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Should you choose Impact or Non-impact?

When choosing glass inserts for your doors the first decision is to decide if you want impact or non-impact glass. In our service area of Sarasota & Manatee counties Florida, you can generally install either one in your existing residential doors. So what’s the difference? (Please note that commercial buildings, some HOA’s and many condominiums require impact glass)

Let’s talk terminology - Impact, hurricane and severe weather all mean the same thing.

HVHZ (High Velocity Hurricane Zone) is required in the Miami-Dade area. WBD (Wind Borne Debris) is the requirement for most other costal Florida cities. Severe weather door glass inserts from companies like ODL, RSL, Therma-Tru as well as others, are designed for hurricane rated doors. Note! If you have an older door that is not hurricane rated, installing impact glass will not upgrade the door itself for insurance purposes. Please consult your architect, contractor, building official or insurance agent for the rating needed for your area or purpose.

There are a lot of benefits to impact glass. You may remember old movies where the bad guy punches in the door glass, reaches in and unlocks the door. That will not happen with impact glass. The local fire departments carry special equipment to enter a house protected with this type of glass. There is a significant reduction of noise from airplanes, barking dogs and AC units filtering into your home verses non-impact glass. Obviously, the primary purpose is protection from flying debris during a hurricane. So, what is the downside? An impact insert can easily cost twice as much as its non-impact twin. Any glass that is installed in a solid door will let in plenty of light and beautify your home. (We can generally cut your existing door to accommodate a new glass insert)

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See the Missile Impact Test video:

It involves firing an 8-foot long 2x4 at 50 feet-per-second at designated spots on the glass as well as the door itself.

Thanks to our friends at ODL for their contribution to this article.