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A photo of a luxury home with a large pool lit up at night.

Luxury Home Security: Where to Find the Experts

When we founded Fortified & Ballistic Security all those years ago, it was because we saw a critical gap in the luxury home security market. We’d seen luxury home design and automation from multiple angles, but the security solutions the homeowners were using were far from adequate. 

We’ve been doing this for so long — and are coming at it with such a unique background — that we’ve managed to become experts in luxury home security. And when we have our own knowledge gaps, we don’t fake it, and we don’t lie to you. Instead, we call in other experts so we can be sure you’re getting the best service possible. 

Obviously, we’re a little biased, but we believe that we’ve managed to solve the security problem for luxury homeowners. Here’s how we did it, why it’s important for you to trust experts (as opposed to jacks of all trade), and how you can turn your luxury home into an impenetrable fortress.

The Unique Opportunity for Luxury Homes

Securing a luxury home is not the same as securing a regular, old, run-of-the-mill home. There are different challenges, more openings (meaning, doors and windows), more places for intruders to hide, and likely, more expensive things to steal. 

Furthermore, the residents of said luxury homes are wealthy — either because they’re a celebrity, they’re a successful business owner or investor, or because they inherited money. Regardless of the way they accumulated their wealth, they’ve likely attracted the attention of unsavory characters. 

 A photo of a living room in a luxury home with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the mountains.

We sometimes work with clients who are looking to fortify their homes to protect themselves against stalkers. In some cases, it’s a former partner with a history of violence. Every instance of this is unfortunate, but we take pride in making sure that we can make them feel safer in their own homes. (Later, we’ll talk about the Sanctuary™ System and how it can get you a better night’s rest.)

While people with average incomes can also encounter these issues (stalkers and abusive exes), they can’t afford to secure their home in the same way a luxury owner can. They might get steel security doors from their local big box hardware store and install bulletproof film for their windows, if they really feel it’s necessary. Obviously, not every situation calls for bulletproofing. In most cases, it’s a bit over the top.

Luxury home owners have the means to not only secure their homes, but do it beautifully. They don’t have to settle for ugly wrought iron security doors outside of their custom front doors or bars on their windows that block their gorgeous view. 

No, people that own luxury homes can afford to get something more elegant. More refined. They can get exactly what they want — security without having to sacrifice their aesthetics, and flawless design without having to sacrifice security. 

Because we understand this unique opportunity, we have specifically built our team to address areas of expertise that suit our clientele. Our architectural design team has worked with multiple different industries that allows them to bring experience in home automation, audio visual installation, and luxury home renovation into the mix. 

No matter what your goals are for your luxury home security, we have you covered. The key here is that we’re not trying to be something we’re not. We’re not a window or door manufacturer that is trying to sell you security. We’re a security company that is accomplishing their goal (to keep you safe at home) by using custom security doors and windows.

Enormity Paralysis

Oftentimes, having the world at your fingertips is enough to make people freeze up. How are you supposed to make a decision when you have so many options? When people with average income are picking a new front door for their home, they are limited by their budget, which helps narrow down their options. But you don’t have their limitation — your options are literally unlimited. 

This is where our team of experts come in. Our architectural design team will help narrow down options, materials, designs, and colors based on your aesthetic preferences, the existing decor in your home, and what your goals are for your door or window. 

A photo of a discreet security door custom designed for a homeowner’s Sanctuary System.For example, if you’re looking for a bedroom security door that looks exactly like every other door in your home, we can make that happen regardless of what the rest of them look like. In many cases, people don’t want their security doors to stand out from the rest of their existing doors. Maybe you don’t feel the need to have a security door in every single room in your home (most of the time it’s not necessary), but you don’t want the ones you do have to announce themselves to intruders.

On the other hand, you may want certain doors to stand out. Perhaps the front door is a statement piece in and of itself. Perhaps you want a more elegant bedroom door, or special double doors for your office. Again, we can make anything work and we will guide you through the design process to make sure what you end up with is exactly what you want. 

Do You Really Need All that Security?

When our clients find out that we can make their house bulletproof, they tend to get pretty excited. Generally speaking, it sounds pretty cool. But the reality of the situation is that most people don’t really need that level of protection. 

One thing we pride ourselves in is not upselling you for the sake of profits. We will never try to sell you something that doesn’t seem to fit your security needs. Again, we’re a security company that manufactures doors and windows… we’re not trying to sell you the latest and greatest thing. We just want to help you find the products that work for your family. 

To that end, we will always work with your existing security team to determine what threats are in play. Are you looking for less stress at home, so you want to make sure that no one can get in who doesn’t belong there? Or are you trying to make sure specific people can’t get in (i.e. an ex- or a stalker)?

The other thing we’re really proud of is our partnership with the experts over at LionHeart International Services Group. This team is made up of former Secret Service agents (who literally protected Presidents), former Homeland Security personnel, retired police officers, and retired military personnel. 

You literally can’t find a better team than these guys. They know exactly what it means to keep you and your family safe — and they know because they’ve been doing it their entire careers. We specifically brought them in because we believe that they will be able to bring the highest levels of expertise to the table.

A photo of a kitchen in a luxury home overlooking a patio and a pool.

The team at LionHeart will work with your existing security team in order to determine what their biggest concerns are, what they think the gaps are, and then conduct their own security assessment to see if there are issues left unresolved. It’s not a requirement (and not every client needs this), but the ones who want this service are extremely grateful to have access to it.

Technology + Security

Luxury homeowners are in a unique position, in that their homes are the size of industrial spaces. They’re not your average $500,000 home in a mid-level market. They’re not 3,500 or even 4,000 square feet — in fact, that’s probably the size of the master bedroom. 

Homes this size cannot be managed like regular homes. If you’re shutting everything down in your 2,000 square foot house, it won’t take long. You’ll turn off the lights, make sure the televisions and sound systems are off, and set the coffee maker for the morning. But in a 12,000-square-foot mansion, going around to every single room to check the lights is simply not going to happen. Your nightly routine would take an hour. 

Because we’re not in the business of creating these solutions, we partner with companies like Premiere Systems because they do. Bringing in this team of experts vastly increases your return on investment for products and services you were planning to buy anyway. You have the assurance that an expert worked on your home, instead of a random contractor trying to pad their bottom line. 

We’re very picky about who we choose to partner with in every aspect of our business, but particularly so when it comes to technology. It’s so easy to hack into systems in the 21st century, and our clientele is not going to be okay with the possibility of their privacy being compromised in such a dramatic fashion. Our clients are often in the public eye and do not want to give up the little bit of privacy they have left.

Trusting the Experts

Our clients aren’t likely to stop into their local big box store to pick out a new security door. But they are likely to purchase a safe for their home, and some of those safe installers will also try to sell them security doors or windows. 

This is a practice we see rather frequently. Because safe installers are selling a product that is included under the security umbrella, it’s not a far stretch for unsuspecting homeowners to believe they could also sell security doors or windows. 

But truly, why would you want to purchase a security door from a safe installer? That person doesn’t know the first thing about steel security doors. They’re just there to bolt a safe to the floor in an area of your choosing.

Chances are, these safe dealers are ordering plain security doors (like the wrought iron screen door type) and installing them on the outside of your front door, which absolutely destroys the façade of your luxury home. The other option is a vault door to serve as your front door. Not only will this be boring and ugly, but it looks like a door that belongs on a safe. 

The same goes for your audio visual installer. There are plenty of A/V tech companies that try to also sell security doors. Call us crazy, but we’re not sure why a TV installer would think they have the expertise necessary to advise someone on security. They’re trying to set up your entertainment system, not secure your home. To be completely candid, there’s no overlap in these two specialities. 

A photo of a cozy living room in a luxury home overlooking a patio and a pool.

While it’s true that you can have your security cameras appear on your television screen, it’s really best to have your security team handle that part, and for the A/V technicians to advise on how best to do that, than to have the A/V crew lead that journey. Again, the top priority is to keep you and your family safe. We fail to see how an A/V installer will be able to do that.

Let’s say you also want to install an alarm system in your luxury home for extra security, complete with cameras. The A/V team isn’t likely to be licensed for this type of installation, so they’ll contract with a different company in order to accomplish this task for you. (This isn’t necessarily a bad thing in theory, but they’re not doing it in order to pull in experts — they’re doing it because they can’t legally do it themselves.)

The system itself is one fee, the installation is another, and then they will sell you monthly monitoring — in fact, the system itself is essentially useless without it. This is often what keeps revenue flowing for alarm companies, so selling you this monitoring (and any upgrades possible) is going to be their main goal. (For transparency’s sake, we don’t love home alarms and you can read more about why here.) 

The team at Premiere Systems is full of experts in home automation technology — it’s literally why we contract with them. In an interesting turn of events, Premiere Systems is actually certified and licensed to do security work in both Florida and Illinois, so theoretically, they could choose to sell security doors and windows themselves. But they don’t. 

