Impact Windows and Doors: Your First Line of Defense Against Chicago’s Harsh Weather

Snow-covered window with grid pattern, tree branches outside, and snow accumulated on the windowsill during a winter day.

Brace yourself, Chicago! From the bone-chilling cold of our winters to the unrelenting gusts that have rightfully earned us the nickname “The Windy City,” our weather isn’t for the faint-hearted. But fear not, there’s a sturdy solution to keep you warm and secure: impact windows and doors. These aren’t just any windows and doors; they’re built with heavy-duty materials and designed to withstand everything Mother Nature throws our way.

Impact windows and doors are your home’s armor against the elements. Constructed with impact-resistant glass and reinforced with heavy-duty aluminum, these robust installations promise more than just safety. They offer a blend of energy efficiency, enhanced security, and stylish design options that complement any architectural style—from quaint Lakeview cottages to sleek downtown high-rises.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • What Are Impact Windows and Doors?: Dive into the details of these powerhouse products.
  • Benefits Unpacked: From weather protection to burglary deterrence, discover the multifaceted advantages.
  • Maintenance Musts: Tips to keep your windows and doors in top form.
  • Navigating Chicago Codes: Understanding local requirements for your renovations.

Ready to fortify your home against Chicago’s harshest conditions and elevate your living experience? Let’s explore how Chicago Window Guys can bring this vision to life with their expert selection and installation services!

Close-up of a wet window with raindrops on the glass, showing a blurry view of green foliage and reddish structures outside.

What are Impact Windows and Doors?

Impact-resistant windows and doors are designed to withstand the force of hurricane-strength winds and debris, thanks to their robust construction. These fixtures typically consist of impact-resistant glass, often laminated glass or monolithic impact-resistant glass, encased in heavy-duty aluminum frames. The glass itself is composed of two sheets bonded with a tough, clear plastic film. This construction ensures that even if the glass breaks, the shards remain attached to the interlayer, preventing them from causing harm inside the home.

Materials and Design

The choice of materials in impact windows and doors is critical for their effectiveness. Heavy-duty aluminum, known for its structural integrity and durability, is a popular choice for frames due to its ability to resist the harshest conditions. Additionally, the laminated glass used in these installations is pivotal for both security and energy efficiency.

According to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), impact-resistant windows must meet specific performance requirements under ASTM E1996, which includes withstanding repeated impacts from windborne debris and resisting cyclic wind pressures common in hurricane conditions.

The options in impact-resistant windows include a wide array, such as casement windows, hung windows, and sliding glass doors, all available in various designs, colors, and finishes to complement any architectural style. The configurations can be custom-tailored, ranging from single-hung windows to expansive patio doors, each equipped with advanced locking systems for added security.

Energy Efficiency and Additional Benefits

Energy efficiency is another significant advantage of these installations. Low-E4 glass and insulated glass options help maintain internal temperatures, reducing the load on heating and cooling systems and subsequently lowering energy bills. The ASTM Impact standard also ensures minimal air infiltration, which enhances the overall energy performance of a building. Furthermore, impact-resistant windows and doors provide an extra layer of protection against UV rays and noise, making them a perfect choice for both coastal and urban environments.

Read more about energy efficiency in Energy-Efficient Windows: The Solution to Your Energy Bills.

Performance in Extreme Conditions

In coastal conditions and regions prone to severe storms, such as Chicago’s occasionally harsh winter storms, the structural performance and hurricane strength protection offered by impact windows are invaluable. E-Series windows and doors, for example, are designed to meet the toughest building code requirements and have been tested to withstand coastal storm conditions, which often exceed the typical design pressures found in non-coastal environments.

For Chicago residents looking to invest in their home’s security, comfort, and resilience, choosing the right impact windows and doors isn’t just a decision—it’s a necessity.

Two workers wearing orange hard hats and blue uniforms are installing a window frame in a room with multiple windows overlooking a field.

The Benefits of Installing Impact Windows and Doors

In the heart of Chicago, where extreme weather is part of life, the decision to install impact windows and doors is not just about upgrading your home—it’s about transforming it into a secure, energy-efficient haven. Here are the multifaceted benefits these features bring to urban dwellings:

  • Enhanced Weather Protection:
    • Engineered to withstand high winds, heavy snow, and driving rain.
    • Impact-resistant glass and heavy-duty frames maintain integrity under severe conditions, protecting against wind-borne debris.
  • Increased Security:
    • Nearly impenetrable to common burglary tactics.
    • Feature multi-point locking systems and toughened glass, significantly reducing break-in attempts.
  • Energy Efficiency:
    • Insulated glass options and superior sealing technology help keep indoor temperatures consistent.
    • Less energy consumption also means a lower carbon footprint, promoting environmental sustainability.
  • Noise Reduction:
    • Laminated glass and tight seals block external noise, from city traffic to storm winds.
  • UV Protection:
    • Equipped with Low-E4 glass that blocks up to 99% of harmful UV rays.
    • Protects interior furnishings from UV-related fading and wear, preserving the integrity and color of fabrics and artwork.

Looking for more ways to protect your home? You’ll also want to read What Are Good Ways to Secure My House?

With their ability to protect against harsh weather, enhance home security, improve energy efficiency, reduce noise, and block harmful UV rays, impact windows and doors are an indispensable upgrade for any homeowner. Reputable dealers and installers in the area can offer valuable design tips and product selection assistance, making sure your choices not only meet but exceed your expectations for living safely and comfortably in challenging urban environments.

Raindrops cover a window with a blurred view of a gray, overcast landscape in the background.

