Frequently asked questions
Are impact-resistant windows required in Florida?
Replacement windows and doors need to conform to the most recent version of the Florida Building Code (FBC). The FBC requires impact-resistant protection for windows to be installed on any home within Wind Borne Debris (WBD) regions. This means any home within one mile of the coast or where wind gust speeds reach at least 140 mph.
The easiest way to check whether your home is in a hurricane-rated impact zone is to visit ATC Hazards by Location. Then, enter your street address and look under the Risk Category II section. If your wind rating is equal to or greater than 140 mph, then you are in a wind-borne debris region and you are required to have impact protection for your windows and other glazed openings when replacing them.
This information will be provided during your in home consultation or we can assist with looking this up for you and answering any questions you have about impact window replacement requirements for your home.(727) 472-5610
What is WBD and HVHZ? What is the difference?
Definitions directly from the Florida Building Code, Residential, 7th Edition
Areas within hurricane-prone regions located in accordance with one of the following:
ult, is 130 mph (58 m/s) or greater.Within 1 mile (1.61 km) of the coastal mean high water line where the ultimate design wind speed, V
ult, is 140 mph (63.6 m/s) or greater; or Hawaii.In areas where the ultimate design wind speed, V
HIGH-VELOCITY HURRICANE ZONE (HVHZ) This zone consists of Broward and Dade counties.
HVHZ certification is only required in Miami-Dade and Broward counties and are not required in WBD regions or serve any additional benefit.
What is the 25% replacement rule?
This rule and exception allow homes within the WBD or HVHZ region to replace only up to 25% of the total glazed (glass) openings with unprotected, non-impact, windows or doors within a one-year period. This means that you are not required to have hurricane impact windows or doors installed if the total area of what is being changed is less than 25% of the total surface area of all glass openings. The windows must also satisfy the specific design pressure requirements for your building type, risk category, and glass location. This mostly affects condos above the 5th floor but there are other exceptions.
The replacement of garage doors, exterior doors, skylights, and operative and inoperative windows shall be designed and constructed to comply with Chapter 16 of the Florida Building Code, Building.
What is the difference between Aluminum, Wood, and Vinyl Windows?
The glass within these types of windows is identical in terms of energy efficiency and impact performance. However, there are a several significant differences between the material of the window assemblies.
Wooden windows are typically found in northern homes where the temperature is much cooler and dry. Wood windows, commonly made of maple, do not withstand the humid, wet, and buggy climate in Florida. There is temporary treatments applied to them to slow the weathering of the windows which include fiberglass cladding/wrapping around the wood. This slows the rate at which these windows decay and helps prevent termites but do not ultimately stop them from wearing faster than vinyl or aluminum. Wood windows are not common and are not recommended for Florida and other southern regions. Wooden/Fiberglass Clad windows are the least cost-effective window type of the three.
Aluminum windows last longer than wood windows but are much more conductive of heat than vinyl and wood. Aluminum framed windows conduct 998%-1400% more heat than vinyl depending on the exact configuration of the window. These windows also require more maintenance than vinyl windows such as regular parts lubrication and cleaning. They are more prone to permanent damage like denting, tarnishing, and scratching than vinyl or wooden windows. For these reasons, aluminum windows are being phased out of today’s homes and are only offered very rarely and for very certain circumstances.
Vinyl windows are the best performing of the three types. Vinyl windows are equally as conductive as wooden windows and significantly better than aluminum in terms of energy efficiency. Virgin vinyl is weather resistant, heat resistant, dent resistant, bug resistant, does not tarnish, has more cosmetic options, has the lowest carbon footprint, tends to carry better warranties, has the most cost effective life cycle, and lasts the longest of the three window types. For all of these reason, it is no wonder why vinyl is the most popular option for replacement windows in Florida and hot southern climates.
How long does installation take?
Installation varies with each home and is based on the complication and intricacy of the installation and the number of windows and doors. The average length of most installations is between 1-3 consecutive days with the biggest projects requiring up to 10 days. Please contact us for a project-specific estimate to get an accurate installation timeframe for your project.
What do the letters on the National Hurricane Center storm forecast mean?
D: Tropical Depression – wind speed less than 39 MPH
S: Tropical Storm – wind speed between 39 MPH and 73 MPH
H: Hurricane – wind speed between 74 MPH and 110 MPH
M: Major Hurricane – wind speed greater than 110 MPH.
Where can I find information on the wind strength of the storm?
The National Hurricane Center’s public advisories show the maximum sustained winds in the center of the storm as well as the speeds of winds on the outer edges. The outer bands of most hurricanes bring hazardous winds and a risk of tornadoes. You can access their website by clicking here.
What should I do after a hurricane if there is damage?
Although the first concern should be safety, it is important to be aware of the need to act promptly when filing claims for damages inflicted to your property by a hurricane.
- Have your policy number available.
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible.
- Make a list of damages, photos are required in most cases.
- Fill out claim forms from insurance company and return them promptly.
- Be sure you understand the claim process. If you are unfamiliar, then ask a representative for a full explanation.
- Contact your insurance company before an emergency to see if you are prepared if a disaster should occur.
How is a hurricane ranked?
