Many of our clients want security windows, and they specifically come to us because they don’t want to resort to installing wrought iron security bars on the flawless façade of their luxury home. We get it. You shouldn’t have to compromise, and you definitely shouldn’t need to feel like you’re behind bars when you’re at home.
While wrought iron can certainly feel luxurious (such as a fence on the outskirts of your property), it somehow loses its luster when placed over windows on a luxury home. It’s what you expect to see on homes close to city centers and apartment buildings in New York City.
This is where our discussions begin. Our clients are in need of security windows, but they have discerning tastes that wrought iron security bars just don’t seem to fit into, and they have the means to purchase something better.
The good news is that we can handle this. This is what we do all day, every day. Our security windows are custom built for each one of our clients, based upon their unique security needs. Here’s how we do it.
Home Window Security Bars
Wrought iron security bars are often an inexpensive solution for people who are looking to secure their homes, particularly if their windows are cold and cheap (i.e. more easily breakable). For the most part, window security bars are an eyesore, but some of them are quite beautiful, curving into a shape that allows for potted plants or herbs to grow outside, but still accessible from the inside. These types of window bars are perfect for urban settings, where you might not have an outdoor space, but still want to grow fresh herbs or have pretty flowers around in the summer. If that’s the kind of look you’re going for, that’s perfectly fine, but if it’s not, know that there are other options available for you. There are still two major downfalls to security bars — one being more serious than the other.
A Major Failure Point of Window Security Bars
The biggest issue with window security bars is that they can be removed. Because they’re attached to the exterior of the home, they can either be taken down with a screwdriver or simply cut with a strong enough saw blade and a determined intruder. If they have a partner, this task is even easier, as they can be heavy (wrought iron isn’t light on its own). Beyond the bars, the major issue is that the next step is to break the glass to gain entry to the home. When someone tries to break a window (or any piece of glass, for that matter), they’re likely to keep hitting the same spot (or as close to the same spot as they can manage) until it breaks. Obviously, if you’re able to crack it in one spot, it will be easier to break all the way through at that point. So if the intruder is able to get through the security bars, either with a saw or a screwdriver, then your security is compromised once again by having low quality windows as your only barrier.
Keeping Your Magnificent View
On a more aesthetic level, having security bars on your windows blocks your view, which is frankly, a major disappointment. What’s the golden rule of real estate? Location, location, location. If you’re covering up that million-dollar view with wrought iron bars, you’ll regret it quickly. You didn’t pay all that money for a house on the beach just to see black bars going through it every time you look out the window. Window security bars make your luxury home — a place that should be your own private oasis — and turns it into a prison. Instead, spend some extra money and put in custom security windows, which will offer a higher level of protection, and will interface perfectly with your design aesthetic.
Custom Security Windows Made For Your Needs
When we say we make custom windows, we don’t mean the same thing that window companies mean when they say it. To some degree, everyone makes custom windows because they need to be made for each specific opening. Every window that will be installed in a structure must be meticulously created to fit the exact opening where it will eventually live. These measurements are double and triple checked — they have to be, otherwise the window may not fit where it’s supposed to go. And it’s not as if you can bend it and hope to squeeze it in. They need to fit exactly and then be sealed properly. But every single window manufacturer does these things. So what makes our custom windows different from everyone else’s?First of all, our windows are custom made from the inside out. Literally every last detail is modified based upon your security needs, the location of your luxury home, and what you require to fit your design aesthetic. Second — and we’ve said this before, but we’ll say it again — we’re not a window and door manufacturer. Not really. We’re a security company that manufactures windows and doors designed to help turn your home into an impenetrable fortress. (If you want to complete the package, check out BallistiCrete.)Bearing in mind that our number one goal is to protect you and your family, the way we design windows has a different starting point entirely. While typical window manufacturers might be trying to upsell you at every opportunity, we’re trying to figure out exactly what you need so you’re not spending more than you have to. Here are the various ways in which we can customize your security windows.
