Skip to main content

For builders, architects and remodelers, incorporating hurricane-resistant features is not just an option in storm-prone regions, it’s a necessity. This is especially true when it comes to windows, doors and skylights – potential weak points in a structure’s defense.

To ensure your homes are protected from hurricanes, we’ve collaborated with VELUX Skylights to share their insights on how to shore up windows, doors and skylights from the wind, rain and debris typical with hurricanes.

What are the latest trends in hurricane-resistant window, door and skylight technology?

1996 to 2005 saw one of the most destructive periods in the last century in terms of hurricane damage. Since then, the science of hurricane protection has evolved significantly. In recent years, the technology for hurricane-resistant windows, doors and skylights has seen significant advancements. These include:

  • Impact-Resistant Glass: Manufacturers continue to develop advanced impact-resistant glass that can withstand flying debris during hurricanes, where winds may exceed 120 miles per hour. This glass is typically made with multiple laminated layers and a special interlayer; it is rigorously tested to meet strict impact-resistance standards.
  • Reinforced Frames: Window and door frames are being reinforced with stronger materials such as aluminum, steel or fiberglass. These materials provide greater structural strength and can better resist the high winds and pressures experienced during hurricanes.
  • Multi-Point Locking Systems: Enhanced locking systems are being integrated into hurricane-resistant doors and windows to ensure they remain securely closed during storms. Multi-point locking systems distribute force more evenly along the frame, reducing the risk of failure under high wind loads.
  • Improved Sealing and Weather Stripping: Manufacturers are focusing on developing better sealing and weather-stripping systems to prevent water infiltration and air leakage, which are common issues during hurricanes.
  • Energy Efficiency: There’s a growing emphasis on improving the energy efficiency of hurricane-resistant windows and doors. This includes using low-emissivity (“low-E”) coatings on glass to reduce heat transfer, as well as integrating insulated frames and improved glazing technologies.

These trends lead to stronger, safer and more efficient window, door and skylight options for homes and buildings in hurricane-prone regions.

Photo Credit: VELUX

What features do you consider most important when it comes to building hurricane-resistant windows, doors and skylights?

Both wind and impact resistance are crucial for preventing or minimizing interior damage during a hurricane. Impact resistance for windows and doors is tested by directly hitting them with a 9-pound, 2×4” piece of wood traveling at 35 miles per hour. Depending on the window’s Design Pressure (DP) rating, it may withstand winds equivalent to 200 mph. The performance requirements for windows, doors, or skylights are defined by building codes and depend on the local design wind speed and building exposure.

Photo Credit: VELUX

How can installation methods ensure a hurricane-resistant seal around windows, doors and skylights?

Proper installation methods play a key role in achieving a strong and secure seal:

  • Follow manufacturer guidelines for installation and use recommended materials and tools specific to the product.
  • Use proper anchoring and framing to securely anchor the window, skylight or door according to building codes.
  • Ensure sealant is compatible with the window or door frame material and is applied correctly.
  • Ensure proper flashing installation by ensuring it overlaps the frame and integrates with the weather-resistant barrier of the building.
  • After installation, conduct a water infiltration test to check for leaks around the seal.
  • Inspect windows, doors and skylights periodically for signs of wear and tear that may cause leaks.

If you are not experienced in installing hurricane-resistant windows, doors or skylights, consider hiring licensed professionals trained in these specific installations. They will ensure the products are installed correctly and meet the required standards for hurricane resistance.

For best practices when handling large items from the manufacturing facility, through shipment to delivery and installation on the job site, check out the WDMA Field Guides to the Handling of Large Products.

Photo Credit: Andersen

What qualifications or certifications should products have for proper hurricane-resistant windows, doors and skylights installation?

Qualifications and certifications for hurricane-resistant windows, doors and skylights may vary from state to state, but in general, here are some key qualifications and certifications to consider:

  • Miami-Dade County & Florida Product Approval: Indicates strong performance in hurricane-prone areas.
  • ASTM E1996/E1886 Certification: Ensures structural integrity and impact resistance against wind and debris.
  • WDMA Hallmark Certification: Indicates compliance with industry standards for performance and durability.
  • National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) Ratings: Provides energy performance ratings
  • Building Code Compliance: Ensures products meet local building codes for hurricane resistance.
  • Manufacturer’s Warranty and Testing: Extensive testing by manufacturers for their hurricane-resistant products ensures greater reliability.

To learn more about which products indicate top-tier performance, see the WDMA Hallmark Certification that provides architects, builders, code officials and dealers with the promise of Total Product Performance.

Photo Credit: Pella

Outside of hurricane protection, what other benefits would these types of windows, doors and skylights have?

Windows, doors and skylights designed for hurricane zones provide a range of benefits beyond storm protection, including enhanced security, noise reduction, UV protection, energy efficiency, increased property value and improved comfort. These features make them a valuable investment for any home or building in regions prone to hurricanes, and even in areas looking for improved overall performance and longevity of building components.

Photo Credit: Marvin

For those building, renovating or designing homes in hurricane-prone areas, selecting hurricane-resistant windows, doors and skylights is crucial. By partnering with trusted manufacturers, you can ensure your designs meet the necessary safety standards while offering valuable hurricane protection.

Webinar: Understanding Window, Door & Skylight Certification

Understand the benefits of window, door and skylight certification and how certified products can enhance your projects.

Register Now

Find Manufacturers

View our list of window, door, and skylight manufacturers. 

Find Manufacturers

Webinar: Understanding Window, Door & Skylight Certification

The Understanding Window, Door & Skylight Certification webinar is designed to help architects and remodelers understand the benefits of window, door and skylight certification and how certified products can enhance their projects.

Register Now

Find Manufacturers

Find window, door, and skylight manufacturers. 

Find Manufacturers