Every state has building codes to instruct builders and owners on what they can do with properties. While it can feel restrictive, these rules are important and address many issues that plague an area. Each place is unique and has specific challenges that building codes attempt to relieve. We’ll go over the purpose of Florida building codes that require impact windows and doors on most—if not all—properties.
The Main Purpose of Impact Windows and Doors
To first understand the reason for local regulations on impact-resistant windows and doors, you must understand the main purpose of these features. As the name implies, these doors and windows are resistant to heavy impact. The glass in the windows is stronger than normal windows, so it can take a heavy hit without cracking or shattering. Impact doors use strong materials, and their connections to the building are reliable so they can stay in place if something does hit them.
The Climate of Florida
Florida has a very unique climate compared to the rest of the United States, as southern Florida is surrounded by the ocean and experiences sub-tropical weather yearly. While the northern and central parts of Florida also experience the sub-tropical climate, the proximity to the ocean negatively impacts south Florida more than the rest of the state.
Why the Climate Matters
The main thing to consider regarding Florida’s climate is the high risk of tropical storms and hurricanes. Because of the proximity to the open ocean and the meeting of hot and cold air in the Atlantic Ocean, hurricanes and tropical storms are a huge problem in Florida. Every year, the United States sees multiple storms coming across the Atlantic.
Problems With Hurricanes
You need to know how problematic hurricanes are for people and buildings in Florida to understand why the climate affects building codes. Even small tropical storms can send debris flying and cause intense structural damage to buildings. A full hurricane can send items flying for miles and at high speeds. If one of these items strikes a normal window or door, it’s likely to break and let in other debris, rain, and wind. Impact doors and windows are the few modifications you can make to your home to prevent debris from breaking in and endangering anyone or anything inside.
Now, we can discuss where local regulations come in, as it would be a huge problem for the state and its citizens to be at constant risk of broken windows or damaged property during a storm. Florida’s government has set regulations that require impact-resistant openings to protect people and property. These guidelines can minimize the loss of money when a big storm hits the state, and people will be a lot safer no matter what building they’re in because it has these extra safety precautions. That’s why Florida building codes require impact doors and windows.
Other Benefits of Impact Windows and Doors
While these features are great ways to protect buildings and citizens from damage and injury, they’re not the only additions that offer up benefits. There are many other reasons to install these safety features that protect homeowners, whether they’re trying to sell or keep the structure. Here’s a look at some of the other reasons why Florida utilizes these doors and windows—Florida residents are more than okay with the extra investment.
Accident resistance is a bit more common among windows, as they’re normally fragile and very large in comparison to other features, making them easy targets. Accidents happen all the time; someone or something strikes a window, and it breaks. Whether it’s the kids playing a game or a branch falling, impact-resistant features will give your windows a better chance of staying intact when something hits them.
Whether it’s an intruder or a thief, you want to do what you can to keep uninvited people out of your home. There are many ways to accomplish this, but a key part is making it hard for unwelcome people to enter your home. Hard-to-break windows and doors make it difficult to intrude into your property.
These additional features do more for your property than add security and protection. A good impact-resistant door and window combination improves the insulation of your home. Good insulation is crucial when managing the internal temperature of a building, as you won’t lose so much to the outdoors.
A lot of people worry when investing in thicker windows or impact-resistant doors in Florida, as they think they may lower the value of their home. However, both features add value because of their energy efficiency and high quality.
No one wants the noises of the outdoors to intrude, but you can’t always control the outdoors and whatever noises come from outside. However, you can noise-proof your home to dampen the sounds of the outdoors. Thick, impact-resistant doors and windows can greatly limit how much outside noise you can hear from within your home, making it a lot quieter than it would be with building features not intended for tropical storm resistance.
The most significant benefit outside the protection these features add to your home is the money you save over time after investing. An energy-efficient structure can save you, the owner, a lot of money, as it costs less to heat and cool as you need. Additionally, installing impact windows and doors can save your a lot of money on your insurance premium. The extra protection to your home from impact windows and doors can actually improve the costs of your premium, as damage is less likely. So, building insurance may decrease with the investment in these special doors and windows.
While Florida does have regulations that require impact windows and doors, you can see that there are many good reasons for the investment. Even if you don’t consider the increased risk of tropical storms, these safety features can add many advantages to a building and make it more than worth the investment.