Everything You Need to Know About Hurricane Impact Windows’ Rating

By  //  August 12, 2020

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Are you considering purchasing new hurricane windows? You’ll want to know about hurricane impact windows’ ratings before you buy.

Are you considering purchasing new hurricane windows? You’ll want to know about hurricane impact windows’ ratings before you buy.

With a predicted above-normal hurricane season approaching, many homeowners are struggling to figure out how they might weather out this year’s approaching storms. Fortunately, hurricane impact windows offer a practical solution.

While browsing for new storm windows, you may notice hurricane impact windows ratings and wonder what they mean. This article will explain their significance and why it’s important to consider them.

We’ll also explore the benefits of installing hurricane windows. Staying safe throughout the hurricane season means staying informed, so read on!

What Are Hurricane Impact Windows?

Put simply, hurricane impact windows are windows designed to withstand the high winds, rainfall, and pressures of hurricanes. They should also be able to handle impacts from flying debris. 

Hurricane windows can range in strength, but hurricane impact windows must be able to survive a Category 5 hurricane. This means that they can withstand winds of 157 mph or higher.

Hurricane Protection

While only five Category 5 hurricanes have ever made landfall in the United States, there is some evidence to support the idea that hurricanes may generally be increasing in regularity and power.

Outfitting your home with hurricane windows may be one of the wisest investments you make in the coming years. Strong hurricane impact windows alone may not help prevent all types of damage, but they can help protect you and your home.

However, impact resistance during a hurricane isn’t the only potential benefit of these windows. If you haven’t regularly maintained your home’s windows, or if they’re over 20 years old, they may be doing a poor job at insulating your home.

The result is hundreds of dollars in wasted air conditioning and heating costs each year. Installing new windows could help lower your annual heating and cooling costs while also helping protect your home. 

Hurricane impact windows make a fine replacement option because they’re capable of much more than storm protection.

Additional Benefits of Hurricane Windows

There are a handful of additional benefits that hurricane windows can provide. Though we mentioned a few of those advantages above, it’s wise to consider all of the potential bonuses. Doing so can help you make the best choice for your home.

Hurricane impact windows primarily function to keep homes and tenants safe from rain, wind, and debris during a hurricane. However, they can also:

Help lower your annual heating and cooling costs

Block excess UV light from entering your home

Add value to your property

Lower home insurance premiums

Reduce external noise pollution

These additional benefits may mitigate the initial downside of hurricane impact window installation—price. While these thick-paned protective windows do have quite a few advantages, the cost factor is often relatively discouraging.

But if you think of window installation as a long-term investment, you may begin to see things in a different light.

How Much Do Hurricane Windows Cost?

The cost of hurricane windows varies depending on your chosen installation service. Some technicians may charge very little, but the result can be low-quality windows and substandard workmanship.

Higher-priced hurricane window installations may be intimidating, but they often consist of high-quality materials and painstaking labor. Still, it’s essential to choose an installation service that can.

1. Visit your property for a free evaluation and inspection.

2. Offer you an estimate based on their evaluation.

3. Explain, in detail, why they’re offering these specific services and products over others.

4. Boast sincere positive reviews from locals

5. Offer multiple flexible payment options for services

Taking advantage of the option to replace your windows can be a financially sound decision to make, especially over time. And by choosing a trustworthy installation team and service, you may be able to everything your new windows have to offer.

Understanding Hurricane Impact Windows Ratings

Before you can purchase the right hurricane impact windows for your home, you’ll need to get familiar with ratings. In general, hurricane impact windows fall beneath two rating systems.

These grading systems are called:

1. Performance Grade (PG), and

2. Design Pressure (DP)

Each affects the overall rating or grade of a hurricane impact window. However, discerning their meaning and applying it to the shopping process can be a challenge. To make things a little more straightforward, we’ve broken things down.


A window’s Performance Grade is directly associated with its ability to withstand design wind pressures. Contractors and engineers are constantly concerned with design pressures, as they influence both architecture and necessary supplies.

Some counties may have specific PG requirements for windows in both residential and commercial environments. This helps keeps citizens safe from accidental window collapse or shattering. Check your local building ordinances for more information.

The PG rating of a window typically falls anywhere between 15 and 70. This number correlates directly with the amount of wind pressure the window can endure. A window with a PG of 35 can handle 35 PSF of pressure.

In general, hurricane impact windows tend to have a higher PG rating than other types of windows. This allows them to remain intact even during the windiest storms or most rapid flooding.

To be assigned a PG rating, windows must successfully pass at least six performance tests. These tests help determine the final rating and ensure that contractors, residents, and lot owners can safely comply with rules and regulations.

This rating system is newer than it’s counterpart, the Design Pressure grading system. It is also far more strict. For these reasons, it’s better to look for a window’s PG than its DP. 

As you’ll soon find out, windows with a high DP don’t always have an equally high PG rating.


Design Pressure, or DP, also refers to the amount of natural design pressure a window can withstand. It employs much of the same criteria as the PG grading system, including the three key performance benchmarks:

1. Water Resistance

2. Air Infiltration Resistance

3. Structural Load

However, unlike with the PG system, a manufacturer may derive their final DP rating by simply combining their two highest scores. A window may bear a structural load quite well, offer fantastic air infiltration resistance, and fail the water-resistance part.

It could still end up with a very high score, which can be disastrous for those who live in hurricane-affected areas. If a hurricane begins whipping rain across the land in a horizontal fashion, the above example will likely leak and become unsafe.

That’s why it’s often better to simply rely on a window’s PG rating for guidance. The DP grading system is outdated at best and unreliable at worst. 

What is the Best Possible Rating?

It’s challenging to determine the best possible rating for any given window. In general, a window with a high PG is bound to stand up to environmental pressures better than a window with a low PG or high DP. 

Therefore, it’s best to simply gauge your options and compare a list of candidates. Based on their price, size, and PG rating, you’ll be able to determine which windows meet your needs and budget.

In general, the best possible PG rating that a window can receive is 100. That’s nearly equal to putting your window beneath 20 inches of water and seeing that nothing is leaking or cracking beneath the pressure.

Your home likely won’t require windows that have a PG rating of 100. Even the toughest skylight or ceiling windows tend to feature a PG rating of about 30.

Still, your budget and preferences can help you determine the ideal rating for your new windows. Speaking with a window installation technician can also help you make some final decisions regarding brands, services, and tinting options.

The best possible outcome of using the rating systems is finding the safest, longest-lasting, and most durable hurricane impact windows on the market. 

Keep Your Home and Family Safe This Hurricane Season

While you may have heard that keeping a window open during a hurricane is a good idea, science and experience have proven otherwise. Keeping your home locked tight against the outdoor pressure and wind is crucial to surviving a terrible storm.

Fortunately, hurricane impact windows may help. They’re resistant to impacts and winds of 157 mph or more. They also help filter out harmful UV light, lessen your home’s heating and cooling costs, and reduce external noise pollution.

Understanding hurricane impact windows ratings can help you make the best choice for your home and family. After all, it’s better to be prepared for the worst and suffer zero damage than to be caught off-guard and lose it all.

Brevard County residents can keep themselves informed about upcoming storms and safety measures with our helpful daily news page.