After the four hurricanes that crossed Florida in 2004, everyone in the Sunshine State was reminded of the need for high end windows and high end doors that could survive a tropical wind load event. Every loose object that is outside during a hurricane force wind becomes a missile.
Many manufacturers of high end windows now offer high impact glass options and other shutter products that are designed to cover and protect the glass. High end doors are designed stop potential missiles from penetrating the door. Once the openings have been breached, the wind can literally lift the roof from the house if it has not been properly secured to the walls.
High wind forces can also subject the leeward side of the structure to suction force. The windows, or the glass in them, can literally be sucked out of the wall. Hurricane winds will eventually change direction. If a window or door unit has been damaged or completely compromised by negative pressure, then the high winds will be entering those openings soon and creating further damage throughout the interior of the structure.
An architect or engineer can analyze and calculate design wind pressures for your structure at your location and orientation. After that, it is a matter of buying the proper window and high end doors that will withstand that calculated pressure and fit your wall openings. There will be installation specifications that must be followed, and it is imperative that these high end windows and doors are securely installed by professional craftsmen.
Image, “DSC00013_001″ appears courtesy of Flick user, Jim Moore under the Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license.