Instead, they partner with us because they know we’re the best at what we do. They could easily make a quick buck selling cookie-cutter security doors, but they ask us to consult with their clients because they know it’s in the best interests of their clients.

They’re in the business of keeping technology safe and secure, and we’re in the business of keeping you safe and secure. It’s an excellent partnership that we feel serves our clients’ unique needs very well. We entirely trust their professional opinion and our clients are always satisfied with their work. 

The point is that you should trust people who are experts in other industries and specialties to sell you products and services because it may not be in your best interest. It may be convenient to get everything from one place, but will it actually keep you and your family safer?

Creating a Secure Sanctuary™ 

One of our most popular products is what we call our Sanctuary™ System, and it’s our solution to the outdated waste of valuable floor space that is the panic room. It incorporates security doors and windows, as well as hardening technology (BallistiCrete) and biometric security (such as facial recognition software) to only allow the people you trust most access to the most critical room in your home. 

Most often, our clients choose to turn their bedrooms into a Sanctuary™ because it’s already a room in their homes that they feel comfortable in and it means they don’t have to waste space in their floor plan. In these cases, we design a custom security door for their master suite, install security windows throughout the room, and stress the importance of biometric scanning as a security feature. 

A photo of a covered patio on a luxury home with multiple glass doors leading outside.

While we do sell fingerprint scanners, we most often recommend facial recognition. We do this not because it costs more or because we like it better — we recommend it because it’s the most accurate, which also means it’s the most secure. 

The most exciting feature though happens when you tie all of this together. You have the security door and windows, plus the facial recognition, and then you incorporate the home automation. We can set up your Sanctuary™ (or your whole home) to move to your favorite settings the moment it recognizes you. 

If you want your shades to be drawn halfway, the temperature changed to a certain degree, and the lights dimmed to a specific level, we can work with Premiere Systems to ensure that all of this happens without you even having to lift a finger. Literally. 

Are You Ready to Get Started?

We know this is a lot to take in — again, enormity paralysis is a real issue. Feel free to take a look around our website, which contains a wealth of information that you should find helpful. You can see door options here (including pivot doors and every type of covering imaginable), window options here, read more about our Sanctuary™ System here, and read dozens of articles that go further in depth here.

We may offer a significant number of finishings, models, and styles for our doors and windows, but we’re not just looking to artificially inflate our area of expertise. We don’t want to add bullet points to our truck — we just want to help you find security solutions that not only make you feel safer, but are actually effective at keeping you safer.

Once you’re ready to discuss your own unique security needs and design aesthetic, we’d love to talk to you about them on the phone. Alternatively, you could use our website form. We’re confident we can find the best solutions for your luxury home security. We look forward to speaking with you!

A photo of the exterior of a large brick luxury home with glass double security doors surrounded by custom security windows.

Double Doors Don’t Have to Be Less Secure

Designing the luxury home of your dreams can be an overwhelming prospect. Even purchasing an existing home and remodeling it to fit your own aesthetic creates an endless string of decisions that can quickly lead to enormity paralysis. This is a major reason you have a team of designers and architects — they can help you narrow things down and only show you options that will suit the overall vision. 

Somewhere in all these choices will be doors — do you want double doors, single doors, or pivot doors? It’s very possible that you’ve never given much thought to doors up until this point, let alone did you know how many options would be available to you once you got here. But nevertheless, here you are.

We’ve helped architects and interior designers complete hundreds of luxury homes. Single hinge doors are the most common interior doors, but when it comes to front entry doors and master bedroom doors, we often see a deviation from this standard. Double entry doors are common on many important buildings and luxury homes, but for those concerned about security, double doors pose a concern. 

We’ve probably all seen movies where doors are kicked in, and when double doors come down, it’s always because of one swift kick to the middle. Of course, that begs the question: how secure are double doors, really? 

It’s a valid question. Let’s get into the details and discuss the weak points of this door configuration, and exactly why our double doors are just as secure as any other door we make. Here’s what you need to know before ordering a set of double doors.

Are Double Doors as Secure as a Single Door?

The short answer is that FBS security doors are just as secure whether they’re configured as one single door or two double doors. Each door is completely secure on their own. 

We’re not talking about your typical cheap master bedroom double door where one of them only locks by putting a metal post an inch into the floor and is very easy to break down. Those doors are typically hollow instead of solid. You can order them from your local hardware store, or our builder can order them. 

A photo of custom double security doors with frosted glass at the front entrance of a luxury home.

By contrast, FBS security doors will always put your safety first, which means there can’t be any flimsy lock in the middle of your double doors that invites someone to try to kick it in. Are they more expensive than what you’ll find at a big box store? Sure, they are. But you’re also getting much higher quality and customized in a way that seamlessly integrates into your design aesthetic. 

We can’t speak to other company’s products, but we can speak about our own. It’s true that the weakest point of a double door configuration is the middle, but that doesn’t mean they’re not safe. If we didn’t believe that double doors were as secure as a single door, we simply wouldn’t sell them. At no point do we want to sell you a product that doesn’t actually protect you and your family. That practice isn’t helpful to you, and it’s certainly not helpful for us. We want you to feel safe and protected in your own home.

Comprehensive Security Assessment and Planning

We take a lot of pride in our professional relationship with the experts over at LionHeart International, which is a security consulting firm owned and operated by a team of former Secret Service agents, former Homeland Security personnel, and decorated military veterans. They are all very well versed in risk assessment and planning. In fact, one of the founding members protected two American Presidents. 

This team is more than qualified to complete a comprehensive security assessment in cooperation with your existing security team and help them formulate concrete plans for what to do in the event of an emergency (such as fire or inclement weather), in addition to advise you on data protection.

Not every one of our clients feels their security requirements necessitate a meeting with the LionHeart team, but some of our clients do, and they greatly appreciate the opportunity. Even if that discussion confirms that their current plans are well thought-out helps assuage concerns for many people. We all want to feel that we’re doing everything we can to protect our families.

Why Choose Double Doors for Your Luxury Home?

Practically speaking, double doors offer some advantages. The most obvious advantage is that the entrance to the home (or room) is larger, which is extremely helpful when moving large pieces of furniture or art. Having a larger opening reduces the risk of damages — either to the house itself or the items being moved — which is always the goal for every person involved. 

Regular hinge doors have a weight limit that is quite literally due to the hinge. The weight that each hinge can take varies depending on the material it’s made out of, and we can safely say that ours are made of the strongest material available: steel. On a related note, having steel hinges makes them more difficult to break through, which keeps you safer. But regardless, there is still a weight limit on the hinge. 

 A photo of custom double security doors made of wood and glass at the front entrance of a luxury home.

The largest single hinge door we can make is 90 inches tall by 37 inches wide — that’s 7.5 feet tall and about 3 feet wide. It’s a fairly standard size, of course because of the hinge. Even with a steel hinge, we can’t make the doors too large because the doors themselves are made with steel and are also very heavy, even before we add the custom coverings

Having a double door allows you to expand that opening to 74 inches, or about 6 feet wide. Most people choose to leave one door permanently locked and only use one on a regular basis, but that’s personal preference as per each homeowner. The doors will be stunning no matter how you choose to use them.  

Front Entrances

Going back through history, we can see that important buildings — like government buildings, churches, schools, etc — typically have double doors. While one could argue these days that it’s a matter of safety and fire code (having a larger opening to get people out in the event of a fire or other emergency), this wasn’t always a consideration. Front doors have been a measure of wealth and power since the written record began. 

If you walk around Europe and look at the old buildings (or even photos of them when they were first built), you can see that they all have double doors at the entrances. Even luxury homes, palaces, cathedrals, and castles have oversized doors to give an impressive first impression on people before they can enter the structure. You could even say that the front entrance sets the tone for the building. 

Remember that your front door isn’t about you, the homeowner. How often will you actually use it, anyway? You’ll probably enter through the garage door. You’ll typically see your front entrance from the inside as you open it. No, your front entrance isn’t about you — it’s about your guests.

The average American home doesn’t have a double door at the front. It typically has one hinge door and maybe an additional window on one or both sides. It’s classic, clean, and beautiful. It’s fitting for a 2,000 or 3,000 square foot home. But for luxury homes, double entry doors, or an oversized pivot door just fits better. 

Think about the way you want people who are coming to your luxury home for the first time to view it. What about when you host parties for employees or charitable donors? Do you want to give an impression of spectacular opulence or understated elegance? We can accomplish either look in a multitude of ways, with double doors or with a pivot door. 

Master Bedrooms

We see a lot of homeowners requesting double doors for their master bedroom suites. It’s a classic look that is becoming popular in many homes. It sets the master bedroom apart from the other bedrooms, particularly if it’s situated on its own side of the house, away from the smaller bedrooms. Double doors help the homeowner feel like they have their own domain, even when there are others in the house with them. 

