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High-Performance Impact Entrance Doors and Storefront Systems

5 Things Every Architect & Owner Should Know about Commercial Impact-Resistant Entrance Doors

by | Sep 29, 2021

Traditional Commercial entrances are not made to withstand a hurricane.

Historically, the months of September and October are the most active during the hurricane season. In 2021, Hurricane Elsa was one of the earliest hurricanes to form in the Caribbean Sea, causing more than $290 million in damage across the country.

Most architects and commercial building owners across Southeastern Florida, especially in Miami-Dade County, understand the importance of selecting strong commercial hurricane-resistant doors to protect their businesses and property. Instead of sticking with the conventional “builders’ standard” entrance doors, many commercial business owners must use commercial hurricane-resistant entry doors that are code approved and designed to withstand strong winds and flying debris. It’s worth noting that if non-impact doors (standard doors) are used in an area that requires hurricane-resistant doors, some kind of code-approval protection such as storm panels must be used and available on-site to protect the entrance. As you can imagine, this is not a practical solution.

Standard door frames, which are not engineered to hurricane-force winds, are unable to perform during a hurricane properly. However, hurricane-rated and approved commercial doors are incredibly strong and can resist high winds and the impact of flying debris. By nature of their design, Hurricane-resistant entrance doors are a higher quality and better performing door than non-impact doors. This offers better overall performance and longevity in high-traffic locations. However, it’s essential to understand that all hurricane doors are not created equal.

Architects and owners need to do their due diligence when selecting impact doors for a commercial building; this will prevent several potential issues down the road. The last thing an owner wants is a door that meets the minimum impact requirements only later to discover other performance issues such as water penetration.

Commercial building owners in hurricane-prone areas need to be particularly careful when selecting impact entry doors. If you are in the Sunshine State, it’s imperative that you research not only the product but the company behind the product before deciding which impact door to use.

Top 5 Things Every Architect &  Owner Should Know about Commercial Impact-Resistant Doors

Here are the top 5 things that every architect and owner should know about when it comes to selecting, installing and maintaining commercial hurricane entry doors.

1) Does the Impact Door Have a Current FBC Product Approval or NOA (Notice of Acceptance)?

Florida Product Approval

The Florida Building Code (FBC) has Product Approvals for products that meet specific performance test while Miami-Dade County offers A Notice of Acceptance (NOA). The FBC is a state-wide protocol and identifies Miami-Dade, Broward Counties, or Coastal Palm Beach County as the High-Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ) that has higher performance standards that are similar to Miami-Dade’s performance criteria. Thus, impact-resistant products used in these counties must have a product approval from FBC for HVHZ or NOA from Miami-Dade County. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on the FBC since it is the more commonly accepted throughout the state of Florida.

Products that are approved by the FBC can be used in all parts of the state, including the designated Hurricane Zones, as referenced above. If the product is not approved for use by the State of Florida, it’s probably not going to hold up very well against hurricanes, especially during a storm surge, and more importantly, won’t pass the building code requirements and inspection.

To ensure that the impact entrance doors you are specifying or using have been approved by the State of Florida, you can either ask the manufacturer for a Product Approval confirmation, or you can check online at the official

FBC website. Impact entry doors that are listed on the Florida Product Approval for the HVHZ will also be accepted by Miami-Dade County Product Control Division.

2) Poor Quality Installation

Even if the commercial doors have a current FBC Product Approval and they meet the HVHZ standards, you still need to understand that installation plays a significant role in how the door ultimately perform. Impact doors are made of heavier gauge metal compared to non-impact doors; they have reinforced hinges, they typically have a minimum of 9/16” laminated glass, are extremely heavy, require specific fasteners with specific locations, designed with structural silicone, and so on.  It’s critical that the contractor installing impact entrance doors has extensive experience working with these types of doors.

Installers must take accurate measurements before the door is fitted correctly. Even a slight mistake, such as an inaccurate jamb depth calculation, could have a dire impact on how the door performs.

To avoid problems with the impact entrance doors later on, it’s highly recommended that you work with a qualified glazing contractor that has a long-standing track record in the industry.

3) Going Above and Beyond – Choosing Doors that Exceed Minimum Code Requirements

Several manufacturers who provide coastal impact commercial entrance doors usually provide options that meet minimum code requirements. If you want peace of mind, you need to find a commercial door manufacturer who specializes in impact-resistance products and goes above and beyond the minimum code requirements.

Always ask for the evaluation report and check the design pressure and impact resistance of the product. Instead of buying entrance doors that are designed to meet the minimum impact standards, do your research, and understand what aspects of the door exceed design pressures or water resistance or are made with a heavier gauged metal. Ask for information on the hardware and its resistance to extreme weather conditions and harsh environments with salty and humid air. These are the types of discussions and questions you should have with the manufacturer. Impact doors are an investment, so don’t choose one that barely meets the standards. Instead, opt for a product that can hold its own in harsh conditions and can resist misalignment, bowing, or buckling.

4) Materials and Quality

Aluminum Door Frames

Perhaps the most important thing that you need to consider is the hardware of the impact doors. Additionally, the type of materials, its overall quality, and the metal finish all play an integral role in the overall longevity and performance of the product.

These doors are designed to take a serious beating; they are subjected to live-missile tests where a 2×4 is shot (3 times) at the glass at 34 mph. After the unit passes the impact test, the door unit goes into a cycling chamber and goes through 9,000 cycles of positive and negative pressure – all to simulate the effects of a hurricane. Unless the door passes the Miami-Dade test or the Florida Product HVHZ approval, they can’t be referred to as “impact-rated” and cannot be installed in areas that require impact protection unless there is some other type of approved system to protect the building, such as shutters.

5) Work with a Reputable Manufacturer and Glazing Contractor

Miami Convention Center Install

Impact-resistant entrance doors could be the last line of defense against a strong hurricane and could potentially save you from thousands in repair costs and property damage. Therefore, you really don’t want to skimp out and choose a door from an unknown manufacturer or work with a glazing contractor that has a poor reputation or sketchy history. South Florida is notorious for companies who have closed shop because of projects that have gone bad and then open up under another name.

Enviralum Industries – Impact-Resistant Entrance Doors that Stand the Test of Time (and Hurricanes!)

ENV Logo 10 years
If you’re looking to specify and use high-quality commercial hurricane entry doors for your commercial property, Enviralum Industries is the answer. Enviralum is a specialized manufacturer of high-performance, pre-glazed storefront and entrance door systems. Each of their products are subjected to rigorous testing and are approved to meet the strict hurricane codes. Enviralum works closely with the glazing contractors and stands behind every product that goes out their doors. The company designs, engineers, and fabricates each of their doors to the highest quality and performance standards. With more than ten years in the business, the company has established an impeccable reputation for offering unparalleled quality and service throughout the Miami metro area, the state of Florida, and the Southeast region of the U.S.