Finishing the Impact-Resistant Windows

Project: Storm-Ready Design, Episode 4, Part 2

Bob visits PGT Industries to see impact-resistant windows being tested and assembled. Code Compliance Officer Dave Olmstead explains how windows break during a storm, allowing high-force winds to enter the home, pop off the roof, and cause catastrophic building failure. Impact-resistant windows are laminated to stay intact after impact so that wind cannot enter. Olmstead shows Bob the violent impact test used to certify windows to storm standards. He shows Bob windows made of standard annealed glass, tempered safety glass, and impact-resistant glass for comparison. A pneumatic cannon then fires a two by four at each of the windows. Traveling at 50 feet per second, the two-by-four completely breaks the annealed glass, penetrates the tempered glass leaving a hole, and bounces off of the impact-resistant glass leaving it shattered but held together with no holes to invite wind entry. Impact-resistant windows feature two panes of glass with a Buticite layer in between. The glass is pressure baked at 450 degrees for four hours before it can be set in the heavy-gauge frame with silicone adhesive. Bob watches the assembly process and learns that sales of these impact-resistant windows have risen 300 percent in the year since Hurricane Charley.
Part 1: Impact-Resistant Windows and PGT Factory Tour
Part 2: Finishing the Impact-Resistant Windows
Bob continues his tour of the PGT window factory in Venice, Florida. Dave Olmstead shows Bob a standard aluminum window with a thin, non-structural bead on the edge. He compares it to the heavy gauge frame of the two-pane, laminated impact-resistant window. They follow the assembly process from the cutting of the aluminum window parts, which is timed precisely to match the timing of the glass delivery, to the assembly table where the frame is prepared for the laminated glass. At the silicone station a thick bead of silicone adhesive is applied to the frame. The laminated glass must be pressed into the frame without delay to prevent a skin from forming on the silicone, which would reduce its adhesion abilities and prevent it from passing the violent impact test. Finally trim is added, the windows are cleaned and fitted with strucural bead, screens are installed, and the windows are packaged for transport. Olmstead explains that each of these impact-resistant windows is produced to order. They run three to four times the cost of standard windows, but in the year since Hurricane Charley sales of these windows have increased 300 percent.
Part 3: Building Reinforced Concrete Storm-Ready Homes in Florida