A photo of custom double security doors at the entrance of a master bedroom in a luxury home.

Think of your master bedroom as your very own private entrance to your home. It’s a space that is only for you, where you can unwind without entertaining or playing hostess. This is where you go to escape your stressful day (or week) or to get some peace and quiet away from your staff (or, let’s face it: your spouse and your kids). It’s your very own safe space.

It’s this philosophy that led us to designing our Sanctuary™ System. Because your bedroom is already supposed to be a place you’re able to completely relax, we felt this was the best way to put panic rooms in the past. By installing security windows and doors on your master bedroom suite (and BallistiCrete if that’s a source of concern for you), you can have a place to go if someone manages to break into your home. 

Panic rooms are traditionally windowless rooms that waste valuable space in your home, but by utilizing your master bedroom as a panic room of sorts, you can be completely comfortable with your bed, a television, and perhaps a little mini fridge. 

Our security doors are state-of-the-art. You won’t be worried that the lock can be picked (they can’t be — even a third generation locksmith said so) and if you have facial recognition tied to your locks, no one will be able to open that door except for you. You’ll be completely safe while you wait for emergency services to arrive.  

Designing Your Custom Double Entry Doors

It’s a good idea to begin your journey on our website, looking at what we have to offer. We have a list of coverings, structural upgrades, and technology and convenience options available. You can also see photo galleries of various types of doors we offer, including single doors, double doors, pivot doors, glass doors, and arched doors. Obviously, what you choose will be based on the style of your luxury home and your unique aesthetic. 

We also offer an extensive articles section that goes into greater detail regarding our product offerings, our philosophy on keeping you and your family safe, and our design process. Throughout the articles, you’ll also see photos of real security doors and windows we’ve hand-crafted in Italy for clients all around the world. You can also check out our frequently asked questions page, which is broken down according to questions that typically interest architects, interior designers, and homeowners. 

A photo of the front entrance of a luxury home in Italy with solid wood double security doors.

Of course, when you’re ready to discuss matters further, we’d love to hear from you. We don’t want to badger you or pressure you, but we’re also confident that you won’t find anything else that beats the quality or the security of our doors and windows. We’re happy to answer any questions you have, or run through some ideas with you. Given some brief measurements, we can likely give you a general price quote, but the final price would be contingent upon the coverings and upgrades chosen.

It’s our main goal to keep you and your family safe without compromising your design. When we say we can do whatever you want, we really mean it. We can match your existing decor or coordinate with your designer to flawlessly match what is being integrated into your luxury home. Recently, we matched an existing marble. The homeowners couldn’t even tell that it wasn’t cut from the same slab.

We’re based in Boca Raton, Florida, but our security doors and windows are certainly not beholden to that location. While many of our clients are in the United States, we have clients all over the world, most notably in Europe and the Caribbean.

If you’re ready to discuss your double security doors, please contact us today! We’d love to hear from you.

A photo of the exterior of a modern luxury home lit up at dusk.

Custom Garage Doors: Creating an Impenetrable Fortress

Luxury homes should be flawless sanctuaries. Home is where you go after a long day (or week) at work to relax and unwind. It’s the place where you shouldn’t have to worry about something being off. After all, you’ve certainly paid enough for it — it shouldn’t be anything less than perfection. And part of that perfection is making it completely secure. 

One of the weak points of any home is the garage. Luxury homes are likely to be made with more durable materials than builder’s grade homes, but even so, it’s an opening (or two or three) to your home that isn’t entirely secure. Between the garage door, a regular man-door as a side entrance to your garage, and a fire door leading into your home, you’ve created quite a few potential failure points in your overall security.

The answer, of course, is to add security doors to the mix — and we’ve got you covered.

Making a Custom Garage Door

Believe it or not, your garage door can be a security door and it can be completely customized to fit your preferred style. Because garage doors are larger than your typical door, creating them poses unique challenges, but we’ve never backed down from a challenge. Let’s talk about creating a garage door that satisfies your need for security, but also fulfills your desire for a one-of-a-kind luxury home. 

First of all, let’s discuss the three major purposes that garage doors serve:

  1. Keep your cars inside to protect them from inclement weather.
  2. Keep unwanted visitors out of your home.
  3. Conceal the fact that you’re not home (on account of the missing vehicles).

These are very basic purposes. For many people, a garage door is barely something they think about. But you’re not the average homeowner. You didn’t go to a realty website and find a house within your price range in a neighborhood close to your job. You’re in a position to be more discerning. Your garage door doesn’t have to be something that basically everyone else has — not even every other luxury home owner you know. 

The Most Unique Garage Door We’ve Made

Without a doubt, the coolest, most unique, awe-inspiring garage door we’ve ever made was a massive pivot door. 

A photo of a car pulling into a spacious underground garage through a massive pivot door instead of a standard garage door.

Yes, you read that correctly. It was a pivot door, but it was a garage door. The garage itself was already a step ahead of the security game in that it was very well hidden on the property — it was set into a hill. Needless to say, it was a blast to work on and then finally watch in action when it was installed. 

Now, this isn’t the type of garage door that functions by pressing a button and it slides up. It could… but that’s not nearly as secure (or frankly, luxurious) as the other options. Anyone can steal a garage door opener. 

We tell all our customers that if they want the most secure door humanly possible, it needs to be motorized and use facial recognition software to unlock it. The reason this is so secure is because your face cannot be duplicated. Your facial bone structure remains the same throughout your life, regardless of the aging process or even plastic surgery. Your face from the mid-forehead to mid-nose does not change. 

Because this structure is unique to you, it’s very difficult to hack. It would be nearly impossible to get past. 

To use facial recognition on your garage door (which would need to be a pivot door because of its size), we could run the wiring to a location a few feet back from the door — this could be a dedicated structure build to house the technology, or it could be embedded into the side of your home. When you pull up next to it, the scanner will confirm it’s you and then open the door. You won’t have to do anything more than roll down your window and turn toward the scanner.  

We have to warn you though: once you try this out for yourself, you’ll never be able to go back to regular old keys. 

Don’t Forget the Fire Door

The final — and most forgotten — door in any attached garage is the fire door. It’s the one that goes from your garage into the main house. This door serves two major purposes:

  1. Keep intruders from entering your home without permission if they were to get into the garage.
  2. Protect you, your family, and the rest of your house in the event that a fire starts in your garage.

Because cars rely on flammable materials to function properly (i.e. gasoline and oil) and are full of other materials that can spark and cause a fire (i.e. electrical systems and airbag detonators), garages pose a certain level of danger. Now, there are mountains of regulations in place to ensure that cars are made as safe as humanly possible, and it’s not as if cars explode or catch on fire for no reason. (That would be pretty catastrophic for the automotive industry.) 

But things happen. 

buddha-spotlight-custom-garage-doors.jpg

Sometimes, what appears to be a minor car accident turns out to have damaged something you weren’t aware of. Sometimes, there are factory defects that haven’t been discovered yet. Sometimes, the conditions are just terrifyingly perfect. And of course, there may be items stored in the garage that feed a fire quite easily. For these reasons, a door leading from your garage to your home must be fire resistant. 

Because the fire door is often a security risk, we took the liberty of creating a security door that is also fire rated. While this upgrade is often chosen for the garage, it can be applied to any door you order to be installed in any location. For example, some of our clients in dry climates that are more likely to have active wildfires (such as California), fire doors are a relatively standard request, both internal and external. 

Custom Doors with Fire Certification

When people think about fire doors, they think about a lightweight, boring, white aluminum door. It feels cheap and doesn’t fit with the rest of the aesthetic that you, your architect, and your interior designer have worked so hard to craft in your luxury home. We completely understand. 

You may have guessed by now that we don’t think you should have to settle for that boring fire door. You can have a custom fire door that is designed entirely to match your existing decor — even creating a different design on each side of the door so it works on both sides. If your garage is painted white and you don’t want to break the continuity, we can choose white multilayer laminate to cover it. The interior side of the door can be completely different, not just in color concept, but in textures, fabrics, and wood stain. 

And just like everything else we do, it can be basically anything you can dream up.

At one point, we had a client who wanted their fire door to be completely inconspicuous — as in, they didn’t want it to be at all possible to find it. The door needed to entirely blend in with the wall. If someone were to somehow get into their garage, they wanted to make it seem as though the garage didn’t provide access to the house. 

They wanted their custom fire door to be motorized so there wouldn’t be a need for a handle (which would give away the location of the door), and they wanted the locks to be controlled by a facial recognition scanner built into the door so that it too, was completely invisible. This may sound like a difficult task — and don’t get us wrong… it is — but when you’ve been doing things like this for as long as we have, you learn some cool tricks to hide the seams of the door. 

A photo of a custom garage door complete with biometric screening.

In many ways, this is easier with a new build or a renovation because you can work with the architect from the very beginning. However, it’s not at all necessary. We can match almost anything — literally. Our artisans in Italy have been able to create the same marble patterns in new materials that already exist in a client’s luxury home. (It was flawless, and absolutely unbelievable. The homeowner was floored.)

