Buying And Installing Impact Resistant Windows

cracked impact resistant glass
  • 2-24 hours
  • Advanced
  • 1,000-9,000

Impact-resistant windows have become standard in many homes in coastal areas that are subject to hurricanes and gale force winds. In certain areas, like Florida, current building codes require that new construction include impact-resistant windows to protect homes and property from damage.

An added benefit that homeowners may enjoy from installing impact-resistant windows is a discount on their homeowners insurance, as many insurance companies recognize the value of these windows.

What Are Impact Resistant Windows?

Impact-resistant windows are a relatively new innovation in the home construction market. The glass in these windows is designed to withstand gale force winds and the impact of trees, bushes or other debris that might be thrown against the window during a strong winter storm or a hurricane.

The glass of impact-resistant windows is laminated with a protective film. While the glass may break when it is impacted, it will not shatter or shear into many dangerous pieces. In some cases, the glass used is tempered so that it breaks into pebble-like pieces when broken. This, combined with the laminate, creates an extremely safe window glass.

For a window to be certified as impact-resistant, it must pass two tests. The first test is a test in which a nine pound 2x4 is launched at the window at nearly 35 miles per hour. This test is conducted toward the center and all of the corners of the window. In the second test, the window is subjected to winds equaling up to 200 miles per hour. If the window passes both of these impact tests, then it is certified.

impact resistant glass with large crack

Buying Windows

It's possible to purchase impact-resistant windows from almost any window retailer. If you're in the process of building a new home or adding a room, check with the local building department to determine if current building codes require you to install impact-resistant windows. If this is the case, then all local suppliers and home improvement stores will probably carry them.

You can also purchase impact-resistant windows from online retailers. If you decide to buy from an online site, make sure you understand their return policy should you discover that the windows are not what you expect or are damaged upon delivery.


Impact-resistant windows do not require any special installation. Usually, installing a window is a job for two people.

Remove the existing window from the frame and set it aside. Carefully fit the new window into place and use shims to temporarily hold the window in the opening. Nail the window into the frame.

Place a bead of silicone caulk along the edge of the window frame to seal the opening and prevent air from leaking through.