Impact-resistant windows consist of impact-resistant glass surrounded by a heavy-duty frame that is securely fastened to the interior window header and frame. Their construction and anchoring keep hurricane winds and debris from breaching your home’s outer envelope.
The idea for shatter-resistant glass windows for homes came from the automotive field, where laminated glass has been in use for years to protect occupants. There are two common types of impact-resistant glazing for your windows. The first is laminated glass consisting of two sheets of glass with an inner shatter-proof membrane between them. Once the glass receives a significant impact, it may shatter but the inner membrane holds the pieces firmly in its frame so that the barrier is not broken. These windows are designed to handle wind-borne debris hurled at high wind speeds, as well as repeated impact from would-be intruders. In both cases, penetration of wind or water is nearly impossible. Interior lamination varies from .015 inch to .090 inch in thickness and the inner film can be ordered in a variety of color tints helping to reduce or eliminate sun fading and UV damage in your home.
The second, less-hardy variety of impact-resistant glass uses window film applied to the surface of the glazing. With filmed windows, shatter-resistant film is placed over the glass to keep the window shards in place if broken. Since these films are added to the glazing, they may not function as a complete system. Their durability really depends on how well the glass and protective laminate stay in the frame and window assembly.