It doesn’t matter what you want the door to look like. We can make it happen. And regardless, it will still be a high security door to make sure that no one can get into your house if they somehow get into the garage (but we’re going to do our best to prevent that as well). 

The Advantages of Garage Security Doors

Turning your luxury home into an impenetrable fortress means analyzing all the weak spots in your home, and one of those is the garage. As we already said, the garage poses interesting security threats because there are typically at least two entrances to it, plus a door leading into your home (that frankly, a lot of people forget to lock). If someone gets into your garage, getting into the house is really easy. But even if they can’t get through the fire door, they could wait in your garage for you to leave the house. 

If you’re installing security doors and windows throughout the first floor of your new luxury home — or going through the process of having your existing doors and windows replaced with security-grade products — you’d be leaving a major weak spot open to potential intruders. Fortifying your garage will help you rest easier at night, knowing that your house is completely secure.

Comprehensive Security Assessment and Planning

Another major advantage of working with FBS is that we can provide access to a team of security experts to help assess your security needs and formulate a plan to completely secure your home in conjunction with your existing security team. And when we say “security experts” we mean it — the team at LionHeart International is composed of former Secret Service agents and military personnel.  

Not only will they help you determine what level of security you may want to invest in based upon the threat level, they’ll help you plan for emergencies (such as a security breach or even a fire) and they’ll secure your data as well. 

Working with the LionHeart team isn’t a requirement, but it’s a perk that many of our clients enjoy taking advantage of. Going through this extra step makes them feel like they’ve done everything within their power to protect their families. 

A photo of a white custom garage fire door with gold accents.

How to Get Started: Fortifying Your Garage

The first step in completely fortifying your garage is to check out our offerings on the website. You can look at our doors and windows to see examples of work we’ve done in the past, and get ideas for your own luxury home. Please also check out our articles, which provide more in depth discussion about our product offerings and features. You can also read through our frequently asked questions.

When you’re ready to learn more, give us a call. We’re used to getting calls from architects, interior designers, and homeowners alike. We’re here to help, to answer your questions, and help provide you with a sense of peace. 

We’re based in Boca Raton, Florida, but our security doors and windows are hand-crafted in Italy and can be shipped anywhere in the world. (It’s true — we recently overhauled someone’s villa in Jamaica with all new security doors and windows strong enough to stand up to the strongest hurricanes.)

Our clients expect us to be heavily involved and in regular contact with their team, and we completely understand that. We won’t just take your order and pass you along the line. We’ll work with your designer and architect to create the doors of your dreams and when they’re ready, we’ll be there to supervise the installation. 

If you’re ready to fortify your garage with security doors (and maybe windows), feel free to contact us today!

A photo of a brightly lit room with an entire wall of windows featuring sheer curtains and another large window overlooking green trees.

Security Windows Don’t Have to Mean Ugly Security Bars

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. 

A photo of a bed surrounded by security windows in the master bedroom of a luxury home.

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. 

 A photo of a bright room with a long table, a floating fireplace, and two walls made entirely of windows.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

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.

A photo of the exterior of a luxury home with two large, arched, fixed windows.

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

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

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.

A photo of a residential security window overlooking a fenced in backyard.

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. 

A photo of a wall of windows dividing a modern living space and an outdoor patio.

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 to contact us today!

A photo of the front entrance of a luxury home, complete with security doors that do not require wrought iron.

Do I Need Wrought Iron on My Security Doors and Windows?

When many homeowners think of security doors and windows, they often think of big, heavy, wrought iron bars that are installed over the glass, ruining the aesthetics of their carefully designed home, and blocking the view they paid so much for. They simply don’t fit in when installed on a luxury home.

While wrought iron has its place in luxury and grandeur (like a fence surrounding your property), that aesthetic is somehow not the same when the wrought iron is placed over your doors and windows. This is a look you expect to find on first floor apartments in busy cities — not spacious luxury homes in upscale neighborhoods. 

Obviously, the point of them is to protect the residents. Even if someone were to break the glass, they wouldn’t be able to squeeze past the iron bars. A screen door made of wrought iron theoretically prevents someone from breaking down the front door (of course, they could always just take it off its hinges). 

The most common discussion we have with our clients is this exact issue — they need security doors and windows, but they don’t want their luxury home’s façade to be ruined by ugly wrought iron bars. 

Fortunately, we have a solution for you. We can build you security doors and windows without any ugly bars getting in the way of your fantastic view, and still keep you completely safe at home. Here’s how FBS is revolutionizing home security.

Wrought Iron Security Doors and Windows

We’ve all seen the stereotypical wrought iron security door and the bars covering windows. They’re relatively inexpensive (compared to higher quality products), easy to install, and a general deterrent for people looking to hit easy marks. For the most part, they accomplish that goal. 

A photo of a glass security door on a luxury home surrounded by wisteria.

While we often think of eye sores when we think of wrought iron security doors and windows, even we have to admit that they’ve come a long way. There are some legitimately beautiful security doors made of wrought iron. They aren’t made of bold lines with no design aesthetic anymore. They’re not what we’re used to seeing on middle class homes from television shows set in Queens in the early 2000s. They’re more ornate now and come in many different design patterns, including twining wrought iron to create vines, flowers, or delicate-looking swirls.  

But no matter how well-designed they become, they will still look out of place on a luxury home, and they will still not protect you and your family from determined intruders. 

Wrought Iron Failure Points

Wrought iron security doors and windows have three major failure points that are of the utmost importance to consider. Provided that security is so important to you (which we will assume based on the fact that you’re reading this), the wrought iron you want to put in place is there to protect you and your family. To that end, you need to understand the potential weak points.

  • The door comes off the hinges. If you have a wrought iron security door on the exterior of your home, it may deter petty criminals, but it will not stop someone who is deliberately trying to break into your home. It’s not that difficult to remove the door from its hinges and rip it out of the frame. Once the wrought iron door is gone, all they have to do is pick the lock of your front door, or kick it in.
  • The lock can be picked. Locks are more of a psychological salve in a similar way that you put a cute character bandaid onto a minor scrape that didn’t even break the toddler’s skin — they make us feel better. It may be disheartening to hear that most locks can be picked rather easily with either a pick set or a bump key, both of which can be purchased on the internet and aren’t difficult to figure out with practice. And of course, once the lock is picked, your home is compromised and your family is in danger.
  • The bars can be removed. The wrought iron security bars that go on windows can be removed easily enough with either a saw or a screwdriver (depending on how they’re installed). The biggest obstacle for an intruder would actually be the weight of the wrought iron, but with a partner in crime, this would be more manageable. 

The point is, a determined criminal will find their way through your wrought iron security doors and windows. In order to truly protect your home and your family, you must eliminate failure points — more on that later.

Feels Like a Prison Cell

Perhaps the most significant issue with wrought iron security windows is that they make you feel like you’re in a prison cell when you’re standing in your own home, just trying to look out the window and enjoy the view. Why in the world would you want your luxury home — your own little slice of paradise that you’ve poured your heart and soul into — to feel like a prison?

A photo of a security door made of glass and wood at the front entrance of a luxury home.

Luxury homes are meant to be stately and flawless. You’re paying too much money to compromise on the design aesthetic of your home, and we’re certain your architect and your interior designer wouldn’t want their hard work tainted by iron bars. 

You don’t have to make a choice here. You can get completely secure windows and doors without having to make compromises. You can have the security you require and you can also have the luxury home of your dreams.

A Better Alternative: Luxury Security Doors

We believe that the front door of your luxury home sets the tone for the whole space. In fact, the front door has been a symbol of wealth and power for centuries. You’ll see on government buildings that there are usually large double doors. The same goes for churches (especially cathedrals), and it’s not simply a matter of crowd control and safety — although that’s certainly part of it.

At FBS, we create custom security doors built with steel frames and finished in almost anything you can imagine. We solve all of the failure points of wrought iron security doors and improve upon their design limitations tenfold. 

Our locks are triple safe and cannot be picked (we know because we had a third generation locksmith try). 

Criminals will not be able to get our doors off their hinges. 

And as far as breaking it down? Well, the intruder is more likely to break a bone trying.

Custom to Fit Your Style

Our security doors can be done in a number of different models, including regular hinge doors, double doors, arched doors, and pivot doors. Furthermore, we can make french doors or sliding doors for your patio that are entirely secure. 

Custom finishes range from essential to extravagant, giving you the option of wood veneer, real hardwood, marble or Italian gres, glass, leather, or even precious stones. We’ll help you determine which coverings and style details will work best for your home’s location, as not all materials will work well in all climates.

A photo of an oversized security door made with a custom marble covering.

