Soon it became popular for use in homes, too, and glass door manufacturers today make two popular types: shatter-resistant film and inner-membrane glass. The first type has a layer of film on both sides of the glass, and the layers hold the glass together even if it breaks. The inner-membrane type has a special layer of PVB between two glass panes. This layer adheres to the glass and keeps it from splintering.
What Type of Glass Should I Buy?
The outer material matters as well, and you can get impact resistant doors with aluminum, vinyl, and wood frames. Aluminum is normally the strongest option, though it has to be repainted with some frequency. Vinyl works decently while also being cost-effective, but wood is normally the least-attractive option in terms of long-term reliability.
Another factor to consider is the type of glass, and anything with PVB is going to provide the strongest protection. It’s also going to be the most expensive, however. However, there are some reasons to choose it anyway. It’s not only a permanent protection, but it also blocks 99% of UV light, and some insurance companies offer hefty discounts on premiums if you get glass door manufacturers to install this type of glass for you.
Hurricane and impact windows are a great choice if you live in an area where storms are likely. You may have to lay out some money in the beginning, but when the first serious hurricane hits you won’t regreat having done so.