What is the expected lifespan of impact doors and windows, and how do I properly maintain them?
Impact doors and windows are built to a higher standard than standard doors and windows. They are designed to withstand extreme weather events, forced entry attempts, and other significant impacts. This makes them a good choice for homes and businesses in areas that are prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, and other severe weather.
Impact doors and windows have grown in popularity across the United States in recent years due to an increase in extreme weather events driven by climate change. Areas prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, intense storms, and wildfires have seen heightened interest in impact-rated products.
Homeowners want protection from the threats posed by severe winds, rain infiltration, blowing debris, and storm surges. Impact products provide peace of mind that windows and doors will remain intact even during a major weather event.
Beyond just storm protection, impact doors and windows also provide year-round benefits like security, noise reduction, energy efficiency, and durability that account for their growing popularity. The structurally reinforced frames, insulating multi-pane or laminated glass, composite materials, and airtight seals offer advantages over conventional products in day-to-day performance.
What are Impact Doors and Windows?
First, let’s define what makes impact doors and windows unique. They are specialty products engineered to withstand extreme wind, flying debris, storm surges, forced entry, and other impacts while providing insulation.
Impact resistance comes from robust components like laminated multilayer glass, reinforced composite frames, sturdy hardware, and structural silicone glazing. Compared to ordinary doors and windows, impact products offer unmatched durability and structural integrity during the toughest weather conditions.
This rugged construction also makes impact products incredibly energy efficient thanks to multiple insulating air chambers, airtight seals, low-emissivity coatings, and composite materials. So impact-rated doors and windows not only protect during storms but also deliver comfort and energy savings daily.
Expected Lifespan of Properly Maintained Impact Doors and Windows
When installed and cared for correctly, high-quality impact doors and windows will last 25-30 years or longer. This lifespan is up to twice as long as ordinary aluminum or vinyl framed windows.
Some factors that contribute to the exceptional longevity of properly maintained impact products include:
- Robust Materials – Impact laminated glass, fiberglass, composites, and reinforced framing resist wear, decay, and damage far better than typical building materials.
- Precision Engineering – Computer modeling and testing ensures structural integrity, air-tightness, and water resistance that maintains performance through decades of use.
- Weather Resistance – Heavy-duty silicone gaskets, glazing compounds, and seals protect vulnerable components from UV, moisture, and temperature extremes.
- Structural Integrity – Steel reinforcements secured with adhesives and thermal isolation techniques prevent loosening or separation over time.
- Insulated Glass Units – Factory sealed with inert gas fills prevents seal failure and fogging that could compromise visibility or insulation.
- Hardware Durability – Multi-point locks, heavy-duty hinges, and closures made of corrosion-resistant metals withstand constant operation without excessive wear.
Proper maintenance is still required to achieve this exceptional 25–30-year lifespan. But quality impact products certainly outlast conventional doors and windows, saving you money in the long run.
Caring for Your Impact Doors and Windows
To maximize lifespan, impact doors and windows need periodic inspection, cleaning, and basic routine maintenance:
- Inspect for Damage – Regularly examine weatherstripping, glass, glazing seals, and hardware for any signs of damage, wear, gaps, cracks, fogging, or loosening. Catching minor issues early is key.
- Clean Properly – Wash glass and exterior frames several times per year using soft towels, rubber squeegees, mild detergent, and plenty of water. Avoid harsh cleaners or abrasive pads.
- Check Seals – Confirm weatherstripping and glazing seals form continuous airtight, watertight barriers. Replace any cracked, missing, or gaping seals promptly.
- Lubricate Hardware – Apply silicone spray or graphite powder lubricant to sliding portions of locks and rollers. Keeps operation smooth.
- Confirm Proper Drainage – Clear any buildup of leaves or debris from sills, frame weep holes, and surrounding exterior to prevent water pooling and infiltration.
- Re-caulk Periodically – Inspect the sealant beads around the exterior frame perimeter and re-apply fresh caulk every few years as needed.
- Touch Up Finishes – Spot repair any minor nicks, scratches, or damage to exterior protective paints and coatings to maintain aesthetics and prevent corrosion.
- Address Water Damage – Immediately diagnose and remedy sources of any suspected water intrusion through frames, seals, or glazing. Prevent mold growth.
Getting impact windows and doors professionally serviced every 3-5 years is recommended. The pros can spot issues you might miss and perform comprehensive maintenance for peak efficiency.