- A tropical cyclone becomes a hurricane when sustained winds reach 74 mph.
- According to the Saffir-Simpson scale, a category 1 hurricane has winds of 74-95 mph.
- A category 2 hurricane has winds of 96-110 mph.
- A category 3 hurricane has winds of 111-130 mph.
- A category 4 hurricane has winds of 131-155 mph.
- A category 5 hurricane has winds of 156 mph and greater.
- Category 3, 4 and 5 hurricanes are also classified as major hurricanes or intense hurricanes.
Replacement Window Frequently Asked Questions
Ease of use?
The stainless steel constant force coil spring balance system allows the sash to raise and lower smoothly, ensuring a lifetime of trouble-free operation.
Does the frame have built-in strength?
Fusion-welded frame and sash increase weather resistance and durability, while the reinforced sash profiles add to the structural integrity of the window.
Are they water repellent?
Traditionally, most windows were side-hinged windows, referred to as casements, and sliding sash windows. New opening mechanisms such as friction and pivot hinges are increasingly popular. Then we need to consider the glass that goes in the window, for Florida, we will always recommend the hurricane impact windows. Window materials, shapes, and sizes vary considerably, as does terminology but with a specialist like Karoly Windows & Doors, you will never have to guess at what something means.
Triple-Stepped Sloped Simonton Sill® forces water away from the window more quickly than flat conventional sills helping protect your home from water infiltration even in heavy rains.
Are vinyl windows low maintenance?
Vinyl is virtually maintenance free and will never rot, chip or flake. Double Hung windows also feature a tilt-in/lift-out sash so both sides of the window can be cleaned from inside the home.
Are vinyl windows energy-efficient?
StormBreaker Plus Double Hung windows can be ordered to meet ENERGY STAR® performance levels with Simonton’s regionally specific ENERGY STAR glass packages.
Are the windows tested?
All of our windows are tested and certified to meet the AAMA standards for the Florida Building Commission.
What is the difference between double hung windows and single hung windows?
On double-hung windows both sash in the window frame are operable, meaning they move up and down. The sashes on a double-hung window also tilt in for easy cleaning. On single-hung windows, the top sash is fixed in place and does not move, but the bottom sash is operable.
What windows options do I have?
There are several different types of windows. Traditionally, most windows were side-hinged windows, referred to as casements, and sliding sash windows. New opening mechanisms such as friction and pivot hinges are increasingly popular. Then we need to consider the glass that goes in the window. For residents of Clearwater, Clearwater Beach, Anna Maria Island, or Bradenton, we will always recommend Impact resistant windows. Window materials, shapes, and sizes vary considerably, as does terminology but with a specialist like Karoly Windows & Doors, you will never have to guess at what something means.
What is the difference between new -vs- replacement windows?
A new construction window includes nailing fins used to fasten the window in place and to flash it, helping to make it airtight and waterproof. This usually requires installation of new interior woodwork, and sometimes touch-up painting of the interior drywall.
A replacement window fits inside of the current window frame, leaving the original exterior & interior window frame & trim in place. This is a quicker and less expensive method of replacing windows.
Should I replace my old windows?
Chances are that the main reason you are considering replacing your old windows is to upgrade to more energy efficient models. But it’s easy to become overwhelmed trying to figure out which windows are right for your home.
New window replacement offers added home security and savings. Many new windows have been tested for forced entry and often come with multiple locks to ensure the safety of the property owner and anyone inside.
This added home security will give you the peace of mind in knowing that your home is as secure as possible whenever you leave.
Will my impact windows actually be hurricane resistant?
Most people think of a window’s function as simply to allow light and air into the home. However, a Florida home is different in regards to its needs: it must allow the sun’s light to pass through, but not the sun’s heat.
Windows also help keep cool conditioned air inside, but not allow condensation to form on the surface of the glass. It must not allow hot, humid outside air to leak into the home in summer, nor allow warm inside air to leak out of the house in winter.
As a result from Hurricane Andrew, it’s now realized that windows are a key point of entry for wind, rain and wind-borne debris and that vulnerability is not to be taken lightly because of the destruction and damage.
The Florida Building Code (FBC) requires windows to be impact-resistant or protected if located within one mile of the coast where the wind speed is 110 mph or greater. (Of course, even if your home is not located in this area, this may still be a good idea.)
There are testing standards set forth by the American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM) and/or others that must be met before a window is certified as being impact-resistant.
One of the most stringent testing requirements is referenced in the High-Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ) section of the Florida Building Code.
Every exterior opening, residential or commercial, must be provided with protection by shutters or impact-resistant windows against wind-borne debris caused by hurricanes.
Information from www.floridabuilding.org
Why should I buy vinyl windows?
Benefits of vinyl windows:
- Requires no painting.
- Can help lower your utility bills.
- Enhance the beauty of your home.
- Increase the value of your home.
- Increases the strength and endurance of your property.
I live near a railroad, will new windows help with the noise?
New/Replacement windows will significantly reduce ambient noise by absorbing sound rather than transmitting it, keeping outside disruptions where they belong.
Our door is always open.
Our project consultants are standing by to take your calls. We also have a showroom in Clearwater you can visit during normal business hours.