How much thought do most people put into their property’s front door? People say that we take the things most valuable to us for granted. We run our cars day after day without too much concern – until the day it won’t start. We enjoy tv, lights, washing machines, and ovens – until there’s a power outage. We can even rely on our loved ones for support, without always appreciating just how important they have become in our lives.
Your front door is a portal to your home life and a symbol of privacy and safety. It protects your family and everything on the outside. It makes sense to ensure that this point of entry into your home is secure.
A standard exterior door is constructed of wood, aluminum, PVC, or a combination of two or more of these materials. Of course, under ordinary weather conditions, doors like this will be sufficient to do the job they are intended for, namely security and aesthetic appeal. However, in Florida, something with better protective capability is required.
Those of us who have made their home in Florida are acutely aware that hurricanes are an unavoidable part of life in our state. However, it can be a surprise to many people just how much danger hurricanes can present. For example, In June 2020, the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) reported that as of January 10, 2020, total insured losses from Irma in Florida alone totaled $17.4 billion. More storms hit Florida than any other U.S. state (according to data taken from the National hurricane center), and since 1851, only eighteen hurricane seasons passed without a known storm impacting the state. Collectively, cyclones that hit the region have resulted in over 10,000 deaths. These statistics eliminate any doubt or reservations concerning property protection. It’s not mere prudence to install impact doors and windows; it’s a necessity for the health and safety of you, your family, and your valuable home.
Let’s examine precisely how and why an impact door is so crucial to the protection of your home. What are Impact Rated Doors? Impact Rated Doors are rated to stay strong under the force of hurricane winds and flying debris. To be labeled “impact-rated,” the design must pass the rigorous Miami-Dade High-Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ) Test. Over the past 20 years, Florida residents have had to deal with 24 category 4 hurricanes, which means sustained wind speeds of up to 156 mph, resulting in generalized catastrophic damage. These are not sudden, brief gusts of wind – they are unrelenting blasts, which can last for up to 15 minutes at a time.
Would you feel comfortable with a standard door under these conditions? An impact door can resist heavy blows and stay intact even when heavy objects are fired at it. Decorative glass inserts on impact-rated doors have specialty glass that will also make a massive impact without yielding. The Florida Building Code (FBC) requires windows to be impact-resistant or protected if located within one mile of the coast where the wind speed is 110 mph or greater. However, it makes sense to adhere to these codes wherever you are situated in Florida as hurricanes can wreak havoc inland too.
The advantages to impact doors over standard doors outlined above are the most important, as they could ultimately protect you and your family from physical harm. However, installing impact doors endows your property with many other less obvious functional and financial benefits. According to FEMA, “For every $1 spent on mitigation, $4 in post-storm clean-up and rebuilding is saved!” While mitigation will never eliminate the risk to homeowners, it will reduce loss, and in many cases, save a family’s home. That much is clear. But what about hidden savings? Installation of your new impact doors tends to be a once in a lifetime event. Impact-resistant (i.e., debris-resistant) doors and systems protect through the use of laminated glass or polycarbonate glazing systems. These systems provide “in-situ” protection and require no human action or involvement after installation; the protection system is in place at all times, offering 24/7 protection from storm events. Once the door is installed, there’s nothing else to do. Another hidden saving becomes apparent when home insurance premiums are due. Insurance companies know that it’s good business to encourage their clients to install impact doors and windows to protect their property and make fewer claims. It’s often the case that discounts are offered by home insurance companies to people that install impact-rated products in their homes. It’s important to discuss your insurance provider’s requirements regarding what you install, to ensure that the policy is valid should you need to make a claim.
Noise is part of life, which we tend to accept because it’s always there. It’s hard to believe that unwanted noise can affect us in the most fundamental ways. Studies have shown that elevated blood pressure, loss of sleep, increased heart rate, and cardiovascular constriction are just a few of the adverse effects unwanted noise can have on us. Leaf blowers, motorbike engines, noisy neighbors – the insulation gained by installing impact doors significantly reduce the level of noise pollution in your home. One of the great benefits of Florida life is the sunshine – on average, we enjoy just under six hours a day. However, constant exposure to U.V. rays can be harmful, not only to our health but to carpets, furniture, and other domestic possessions. Exposure to U.V. rays harms fabrics, paintings, and curtains, shortening their functional life and requiring more frequent replacement. Impact door glazing can reduce up to 99% of harmful U.V. rays entering your home, depending on the type of door you choose.
There are also many other great reasons why you should install impact windows such as energy efficiency, increased security, increased equity in your home and lower insurance.