Structural and Technology Upgrades

You can also choose from a list of structural upgrades that include features like auto-closing hinges (so the door is never left ajar) and automatic locks (so the door can never be accidentally left unlocked). Furthermore, we can motorize your security doors so they open hands-free.

Pairing a motorized door with our state-of-the-art facial recognition software is one of the most luxurious and convenient ways to upgrade your luxury home. Imagine coming home after a long day with your hands full and your door just… opens for you. It scans your face, it knows who you are, and you didn’t have to lift a finger.

Facial recognition is by far the most secure method of identification because your face cannot be replicated. These scanners are accurate and fast. They will not mistake someone else for you, and they will not leave you standing outside while it figures out who you are.

Custom Security Windows from the Inside Out

We aren’t fans of the term “custom windows” because technically every window is custom. In order to create a window, someone has to measure the opening and then the window is made to fit exactly that frame. However, most businesses aren’t making custom windows in the same way we are.

Our windows are made to fit each homeowner’s needs. We make three types of windows: security, hurricane, and ballistic. In order to do this, we use various types of glass and polycarbonate to reinforce the window’s integrity. To that end, the size of the window is most important because it impacts the certification we can achieve.

For example, hurricane windows can be certified as such when made with a specific glass composition, special sealants, and proper drainage. The size of the window will affect the glass composition. 

We’ve written a complete guide to hurricane, security, and ballistic windows that should provide more detail and help you gain a better understanding of exactly how our windows are different from the cheap security window you’d buy at a big box store.

Our clients are sometimes surprised at the cost of our windows, but then again, they’re used to seeing prices for cheap windows made with aluminum. Our windows are built with steel frames (just like our doors) in order to ensure the safety of our clients — and steel will always be more expensive than aluminum because it’s heavier and higher quality.

A photo of a wall of windows overlooking a backyard with a pool.

When our clients ask us what we can do, the answer is simple: we can do whatever you want. It’s always a matter of need and cost — what level of security you need and whether or not you have a need for hurricane certification. 

Regardless of the answers, we can figure something out for you, and the finished product will be flawless. Your view will be unobstructed, you’ll feel safe in your home, and you won’t have to worry about any of the failure points that the wrought iron bars leave open. We’ll close every single one of them so you can rest easier at night.

Designing Your Luxury Security Doors and Windows

After we meet with a new client (or an existing client on a new property), we perform a comprehensive security assessment with our friends over at LionHeart International. This elite team of former military, police, and Secret Service agents will work with your existing security team to help identify weak spots, determine exit strategies during emergencies, and even assist with data protection. By partnering with these extraordinarily talented individuals, we’re able to provide peace of mind to our clients and their families.

Above all else, we value integrity. At no point will we try to sell you dozens of doors and insist that you must replace every single window in your home with a custom security window through FBS. It’s our top priority to make sure you’re getting the products and services that will help you the most. Our recommendations will be based upon your concerns, your unique security needs, and the anticipated threat level.

Our headquarters is based in Boca Raton, Florida, but our doors and windows are made in Italy and ship worldwide. No matter where your luxury home is located — even if it’s still under construction — we can deliver your custom security doors and windows straight to you. 

For our part, we won’t abandon you as soon as the design is finished and your custom security doors or windows are under production. We always have an experienced technician present at the time of installation to make sure that everything is done properly. If you’ve chosen facial recognition or any kind of automation, we’ll also show your house manager how it all works — but to be honest, our interfaces are so intuitive, you shouldn’t need any tutorials. If you’re ready to discuss your luxury home door or window needs, feel free to contact us today!

Why You (Probably) Don’t Need Ballistic Windows

Because the word “ballistic” is in our name, people often call us to inquire about turning their home into a bulletproof fortress. In times of uncertainty or high stress, people become more aware of inherent danger around them. (For the record, we can make your home bulletproof, if that’s what you want or need.)

The thing is, when people who are concerned about their safety — and more importantly, the safety of their family — hear the words “bulletproof windows,” they typically love the idea. Before they know any details or realize the architectural or financial implications, they want bulletproof windows. It sounds like ballistic windows will make your luxury home the safest place you could be — not even an AK-47 can break our top of the line windows. 

The question they don’t ask themselves (and as a result, we ask it for them) is whether or not they actually need bulletproof windows.

Let’s talk about what goes into ballistic window construction, how much they cost, the architectural tie in, and whether or not you actually need them. 

How Are Ballistic Windows Made?

One of the things we often have to clarify for our clients is that each type of window we create — hurricane, security, and ballistic — are different, and not necessarily designed or intended to serve any other purpose. 

For example, hurricane windows are designed to keep water out, stay intact under high wind pressure, and withstand a two-by-four (2×4) beam being launched at it a couple times. Obviously, this is to simulate hurricane conditions, which are not the same as the conditions created by bullets or people trying to break into your home.

The physical composition of hurricane windows differs from that of security windows, which differs from that of ballistic windows. Hurricane windows are made using heat-strengthened glass with a layer of PVB (polyvinyl butyral), or a combination of annealed and heat-strengthened glass. 

A photo of a glass door with security glass leading out into a spacious backyard.

Security windows are made with annealed glass and PVB. Our basic security windows start off at about 10 pounds per square foot and go up from there, depending on the thickness of the glass and any additional materials added. Enhanced security windows are heavier — about 14 pounds per square foot, and the top-end security windows are actually lighter, weighing about 9.2 pounds per square foot. 

The good news is that it’s at this top tier where ballistic protection begins because a layer of polycarbonate is added to the mix. This level of security window provides protection against small handguns (such as a 9mm). The bad news is that this window is significantly more expensive than our enhanced security window. 

From here, protection levels are typically about glass thickness. The polycarbonate layer doesn’t change much from, but the number of glass layers has to increase. With a combination of glass layers, PVB, and polycarbonate, we can make windows that stop rounds from large handguns as well as rifles.

However, the higher the caliber of weaponry you’d like protection against, the thicker and heavier the window gets, in part due to physical mass, and also because the frame has to be thicker to accommodate the weight. Some of our windows weigh as much as 20 pounds per square foot. (As a note to the interior designers, the frames will not affect your design because they can be covered in any way you wish.)

How Much Do Bulletproof Windows Cost?

Ballistic windows are — in a word — expensive. As we just discussed, there’s a lot that goes into creating a window that will stop a bullet, and the larger or faster the bullet, the more reinforcements are necessary. There will be layers of glass (with increasing thickness as the caliber of the weapon increases), and larger, thicker frames. 

Our bulletproof windows start off at about $480 per square foot. We’re fully aware that this is a lot of money, even by luxury home standards. However, if that’s the level of protection you and your family require, it will be worth every penny. 

Rest assured that our ballistic windows have been extensively tested and will do exactly what we say they will. But if you’re not certain you actually need this level of protection, we have options that will keep intruders out of your home at a more reasonable price. Step one is determining if you actually need bulletproof windows in your luxury home.

Are Ballistic Windows Right for Your Luxury Home?

Something you must consider when you’re choosing windows for your home is the level of danger you’re in. Some people have been threatened with physical violence and others work in very dangerous fields — perhaps those people are more concerned about bad guys with guns trying to shoot out their windows. It’s not unheard of, but it’s not as likely as every action movie would lead us to believe.

Most people are more concerned with someone breaking into their home to steal something, and a good portion of the time, this is how homeowners are injured during home invasions. What often happens is that people breaking into the home think the house is empty and then the homeowner surprises them, which can bring about a violent reaction, shooting if they have a gun, or swinging at them with a blunt object. 

A photo of the interior of a bedroom featuring large, elegant security windows.

But rarely is it the case that a person would shoot through the windows of someone’s home, even if they have malicious intent for the homeowner. People who are doing something illegal (especially when that illegal something is a felony), they want to stay under the radar. They want to get in and out without attracting necessary attention. It should go without saying that shooting out a window would draw attention.

First of all, gunfire is an alarming sound. People familiar with the sound might not flinch as badly, but it will still get their attention. People who aren’t familiar with it are likely to look around for the source of it. 

Second, if someone does shoot out a window and attempt to gain entry to the house in that manner, they’re now dealing with broken glass — sharp, jagged, broken glass that can cut them. Broken glass not only risks injury to the criminal, but increases the chances that they’ll leave behind DNA evidence that they were there. 

Furthermore, the more obvious damage done to the home, the more evidence they’re leaving behind, in general. All damage creates the potential for a mistake, which is often what leads to arrests.

There are exceptions, but we find that the vast majority of our clients don’t actually need ballistic windows. What they need are windows that will keep people out of their home.

Why Security Windows Are a Better Option

For most of our clients, security windows are more than sufficient for their needs. They’re looking to stop potential intruders or people with malicious intent approaching their homes. What’s most important in both of these scenarios is a strong lock and frame. 

