DP Rating or Design Pressure

Design pressure or dp rating is a measure of the strength of a window.  It will tell you how well a product will stand up to high winds.  The higher the dp rating the stronger the window.  It does not relate to energy efficiency, but dp rating is still an important factor to consider.

What’s a good dp rating?

Typically you’ll see residential replacement windows with ratings from 15 to 50.  Higher is better.  It makes more sense to focus on dp rating when you’re in a situation where wind is of particular concern.  For example we if you live on the water or up high on a hill where you’re exposed to the elements this can be important.  In those situations I’d suggest going with at least a dp 30 and a dp 50 might be an even better choice.  There’s really no need to go any stronger than that unless you’re in a high rise or a hurricane zone.

How can understanding dp ratings help me?

A common sales ploy is to show folks a cutaway view of a thick window next to a thin window and tell them that the thick windows is “strong” and the thin window is “weak”.  This is intuitive which makes it an effective way to sell the thicker windows.

We can tell if a potential customer has seen this maneuver when they ask how many chambers are in a specific window or when they ask to see a cutaway.

As you’re considering these options keep in mind that everything in life has tradeoffs and everything in the window business can be measured so you don’t need to use a gut feeling.  The thicker window will have a lower vt rating because that thick frame blocks a substantial amount of light, and the thinner window, if well built, could easily have a higher dp rating meaning it’s actually stronger.

So how do you avoid getting sold on something that you don’t necessarily need?  

Just like always, avoid taking someone’s word for it and ask about the dp rating.  If it’s higher it’s better.  The window doesn’t need to be thick to have a higher rating and a thick window without a higher rating is blocking light for no purpose other than to say it’s “better”.

Remember that the cutaway sample really doesn’t show you anything.  It gives you an idea, but the rating tells you for sure.  There’s no need to guess when it’s so easy to be sure.

If you’re looking for a window company right now, the best advice we have is to join Angie’s List.  For just a couple bucks you can get a 1-month membership and it’ll be worth much more than a caramel macchiato in the long run.  You can find the best pricing for Angie’s List on the internet right here

If you’re already a member of Angie’s List or if you’re just not going to join (despite my ringing endorsement), you can find our suggestions for the best companies in your area right here.

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3 thoughts on “DP Rating or Design Pressure”

  1. I live in Central Florida, and have experienced a few hurricanes in my life. Usually by the time they get here they’re not quite so strong, but 100mph winds aren’t unheard of. My concern now is that the house at the end of a fairly straight street that tends to act like a bit of a wind-funnel. On the other hand, it faces north, which is not the direction wind typically comes from with a hurricane.

    In a situation like mine, what would you be considering for dp in a new window for the front of the house?

    1. We’re planning on offering windows in Orlando and Tampa in the near future so I’m going to know a lot about windows for your environment, but I’m not an expert just yet. Maybe someone else will chime in on this one.

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