Opening Glass Wall Systems Designed to Stand Up to High Winds
Ply Gem Sliding Door
Opening glass walls have been one of the hot home trends over the past several years, but some areas of the country require systems rated for high winds.
The opening wall systems reflect a growing desire to blend indoor and outdoor living.
A 2016 survey commissioned by the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) found that more than 70 percent of U.S. households have outdoor living spaces, and nearly 70 percent of those households use these spaces at least once per week in season.
At the 2017 International Builders' Show, two companies announced opening glass wall products designed for hurricane- and high-wind-prone regions.
NanaWall, the pioneer of the opening glass wall category, introduced the the NanaWall SL73—an operable glass wall system that is designed to stand up to hurricanes as one of the industry’s toughest folding systems. The NanaWall SL73 features reinforced structural posts and impact-rated laminated glass to provide unparalleled strength, while the Secure Locking System, specialized seals and panel design provide superior wind and rain resistance.
The SL73 allows homeowners in hurricane-prone areas to enjoy their views while remaining safe and dry. It received high ratings on both static and dynamic pressure water resistance tests, and is tested to demanding standards for preventing water, wind and debris from entering the building—not only at the ground level, but up to 15 stories.
“Large openings are easy to design, but what matters most is the performance when closed,” said NanaWall CEO Ebrahim Nana. “Many systems are limited to outward openings and are not approved for areas that need protection from water. The NanaWall SL73 offers a complete impact-rated system, allowing both inward- and outward-opening systems to qualify, while also providing protection from water penetration.”
Its performance is due to several key factors:
- The NanaWall Impact Post: Reinforced structural posts and impact-rated laminated glass provide unparalleled strength.
- Combats wind and rain: Specialized seals and panel design provide superior wind and rain resistance, while the engineered sills resist wind-driven water from entering the home or business.
- NanaWall Secure Locking System: Multi-point tamper-resistant locks shoot the concealed lockbolts up into the head track and down into the floor track.
- Reliable operation: Dual stainless steel elevated running carriages within the reinforced structural posts are unaffected by track debris and lie above the water run-off level.
Due to the attributes above, the SL73 scored high in tests developed for windows and doors by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association and Miami-Dade County, Florida.
"On October 29, 2012, Long Beach was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy. Despite major damage sustained by our house, the NanaWall system held firm! The glass was not broken, the frame was not damaged, and the door remained closed and secure. We were amazed," said homeowner Jacqueline Z.
Combining enhanced thermal and impact performance with a new, automated opening feature, the Ply Gem Windows 4880 thermally insulated patio door makes it easy for builders, remodelers and homeowners to achieve expansive views and unrestricted transition from the indoors to outdoors without sacrificing comfort or performance.
Available in two-, three- and four-panel sliding and pocket configurations, the door features thermally insulated construction and high-performance glazing packages. Sliding, multi-panel openings up to eight-feet high by 16-feet wide enhance the transitional living experience, while the pocket style fully recesses into the wall for completely unrestricted access between the indoors and outdoors.
The Ply Gem 4880 patio doors will soon be available with a new automated operating system that allows homeowners to remotely control their patio doors either with the included remote or with their smart phones/home WiFi network.
The product also meets or exceeds the new Florida Energy Code requirements and is available in impact-resistant configurations to meet ASTM Windborne Debris requirements.
Read more about high performance windows.