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Wind pressure is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing windows for a property. The strength of windows can determine the safety and comfort of a building, and the amount of wind pressure that a window can take is a crucial consideration. In this article, we will explore the factors that influence wind pressure on windows and highlight the different ways in which it can be measured.

What is Wind Pressure?

Wind pressure is the force exerted by the wind on the surface of a building. Wind pressure is measured in pounds per square foot (psf) and is influenced by several factors, including the wind speed, the shape of the building, and the height of the building. The higher the wind speed, the greater the wind pressure on the building, and the more important it is to have strong, durable windows.

Factors that influence Wind Pressure on Windows

The strength of a window’s material determines its resistance to wind pressure. The type of frame and glass used in windows also plays a role in how well it holds up under strong winds. Other factors that impact wind pressure on windows include the size of the opening, the thickness of the glass, and the number of panes used.

For instance, a larger window with a single pane of glass is more vulnerable to wind pressure than a small window with double-paned glass. The shape of the building and its location can also affect how much wind pressure is applied to the windows. If a building is located in a windy area or has a unique design that catches the wind, then it may be more prone to wind damage.

Measuring Wind Pressure on Windows

There are several methods used to measure wind pressure on windows, including wind tunnel testing and numerical modeling. Wind tunnel testing involves creating a miniature model of the building and subjecting it to simulated wind conditions. The pressure on the windows is measured during the test. Numerical modeling, on the other hand, uses computer simulations to predict wind pressure on windows.

Another common way to measure wind pressure on windows is through the use of ASCE 7-16 codes. Engineers use these codes to calculate the amount of wind pressure that windows can withstand based on the local wind speed and other factors.

How much wind pressure can a window take?

The amount of wind pressure that a window can withstand varies depending on several factors, such as the type of material, size, thickness, and framing. Windows made of laminated glass, for instance, are stronger than those made of tempered glass.

Generally, modern windows can withstand up to 60 psf before breaking. However, windows that are specifically designed to withstand hurricane-force winds can handle much higher wind pressures.

In high wind zone areas, like coastal regions, windows must meet specific performance standards set by the International Building Code (IBC) in order to ensure the safety of people and property. The IBC assigns different performance levels, ranging from Level D to Level F, to windows based on their ability to withstand the pressure of strong winds.

Level D windows can withstand wind pressures of up to 25 psf, while Level F windows can handle wind pressures of up to 100 psf.


In conclusion, the amount of wind pressure that a window can take depends on various factors such as the material used in the construction, size, thickness, and framing. Modern windows can generally withstand up to 60 psf of wind pressure, whilst specialist hurricane windows can withstand much higher levels. Homes and buildings in high wind areas must meet specific performance standards in order to ensure the safety of people and property.