FBS is mostly known for our custom security doors, which is understandable — the doors are more “interesting” in that it seems like they’re more fun to design. There are covering options and ways to put glass inserts into the door, and the possibility of secret compartments. Of course people get excited about designing a custom security door.
What our clients don’t typically realize is that our custom security windows are just as exciting to design. It’s just that when the design is executed perfectly (as ours always is), it’s actually invisible.
We love designing custom windows for our clients, whether it’s a glass insert in a door, a luxury sliding door, or an entire window wall. Here’s what you need to know about FBS windows as you’re designing the luxury home of your dreams.
You Really Can Have What You Want
Our clients often ask questions that start out with, Can I have…? And the end of the sentence ranges from something incredibly simple that seems far-fetched to them (but is totally doable) all the way to something that is elaborate and ornate (and legitimately difficult to accomplish). The thing is, the answer to all of those questions — regardless of how that sentence ends — is yes. It doesn’t matter what comes after the Can I have… If you can dream it, we can do it. And one of the common questions we get is regarding a wall made entirely of windows — but is also secure.Luxury homes are gorgeous in and of themselves. In large part, this is due to the amount of work that goes into them and the attention to detail the designers and architects working on them devote to them. But everyone knows the first rule of real estate is location, location, location — and those incredible locations come with some breathtaking views.
Don’t Obstruct the View
We have clients with homes that overlook mountain ranges, cliffs that give way to oceans, and gently rolling hills as far as the eye can see. They’re images that elicit feelings of peace and relaxation — and are probably a significant reason they purchased the home to begin with. In fact, it may have been the only reason they purchased the home. These homeowners have paid a premium for the very specific landscape outside their walls, and there’s no reason in the world that they shouldn’t get to see it all day, every day. It’s for this reason that we’ve been asked on numerous occasions if we can create giant windows to let that view be accessible, but in a way that also allows the homeowner to feel completely safe and comfortable. To be honest, these are some of our favorite projects to work on. While they may not contain the glitz and glamour of custom security doors, window walls have the power to transform the entire space, brightening up a room for a lovely day, or allowing the dark sky to set the tone for a scary movie night with your kids. Regardless of what lies beyond those windows, you want it to be a part of your luxury home — not a thing you’re blocking out. Otherwise, you’re wasting that prime real estate location on plaster and drywall (or perhaps, BallistiCrete).Keep in mind that your window wall doesn’t have to be a fixed, immobile feature in the house. We make luxury sliding doors all the time for homeowners, and those sliding doors (made with security glass, themselves) can be surrounded by additional security windows. Your window wall can literally open up to the expansive patio you had built that leads straight to your pool, or to the private dock where you keep your boat, or the staircase leading down to your private beach. Whatever the reason you bought that luxury home, we want you to be able to have access to it quickly and safely.
Security Windows with Style
When people begin building their home into a fortress, it can start to feel like a prison. You get so busy trying to keep unwanted (and potentially dangerous) people out that you end up building yourself into a citadel. Security windows allow the homeowner to open their home to the outside world without running the risk of intruders getting in. You get your unobstructed view, but you won’t be worried about someone trying to break through your window.Our windows are made with steel frames because they’re the best quality money can buy, but also because steel is more durable in severe weather conditions, but that steel frame will not be the final coating that you see on your windows. We can cover the frames with whatever material you want, assuming the material is suitable for the climate in which your luxury home is located. It’s common for homeowners to request some kind of vinyl covering because it’s waterproof and easy to maintain. However, we can also cover the steel frames with wood composite or real hardwood, stained in whatever shade, or painted whatever color suits your luxury home. And inside those frames will be security glass that is customized from the inside out, down to the very last detail.
Custom Security Windows
When we say we make custom windows, it doesn’t sound very impressive — and we get that. Every window manufacturer is going to say that they make custom windows because every single window ever made has to be built to the exact specifications of the opening. Whether it’s a new-build with architectural drawings or a retrofit into a century home, each of those windows will be custom made. Even after the window is built to the specifications detailed by the architect, there will be custom coverings installed (sometimes with special sealants, depending on climate) over the frames to keep wind and water out. But when we say we make custom windows, we mean that every tiny detail of those windows will be customized to fit your needs and your luxury home. We mean that the physical glass composition can be customized for your unique needs.Because we’re a security company, our default mindset is security windows, so every window we make will be made with that in mind. However, we can also build you windows that not only pass security tests, but will withstand a hurricane and an assault rifle.
