Florida/Caribbean Architect - Summer 2013 - (Page 20)
HURRICANE SEASON by Specifying
HURRICANE-RESISTANT Windows and Doors
BY JAMES CARELESS
The PremierVue 2770-2870 door
from PGT Industries.
In August 1992, Hurricane Andrew hit
south Florida as a Category 5 hurricane,
killing 44 people and causing $32 billion in
damage. Afterwards, Dade County adopted
a tough new building code aimed at
requiring hurricane-resistant construction.
For architects building in Florida and the
Caribbean region, it makes sense to specify
hurricane-resistant windows and doors.
But simply specifying these products is
not enough. Architects need to familiarize
themselves with new technologies and
formulate their plans in concert with
hurricane-resistant product vendors.
even exceed, Miami-Dade’s building code
standards. And yes, the famous 2x4-firing
‘air cannons’ seen on TV’s “Mythbusters”
is used in the testing of these products.
According to Ray Crawford, President
of Crawford-Tracey, “There are different
degrees of impact resistance, depending
on the level of protective glass chosen.
What they have in common is the use of
two glass panels with an impact-absorptive
plastic material in the middle. These
are welded together using heat and then
fitted into the window opening using
silicon to prevent water getting in.”
Impact-resistant windows protect the
integrity of the building shell, rather than
acting as ‘bulletproof glass.’ This is why
the glass shatters on impact, but stays in
place because of its adhesion to the impactabsorptive core. “The shattered glass is
tested to 9000 over-and under-pressure
cycles in the lab to simulate hurricane
conditions,” Crawford explains. “The goal
is for it to flex and act as a trampoline,
keeping the structure sealed while
preventing the glass from flying free.”
Glass installed in hurricane-resistant
doors uses the same science to deal with
impacts. Meanwhile, the doors themselves
are made of reinforced aluminum to
provide extra strength and impact
resistance. “Our vinyl doors, which are
available in a range of colors, actually
contain a full aluminum skeleton,” says
Dean Ruark, P.E., PGT Industries’ Code
Compliance Manager. “This allows PGT
to offer homeowners a frame choice of
aluminum or vinyl, as well as the extensive
size selection they are looking for while
delivering high-design pressures and
the hurricane-resistance they require.”
The Importance of Consulting
Hurricane-resistant windows and
doors defend against storm damage, but
The Science of Hurricane
When hurricane-force winds hit,
ranging from 74-95 mph for a Category
1 hurricane to more than 156 mph for a
Category 5, loose objects become missiles.
In particular, 2x4s that become airborne
can blast through wooden siding, stucco
and even brick. Under these conditions,
conventional windows and doors can fail.
This is why manufacturers such as
Crawford-Tracey, the originator of impactresistant windows (www.crawfordtracey.
com), CGI Windows and Doors (www.
cgiwindows.com) and PGT Industries
(www.pgtindustries.com) have all
developed windows and doors that meet, or
CGI Windows and
from their Sentinel
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Florida/Caribbean Architect - Summer 2013
President’s Perspective / Dan Kirby, AIA, AICP, LEED AP
Editorial / Diane D. Greer
AIA Contract Documents: Protect Yourself, Protect Your Project
Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good Buildings?
Prepare for Hurricane Season By Specifying Hurricane-Resistant Windows and Doors
Maya Architecture: Geometry Etched in Stone
University of South Florida St. Petersburg, University Student Center (USFSP USC)
Treated Wood: An Effective Material for Hot and Humid Climates
Florida/Caribbean Architect - Summer 2013