The question of whether hurricane windows and doors are required in Florida is not a simple answer. The reason is that local building codes determine the requirements as to whether impact windows and doors are required in a certain application.
The easy answer is that according to Florida Building Code (FBC) all windows and doors must be protected if the building structure is within one mile of the coast where wind speed is in excess of 110 MPH.
However, as you move further inland and beyond that one mile radius most Building Departments in the Northern part of the State do not require impact products. Interestingly, as you go further south all Building Departments do require that Property Owners have some type of certified hurricane protection.
It is not uncommon in the largest populated areas of the State, that the move to impact windows and doors has been overwhelmingly accepted and demanded by both consumers and local governments. In fact, Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach County are the three largest counties using impact windows and doors in both residential and commercial new construction projects.
But even more interesting, over the last several years the replacement impact window and door business has been booming. “Homeowners continue to replace non-impact windows and doors with impact product regardless of the local code requirements or where the home is located, in an attempt to fortify their properties in response to the significant increase in hurricane activity over the last several years.” Says Scott Berman President of Florida Window and Door.
While the answer as to whether impact products are required is certainly not easy to answer. It would appear that Consumers would be best served by contacting their local Building Department to determine whether Hurricane Impact Windows and Doors are required by code or recommended by the local Building Official.