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Skylights for All Seasons: How VTECH Handles Hail, Hurricanes, Snow, Heat & More

May 8, 2024

How VTECH Handles Hail, Hurricanes, Snow, Heat & More

The world of architectural design and construction must contend with nature's ever-changing moods. From scorching summers to frigid winters, from hailstorms to hurricanes, the built environment is in a perpetual battle against the elements. This is where the ingenuity of skylights comes into play.

As conduits of natural light, skylights illuminate interior spaces, their role doesn't end there. The modern skylight, especially exemplified by VTECH Skylights, is engineered to withstand a myriad of weather conditions. At the same time, they infuse spaces with radiance.

In this article, we delve into how VTECH Skylights has harnessed cutting-edge technology to create skylights that can brave hail, hurricanes, snow, heat, and more – all year round!

Weathering The Storm: Extreme Weather Resilience

VTECH Skylights has undergone several tests to ensure better resilience against different weather systems. Here is an overview of our tests and certifications:

Class 4 Large Hail Test: Battling Ice Bombs

Roofs are no strangers to the whims of hailstorms. The Class 4 Large Hail Test is an intense challenge designed to simulate an unusually severe hail storm. For VTECH Skylights, this test was not just a formality but a triumphant success.

The skylight emerged victorious as it stood firm against balls of solid ice, each measuring two inches in diameter and weighing a hefty 64 grams. Launched from a cannon at speeds of 75 mph, these ice projectiles were aimed directly at the glass.

They impacted various points of the frame, including the center, corner, and edge. Remarkably, the skylight remained unscathed, demonstrating its capacity to withstand even the most relentless barrage of hail.

Miami-Dade County Impact Test: Defying Hurricanes

Hurricanes are one of nature's most ferocious displays of power. VTECH Skylights recognized this challenge and developed skylights that can stand up to hurricane forces without compromising their integrity.

In the Miami-Dade County Impact Test, VTECH Skylights were installed air-tight over a pressure chamber. An 8' wooden 2×4 was shot twice at speeds exceeding 50 feet per second, replicating the debris propelled by a hurricane's fury. The skylight endured the impacts, maintaining its structure and seal integrity.

Even after sustaining glass cracking, the skylight’s laminate maintained its integrity. The air chamber was pressurized, subjected to internal and external pressures mimicking the conditions of a powerful hurricane. Remarkably, the skylight never yielded a single leak, showcasing its unwavering durability in the face of nature's tempestuous onslaught.

The Fireproof Barrier: UL 790 (ASTM E 108) Class B

When it comes to fire safety, skylights must not only admit light but also ensure that flames don't penetrate. The UL 790 (ASTM E 108) Class B test scrutinizes the skylight's resilience against fire. VTECH Skylights underwent this examination with remarkable results.

A burning brand, generating a 1,400°F flame, was placed against the skylight's edge, akin to how it would be positioned on a roof. The flame was fanned by a 12-mph wind, emulating real-world conditions. After enduring this trial, which included a second brand, the skylight emerged unscathed.

The inspectors concluded that the skylight posed no danger of fire penetration or flame spreading, thereby showcasing its fire-resistant design.

Bearing the Weight of the Elements: Ice, Snow, and Debris Loads

AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440-05: Impervious to Ice &Snow Loads

Snow and ice accumulation on roofs can pose significant challenges to structural integrity. VTECH Skylights have confronted this concern by undergoing rigorous testing for ice and snow loads. The skylights were tested to a remarkable 504 psf (pound per square foot), equivalent to 8,064 lbs.

These tests demonstrated the skylights' ability to manage varying loads efficiently, whether on sloped or flat roof systems, ensuring their reliability even in the harshest winter conditions. The AAMA Ice & Snow loads test showcases just how well VTECH Skylights handles hail, snow, and the cold in general.

OSHA 29 CFR: Ensuring Fall Protection

The weight of snow, hail, or debris can exert significant pressure on skylights. VTECH Skylights took on the challenge of fall protection by undergoing the OSHA 29 CFR test. A 200 lb. bag of lead shot was placed on the skylight's glass for 60 seconds, simulating heavy debris accumulation.

The skylight held firm, showcasing its robust construction. In a subsequent test, the skylight endured three drops of a 300 lb. weight from different positions, again emerging unscathed. Even when faced with an exceptional test that simulated a 600 lb weight drop, the skylight demonstrated its durability by cracking only after impact, while the laminate remained intact.

What Helps Us Accomplish These Objectives

There are a number of key factors that play to our advantage when it comes to helping us achieve these objectives. Some of the most prominent ones are reflected in our high-end manufacturing and material capabilities. These include:

Tempered Glass: Unyielding Strength and Safety

At the core of VTECH Skylight's design philosophy is the use of tempered glass, LoE-366 a safety glass that stands as a testament to strength and resilience. Tempered glass undergoes a process of intense heating followed by rapid cooling, imbuing it with remarkable durability that exceeds that of standard glass.

This unique composition renders it highly resistant to scratches, impacts, and abrupt temperature fluctuations—qualities that align harmoniously with the demands of skylights. Moreover, in the unlikely event of breakage, tempered glass shatters into small, relatively harmless fragments instead of dangerous shards, underscoring its suitability for commercial applications where safety is paramount.

Aliphatic Polyurethane: A Resilient Foundation

Integral to VTECH Skylight's commitment to quality is the use of Aliphatic Polyurethane frame material—a high-performance thermoset polymer renowned for its exceptional durability. This material demonstrates remarkable resistance to weathering, abrasion, and chemical exposure, culminating in a skylight that remains steadfast even in the face of harsh environmental elements.

Notably, Aliphatic Polyurethane exhibits outstanding resistance to UV radiation, an attribute that preserves the skylights' appearance and structural integrity over years of exposure to the sun's rays.

The chemical structure of Aliphatic Polyurethane lends itself to a remarkable blend of strength and flexibility, ensuring that VTECH Skylight's skylights can endure the stresses of daily use without compromising their aesthetics or function.

Advanced Manufacturing Techniques: Elevating Excellence

While the selection of premium materials forms the foundation of VTECH Skylight's designs, their commitment to quality extends to the very processes that shape these materials. VTECH employs cutting-edge manufacturing techniques.

The crown jewel here is the RIM (Reaction Injection Molding) Technology process. This innovative methodology involves injecting two liquid components into a mold, which then catalyzes a chemical reaction to form the skylight's frame.

The RIM Technology process ushers in a host of advantages over traditional manufacturing methods. Enhanced dimensional stability, superior strength-to-weight ratios, and increased resistance to temperature extremes are just a few of the benefits that this process offers.

Moreover, this technique facilitates the creation of intricate designs and shapes. This allows for skylights to be architectural masterpieces without compromising their structural integrity.

Final Words

The story of VTECH Skylights is one of innovation, resilience, and dedication to delivering skylights that can stand up to the diverse challenges posed by nature's elements. From hail to hurricanes, from fire to ice, VTECH Skylights have set new standards for durability, safety, and elegance.

As architectural designs continue to evolve and sustainability gains prominence, skylights like those crafted by VTECH are lighting the way forward. Regardless of the season or the weather, VTECH Skylights continue to illuminate interior spaces while safeguarding against the unpredictable forces of nature.

Call us today to learn more about our skylights and their capabilities, or to start your project right away!

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