Why Window Glass Composition Matters
Every homeowner has different needs. For some of our clients, hurricane-certified windows are a must — they literally can’t build a house or do a renovation in certain locations (such as southern Florida) without installing windows that can stand up to extremely severe weather. And for these customers, the fact that they’re also security windows is simply a bonus. Other clients call us in search of security windows, but they also need them to be hurricane certified — and we have them covered as well. On a far lesser scale, we also have clients who need protection from potential gun violence. In many cases, these clients have violent ex-partners, stalkers, or are in a powerful enough position that threats have been made against them or their family members.For these different purposes, we specialize in three different types of window: security, hurricane, and ballistic. But because we understand there is overlap, we have done a tremendous amount of work to create solutions that will withstand each circumstance. In order to do this, we combine types of glass, change the thickness of them, and add polycarbonate for strength. To understand how we do this, you’ll need to understand the various materials we use.
Annealed glass is the softest type of glass (which is perfect in some instances, but not in others), and also cheapest because its pliability makes it easier to shape and mold. For those who don’t already know, glass is actually sand, but in a liquid form. When annealed glass is made, the sand is melted down and formed into large sheets, which are easy to cut down into any shape or size you need. Standard windows used to be made out of one, single pane of annealed glass, which was awful for energy efficiency — not to mention keeping noise and cold drafts out of the house. If you’ve ever broken one of these windows, you know that they break into large pieces. Nowadays, even the cheapest windows are typically two panes of annealed glass with an air gap in the window to minimize noise and increase energy efficiency.Annealed glass is important for security windows because they’re softer and they allow more flex. While that may not sound like a good idea, that’s exactly what we want because once an intruder breaks the glass, they’re inside the house. What we want is to prevent the glass from breaking all the way through. We like to use the egg-catching analogy. If someone throws an egg to you, you don’t just snatch it out of the air in the same way you would a football or a baseball. Instead, you allow your hand to move with the egg when you catch it, slowing down its momentum instead of creating a hard stop. Bulletproof vests work in the same way — they slow the momentum of the bullet prior to it reaching the steel plate.
Heat-strengthened glass is very descriptive of the actual product. Glass is heated, then cooled, and typically heated and cooled one more time (twice is common). This process strengthens the material by a measure of two — heat-strengthened glass is twice as strong as annealed glass.This type of glass is also less flexible than annealed glass — both in physical manipulation and its ability to bend. Once a piece of heat-strengthened glass has been created, it cannot be cut or shaped. If you attempt to cut it into a different shape, it will break. The pieces will be smaller than in the case of annealed glass, but heat-strengthened glass is not considered safety glass. Because of the additional manufacturing processes involved and its requirement of being custom-made to a specific size, heat-strengthened glass is more expensive.
Tempered glass begins in the same way that heat-strengthened glass begins: the glass is heated and cooled multiple times. In fact, tempered glass goes through the process more times, with the end result being a piece of glass four times stronger than a sheet of annealed glass.This final type of glass is extremely common in our lives now. It’s what car windows, smartphone and smartphone watch screens (including the hard protective covers we put over the screens), shower doors, toaster oven doors, windows in standard oven doors, and glass stovetops are all made of.Tempered glass is also known as safety glass because when it breaks, it shatters into a million pieces, making them less dangerous than large pieces of annealed glass. As you might expect, it’s also the most expensive type of glass because it takes longer to manufacture. Like heat-strengthened glass, tempered glass cannot be cut once manufacturing is complete — otherwise, it will shatter.
How Various Types of Glass are Used to Create Security Windows
We’re able to develop effective security windows by using multiple layers of glass combined with plastic layers in order to create the level of protection you need. Because everyone’s situation is different, we offer three different levels of security: basic, enhanced, and top-end. Here is a basic overview of each, and you can learn more here and here.