Proper Installation – The Critical First Step
Even the highest quality impact window or door will underperform or develop issues prematurely if not installed correctly. Professional installation is strongly advised to ensure:
- Proper Structural Integration – Frames must interlock tightly with surrounding walls and flashing to form a weathertight, well-sealed barrier without gaps.
- Adequate Shimming and Securing – Level, plumb, and square mounting on robust shims or spacers ensures stability, operation, and weather sealing.
- Sealing and Air Barriers – Compressible tapes and sealants integrate the unit with weather barriers like house wrap, vapor retarders, and flashing to prevent infiltration.
- Confirm Proper Drainage – Sills maintain positive slope, frames have adequate weep drainage, and the exterior area has effective drainage slope to avoid water pooling.
- Thermal Optimization – Perimeter seals and interior/exterior caulking deliver airtight, well-insulated installation without thermal gaps at the edges.
- Functional Testing – Operate windows and doors to confirm smooth operation, sash alignment, and a tight seal. Repair any fit issues.
- Manufacturer Specs – Strictly adhere to installation procedures and integrate exterior finishes according to manufacturer specifications for warranty compliance.
An expert like Patriot Windows & Doors will get all these details right so your impact products function flawlessly for decades. Don’t trust installation to an inexperienced contractor.
Time to Upgrade Your Impact Windows and Doors?
If your impact products are aging and showing signs of wear, proactive upgrades can restore peak performance. Replacement options include:
- New Weatherstripping – Fresh perimeter seals prevent drafts, lower energy costs, and improve soundproofing.
- Hardware Upgrades – Enhance protection and ease of operation with new multi-point locks and heavy-duty hinges.
- Piggyback Storm Panels – Acrylic or polycarbonate panels can supplement your existing glass to improve impact resistance.
- Glass Unit Replacement – Swap out foggy or damaged insulated glass units with new double or triple pane units to restore visibility and insulation.
- Full Window or Door Replacement – For more severely damaged or outdated products, full replacements boost protection, efficiency, and visual appeal.
Contact Patriot Windows and Doors for professional installation of any impact product upgrades. Your home deserves ongoing protection.
Get More from Your Investment with Proper Impact Product Care
In summary, impact-rated doors and windows represent a significant investment in your home’s comfort, security, and energy efficiency. And with proper maintenance and professional installation, these ultra-durable products can continue delivering benefits for decades to come.
Schedule regular tune-ups with Patriot Windows & Doors to keep your impact products looking and performing their best year after year. With proper care, your impact-resistant doors and windows will protect you through anything nature or vandals throw your way.
Here are 10 sample FAQs on the lifespan and maintenance of impact doors and windows:
1. How long should impact windows and doors last?
With proper maintenance and care, impact windows and doors typically last 25-30 years, much longer than ordinary non-impact products.
2. What maintenance do impact windows and doors require?
Basic maintenance includes cleaning, inspecting seals, ensuring proper drainage, lubricating hardware, checking for cracks or damage, and occasional re-caulking.
3. How often should I have my impact windows and doors professionally serviced?
It’s recommended to have professional tune-ups done every 3-5 years to ensure hardware is functioning properly, identify potential issues early, and perform thorough maintenance.
4. Do impact products require special cleaning methods?
Use mild detergent and soft cloths or squeegees to clean glass and frames. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive pads that could damage finishes or glass.
5. How can I improve efficiency and performance of aging impact windows?
Upgrades like fresh weatherstripping, new locking hardware, glass unit replacement, or full product replacement can optimize efficiency and protection.
6. Why is proper installation important for impact doors and windows?
Expert installation ensures correct integration with the structure, proper sealing and flashing, stable mounting, and thermal optimization for ideal performance.
7. How do I know when to replace my impact door or window?
When products exhibit persistent air or water leaks, fogging glass, significant finish damage, loosening, or hardware issues that repairs cannot resolve, replacement should be considered.
8. What are signs of problems with my impact windows or doors?
Look for fogging or condensation between glass panes, leaks, loose frames or hardware, lack of smooth operation, chipped paint or finishes, cracked glass, and broken, torn, or missing weatherstripping.
9. Can an older home be retrofitted with impact windows?
Yes, most homes can be retrofitted, but the frame mounting method and installation process may vary depending on the existing structure and openings.
10. Will installing impact doors and windows increase my home’s value?
Yes, impact-rated products can increase resale value while also lowering insurance premiums. They also enhance livability and comfort.