As we already said, it’s unlikely that someone will try to break a window in order to get into your house. They’re looking for a quick and easy way in. They’ll check for unlocked doors or windows first. If that fails, they might try to pick a lock (it’s easier than you think) or simply pop the window and the frame right out. Again, this is easier than you might think — really, you just need a crowbar. Someone with experience breaking into people’s homes (especially if they’re motivated) would have little trouble accomplishing this task. 

Generally speaking — and especially for the more experienced home invaders — popping out a window is quieter than breaking the glass. And of course, they’re less likely to injure themselves. 

A photo of floor to ceiling sliding glass doors featuring security glass, leading out to a luxurious deck.

The most important thing to remember when choosing between security and ballistic protection in your windows is how credible, viable, and close the threats are. Are you, or a member of your family, being threatened currently, or have been threatened in the past? Have you, or a member of your family, previously survived a violent crime? Have people already tried to break into your home? If so, what was the method in which they tried to gain entry, and did that person have firearms on them?

If you have trouble sleeping and are looking for a better night’s rest, we can help you with that — but bulletproof windows might be more like crushing a spider with a flamethrower instead of your shoe. You may be able to accomplish your security and rest goals through a security door and security windows, which will start at a more reasonable price point. 

FBS security windows start off at about $306 per square foot — a substantial decrease from ballistic windows. While we typically steer our clients toward this level of security, it truly does depend on your own situation and requirements. We’ll work with your security team to determine what they feel is necessary (but more on that later). 

Security Windows and Alarm Systems

Something else to keep in mind when you’re choosing windows for your luxury home is how they interface with any alarm system you may have installed (or are planning to install). 

In many cases, alarm systems are triggered to go off when a window breaks, but as we’ve already discussed, that’s not any home invader’s first choice of entry. Oftentimes, the sensors that detect when the window is opened will only work with sliders that go up and down, as opposed to the French-style opening, which is how FBS windows are made.

Furthermore, the alarm is extremely unlikely to go off if the window is popped out. It all depends on how the system works, so it’s important that the homeowner understand what they’re buying before it’s installed.

While we’re not huge fans of alarm systems, we fully recognize that many people like having them — including our own clients. We’re not opposed to having cameras and alarms in place, but we want people to know what triggers the alarm and what does not. 

Strategic Window Replacement

The other important factor in deciding which windows to replace in a person’s luxury home are the locations of the openings. Clients often tell us that they want to upgrade their windows to ballistic or security, and assume they have to replace every single one. Depending on your home, you may not have to. 

Do you really need to install security windows on the third floor of your home when it would take a lot of effort and planning to break into the house that way? Again, people looking to gain entry to a home are likely looking for the path of least resistance — open windows, unlocked doors — and they’re very frequently on the first floor, or perhaps the second floor if the window is easily accessed via tree or a lower part of the roof. 

A nighttime photo of the exterior of a brightly lit luxury home with a large pool in the backyard.

When we interface with clients, we perform a comprehensive security assessment, which involves an analysis of home in which work is to be performed. We can help identify which entry points are the most vulnerable, and which ones should be the top priority for replacement. 

We value integrity and will not simply recommend you replace every single window and door in your home — that strategy doesn’t necessarily help you, and it certainly doesn’t help us. We will make recommendations based upon your concerns, your safety and security needs, and the threat level.

Despite our Boca Raton headquarters, our doors and windows are made in Italy and ship worldwide. No matter where your luxury home is located, we can deliver your custom security doors and windows straight to you. 

We’ll be present at the time of installation to make sure that everything is done properly and show your house manager how it all works — but our interfaces are so intuitive, you shouldn’t need any tutorials. If you’re ready to discuss your luxury home door or window needs, feel free to contact us today!

A photo of sliding glass doors that cover an entire wall leading out onto a covered patio.

Cost of Windows: Why Are They So Expensive?

We don’t look at windows as “windows,” per se. We look at them as glass doors. Windows are an opening in a home in the exact same way a door is — it’s a way for someone to enter or exit. In our eyes, the only differences between doors and windows are the dimensions of the opening (sometimes) and the materials used (again, sometimes).

However, we fully understand that our clients don’t necessarily see it that way. They see doors as entrance and exit points that can be designed and adorned in whatever way they want, and windows as a thing that shows them their spectacular view. Perhaps, also as a thing they can open to let a fresh breeze in. Therefore, they’re sometimes dismayed at how expensive our windows can be. 

We understand this frustration, which is why we wanted to delve a bit further into what exactly goes into the cost of a window. We try to be as transparent as possible (that’s why we offer a pricing list), but to help you fully grasp why security windows cost more at FBS than they do at a big box store, we’ve put together some important considerations. 

Major Factors in the Cost of Windows

Material Used

Window encasements are typically made of vinyl (plastic), aluminum, or steel. Of course, windows can also be made of wood, but that’s less common than it used to be, at least in part because the maintenance is a pain (the frames need to be sealed and re-glazed every few years to prevent rotting). Furthermore, the material simply can’t last as long. It will not stand up to hurricane-like conditions, and it certainly won’t stand up to a determined criminal with a crowbar. 

Vinyl is the cheapest material possible. Unsurprisingly, it’s also the weakest. It can be hurricane-certified, but it will not stand up to intruders or bullets.

A photo of the cross-section of a vinyl window to illustrate its construction.
A vinyl (plastic) window.

Both aluminum and steel are strong in their own right and both can be approved for various certifications (such as hurricanes and security), but there is a significant price difference between the two materials.

Most windows are made with aluminum frames exactly for this reason. Your typical, run-of-the-mill window companies use either vinyl or aluminum because it’s lighter (which architects love) and cheaper (which homeowners love). Homeowners don’t often care about their windows aside from being energy efficient, so they’re satisfied with a cheaper product as long as it meets their standards. 

A photo of a cross-section of an aluminum window to illustrate its construction.
An aluminum window.

But FBS isn’t a run-of-the-mill window company. As we’ve said before, we’re not a window (or door) company. We’re a security company that manufactures doors and windows. 

If all you’re looking for is a beautiful window that shows off your breathtaking view, aluminum might suit your purposes just fine. But if you’re worried about your safety — or the safety of your family — you really need a window made from steel. It’s the strongest, the heaviest, and the most durable. We use it because it’s the best way to keep you safe.

There are also circumstances in which special grades of stainless steel are necessary, such as in climates with severe weather conditions, like Caribbean islands. In order to withstand the hurricanes, window encasements need to be stainless steel. Of course, they can be painted any color you’d like, or covered with outdoor-appropriate materials, but we have to start with high quality metal. 

A photo of a cross-section of a steel window to illustrate its construction.
A steel window made by FBS.

Another positive aspect of steel windows is that the material itself is more durable than aluminum. Of course this means that the integrity of your window is higher, but it will also last longer.

The bottom line with steel is that it’s more difficult to work with and it’s heavy. For reference, a three foot-by-three foot steel window will weigh about 200 pounds. Of course it’s going to be expensive. But it’s also the best material available for security windows.

Both metals are low maintenance, and shouldn’t require too much attention once they’re installed. Additionally, they can be painted or covered with any outdoor-approved materials.  

Size

Obviously, the size of the window will play a significant part in the cost. The larger the window, the more materials will go into it, the more planning is involved to assure the window can pass whatever certifications are required (i.e. hurricane, security, ballistic), the heavier it will be, the more packaging it requires for shipping. 

While some companies charge the same amount for a window, regardless of size, we cannot make that assertion at FBS. Because all of our windows are custom-made from the inside out (glass composition, in particular), the amount of materials needed is rather important. 

Glass Composition

Another contributing factor to the cost of windows is the glass composition. Most window companies have a set series of offerings — usually a double pane and a triple pane variation, which affects energy efficiency and noise reduction. And while every window company will tell you they sell “custom windows,” they’re not making what we’re making.

In one sense, every window is custom because every window has to be made to fit exactly into a designated space. To some extent, there are standards at play, but not to the extent that American doors are made. What you won’t get with standard window companies is custom glass composition. 

Because we’re a security company, every door and window we make will be a security door or window. That’s where we start construction every single time — with security in mind. From there, we make adjustments according to what your unique needs. For example, if you live in a hurricane zone, we can create windows that are not only security windows, but are also hurricane-certified. If you have concerns about violent crime or have been physically threatened, we can create ballistic windows for you (that are also security windows, and could be hurricane-certified if necessary).

We do all of this by combining annealed, heat-strengthened, and/or tempered glass with PVB (polyvinyl butyral) or polycarbonate in order to fortify the window. Not every material is acceptable for every use-case, which is why we carefully discuss our clients’ needs prior to starting construction. 

Specifically, the way hurricane-certified windows behave when hit with flying objects is entirely different from the way security glass behaves when someone is hitting it with, say, a sledgehammer. (Check out our Burglary Testing video on the Windows page.)

Once we know what your concerns are — whether they’re man-made or nature-made — we can create a completely custom product that will solve those problems, protecting your family and your home at the same time.

A photo of the exterior of a white house with green ivy growing up the stucco.