Basic Security Windows
Our basic security windows are made with at least two layers of annealed glass with a layer of PVB (polyvinyl butyral) in the middle. We can do multiple layers of annealed glass, in addition to putting an air gap in the middle to allow for better energy efficiency. They’re about 10 pounds per square foot, which is heavy, but manageable. It’s important to note that security windows are not the same as ballistic windows. Our basic security windows are not certified to withstand bullets. Again, security windows are designed to withstand brute force — a determined person trying to break the glass in order to gain entry to the home. Bullets are much faster and much more destructive than a person will ever be.
Enhanced Security Windows
Our enhanced security windows are made with the same composition as the basic security windows — annealed glass with PVB in the middle — but use thicker glass and require a thicker frame. As a result, they’re heavier, weighing in at about 14 pounds per square foot. This is where we typically recommend people start with fixed windows (as in, they do not open) because it covers your security needs, and it will also pass hurricane certification, if that’s one of your concerns. When all is said and done, the price increase is not particularly substantial.
Top-End Security Windows
Our top-end security windows are the beginning of our ballistic windows. In order to accomplish this, we begin with the same annealed glass and PVB layers, but then we add a layer of polycarbonate in the middle. This level of security will protect you and your family from small handguns, such as a 9mm. It will also pass hurricane certifications. However, one of the best features is that it’s the lightest window we make, weighing in at about 9.2 pounds per square foot. The bad news about this security window is that it’s also the most expensive. If you’d like more information on how these windows vary and what their certification requirements are, you can read the complete guide to hurricane, security, and ballistic windows.
The Finer Details: Tinting and Etching
A window is a window is a window… right? Regardless of the composition of the glass — annealed, heat-strengthened, tempered, and maybe even a polycarbonate layer — it still just looks like a regular window. It’s an opening in the wall that lets you look at your spectacular location of your luxury home, whether it’s the sprawling countryside in the south of France, along the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, a cattle ranch in Wyoming, or a mansion in Boca Raton. What many of our clients don’t realize at first is that their windows don’t have to be plain. We can add tint, we can make them opaque for privacy (such as bathroom windows), or even add etching to kick the elegance up a notch (or two or three). And just like most window manufacturers, we can place inset mullions, or build external ones. Which one you prefer may depend on the existing windows in your home and what would match more accurately, or fit with the design aesthetic of your new build.
How Much Do Security Windows Cost?
While our clients don’t seem to be surprised by the cost of our doors, they are surprised by the cost of our windows. However, most windows are made with aluminum frames, and aluminum is simply a less expensive material, leading to a less expensive finished product. By contrast, our windows are built with steel frames (just like our doors) because they’re more secure and durable. Regardless of price fluctuations, steel is heavier and higher quality, so it will always be more expensive than aluminum. In fact, if you compare our prices to window manufacturers that use steel, we’re on par.A good way to think about incorporating window cost into your overall budget is to decide which level of security you require and then go from there. We’re always happy to help you work this out, and if you would like extra assistance on assessing your required security, we can introduce you to our friends over at LionHeart International, who can perform a comprehensive security assessment for you, or in conjunction with your existing security team.
Getting Started with Custom Security Windows
With all of this technology — the various types of glass and the polycarbonate that can support them — it should be easy to see why wrought iron security bars aren’t necessary in order to secure your home. You really can have a flawless finished product without obstructing your breathtaking view or compromising your security needs or your design aesthetic.The bottom line is that we can really do whatever you want — it’s simply a matter of cost. You can rest assured that we’ll never push you to pay more for a level of security you and your security team don’t feel is necessary. We want you to get exactly what you need and we won’t try to upsell you beyond that.While we’re based in Boca Raton, Florida, our security windows are made in Italy and ship worldwide. Our custom security windows can be delivered to your luxury home no matter where it’s located.When your windows are ready for installation, we’ll have an experienced technician on site to make sure everything goes according to plan. If you’re ready to discuss your luxury home security window needs, feel free tocontact us today!