Can a Window Take Much Damage?

Wind, hurricanes, tornadoes, hail storms, and earthquakes can all damage your windows. If you’re building a new home or replacing older ones, you’ll want to know how much damage your window can withstand. The high winds of a storm can easily rip apart standard windows. But you can minimize this risk by choosing impact-resistant windows, which missiles have tested to withstand impacts from flying debris.


Impact-resistant windows are designed to withstand wind and debris damage caused by hurricanes, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and other weather phenomena. These windows are engineered with heavy-duty reinforced frames and impact-resistant laminated glass. An essential feature of an impact-resistant window is a durable liner called polyvinyl butyral or PVB, which helps distribute the force of an impact over the entire pane. It holds the window in place even if it breaks and stops it from cracking. Another construction feature of impact resistant windows is a silicone sealant that holds the glass in place. It also helps prevent rust from developing on the frame. If you need clarification on whether your home has impact-resistant windows, look for a label or stick-on notice. It should have the supplier name, fabrication location, manufacturing date, and technical specifications about what the window can withstand.

Wind Speed

When wind speeds reach a certain point, windows are more likely to be damaged. A windstorm can destroy or even blow out windows in mobile homes without warning. Wind speed is the velocity of the air, usually measured by an anemometer, and is categorized using a scale called the Beaufort Scale. It is affected by several factors, such as the pressure gradient and Rossby waves. Jet streams and local weather conditions also influence it. It is a vital factor in weather preparedness and is essential for aviation, construction and other activities.

The best method for measuring wind speed is by an anemometer. These are vertical shafts with spokes, each holding a small cup to catch the air. The cups spin when the wind strikes them, thus indicating the speed of the wind.

Water Penetration

When outside moisture (such as wind-driven rain) impacts a building’s wall, it can saturate the material with penetrating dampness. Often, this dampness will drip onto surrounding walls and cause water stains on the interior finishes. Penetrating dampness is a common concern for older buildings and buildings with poor construction quality. It is widespread in brick and masonry buildings due to its sponge-like properties, which allow the exterior wall material to soak up and absorb excess moisture. For this reason, a water penetration test is necessary to ensure a product will perform as expected in a commercial building. AMCA-approved test labs perform several industry-standard tests to determine a product’s resistance to water penetration under uniform or cyclic static air pressure differences. In each trial, the tester measures the amount of water that entered the louver and the free area velocity (airspeed) that moved through the ductwork. These data points are plotted on a graph. The line starts at the beginning point of water penetration and ends when the maximum free area velocity is reached, typically 1250 FPM.

UV Rays

UV rays can penetrate through window glass and, over time, can cause damage to your skin and to furnishings in your home. They can fade leather, furniture, and artwork, and even ruin flooring and area rugs. Typically, clear windows block most UVB rays that cause sunburn and other sun damage. But they don’t stop the longer UVA rays that penetrate deeper into the skin and cause aging, discoloration and wrinkles. It is especially true for people who spend much time by windows – truck drivers, shopkeepers and office workers. One study found that when a person has one side of their face regularly closer to a window for years, that side will age five to seven years more than the other. It is a big problem because it accelerates skin aging and increases cancer risk, including malignant melanoma. Many cars and homeowners choose window films to block the UV rays entering their homes or vehicles.

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