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janisandamy

11:03AM | 09/30/07
Member Since: 09/29/07
2 lifetime posts
Bvwindows
Are thermal-pane windows the same as wind-resistant windows?

Oberon

05:01PM | 10/04/07
Member Since: 05/13/05
40 lifetime posts
Can you define "wind-resistant"?

Are you asking about windows certified for South Florida conditions or perhaps asking about air infiltration?

All windows are "wind-resistant" to an extent but I am not sure what you are asking specifically.

janisandamy

02:47AM | 10/05/07
Member Since: 09/29/07
2 lifetime posts
I'm not exactly sure -- it was a question posed by our insurance company re: a house we're purchasing. The company wanted to know if the windows were "wind-resistant." We assumed they were asking because the house is located near the beach and perhaps because of post-Katrina concerns. I think they really are concerned about the windows being able to sustain hurricane winds. Thanks for your help!

Oberon

05:25PM | 10/05/07
Member Since: 05/13/05
40 lifetime posts
Okay, now I understand the question.

What the insurance company is asking about is the windows DP or design pressure rating. The higher the DP the greater the units resistance to high winds.

Depending on where you live, the required DP might be anywhere from 45psf up to 80psf or more. Typically 50 to 65 is pretty common.

DP ratings are established by testing the window to pressures equal to 1.5 times the DP requirement. In other words, if a window is rated to DP40, then it is actually tested to 60psf. If a window is rated to DP20, then it is tested to 30psf.

One might assume that there is a direct linear correlation between DP rating and windspeed. One might also assume that a DP of 40 is twice as a DP of 20 - or that a DP of 80 must be twice as good as a 40 and four-times better than a 20.

This isn't the case in the real world.

While a specific DP can be equated to a specific windspeed, there isn't a direct linear relationship between increases in windspeed and increases in design pressure. In other words, increasing the DP a certain amount does not result in an equal increase in the window's ability to resist a specific windspeed or pressure.

For example, a window with a lowly DP9 is actually rated for a 60mph wind and it is actually tested at 13.5psf which equates to a windspeed of about 72mph. A rating of DP9 is pretty darn low – below code minimums in many areas - yet a 60mph wind can be a pretty significant gust.

Imagine that we now look at a window rated to DP15. Sounds darn low and no one in their right mind would want a DP15? Well, 15psf actually equates to about an 80mph wind.

Now, as mentioned, the window is actually tested to a level 1.5 times higher than the rating, which for a DP15 equals 22.5psf, and that equals an approximate 95mph windspeed. So while a 15DP doesn't look like much, it really isn't bad at all and it is probably acceptable for any application in the right environment.

Exceeding a window DP rating does not mean that suddenly the window will explode or come crashing into your home killing everyone inside; it simply means that the "performance values" of the window are rated to a particular pressure.

Can windows "fail" when subjected to windspeeds above the rating? Sure, but failure is defined as cracked glass or warped frames or something similar and not necessarily meaning a catastrophic collapse.

However, on the flip side, there are very good reasons why hurricane-prone regions are now mandating minimum DP requirements when building new construction or renovating.

A design pressure of 45psf actually equates to a windspeed of 135mph while a design pressure of 60psf by comparison equals a windspeed of 155mph and at the tested pressure of 90psf it is approximately 190mph.

What you may now have noticed is that as the DP increases the percentage difference between design pressure and actual windspeed has decreased. In fact, you may also have already noticed that the ratios of the design pressures are the square of the ratios of the wind-speeds.

So while 60psf equals four times 15psf, the equivalent windspeed difference has only doubled.

My point being that while DP ratings can be very important, even crucial, in some environments, the idea that a person in an area that rarely or never experiences 100mph wind gusts is worried about the difference between a DP45 versus a DP60 is worrying over something that really may not be a significant factor in your situation except that the insurance company is wanting to know if your windows are going to last the next time the "big one" hits.

I realize the explanation was a bit beyond the question, but I hope that it might help understand the insurance company's concern.

And btw, it isn't impossible that with that explanation you may now know more about it than the person asking ;-)

And finally.........if you happen to know the windows DP rating (lets assume a 50psf) you can quickly and easily do a close approximation of the windspeed equivalent by taking the square root of the DP and multiplying it times 20.

Assume DP 65 = sqrt of 8 (close enough), then 8 x 20 = 160 which is pretty accurate for a quick and dirty calculation.

mattburr

07:11PM | 10/10/07
Member Since: 03/20/06
33 lifetime posts
actually most codes for areas in hurricane prone areas require impact resistant windows. most damage to a home is due to not just wind but during a storm debris being blown through a window or door glass. impact resistant windows have a special laminated inner layer between the glass that prevents the window from completely breaking out.

THANKS,

MATTHEW BURR

BUYER - WINDOWS AND DOORS

VILLAGE HOME CENTER / dba COOPER BUILDING MATERIALS

4650 HIGHWAY 7 NORTH

HOT SPRINGS VILLAGE, AR 71909

EMAIL: MBURR@CBMCCI.COM

Oberon

03:31AM | 10/18/07
Member Since: 05/13/05
40 lifetime posts
Although in my opinion impact resistant windows are often a better choice than are the alternatives, no code specifically requires impact resistant glass - what the codes require is "impact resistance" be it glass/window systems, shutter systems, or even plywood - when properly installed - per code requirements.
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