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Impact windows are specially designed with thicker glass, upgraded frames, and hardware that is sealed with one of the strongest adhesives on the market. All impact windows should have a design pressure rating. In order to quantify this rating, the windows must go through rigorous design pressure test to ensure the windows can hold up to dangerous storm conditions. Typically this test is a three-pronged test that is based on the structural components, air, and water pressure.
Air filtration is typically the first test they run. Air filtration is simulated to measure the pressure on the windows. However, the air filtration test does not impact the design pressure rating of the window.
What does define the pressure rating of the window are the water penetration and structural test. Water penetration is tested by a percentage of the design pressure. The amount of rain that should be kept out is based on the windows DP rating. So in other words, a window with a DP 50 is tested at 7.5 psf.
The structural test is primarily about the glass and the frame of the window. A way in which the window gets a higher DP rating is if the glass is thicker and the hardware is made with higher-end material. When a window is tested it is actually tested at a much higher pressure than what the pressure level indicates. For example, a window with a DP30 is rated to take the equivalent of 110mph wind. However, the window is tested to withstand 170 mph winds.
South Florida is a hotbed for hurricanes and severe weather. As a result, South Florida has different requirements for rating approved impact resistant windows. The test includes air, water, and structural testing but also adds a fourth requirement. This requirement includes firing a 2X4 twice at the window in order to see if the window stops the object successfully. If the window accomplishes this task of stopping the 2X4 and passes all other test then it should be approved.
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