When you own a self-contained home, it’s easy to make decisions on what you’d like to change. When you live in an apartment, that could be a little more difficult. There are times though, that it will be necessary, like when you need to switch from your old windows to impact windows.
There are compelling reasons to make the change. If you live in a coastal area, you’ll know that the last 30 years have seen some of the worst storm activity since records began. Bigger storms mean you need better protection for your home. However, with an apartment, condo, or high rise, you’re not always the owner and you’re bound by certain obligations.
Why are impact windows needed in apartments?
The height of most apartment buildings makes them subject to damage from windblown debris. The number of windows also increases the chances that tenants could be seriously injured in a storm.
Considerations When Changing Windows In An Apartment Block
When you live in an apartment block, you likely have a landlord, board, or cooperative that runs the unit and with whom you would have signed your rental contract.
More than likely, a stipulation that you were not to change anything in the apartment without permission was included in your contract. State laws may also prevent you, or even the landlord, from making alterations that affect the appearance and/or function of the building.
The key here is to get permission before you do anything to the apartment, even if the alterations are to make you and your family safer. Doing so may lead to legal action being taken against you. Worse, you may even have to incur the cost of restoring the apartment to its original condition.
Check your contract to see what’s the procedure to petition your apartment’s landlord or board to have impact windows installed. They may have already seen the necessity of making the changes themselves.
If they have, then your job is far easier. They’re likely to consider the change for the whole building and not just you. It would be more convenient for them; they won’t have multiple tenants coming to them with the same request. They’ll also keep the building’s aesthetic by getting the same windows for everyone.
Even better, they will cut through all the red tape of getting the windows installed for you. As the actual owners of the property, they’re the ones that will have to approach any local or state bodies to get permission and see that the eventual installation is up to code. They also choose the contractor and make sure they’re doing a good job.
When You Own The Apartment
This changes when you own the apartment. Depending on your ownership arrangement, most of the responsibilities above become yours. However, you may still need permission to install impact windows as well as comply with requirements for how those windows should look in relation to the rest of the building.
Choosing impact windows for an apartment
U and R ratings
When you’re in an apartment building, depending on how high up you are, you won’t have tree cover to protect you from light or heat exposure.
Therefore any impact windows you get will have to be rated for energy efficiency and heat loss. For this, check the window’s U and R ratings.
U ratings measure the heat that is transferred through the glass and R ratings measure heat resistance. Lower U ratings mean better energy efficiency, while higher R ratings mean better heat insulation.
If your apartment is closer to the street, you may want to use your impact windows to insulate yourself from the sound.
When purchasing your windows, find out what the Sound Transmission Class or STC rating on them is. This measures how many decibels of sound from the outside the windows can block.
While most windows have an STC of between 18 and 38, to get noise reduction benefits, don’t purchase windows that have an STC of below 40.
This is the most important rating on an impact window, particularly if you live in a storm-prone location.
When shopping for your impact windows, look for the Design Pressure rating. This measures three components: the window’s vulnerability to water, wind, and debris penetration.
Windows with a higher DP rating will keep your home safer during a storm.
We know lots more about impact windows and everything else you need to keep your home and family safe in bad weather. Call us today at 1 305 925 0818 for a quote or to see how we can help you.