Why All-Aluminum Impact Windows and Doors Excel in Coastal Environments

If your home is threatened by a tropical storm or hurricane, you want the best protection available.

September 19, 2022

When most people think about aluminum, what may first come to mind is the humble soda can we rely on to keep our favorite beverages fresh and fizzy. But in addition to packaging, aluminum is used extensively in the vehicles we drive, the planes that take us to our favorite vacation spot, and the electronics that keep us connected. Aluminum’s unique physical characteristics also make it the perfect material to protect our homes and businesses, and the people inside them, from tropical storms and hurricanes.

What are the Environmental Benefits of Aluminum?

While the element aluminum is all around us, the cost of extracting it from raw bauxite ore is still an energy intensive process. But the difficulties in producing aluminum the first time around are more than outweighed by the recyclability side of the equation. Aluminum can be recycled using less than 5 percent of the energy required to make the original product. And unlike plastics, aluminum can be recycled over and over again without losing any of its original beneficial properties.

Because aluminum is infinitely recyclable, it is recycled at a very high rate compared to other products. Every aluminum can, for example, contains about 68 percent recycled content compared to around 3 percent for plastic bottles. And in the automotive and other manufacturing industries, recycling rates of aluminum exceed 90 percent. Some studies even suggest that over 70 percent of all the aluminum ever produced is still in use in some form or another.
A corner of a Marvin Coastline Storefront window, showing extruded aluminum on the interior and exterior of the glass.

How is Aluminum Used in Windows and Doors?

Aluminum can be incorporated into windows and doors to varying degrees. Sometimes, window sashes, door panels, and the frames that surround them, are protected by aluminum cladding. This means that a wood or vinyl core is wrapped, or “clad,” in a protective layer of aluminum. Windows and doors can also be made entirely out of extruded aluminum, such as in our Marvin Coastline products.
Aluminum Windows and Doors - Hardware and swatches

What is Extruded Aluminum?

Aluminum cladding and other aluminum window and door components are produced in one of two ways, they’re either roll-formed or extruded. Roll-formed components are created when a thin sheet of aluminum is run through a machine equipped with many rollers that “form” the metal into the desired shape as it moves down the production line. The main disadvantage of roll-formed aluminum products is that they’re limited to how thick they can be made. That’s why roll-formed aluminum will often be used as cladding but not in the construction of thicker components required to build a window or door frame.

Extruded aluminum components are made from a large billet (bar or rod) of aluminum, which is heated up and pressed through a die built in the shape of the desired profile. If you were lucky enough to have a Play-Doh Fun Factory as a kid or if you’ve ever used a pasta press, then you understand the concept of extrusion.

Are Extruded Aluminum Windows and Doors Right for my Project?

Impact-rated glass will help prevent windborne debris from entering a home or business, but that’s only one part of the story. Most catastrophic damage occurs when high winds blow into a building and create an immense high-pressure situation. If the pressure inside your home reaches high enough levels, it can literally blow the walls down or lift the roof right off the structure. And the most common areas where wind will breach a home is through window and door openings.

A high-quality, impact-rated pane of glass will resist most of what’s thrown at it, but that won’t help if the entire pane of glass is smashed out of its frame entirely. So, the key is to choose windows and doors with frames strong enough to hold that protective layer of glass in place under the most extreme conditions. Compared to windows and doors built with extruded aluminum components, products made of vinyl or roll-formed aluminum cladding cannot provide the same level of protection.

Why Marvin Coastline?

Marvin Coastline is Marvin’s line of windows and doors engineered to withstand high winds and flying debris. It’s available to those located in the coastal regions hit hardest by the punishing forces of tropical storms and hurricanes. Because the frames on Coastline windows and doors are made entirely of extruded aluminum, there’s no need to sacrifice size for safety. Massive Coastline windows, a panoramic collection of scenic doors, and even Coastline garage doors are all approved for use in every region of Florida, which boasts the most stringent hurricane-related building code requirements in North America.

And while Coastline products are known for their strength, these highly crafted windows and doors deliver a stunning aesthetic, the highest levels of finish, and an unsurpassed range of custom design flexibility.

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