Operability

Whether or not the window is fixed or operable also plays a role in price. Fixed windows are essentially just large panes of glass and are generally cheaper than their movable counterparts because there is less hardware and less work that goes into making sure the window is functional — because it doesn’t need to be. 

Operable windows require more steel to make the frame, as well as more time for construction and testing.

Installation

Assuming you’re not a window installation expert yourself, you’ll need to pay for someone else to install your gorgeous new windows. Depending on the company, this cost is either rolled into the cost of the entire window, or it’s kept as a separate charge that varies depending on how many windows are being installed and how many people the job will require.

Another factor into installation costs can be the shipping of the windows themselves. If the manufacturer is far from your luxury home location, you may be expected to pay for the transportation. However this practice is typically something you’ll find with cheaper windows. Higher end window manufacturers aren’t as likely to push this cost onto the consumer. It will either be included in the cost of the window, or shipping will be free because you’re already spending so much money.

At FBS, we roll the cost of installation into our overall price. The only other cost you’ll incur is the shipping, which (of course) varies according to size and weight. This is why we cannot include it in the overall price. 

The Average Cost of Windows

The cost of windows can vary widely depending on the factors discussed above. The lowest end of the price spectrum is about $200 — this is something you’d find at a big-box store, and is lower in quality than something you’d buy directly from a window manufacturer. 

Again, windows made with aluminum are cheaper and lighter, and run an average of about $800 to $1,200 a piece, depending on whether or not installation is included in that price. 

Of course, steel is more expensive than aluminum, both because of the material itself and the process involved in manipulating and molding it. Truthfully — and this is not an attempt to be evasive — it’s difficult to give accurate quotes on steel windows without having dimensions and glass composition requirements. What we can say with certainty is that steel windows are much more expensive than aluminum windows. 

A photo of a large living room with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a luxurious backyard and pool.

Whereas aluminum windows can be manufactured and sold for under $1,000, there is almost no way in which this can be the case for steel windows. Low quality versions of steel windows are sometimes sold through big box stores, but make no mistake that they are not the same product as a custom security window from a company like FBS. 

The windows you can purchase in stores will have much lower quality steel, in addition to cheap, generic glass. These will not be security windows, and buying the green film to put over them will never be the same quality as a custom-built security window. It’s better than nothing if security is your goal, but it’s certainly not the same.

Because we use the highest quality materials and custom make your windows from the inside out (without the ugly green film), our products start at a price point closer to $4,000. Of course, based on the size and glass composition requirements, the price can go up from there. 

FBS Quality Assurance

One of the most important things we do at the factory before sending your custom security doors and windows to their final destination — your gorgeous luxury home — is test them relentlessly. We install them into a temporary space in the factory and then test every single aspect of it. 

If it’s an operable door or window, we open and close it. And open and close it. And open and close it. If it has smart technology incorporated into it, we check every detail of its functionality. We test the locks, the sturdiness of the encasement, and regardless of its operability, we try to pop it out of the frame. We want to make sure that when the final product arrives at your home for installation that it’s perfect. 

Furthermore, our newly ordered security doors and windows come with our Platinum Level Service guarantee. For the first year of use, we’ll provide you with 24-hour on-call service. If you have any questions or concerns at any point, you’re welcome to call us and a qualified technician will answer, or otherwise call you back as soon as possible. 

Many times, we can fix technical problems over the phone. However, if that is impossible, or there is a hardware problem, we will send someone to resolve the issue (weather permitting) within 48 hours. This service also includes an annual maintenance check, during which we check for any damage, oil hinges, check any smart technology, replace batteries, and test all functionality. After the first year, you can renew this service guarantee for a fee. 

We pride ourselves on being able to create whatever yourself, your architect, or your interior designer can come up with. We’ve yet to be issued a challenge that we cannot meet and exceed. 

Despite our Boca Raton headquarters, our doors and windows are made in Italy and ship worldwide. No matter where your luxury home is located, we can deliver straight to you. If you’re ready to discuss your luxury home door or window needs, feel free to contact us today!

A photo of a gorgeous living room in a luxury home surrounded by security windows.

Comprehensive Security Service: Doors, Windows, and Planning

You’ve probably heard us say it dozens of times: we’re not a just door and window company — we’re a security company that provides security services by making really incredible doors and windows. 

Sure, we can make you a gorgeous, completely custom bedroom, fire, or front entry door, but no matter what we make for you or what coverings you choose, each and every one of them will be a high security door. We believe that your home should be a place where you can fully relax, and in order to do that, you have to believe that you are completely safe. 

That being said, we also feel it’s critical for your family to plan in the event of an emergency. While we’re unshakably confident in the quality of our doors and windows, sometimes there are disasters beyond our control (or yours). And in those cases, everyone needs to know where to go, what to do, and how to survive.

For all of those circumstances and more, we’re very proud to partner with LionHeart International Services Group. We’ll get into the details of how it all works and how we integrate his team into our process with clients. But first, let’s talk about Tim.

Meet Tim Miller, Retired Military, Former Secret Service and Homeland Security Agent

Tim Miller is the President and Founder of LionHeart. Once you understand his background, it will be easy to see why he felt compelled to form a company that provides comprehensive security services.

Miller started off his professional life in the military. He spent 25 years in the Marines — five years on active duty and then the last 20 years in the Reserves assigned to counterintelligence. When he was deployed on his required Reserve assignments, he worked in Force Protection — a division responsible for keeping Marines safe no matter where they are, or what situation they’re in. 

Quite literally, Miller was the disaster planner. He and his Force Protection team would look at a location and determine the most likely ways in which enemies could attack the troops. They’d study intelligence reports to see what information could give them insight as to possible plans of attack, identify vulnerable spots, and then do everything they could to keep their Marines safe. 

While he was serving in the Reserves, he was also a police officer. Eventually, he had the honor of serving as a Secret Service Agent for just over five years, coordinating all aspects of security for the President, Vice President, and multiple heads of state during his tenure working in the White House.

Suffice to say, Tim Miller is uniquely qualified to assess your own personal security and safety needs. If he could keep the President safe, he can keep you safe, too.A photo of the interior of a luxury home with glass security doors leading onto a spacious patio.

After the events of September 11, 2001, he moved into the newly formed Department of Homeland Security, where he worked in the terrorism division. And for his final seven years at Homeland, he served as the Director of Training. 

Before he retired, he began to look into violence (particularly, shootings) in houses of worship, as these instances were becoming increasingly common. You may remember that after 9/11, several mosques were attacked, and since then, we’ve seen attacks on synagogues and churches.

Miller has continued to do this type of work in “retirement” with LionHeart, and frequently works with religious institutions to figure out how to keep their parishioners safe. 

Miller describes places of worship as “soft targets” — meaning that no one would ever suspect to see violence in such a peaceful place. “As a trainer, I understood the need to prepare people — to help them learn how to respond in that type of situation, or how to protect themselves in an environment that is typically very friendly, warm, loving, accommodating,” Miller says.

So how do you do that?

Personal Protection Assessment by Security Architects

Miller and his colleagues began by putting together “baseline training,” which involves the same types of procedures he used in the Marines and the Secret Service: a physical security assessment, an executive protection plan, and a threat analysis.

How many exits are there, and where are they?

How big is the space?

What’s the layout?

How many people are expected to be there?

How are we going to get people to safety?

How can we buy time?

How likely is it that someone will target this person/place/institution?

These are all important questions Miller and his team address in every new location with every client, whether it’s a private citizen, a business, or a place of worship. This is where he starts with our clients as well. 

Interfacing with FBS Clients

Depending on what our clients’ security needs and concerns are, we’ll bring Tim and his team into the discussion so he can make his assessment as well. He’ll ask all of these questions, do a site evaluation, and help you plan for every type of emergency. 

The LionHeart team will also interface with existing security personnel, who are likely to know the ins and outs of the clients’ lives and be able to point out flaws in the system, or concerns that will be particularly important to the client. They’re not looking to usurp any existing precautions or plans, but rather fully integrate technology, doors, windows, and emergency planning. 

At its core, what LionHeart does for its clients is prepare them, and in that regard, Miller stresses the difference between law enforcement and security. “Law enforcement responds to something that’s happening — they try to mitigate it. They’re reactive. But security is about preventing something from happening. It’s proactive.” A photo of the interior of the front entrance to a luxury home, complete with a double security door and security windows.

He tells a story about what a “good” day in the Secret Service was like: “Air Force One leaving.” It sounds like a joke about getting your boss off your back, but it’s not. If Air Force One successfully takes off and moves on to the next location, “that tells you the President had a good day, did everything he was supposed to do, and everything went well.” And for Miller, this is still the goal.

“That’s what we want for everybody that we serve at LionHeart. We want to make sure that we can stop things from happening, not wait for it to happen and try to clean up the mess. We like to equip and empower our clients to own their own security — especially women.”

