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What are coastal windows?

Looking for windows that can weather the storm? Here’s your guide to understanding coastal windows.
A home with coastal windows glows at sunset.

If you have a home on the coast, you no doubt know the uneasy feeling that can come with a severe weather forecast. Luckily, the right windows can help protect your home and bring you peace of mind. And Andersen brand windows and doors are #1 for coastal homes.* Here’s what you need to know to navigate your options.

The goal: Preserve the building envelope

First things first, wind is a real danger posed by a severe coastal storm. Of course, you don’t want water in your home, but the worst damage occurs when a window or door is broken allowing wind to enter and causing air pressure to increase. If a house becomes pressurized, catastrophic damage can occur: the roof may blow off or walls may collapse. The right windows can help minimize damage without the need for storm panels or shutters.

Meet our best-performing windows

The A-Series is our best-performing window line, making it an excellent choice in a coastal location with severe weather. Here’s what you should know about the A-Series:

  • It keeps weather out. Rigorous testing has shown these windows can withstand 8 inches of rain per hour and hurricane-force winds.**
  • Its exteriors are virtually maintenance free and will hold their original vibrant colors.*** They will not flake, rot, blister, peel, or pit. There’s even a lifetime warranty against the corrosion that can result from salty air.***
  • It’s energy efficient with the option to upgrade to triple-pane glass. Additionally, there are several different glass options available that will improve efficiency based on local conditions.

In addition, A-Series windows are certified to a PG50 rating, which we’ll explain in the next section.

Psst … There are a lot of benefits to this windows and doors line — get all the details on A-Series windows and doors.

A living room with a wall of coastal windows facing the ocean.
Even with the extra protection that’s built into these coastal windows, the beautiful aesthetic of the A-Series product line is preserved due to clever design, which hides reinforcements.

Performance Grade (PG) rating

What is it? This industry-wide rating is used to indicate products that have undergone extensive testing related to air, water, and structural performance. Our windows are PG certified to various ratings, but some have optional PG upgrades that make them particularly high performing and, therefore, great choices in coastal homes.****

What’s a PG upgrade?

Windows with a PG upgrade have enhancements, such as built-in features and special materials, including the following:

  • Hidden reinforcements
  • Heavy-duty hardware
  • Added silicone glazing

A window with a PG upgrade can also be ordered with tempered glass, which is stronger than standard window glass. If broken, it will break into chunks, rather than shards to meet safety code.

What products are available with a PG upgrade?

Here’s a quick look at options to consider for your coastal home:

  • A-Series windows are certified to a PG50 rating with the option to upgrade to PG70.
  • 400 Series windows are certified to a PG40 rating with the option to upgrade to PG50.
  • 100 Series windows are certified to a PG30 or PG40 rating (depending on window type) with the option to upgrade to PG50.

Where is a PG upgrade needed?

Your builder, contractor, or dealer will be able to help you determine the required PG rating for your location, based on local building code. In general, windows and doors with PG upgrades may be useful in coastal locations where high performance is needed but impact-resistant glass isn’t required — such as certain parts of the Northeast.

Live in an area where impact-resistant glass is required or desired? Keep reading!

A white colonial home with coastal windows faces a gazebo surrounded by sea grass and the ocean beyond
This New England colonial has 400 Series windows with Stormwatch® protection.

Stormwatch® Protection

What is it? Windows and doors with Stormwatch® protection are products with a PG upgrade and impact-resistant glass, so they’re designed, engineered, and manufactured to withstand severe coastal conditions with features like:

  • Structural reinforcements in the frame and sash
  • High-strength silicone glazing on the interior
  • Heavy-duty hardware and additional locks*****

What is impact-resistant glass? Impact-resistant glass is glass that is reinforced with a layer of transparent material that helps it maintain its integrity after an impact event (much like safety glass in a windshield).

In addition to helping protect your home from flying debris, impact-resistant glass has other benefits, including:

  • Forced entry resistance
  • Reducing unwanted sound
  • Improving energy efficiency (when you choose a glass option appropriate for your climate)

What products have Stormwatch® protection?

Add this option to the following product lines:

  • A-Series windows and doors
  • 400 Series windows and doors
  • E-Series patio doors

Where is it needed? Anywhere you want the highest level of coastal performance, windows and patio doors with Stormwatch® protection are the right choice. They are tested to meet standards required in the south Florida high-velocity hurricane zone.

Wondering how we know these windows will perform? Take a peek at the video below to see how we simulate the code-specified conditions of a hurricane (including battering a window multiple times with a 2x4 piece of wood!).

Of course, coastal conditions vary by location. What’s needed to help protect a home in south Florida will be different from what’s needed in New York. For this reason, it’s essential to work with a dealer, builder, or contractor who is well versed in local building code.

Ready to dig into more details?

Coastal & impact products

*2022 Andersen brand surveys of U.S. contractors, builders & architects

**Andersen A-Series double-hung tested to AAMA / WDMA / CSA 101 / I.S.2 A440–08 & - 11 PG50

***Visit andersenwindows.com/warranty for details

****See your local code official for building code requirements in your area. Tested to AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101 I.S.2/A440-11. Performance values vary by product line. View Product Performance Data.

*****Additional locks on select window sizes