1. What is the difference between a DP rated window and a Hurricane Impact rated window?
There are many misconceptions regarding this question. DP stands for Design Pressure, each window must pass a minimum DP rating. Many companies are misleading consumers by claiming that DP-50 rated windows are Hurricane Approved. Here are the Facts. Design Pressure testing is mostly for Air and Water infiltration. Hurricane Impact Windows are tested and approved in independent labs simulating Category 4 Hurricanes. The testing requires Four sample windows are submitted (3 for Impact Testing and 1 for Design Pressure) The first test is the Large Missile Impact Test, A 2"x4"x8' weighing 9.6 lbs. is shot out of cannon @ 50 ft. per second (to mimic flying debris in a Category 4 Hurricane) If each of the 3 samples survive the Impact testing then comes the Cyclonic Pressure Tests. Each sample Window is subjected to 4500 Positive cycles and 4500 Negative Cycles for a total of 9000 cycles, this test takes over 8 hours to complete. Each window is then cut into 6" pieces and stored away for future reference if needed. The lab also records all testing for their record and code compliance.
2. What is the difference in glass types, Monolithic vs. Insulated?
Monolithic glass is a make up of 2 pieces of glass sandwiched to an interlayer. The Max Pro Glass make up is usually 1/8" glass .090 interlayer 1/8" glass making it 5/16". According to wind load reports and larger sizes we also use 7/16", 9/16" and 3/4". (Single strength or single pane glass is 1/16") Insulated glass consists of 2 pieces of glass with a dead air space in between. Most companies use a polybutryl compound to fuse the glass together. This has great success in the Northern (colder climates) but I have found some problems in the hotter Southern climates. The problem is two fold. First, heat over a period of time sometimes melts the seal and causes failure, moisture and fogging will occur. Secondly, the expansion and contraction rate of Vinyl windows also attributes to seal failure, there is too much stress on the seals. However, insulated glass units are slightly more energy efficient than monolithic.
3. Vinyl frames vs. Aluminum "thermally broken" frames along the Gulf Coast, Which is better?
No Contest, Aluminum out performs Vinyl PERIOD! You must consider a few major points when purchasing windows. First, remember Vinyl is PVC (PLASTIC) and over time in hotter Southern Climates Vinyl will Expand and Contract 260% more than Aluminum, it will deteriorate, and fade with prolonged Sun exposure. Consider the E Value of a material, ( the higher the E Value is greater resistance to deformation) Aluminum is 10,000,000 (that's 10 million) compared to Vinyl @ 430,000!
NO CONTEST WHEN IT COMES TO STRENGTH AND RIGIDITY! Consider this: 99% of Vinyl manufacturers are located in the Northern United States and Canada. Vinyl windows are NOT RECOMMENDED IN THE SOUTHERN CLIMATES.
4. Are there differences in interlayers?
YES! There are two interlayers used on the market for Hurricane Impact Windows. 1. PVB (polyvinyl butryl) this comes is 3 different sizes .030 (windshield of a car) .060 (used in light security applications) and .090 which is used for Hurricane Impact windows. PVB is a thick plastic film fused in between 2 pieces of glass under very high heat (in a autoclave machine) It is a strong material and many companies use PVB in their products. The only problem I have en counted with PVB is that it cannot adhere to a Low E surface and over time there is a chance of De lamination. 2. Safety Plus II is what I choose to use in the Max Pro Window. It is a poured in Polyester Acrylic Resin that is much stronger than PVB and it has no problem adhering to Low E. The process is mixing 2 chemical blends as liquids and pouring in between the glass forming an .090 interlayer. Safety Plus II was patented by Glasslam International and has scored the highest ever testing in Miami Dade history. It is without a doubt the Superior product!
5. Why Max Pro Hurricane windows?
Every other form of Hurricane protection requires some labor to install. Plywood, Storm Panels, Roll Down Shutters, Accordion, Bahama and Colonial shutters can be labor intensive, but also alters the homes appearance in some way. Once Max Pro Windows are installed, RELAX, you're done! The benefits from Max Pro Windows are PERMANENT HURRICANE PROTECTION, SECURITY, NOISE REDUCTION, 99.6% OF THE SUN'S UV RAYS ARE BLOCKED. (NO MORE FADING OF FLOORING, ARTWORK AND FURNITURE).