Many luxury homes are located on the water, specifically on the ocean. Florida and California are two of the most expensive places to own ocean-front real estate, but they’re also higher risk than a lot of other waterfront properties. Lakefront or riverfront properties won’t be enduring gale force winds or rain going sideways for long periods of time.Because of this increased risk of property damage, hurricane windows are required for coastal properties. In Miami-Dade county, for example, you cannot install doors or windows on a home that do not meet hurricane certification requirements. What makes a hurricane window a hurricane window is its ability to withstand intense, sustained wind and water pressure, in addition to the occasional flying object (like a chair, a piece of wood, or anything else that the wind has managed to pick up).Glass that can stand up to this kind of weather needs to be very specifically designed. You might think that you need a thick piece of glass that won’t budge, but you actually want some flexibility in the glass so that it moves with the wind and doesn’t shatter. Think of it like catching an egg — your hand moves with the momentum of the egg in order to cushion its fall. The other major consideration with hurricane windows is the glazing, because it’s a very common failure point — especially over time, as it can dry out and crack. Because of this, we always check window glazing during annual inspections included in our Platinum Level Service Plan.An issue here is that many people purchasing hurricane windows are told that they can double as security windows. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and it has to do with glass composition.
While the purpose of hurricane windows is to protect your home against random flying objects and brutal weather, security windows aren’t meant to take the same kind of beating. Hurricanes aren’t trying to enter your home on purpose — they’re just eating everything up that they can to sustain their power. They’re not calculating their next move or even aiming at anything in particular. But an intruder trying to get into your home is doing so with different motivations. And because there is an intelligent mind behind that physical action, the intruder has the ability to change courses if their plan isn’t working. Security windows are meant to withstand brute force. If they manage to crack your window, they’re likely to keep hitting that same spot over and over again until they finally break through. If they can’t smash your window, they may try to shoot through it, or drill through the locks. The good news is that it is possible to design windows that can withstand both kinds of force. We can make a window wall for you that will protect you from hurricanes, as well as intruders. It’s a matter of composition, size, necessity, and yes, money.
People love the idea of bulletproof windows because it sounds really awesome. It makes them feel like James Bond — and who doesn’t want to feel like 007? Realistically, most people don’t actually need ballistic windows, but some people do, and if you’re one of those people, we can make you a bulletproof window wall. Fair warning: it will be expensive. But it’s possible. This is where thickness really does become a factor, because the higher the caliber bullet, the more material needs to be in between the bullet and your family. And of course, the composition of those materials need to be different as well. Again, hurricane windows and security windows are not meant to stop bullets. These are entirely different purposes that require entirely different glass composition and framing. But if you need all three, we can make it happen.
Assessing Your Needs in a Security Window Wall
If you need it, we can make it happen — it’s only a matter of cost. It will rarely be a matter of whether or not we can make it happen. The question will be whether or not you need it, which is something we can work out with your existing security team. And if you would like additional help determining what security measures you might be missing, we can help out in that regard as well. We’ve developed a partnership with a company called LionHeart International Services Group that helps people determine the type of security they need in order to truly protect themselves and their families. While this obviously encompasses physical safety, it also includes an assessment of data security and online privacy. The team at LionHeart is made up of former Secret Service agents, police officers, Homeland Security employees, and military personnel. They are experts at assessing potentially dangerous situations and keeping people safe. It’s safe to say that if they can keep the President of the United States safe, they can protect you and your family. (It’s true — one of the founders of LionHeart was part of two presidential security teams as a member of the Secret Service.) The LionHeart team will work with your existing security team to determine what your security needs are and where potential weaknesses lie. The level of security that you need in your custom glass composition may not be as strong (or as expensive) as you might think. Their recommendations will be based off of a variety of aspects, including your answers to questions such as:
- Is your luxury home in a hurricane zone?
- What kind of harsh weather conditions will your home face?
- Have you had threats made to your life? (If so, what kind of threats?)
- Are you concerned about violent criminals gaining access to you or your family?
- Have you had issues with security in the past?
The most important thing to remember is that we can create whatever you need or want for your luxury home. It’s simply a matter of time and cost. But it’s not about what’s possible.If you’re ready to discuss security windows (or doors), don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’re confident that we can create custom pieces that fit your luxury home’s aesthetic and also fulfill all of your needs.In the meantime, please check out the wealth of information on our website, from articles to our process to client testimonials. You’re sure to find some answers to your questions on our doorsand windows pages or our frequently asked questions page. We look forward to hearing from you soon.