The season is here. If you have not already prepared your home for the hurricane season, which is descending upon us—now is the time. Recently, Tropical Storm Debbie reminded Southwest Florida to take action and prepare for what could be a very active season. Hurricane-rated high-impact windows and doors are a must for protecting your home and family.
“High-impact doors and windows are the best hurricane protection you can get for your home without additional shutters,” Mark Schwartz, owner and president of Storm Force, says with complete confidence. His outright certainty is based on the years of experience in Southwest Florida and a comprehensive understanding of hurricanes and the technology required to defeat them.
“The key thing for people to understand,” says Schwartz, “is that a high-impact window or door is not just a stronger piece of laminated glass. It is a whole system that is designed from the ground up, including the frame. It is precisely engineered to resist impact and to withstand immense positive and negative pressures.” Building codes have been upgraded three times since 2000 in Southwest Florida, and now require storm protection systems to be able to handle 170 mile-per-hour winds.
According to Schwartz, flying debris causes most of a hurricane’s initial damage. Typically, airborne tree limbs, street signs, and housing materials break a window or a door, which opens a path for the wind. Once this happens, the pressure will often lift the roof, push out the walls, and generally cause structural failure.
To meet building code, all high-impact systems require performance verification from an independent testing laboratory. “The testing is intense,” says Schwartz. “Hurricane forces are created to really stress the products. Nine-foot long two-by-fours are shot at the panes to make sure they won’t breach ─ cracking is permitted; shattering is not. To make sure that the door and window frames will not fail, they are buffeted for hours by thousands of negative and positive cycles of changing wind speeds and air pressure.”
Manufacturers are always trying to stay ahead of the game, explains Schwartz, so all the products Storm Force offers meet the most stringent code. From his perspective, the designers and engineers do an excellent job at anticipating changes and understanding worst-case hurricane scenarios.
“The good news for consumers is: high-impact windows don’t have to be ugly just because they’re beefy. Ten years ago, the choices were very limited. Now there are styles, colors, custom shapes, and price points to meet every budget and need.” Separately, Schwartz points out that high-impact doors and windows offer many non-hurricane related benefits. They are energy-efficient, reduce noise, block out 99% of damaging UV rays, and are virtually burglar-proof.
“We have installed many high-impact systems in the area,” says Schwartz, “and we have never had a single customer be anything but thrilled with them. If you’re thinking about storm protection for your home, you really ought to consider this option.”
4160 Corporate Square
Naples Florida 34104
By Sarah Adams