1. What will protecting openings (doors, windows, garage doors, skylights) in my house do for me?
Impact resistant windows and doors will protect occupants from flying debris including the glass from the windows. In addition, your possessions will not be exposed to the elements, preventing damage to the contents and possibly even loss of irreplaceable personal possessions. Further, breach of the exterior openings in a high wind event has often compromised the overall structural integrity of the home.
2. What are the choices for protecting window and door openings in my home?
Impact-resistant windows and doors; hurricane shutters customized to fit openings; and, as an emergency measure, plywood panels can be used if installed properly.
3. How are products tested and is it necessary to insist on a product that has met these standards?
Impact-resistant glass and shutters are designed and tested to meet a combination of impact and continuous wind pressure. Always use products that have been tested to one of these standards - ASTME 1886 and ASTME 1996 - and have been designated as such by a recognized product approval.
4. Is it necessary to protect my garage doors?
Garage doors are particularly vulnerable to high winds, because of the long span of the opening they cover and the relatively lightweight material they are made of. Two options are available for strengthening garage doors: replace the door and track with a system that is designed to withstand high winds and wind-borne debris; or use a tested and approved impact resistant covering. In Texas, garage doors must be tested in accordance with ASTME 330. Glass panels should be rated with ASTME 1996 standards.
5. Are both impact-resistant windows and shutters necessary?
No. While installing shutters over impact resistant windows would give added protection if the outer system failed, it is not necessary to install both.
6. If I choose impact-resistant windows, are the window frames also wind resistant?
Impact-resistant window frames are equally important as the strength of the glass. Windows are tested as a unit that includes the glass, frame, attachment hardware and installation method. Impact-resistant windows and shutters should always be installed following the manufacturer's recommendations.
The Texas Department of Insurance will accept, for review, building products that have been tested in accordance with either ASTME 1886 and ASTME 1996 or other approved standards.
7. Does a product that qualifies for Force 12 winds meet an acceptable standard for hurricane force winds?
Force 12 only meets the very minimum of a category 1 hurricane (74 mph). If you are in an area that may be affected by a hurricane, only use products tested and approved for hurricane force winds.
8. How do I compare galvanized shutters with aluminum shutters?
If both have been tested and qualified by an approved impact and continuous wind pressure standard, they should perform the same. Impact protective systems must be tested in accordance with ASTME 330. The edition used shall be as outlined in the building specifications adopted by the Texas Department of Insurance.
The Texas Department of Insurance will accept, for review, building products that have been tested in accordance with either: ASTME 1186 and ASTME 1996 or other approved impact standards.
9. Where can I look to find information about possible insurance credits or discounts my home may qualify for by installing opening protection?
Discounts and credits may be available through your insurance carrier but will vary from one company to another. Contact your insurance agent for information.
10. For opening protection not permanently mounted (panel type protection), what kind of pre-planning is necessary?
Make sure your installer pre-marks the panel and leaves a layout plan and installation instructions. Go through the process of installing covers on one or two openings at your leisure to get a feel for time needed and difficulty.