Impact-resistant windows give you, a homeowner, multiple advantages including hurricane, break-in and debris protection, noise reduction and improved insulation.
At this point, you may have found that there are so many different manufacturers jumping on the impact-resistant bandwagon, right?
How do you know who to go with? Trust us, we get it — it’s a real struggle out there! So, that’s why we’ve decided to pit two of the popular brands against each other to figure out who the top dog is.
Let’s get into it, shall we?
What Are Hurricane Impact Windows for Homes?
For those who don’t already know exactly what hurricane impact windows are, this section is a must-read.
In everyday life, impact-resistant windows (or hurricane impact windows) are known simply as impact windows.
Don’t be fooled by the omittance of “resistant”; it doesn’t mean these guys are going to fly off the wall and truly “make an impact” (if you catch our drift).
Anyway, they are made from heavy-duty frames that comprise impact-resistant, laminated glass with a silicone glazing.
We know what you’re thinking — why bother glazing something that already has impact-resistant glass? Well, the manufacturers do it for good reason! If they didn’t apply the silicone layer, the glass may break away from the frame.
Generally speaking, impact-resistant glass is a two-paned affair. Both panes are standard glass but the bonding agent used is a high-tech clear polyvinyl butyral.
While extreme debris or brute force and ignorance might crack the glass, the polyvinyl butyral keeps everything in place.
Yep, this means that hurricanes (and other extreme weather conditions) and intruders can’t enter your house.
Plus, impact windows insulate your home more effectively than traditional windows and they help stop outside noises from disturbing your relaxation. What more could you want from a window, right?
ES Windows – An Overview
Founded in 1988, ES Windows have decades of experience in the window design and innovation space. They have a huge range of products that adhere to numerous design and colour specifications.
Not to mention that they are amazingly effective at protecting you, your family and your home from hurricanes, storms and intruders. That’s right, their products aren’t just all about beauty, they’ve got brains too!
Oh before we forget — all their products are NOA and NFRC approved as well!
PGT WinGuard Windows – An Overview
PGT advertises and distributes their impact-resistant windows under the name WinGuard. Their marketing strategies highlight their claim to fame — our windows are stronger than a car’s windscreen.
How can they say this with absolute certainty? Well, through a series of tests, PGT have established that their products can withstand debris of nine pounds moving at a rate of 34 miles per hour. Plus, if their windows do crack, all the glass will stay in place.
We’ll compare their designs against ES Windows’ shortly but for now, we’ll tell you that they come with a 10-year warranty.
ES Windows Vs PGT – The Comparison
Okay, are we all on the same page? We know what hurricane impact windows are. We have a simple understanding of what ES Windows can offer us. And we know the basics of PGT WinGuard. Excellent! Now it’s time to see who is the winner. Ding, ding, ding; it’s comparison time.
As you remember, PGT has a warranty of 10 years on the Winguard Laminated Glass and Frame. Regardless of the frame material (aluminium or vinyl), each WinGuard window comes with this guaranteed warranty period.
So, how does ES Windows stack up?
These guys offer a Duranar paintwork warranty of 10 years as a standard, complimentary feature. However, their warranty period for the rest of the windows is half (5 years).
There are two ways to look at this:
- One way is that they are extremely confident in their product’s ability to perform so they know they don’t need to offer a longer warranty.
- Or, you can look at it from a more pessimistic viewpoint and consider whether they know something that we don’t.
In all honesty, it’s highly unlikely that ES Windows fail after just 5 years so, we’re going to stick with our initial viewpoint on this warranty matter.
Regardless, let’s move on!
The Designs and Styles
PGT offers 7 aluminium and 7 vinyl hurricane impact window styles (WinGuard series). These include the following:
- Single-hung window (comes in both aluminium and vinyl)
- Double-hung window (vinyl only)
- Horizontal roller (comes in both aluminium and vinyl)
- Casement windows (comes in both aluminium and vinyl)
- Awning (comes in both aluminium and vinyl)
- Vertical picture window (aluminium only)
- Architectural (comes in both aluminium and vinyl)
- Horizontal picture window (comes in both aluminium and vinyl)
Bear in mind that each of these can be customised! PGT allows you to change the frame colour, configuration, grid style and glass tint of each pre-set design.
Now it’s time to scrutinise ES Windows!
They seem to love their collections. In total, they have 5 product lines including Eli, Elite, Prestige, and Alessia.
Understandably, their Prestige collection is the luxury line that focuses on sophistication and style. The result? Expansive glass panels for panoramic views and crisp, sleek lines. Everything the modern home desires!
Regardless of the collection you choose, you can customise the hardware colour and/or finish. To give you an idea of the colours and finishes you can choose, have a look at this:
- Sunstorm Silverstorm
- Sunstorm Arcadia Silver
- Bermuda Bronze
- Embero (wood grain)
- Sapely (wood grain)
- Teka (wood grain)
- Antique brass
- Brushed chrome
Once you’ve selected your favourite colour, it’s on to finalising the hardware elements (handles, locks, rollers, latches, etc) and your custom window is finished!
Guess what, they don’t charge you more for custom sizes! What a bonus, right?
The Certifications and Acceptances
When it comes to hurricane impact windows, you want to spend your money on ones that are legally certified. Both ES Windows and PGT are, of course, large manufacturers who have been approved through many organisations for years. But, we’re going to discover exactly who they’re certified through.
ES Windows’ Certifications
- Passed all Miami-Dade County protocols
- Meets the toughest hurricane requirements for South Florida’s High-Velocity Hurrican Zone
- Missile impact support
- Low-E glass by Tecnoglass option
- Corrosion-resistant rated hardware
- Miami-Dade approved
- Florida Product Approval received
- Low-E glass option
Right, we’re now ready to decide on the best of the best. Who will it be? If you’re ready to find out, read on…
The Bottom Line
We’ve discovered a lot today about both ES Windows and PGT. But what’s our final verdict?
Well, in terms of design, we like both equally. However, we should mention here that PGT’s website was easier to navigate when finding a style/colour that you like.
We found that ES Windows’ collection setup was somewhat confusing if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for.
As far as the accreditations go, ES Windows’ takes the cake because they’re not only hurricane-grade but also support missile impact (large and small missile impact).
The deciding factor, therefore, has to be the warranty. PGT has a far simpler warranty guarantee than ES Windows — a 10-year flat rate. For this reason, we have to say that PGT does have the edge here.
Yep, you guessed it — PGT wins two out of three! For all your super-safe window needs, you know where to go. However, keep in mind that ES Windows is an excellent choice as well.
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