Rarely can a turning point in residential and commercial design be traced back to a single minute.
At 8:40 a.m. EST on Monday, August 24, 1992, Hurricane Andrew struck south Florida with sustained winds of 165 mph and gusts of up to 174 mph. The Category 5 monster proved to be the most destructive storm in U.S. history, demolishing 63,500 homes and damaging 124,000 more.
For Florida lawmakers, insurers, and construction leaders, it was a “never again moment.” The 1992 catastrophe inspired the Florida Building Code (FBC), the de facto national standard for impact-resistant construction. Today the FBC, including rigorous Miami-Dade and Broward County requirements, is a benchmark for building design in extreme weather environments.
The 1992 hurricane also inspired a FBC product-rating database of materials, each one tested to meet independently certified standards, based on ASTM E282, E331, and E330 as well as TAS201, 202, and 203.
Unfortunately, the need for impact resistant materials extends far beyond coastal regions. Tornadoes also represent a growing threat. AccuWeather, for example, predicts 2022 will be at least as devastating and turbulent as 2021. Just as ominous, Tornado Alley now reaches well past the Midwest into other states.
How you design for weather events is changing. Take the front door, for example. An impact resistant front door is mandatory in many coastal jurisdictions. It’s quickly becoming that way in tornado zones as well. The material of choice is fiberglass, which is up to five times stronger pound-for-pound than wood or steel. A fiberglass door engineered for impact resistance will not crack or bend like other front door materials.
More Than Impact
Next generation front doors present a wealth of benefits that go beyond resisting a flying nine-pound piece of 2x4, a FBC requirement.
Front doors from Plastpro, a leading U.S.-based impact resistant front door manufacturer, also present a wealth of value-added features:
- Contractor Friendly. Reinforced door skins with a high-density core are superior to the honeycombed steel door skin of other door brands. Steel creates cutting and rust issues, which could lead to needless callbacks.
- Moisture Resistant. Plastpro seals all six door sides with HydroShield Technology. The shield prevents warping, delamination, corrosion, rotting, and mold or mildew formation.
- Extra Security. The resilient qualities that make the doors a safe bet from wind-borne strikes provide similar protection from break-in.
- Design Diversity. The HVHZ Impact Door Series from Plastpro offers dozens of impact-resistant door styles, including modern, rustic, craftsman, oak grain, smooth skin, and Nova transparency. Each style is independently tested to meet the High Velocity Hurricane Zone standards of the FBC.
Today, it’s a design obligation to anticipate changing climate conditions from the seacoast to the heartland. Specifying impact-resistant roofing shingles, windows, fiber cement cladding, and fiberglass front doors is more than code compliance—it’s serving the best interests of the owner, the built environment, and your reputation.
Learn more about how impact-resistant front doors from Plastpro can enhance your next project.