This is part one of a series of short articles exploring the damage severe weather can wreak and how Innotech windows and doors help prevent or mitigate that damage.
2013 will be a year long remembered for its severe weather. Mother Nature was at her destructive worst, causing damage to homes all around the world. Hurricanes, tropical depressions, high wind storms, and swollen rivers all contributed to a frightful year for homeowners. Perhaps most significant to Canadians were the massive floods that struck Albertans, specifically those in Calgary and High River, and caused a staggering amount of damage; the Insurance Bureau of Canada has called it the costliest disaster in Canadian history.
With the destructive power of Mother Nature regularly reported in the media, it’s natural to wonder what steps a homeowner can take to protect their possessions and their family. It surprises many to find out that windows and doors play a major role in keeping Mother Nature at bay.
The first step to preventing damage is to ensure that bad weather stays where it belongs – outside! To do this, windows and doors must be constructed with three important characteristics in mind:
- Structural and Impact Resistance
- Air and Water Tightness
- Window Placement
This article will deal with the first item, structural and impact resistance, and subsequent blogs in this series will tackle the others.
The Importance of Impact Resistance
A window’s ability to resist impacts is critical to preventing weather damage to a home, but the reasons for this may come as a surprise.
Strong winds in a hurricane or powerful storm can carry debris through the air at high speeds. The danger of debris flying through the window, along with the shattered glass, is significant in itself, but so too is the pressure differential that is created when a window burst open. If you’ve ever seen pictures of a home that’s had its roof blown off in a storm, you might have thought it was just ripped off by the wind. In reality, it’s often broken windows or forcefully opened doors that allow air pressure to build up inside, increasing the likelihood of roof failure. By protecting against impacts a well-engineered window and door can help prevent the pressure differential that is so dangerous to homes.
Likewise, rocks and other debris carried by flood waters pose significant dangers to a home. A failed window, especially a basement egress window, will allow the interior to become flooded with mud and water. Windows designed and built to withstand impacts can help keep a home protected during a flood by maintaining their structural integrity, keeping the water out.
What Makes a Window Impact Resistant?
Impact resistance is a product of a window or door’s frame construction, its operating and locking hardware, the quality of the insulated glass unit within that frame, and the thickness and types of coatings of the glass. When all of these components are engineered to work together, a window or door can achieve high impact resistance - helping defend your home.
The video below includes a demonstration of the kind of force that Mother Nature can throw at a home, and the types of windows that help protect homeowners and their families. Filmed on location in Innotech’s testing facility, using actual Innotech products, the video documents two separate tests; an impact test consisting of a two-by-four being fired at the window, followed by a pressure test which sucks in and then pushes out the glass, replicating the pressure changes that take place during a storm.
The glass in our windows and doors is supplied by Cardinal Glass, the world's premiere supplier of high performance insulated glass units. Not only do we utilize the best glass vendor in the industry, but the glass used in Innotech products is on average 25-50% thicker than other manufacturers. This top quality glass works in concert with Innotech's German engineered Hybrid Framing System and Defender Hardware System to provide superior impact protection.
As the video demonstrates, a well-engineered window and door can protect your home from high winds, driving rain and hurricane conditions. By ensuring your windows and doors are built to withstand impacts, you can help defend your home and your family against nature’s destructive power.
+ To learn more about the anatomy of an Innotech window, click here
+ To learn more about the safety coating options offered by Innotech, click here
On Thursday, January 19th the British Columbia Building Envelope Council (BCBEC) and the Homeowner Protection Office (HPO), a branch of BC Housing, is hosting a half-day workshop on window installation.
"The workshop will focus on building enclosure and window installation requirements for thermal performance in new and retrofit buildings. Industry leaders will provide insights into key issues including:
- window to wall interface
- insulation strategies
- thermal and condensation performance of windows
- effectiveness in managing rainwater
- and building code, installation and energy efficiency standards."
Innotech's Director of Technology, Al Jaugelis, is part of the industry panel that will conclude the workshop with a discussion and closing remarks.
The Homeowner Protection Office (HPO) recently released a Builder Insight bulletin prepared by RDH Building Engineering Ltd.
Builder Insight 9, entitled Fenestration Energy Performance: A Roadmap for Understanding Requirements for Residential Buildings in British Columbia, clarifies the energy performance requirements for windows, glazed doors and skylights used in residential buildings. It also provides a roadmap for compliance.
To read the bulletin, download the PDF (849 KB).
Our high performance hybrid system is featured in the December 2009 issue of Award Magazine (p. 14-19). + Click here to read the article
Innotech is pleased to announce that its first generation hurricane window has successfully passed structural, impact and cycling tests for a design pressure of 80 PSF. The new DP80 impact window is ideal for single family and low + high rise applications in both US and Canadian coastal areas.
+ Read the press release (PDF)