Advantages Of Impact Vs. Non-Impact Windows

By Published On: January 30, 2024Categories: Impact Doors
impact windows

Most buildings have glass windows that serve the vital function of allowing natural light and ventilation into the building while keeping harmful elements out.

Non-impact windows and doors are the traditional glass window and door options that have been used for decades. They serve the basic function of providing light and natural ventilation but do not have any features to help them withstand severe impacts.

Alternatively, Impact windows and doors, are specially designed to offer increased resistance to external forces like hurricanes, powerful winds, and flying debris. A combination of robust materials, and specialized engineering, makes them ultra-durable, even in the harshest conditions.

impact windows

Why Homeowners Are Choosing To Install Impact Windows And Doors

If they look the same and have the same function, what makes impact glass the best choice for any building in South Florida?

To the naked eye, the difference between impact and non-impact glass is not obvious, but there are at least, six major differences between impact and non-impact windows and doors. These differences include:

  • Their construction and composition
  • Their impact resistance
  • Their sound insulation
  • Their energy-saving properties
  • Their code and regulation compliance
  • Their cost

1) Construction And Composition

One of the major differences between impact and non-impact windows and doors is their construction and composition.

Impact Windows And Doors

Designed for enhanced durability, impact glass windows and doors are comprised of multiple layers of laminated glass sandwiched together by polyvinyl butyral (PVB). This design ensures that even if the glass breaks on impact, the inner layer will hold the glass pieces together, and the glass won’t shatter.

Impact windows and doors also have reinforced frames that provide additional strength against powerful forces like hurricanes and flying debris.

Non-Impact Windows And Doors

By comparison, non-impact windows are typically comprised of a single/double glass pane that is held together by a standard aluminum, wood, or glass frame. Non-impact windows and doors rely solely on the strength and integrity of the glass and frame. They lack any specialized features that will make them withstand severe external forces.

hurricane impact windows

2) Impact Resistance

Due to the difference in construction, impact and non-impact windows and doors differ in how they react to external forces.

Impact Windows And Doors

The most valuable feature of impact glass is its ability to withstand a significant force without shattering. Whether the glass is exposed to the strong winds of a hurricane, flying debris propelled by the wind, or the brute force of an intruder attempting to gain entrance, the glass is designed to remain intact.

By remaining intact and not shattering, the occupants and assets in the building are safe, offering homeowners peace of mind even during the harshest storm.

Non-impact Glass Windows And Doors

In the event of a forceful collision with flying debris, non-impact glass will shatter and break into sharp shards. This could compromise the building’s structural integrity and cause occupant injuries.

3) Sound Insulation

Apart from the obvious strength benefits of impact glass, they have the added benefit of providing an effective sound barrier. This is how they differ from non-impact glass:

Impact Windows And Doors

Going beyond merely providing structural strength, impact glass is also a very effective sound barrier. Although not soundproof, the laminated, multiple layers of glass absorb and reduce sound vibrations. Impact glass can effectively block up to 60 – 75% of outside noise, ensuring that your home is a peaceful haven even on a busy street or noisy neighborhood.

Non-Impact Windows And Doors

While providing basic sound insulation, non-impact windows and doors are not specifically designed to be a noise barrier. Typically comprising of a single/double pane glass within a frame, they allow more sound to penetrate and are therefore less effective at dampening external noises.


4) Energy Saving Properties

With the high cost of living at the forefront of everyone’s mind, saving on your utility bill wherever possible is a priority. This is how installing impact windows and doors assists in this area:

Impact Windows And Doors

The laminated, multi-layer structure of impact glass, minimizes heat transfer, This thermal efficiency helps to maintain room temperature and reduces the need for 24-hour airconditioner use.

Some impact windows are also coated with low emissivity (low-E) that further minimizes heat transfer by effectively blocking up to 99% of harmful infrared and ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Non-Impact Windows And Doors

Lacking the specialized insulating features that impact windows and doors possess, non-impact glass does not provide the same level of insulation. The lack of insulating features leads to greater heat transfer, necessitating more frequent use of the air conditioner for indoor temperature control.

5) Code And Regulation Compliance

In areas susceptible to extreme weather events, hurricanes, and tropical storms, building codes often mandate the use of impact windows and doors.

The Florida Building Code mandates the use of impact glass in certain areas to prioritize the safety of occupants and to ensure the building structure is not compromised, even during the onslaught of extreme weather forces.


6) The Cost

Due to its construction and enhanced features, impact glass may be more costly than non-impact glass. Although non-impact glass is perceived to be the more affordable option, impact glass is a better long-term investment. Here are some reasons to invest in impact glass:

  • Insurance companies often charge a lower premium as homes with impact glass are seen as less of a risk than those with non-impact glass.
  • Impact glass reflects harmful UV rays that over time damage flooring and furniture. Your assets last longer and you save on repair/replacement costs.
  • Your utility bill is reduced due to reduced AC use.
  • Your home and interior contents are less likely to get damaged/need replacement after a storm.

STS Impact Windows And Doors, South Florida’s Trusted Suppliers Of Impact Windows

Having served the community of South Florida for over 25 years, STS Impact Windows And Doors is confident that we can meet your hurricane protection needs. Licensed and insured, we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee and a five-year installation warranty. To visit our showroom or obtain a free quote call 561-600-1018 today.

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