can hail break windows

Can hail break windows? The might of nature is on full display during hailstorms, which can wreak havoc on homes and automobiles alike.

A frequent worry when it comes to hailstorms is, “Can hail break house windows?”. 

Of course, the size of hailstones definitely matters, but there are other factors as well.

To get an idea about it, you must understand how the hailstones form in the first place, and this will help you get the answer to if hail can shatter windows.

Yes, hail can break windows but it depends on the size of the hailstones, the intensity, as well as the resilience of the glass. 

Can Hail Break Windows?

potential window damage from hailstorms

The formation of hail occurs during intense thunderstorms that have robust updrafts, which lift raindrops to the freezing areas of the atmosphere.

Layers of ice form around raindrops as they are lifted and fall through supercooled water, eventually developing into hailstones.

Hailstones come in different sizes, ranging from tiny pebbles to big spheres that can measure several inches across. And this makes people wonder if those hailstones can really break windows.

Ultimately, it depends on various factors, including the following: 

Size

size

Hailstones with a bigger size have a greater capacity to cause damage on impact because of their increased mass and surface area.

Due to their larger size, these hailstones can generate a more powerful impact when they hit windows and other objects.

As a result, the likelihood of windows getting damaged or broken during hailstorms increases significantly, especially when hit by bigger hailstones, making them a higher risk factor. 

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Speed

speed

Various factors, such as the density and size of hailstones, can affect their terminal velocity, which is the speed at which they fall.

Hailstones with a bigger size have a tendency to fall at a greater velocity due to their increased weight.

While falling through the atmosphere, the hailstones gain speed because of the gravitational pull.

Larger hailstones have a higher terminal velocity, which can result in more significant damage upon impact with surfaces.

Fact: The kinetic energy of a hailstone is determined by its size and velocity, which ultimately affects the force of impact when it comes into contact with windows or other objects. 

Wind Conditions

wind conditions

The effect of hailstones can be greatly affected by the prevailing wind conditions.

Sudden bursts of wind have the potential to alter the trajectory and pace of hailstones, resulting in differences in the angles and speeds at which they hit objects.

The force and direction of the wind in a hailstorm can impact the strength and location of hailstone impact on objects.

Hailstones hitting windows or other surfaces at oblique angles due to crosswinds can decrease the impact force.

On the other hand, when there are headwinds, hailstones may be oriented toward surfaces in a more direct manner.

This in turn can result in a greater impact force.

Fact: The way in which wind and hailstone paths interact plays a role in determining where and how much damage is caused by a hailstorm. 

Angle of Hailstones

angle of hailstones

The intensity of the impact caused by hailstones largely depends on the angle at which they hit surfaces.

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The impact of hailstones hitting surfaces directly can cause a concentrated force that may heighten the possibility of window damage.

The transfer of energy directly to the point of contact can cause a greater impact.

This may surpass the glass’s ability to withstand it.

Conversely, when hailstones hit surfaces at an angle, they spread out the impact across a wider surface area, which could decrease the chances of windows shattering.

Fact: The angle of impact is just one of the many factors to take into account when assessing the potential damage hail can cause. 

Resilience of Glass

resilience of glass

Hailstones can cause damage to glass due to its inherent brittleness, but the level of resilience can vary depending on several factors:

Thickness

The thickness of the glass is a critical element.

Glass that is thicker tends to be more durable than thinner glass because it can better absorb and distribute impact forces over a wider surface area. 

Quality

quality

It is crucial to consider the quality of the glass. Glass with superior quality generally possesses minimal flaws.

This reduces the likelihood of structural vulnerabilities that may result in shattering upon collision.

Moreover, the strength and durability of the glass can be influenced by the manufacturing methods utilized during its production.

Tempered Glass

Designed to endure high impact forces, tempered glass is a safety glass that is frequently utilized in car windshields and certain windows.

The glass is strengthened by internal stress caused by a process of heating and rapid cooling.

Due to its unique manufacturing process, tempered glass is highly durable and less prone to shattering, reducing the risk of dangerous shards upon impact.

Fact: Annealed glass is a popular choice for many applications, but it is more prone to breaking from hailstones compared to tempered glass.   

Can Hail Break Car Windows?

can hail break car windows

The car windows can withstand hailstones to some degree, but eventually, it depends on various factors:

The Durability of Glass

Laminated glass is the preferred material for modern car windshields. It is composed of several layers of glass that are held together by a sturdy interlayer.

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The resilience of the windshield is improved by this design, which also lowers the chances of it shattering in case of an impact.

Compared to side and rear windows that are typically made of regular annealed glass, laminated glass windshields have a better chance of enduring hailstones.

Fact: Hailstones can easily cause the regular annealed glass to shatter due to its vulnerability. 

Size of Hailstones

size of hailstones

The probability of car windows breaking due to hailstones is lower when the size of the hailstones is smaller.

However, larger hailstones carry a greater risk of causing damage.

When hailstones are larger than one inch in diameter, they can apply considerable pressure and raise the chances of breaking windows. 

An Important Consideration

It should be taken into consideration that car windows made from laminated glass may still be at risk from extremely severe hailstorms that produce abnormally large hailstones.

When hailstones are too forceful, they can cause damage or breakage to windows as the impact force may surpass the glass’s capacity to endure.

Fact: One way to reduce the chances of car window damage due to hail is by parking in sheltered locations or utilizing car covers when hailstorms occur.   

Window Protection Measures

window protection measures

There are several measures that can be taken to safeguard windows from hail damage:

Ensure that the Windows Use Laminated Glass

Windows that are resistant to impact are made with laminated glass and can effectively protect against hail damage.

The laminated glass has several layers interconnected by a strong interlayer. This interlayer prevents the glass from breaking into hazardous shards when it is hit. 

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The glass variety has the ability to endure the impact of hailstones and reduce the likelihood of window damage. 

Use Window Films

use window films

It is also a good idea to use window films, specially designed to protect against hail. A layer of strength and resilience is added to the glass surface by applying these films.

By providing additional support to the glass, they can minimize the chances of hailstones causing any harm. 

Try Hail Guards

In case you are looking for some extra protection, you can get it simply by opting for hail guards.

The installation of mesh screens or protective shutters on windows serves as a barrier that can intercept and disperse the impact of hailstones.

try hail guards

And this prevents them from reaching the glass.

The guards have the ability to absorb the impact and evenly distribute the force, which minimizes the chances of window breakage. 

An Important Consideration

The implementation of protective measures can greatly reduce the harm that hailstorms can cause to properties.

But, you may have to consult with experts and evaluate the unique requirements of the property to find the best strategy for protecting windows from hail damage. 

Takeaway

Can hail break windows? Well, it certainly can, but it ultimately depends on various factors.

It should be emphasized that the interplay of these variables makes it difficult to anticipate the precise consequences of hailstones on windows.

The overall potential for damage caused by hailstones is determined by a combination of factors including their size, speed, wind conditions, and angle of impact.

Hence, it is essential to take into account these aspects while evaluating the susceptibility of windows to a hailstone strike and while executing precautionary actions to alleviate the hazards.