Thicker, Stronger, And Layered: How Impact Windows Are Made And How They Resist Impact

Impact windows that are made well rarely require replacement. It takes a level-five tornado or hurricane to ram a tree or palm tree through the glass before you will need an impact window replacement. That said, you are probably wondering how these windows are made, and how they manage to resist such force. 


It starts with thicker panes of glass. The thicker the glass, the more blunt force the glass can handle. Glass thickness for impact windows was once tested in a lab to see how many blows it could take in order to determine if it would resist weather conditions. Now, structural engineers can perform calculations on a computer when they enter certain data about a sheet of glass to see if the glass is of sufficient thickness. The next step is to alter the chemical makeup of the glass to make it stronger.


There is really fragile glass, and then there is the type of glass used in public aquariums that can withstand several metric tons of water pressure against the glass. To take fragile glass to stronger glass, the engineers and glass manufacturers use different glass additives that make the glass more durable. Everything is fired up above and beyond the usual temperatures that create clear glass, and then it is mixed completely before poured into glass sheeting molds. The glass will be removed from the molds after it cools to take it to the next steps. 


Now you have thick, strong glass. The only thing that makes this glass even more resistant to impact is layering it and inserting laminate coating in between the layers of glass. This process takes the most time to complete because the glass manufacturers have to apply the laminate coating to one side of a sheet of glass, carefully lay another sheet of glass on top of that, and repeat until the glass has the required number of layers and thicknesses. Then it has to cure so that the laminate layers can make the glass layers adhere to each other. Finally, the impact glass sheet is ready to cut and shape into window and door glass. 

How They Resist Impact, and What to Do if You Need a Replacement

The thickness and the strength alone would provide enough resistance for lesser storms and lesser forces, but it is the lamination process that really does the trick. If something does hit the glass, the lamination takes the impact and distributes it across the glass. Only harder and/or more successive blows can disrupt the force distribution and cause the glass to crack. In the event that you do have such powerful forces of nature destroy one or more of your impact windows, you can call a residential window contractor to remove the damaged glass and replace the damaged windows with new, impact-resistant windows. As long as the storm that caused the damage has left the area, the contractor can safely replace your damaged windows. Learn more via resources like