By George Hanus / Published November 2017
The destruction of homes and businesses caused by hurricanes, as well as the disruption caused to the daily lives of the residents, affects all of Florida citizens. Impact fenestration products are tested and comply with current industry standards and code requirements for repelling and dispersing water under defined performance conditions. The impact-resistant glass used in windows, sliding glass doors, and terrace doors is tested to ensure that it will resist direct impacts from wind-borne debris and high pressure caused by hurricane-force winds.
While these products perform as intended under specified conditions, windows and doors are not designed to be leak proof. As with other building components, the forces imposed on windows and doors by extraordinary events such as hurricanes can exceed their ability to keep out water, and water infiltration around the frames may occur when exposed to these conditions.
The following common questions and answers below regarding the performance of impact-resistant and non-impact-resistant windows and doors should help explain the overall performance of these products.
Question: Are there window and door products that are “hurricane proof”?
Answer: Impact-resistant products are designed, tested, and built to withstand certain conditions to provide reasonable storm protection; however, it is unsafe to consider any product “hurricane proof.”
Question: If something hits my impact-resistant glass, will it break?
Answer: If struck, the impact-resistant glass can break, but it is designed to remain in the frame. This prohibits wind, water, or other debris from entering the structure and causing further—sometimes catastrophic—damage.
Question: Will windows and doors leak in a hurricane?
Answer: Not necessarily; however, wind speed, duration, direction, rain volume, and other natural phenomena that accompany a storm all contribute to and increase the possibility of leaks.
Question: Why does water leak through my product when I spray it with a garden hose or pressure washer?
Answer: Most operable windows and doors are designed to withstand up to a certain amount of water pressure, measured in pounds per square foot (psf) or pounds per square inch (psi). A typical garden hose sprays water at approximately 30–60 psi, and a typical pressure washer sprays water at 1200+ psi. These pressures far exceed the water rating for operable windows and doors, which typically range between 7 and 13.5 psf (0.0486 and 0.0938 psi, respectively).
Question: Why does water get into the track of my sliding glass doors or windows during a minor rain storm? Is something wrong with my product?
Answer: It is normal for water to be present in the track of sliding glass doors or windows during a storm, especially if it is a windy storm. These products are designed to capture water in the track and drain it to the exterior of the building through the “weep holes” located in the bottom of a door or window frame. Keeping these “weep holes” free of dirt and debris will allow the water to flow out freely and not build up in the track.
The Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) recommends that if a structure sustains damages as a result of extreme weather conditions, the owner should file a claim with his or her insurance carrier to ensure proper handling.
George Hanus is Marketing Manager for Windoor Inc. For more information, call (407) 481-8400 or visit WinDoorInc.com.