Maintenance Tips for Longevity

Proper maintenance of impact windows and doors is crucial for ensuring they continue to perform effectively, providing security, energy efficiency, and protection against the harsh Chicago weather. Regular maintenance not only extends the life of these installations but also optimizes their performance values. Here are essential tips on maintaining and inspecting your impact-resistant windows and doors:

Regular Cleaning

  • Glass Care: Keep the impact-resistant glass clean by using a mild soap and water solution or a non-abrasive glass cleaner. Avoid harsh chemicals that can degrade the laminate layer.
  • Frame Maintenance: Aluminum and vinyl frames should be cleaned with a soft cloth and a mild detergent to avoid corrosion or buildup of debris. For homes in coastal areas or places with high salt exposure, increase the cleaning frequency to counteract the corrosive effects of salt spray.

Inspect Sealants and Weather Stripping

  • Weatherproofing Integrity: Check the sealant and weather stripping around your windows and doors at least twice a year. Look for cracks or gaps where air could penetrate.
  • Gasket and Seal Maintenance: Inspect the gaskets and seals around the glass panels, as these can become dry or brittle over time.

Hardware and Moving Parts

  • Lubricate Moving Parts: Ensure that all moving parts, such as hinges and locks on casement windows, hung windows, and sliding-glass doors, are lubricated periodically. Use a silicone-based lubricant to keep these parts operating smoothly.
  • Check for Smooth Operation: Open and close each window and door to make sure they operate smoothly. Difficulty in operation can be an early indicator of issues with the frame alignment or hardware problems, which can compromise the unit’s structural performance and security.

Professional Inspections

  • Annual Check-ups: Engage a professional from a reputable dealer annually to inspect your impact windows and doors. They can identify issues that might not be obvious to the untrained eye, such as subtle shifts in the frame or minor cracks in the glass.
  • Performance Review: Professional assessments should include checking the performance under simulated extreme weather conditions to ensure that the windows and doors can still provide maximum protection.

Respond to Damage Immediately

  • Immediate Repairs: If you notice any damage, such as a crack in the glass or a bent frame, address it immediately. Impact windows and doors are a crucial barrier against potential intruders and severe weather. Delayed repairs can compromise the protective features of the installation.

Educate Household Members

  • Product Education: Familiarize all members of your household with the proper operation of windows and doors, especially features like egress options in hurricane windows and impact-resistant patio doors. This ensures everyone can operate them safely in an emergency.

Maintaining your impact windows and doors is vital for ensuring they continue to offer the high-level protection, energy efficiency, and comfort you expect. Regular upkeep not only preserves the functionality and beauty of your windows and doors but also secures the investment you’ve made in your home’s safety and energy management.

A person wearing a gray and red jacket is installing or removing a window pane from a window frame on a snowy day.

Legal and Regulatory Considerations in Chicago

Installing impact windows and doors in Chicago involves navigating a series of local regulations and building codes designed to ensure safety, durability, and energy efficiency. Understanding these legal frameworks is essential for homeowners to ensure compliance and optimize the benefits of their investments.

Building Code Requirements

  • Compliance with Local Codes: In Chicago, all installations of windows and doors must comply with the Chicago Building Code (CBC), which includes specific provisions for safety and energy efficiency.
  • Energy Efficiency Standards: The CBC also enforces energy codes that impact windows and doors must adhere to. These are designed to reduce energy consumption across the city, contributing to a more sustainable environment.

Permit and Inspection Requirements

  • Permit Application: Installation of impact windows and doors typically requires a building permit from the City of Chicago. This process involves submitting detailed plans that outline the type of windows or doors being installed, their locations, and how they comply with local building standards.
  • Inspections for Compliance: After installation, a city inspector may visit the site to ensure that the impact windows and doors meet all relevant building codes and performance standards.

Installation by Certified Professionals

  • Certified Installer Requirement: The CBC requires that certain types of window and door installations be conducted by certified professionals. This certification ensures that installers are knowledgeable about Chicago’s stringent codes and capable of executing installations that meet legal standards for safety and performance.
  • Liability and Insurance: Employing certified installers also mitigates liability risks for homeowners. Proper installation by certified professionals can prevent potential issues that might arise from incorrect fitting, such as water leaks or structural damage.

Considerations for Historic and Coastal Areas

  • Historic Preservation: The Chicago Historic Preservation Code requires that any modification to properties within historic districts preserve the original design and materials, necessitating custom window solutions.
  • Coastal Zone Protections: For buildings near Lake Michigan, known as coastal zones in regulatory terms, impact windows and doors must not only withstand the harsh weather but also align with environmental protections aimed at preserving the lakefront.

Homeowners are encouraged to work closely with reputable dealers who are well-versed in the nuances of Chicago’s building codes and offer a wide variety of compliant window and door options tailored to meet these rigorous standards.

A worker in a blue cap and overalls uses a power drill to install or repair a window frame on the exterior of a building.

Partner with Chicago Window Guys: Secure Your Home Today!

As we’ve explored the remarkable benefits and essential considerations of installing impact windows and doors in Chicago, the importance of choosing a trusted partner cannot be overstated. Chicago Window Guys stands out as a premier provider in the region, offering unmatched expertise, customer service, and quality that align with the needs of Chicago homeowners.

Comprehensive Range of Services

  • Customization Options: Whether you need casement windows, sliding-glass doors, or French doors, we can tailor products to match the specific aesthetics and functional requirements of your home.
  • Advanced Product Selection: Equipped with a wide range of impact-resistant products, including A-Series and E-Series windows and doors, we ensure top-quality materials for maximum protection.
  • Post-Installation Support: After installation, our commitment to service continues with comprehensive support and maintenance advice.

Are you ready for your window replacement project? Check out our 7 Tips To Prepare For Window Replacement.

If you’re considering enhancing your home’s resilience against the elements and improving your security setup, there’s no better time to act. Contact us today to schedule a consultation or to learn more about their impact window and door solutions.