Training for the Worst-Case Scenario 

When Miller and his team meet with a new client, their first order of business is to do a comprehensive security and personal protection assessment. They want to know what the client is already doing to protect themselves and their families, and what their major security concerns are. 

Have they already been personally threatened or survived violent incidents?

Are they consistently in the public eye?

If there is an intruder in the house, where should they go?

What’s the most likely way someone will break into their house?

Do they have a safe room?

However, Miller’s team isn’t only concerned about physical security and protection. When they say a “comprehensive” assessment, they mean it. As Miller puts it: “You wouldn’t go to battle with just one part of the plan.” They’re also looking for possible accidents and external forces entirely out of their control — families need to plan for all of it. 

What kind of extreme weather conditions might they encounter at home? (i.e. hurricanes, tornados)

What happens in the event of a fire?

Every situation, every family, every home is different, and therefore, the recommendations LionHeart gives to each client are different.

Not every family needs every possible security feature. Some of them need a safe room to go to in the event of an emergency. Others need to know what they can do if a hurricane or tornado is in their area. And really, all of them need to know what to do in the event of a fire.

A photo of a custom security door featuring a large letter “S” in stainless steel.

Something LionHeart assesses with nearly all of their clients is something they call “human performance.” Miller describes it as “how your mind and body will respond in a crisis” no matter the circumstances. You’re probably familiar with the fight-or-flight response, but there’s also a third reaction: you could freeze.

“We know definitively that training affects which category you’ll fall into,” Miller says. Perhaps your instincts tell you to run, but maybe that’s not always the best idea. He brings up the case of a tornado — if there’s a tornado coming and your first instinct is to run, that might not work out for you (can you really outrun a tornado?). But if you have a suitable shelter, you should be going there instead of running. 

In the case of an active shooter, if your instinct is to freeze, you’re far less likely to survive. You’re a sitting duck.

But if you have personal protection training in either of these situations, it will kick in. You’ll seek shelter in the event of a tornado. You’ll run (or perhaps hide, depending on the circumstances) in an active shooter situation. 

Miller says that the vast majority — he’d estimate 90% — of the skills we need in a crisis are “mental skills.” And therefore, training is your best option.

Corporate Security Protection

Something all of LionHeart’s corporate clients go through these days is active shooter training. Miller says it’s true that in today’s world, businesses do need to do that type of training. Employees need a coordinated plan in order to manage the chaos and save as many lives as possible.

Miller brings up access control limitations — not every employee needs to be able to go everywhere, and you certainly don’t want just anyone to be able to walk in off the street and into your office. Businesses also need security alarms and cameras and panic buttons. One of the questions he asks when doing a corporate assessment is whether or not they have a room that can be made into a safe room (or perhaps they already have a safe room).

But none of that technology matters if the employees don’t know what to do in the event of an emergency. “Emergency planning is huge — not just for active violence, which is really a very small part of what we do — but more importantly, for the common things like fire, weather, even domestic issues, and all kinds of other things,” Miller says. 

A photo of the conference room at FBS headquarters.

“And then you also need continuity of operations planning. What do you do if a tornado strikes your building? Where do you go? How do you keep the business up and running? What do you do about threats that the company is getting? Or executives are getting? Many companies need help with processing those types of threats.” 

Miller and his team then look at each situation, each person involved, and complete the same assessment and evaluation we’ve already described: physical security assessment, executive protection, and threat analysis. 

If the company is big enough, or the executives are high profile enough, they might require personal physical protection (like bodyguards). This is also a time that they’d assess their personal residences because, as Miller says, “it’s so simple to get people’s home addresses.”

Some executives believe that everything at home is fine — that they aren’t really being threatened, but are glad to have the consultation. Others want everything: cameras, alarms, security doors and windows, panic rooms, etc. Again, every situation, every family, and every home is different. Much like what we do at FBS, everything LionHeart does is completely custom to each client.

Digital Data Protection

It’s also crucial that corporations are learning how to properly protect their data. It seems like there’s a new data breach every month or so (at least). Hackers will always try to get past firewalls and every possible security measure you put in place, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have the best data security possible — not just for customer data, but for trade secrets and valuable company intel. 

For example, if Apple is going to launch a new iPhone in September, they’ll want to keep as much of that design under wraps as humanly possible. There are always rumors, but Apple will want that keynote address to be impactful. As such, they’ll protect those sketches, mockups, and plans with anything and everything they can. 

This is something LionHeart recommends to all their corporate clients. You really can’t be too safe with your data. 

Miller says that every organization in the country needs all of these elements incorporated into a comprehensive security plan. 

Comprehensive Security Service

To help provide the best personal and corporate security services possible, he’s put together a team of former FBI and Secret Service Agents, military personnel, and state and local law enforcement officers. You can read about a few of them on their website, such as former FBI agent Mark Lundgren, war correspondent Chuck Holton, and former Secret Service Agent Miles Brey. Additionally, there are quite a few more who come in as needed — all of whom are uniquely qualified to teach people how to own their own security.

“I’ve gone from protecting Presidents to protecting people — and that’s what we’re about,” Miller says. “We don’t operate in fear. We operate in wisdom and preparation. We’re not going to go into a training to scare everybody to death — we’re going to go in and equip them so they can protect themselves and others in a crisis.”A photo of a custom security door made of wood veneer and glass on a luxury home.

Miller and the rest of his team at LionHeart understand that there are many pieces of the puzzle in keeping people safe — security doors, security windows, Ballisticrete, alarms and cameras, and of course a clear plan. All of those things are fine on their own (although some are more effective than others), but together, they make a comprehensive security plan. 

Together, they can provide the most important thing you need in the event of an active shooter or home invasion situation — and that’s time.

“If we have time, the police can come. If we have time, clients can get to a safe room. If we have time, perhaps they can prepare their own defense. But none of that happens if we don’t have a clear plan so everyone knows what to do and they can do it quickly.” Once the police arrive, they’ll handle everything. But until they get there, you need to be prepared.

Miller is adamant that what will save your life in the event of an emergency is planning and the preparation. He’s literally made a career out of it. He says that he’s already protected the number-one-A-list celebrity — the President — so he’s sure he can handle whatever people throw at him.

The last piece of advice Miller has for everyone — absolutely everyone — is to keep your phone on you. He acknowledges that women have more difficulty in this arena (given the lack of pockets), but that it’s critical for people to be able to communicate with emergency dispatchers. He points out that even a smartwatch is a good backup plan.

We’re thrilled to be partnering with Miller and the rest of his LionHeart team. We believe that their philosophy of preparedness and owning your own security is the final piece of the security puzzle that will keep our clients even safer.

A photo of a large living room with plush couches in a luxury home.

Biometrics and Security: How to Keep Your Home Completely Safe

Biometric security is an increasingly common topic among our clients. After many years on the market (and now, in our smartphones), facial recognition and fingerprint scans are becoming more mainstream. It suddenly doesn’t seem completely out of the question for us to have biometric screening on our doors. 

And trust us — it’s entirely possible and incredibly luxurious.

At FBS, we’ve been using biometrics with security for quite some time because it’s undoubtedly the most secure way of protecting your home from unauthorized visitors and potential intruders. Biometric security takes away many of the failure points of typical locks: there’s no key, no one can steal your passcode, and the lock can’t be tampered with.

Here’s how we incorporate biometric screening with our high security doors to ensure your luxury home is completely safe. 

What is Biometric Screening?

Biometric screening refers to any kind of test that uses unique biological markers as a way of passing or failing subjects. You see this kind of thing in movies all the time — James Bond walks up to a door, a little laser moves over his eyeball, and the door opens for him. 

That little laser is a retina scanner that is confirming 007 is indeed who he says he is (whether he’s Daniel Craig or Sean Connery — the best Bonds) and that he is allowed to access whatever incredible spy gadgets are behind that door. (We’re always hoping for the Aston Martin.)

Biometric screening can come in many forms, but is most often seen in facial recognition and fingerprint scans. However, in high tech or very sensitive security cases (like government and military work), we sometimes see retinal scans being used. 

A screenshot of FBS facial recognition software positively identifying a resident and allowing her access.

To some extent, we have biometric screening in our everyday lives — our smartphones have this type of software built in. We scan our fingers from a bunch of different angles to make it easier to unlock our phones. The newest smartphones actually have facial recognition built in because they’ve gotten rid of the home button to increase screen real estate.

In our everyday lives, this type of biometric screening is relatively unsecure. The more mass-marketed security technology is, the less accurate it is. Your phone’s home button takes multiple impressions of your fingerprint to make sure it gets a picture clear enough to open your phone more often than not. 

If it were too secure, you’d be annoyed that your phone was never opening when you touched the home screen. In this case, the phone manufacturer must choose between convenience and security, and they’re going to choose convenience the vast majority of the time. 

If you want something incredibly secure, it’s going to “work” less often, meaning that you’d have to have your finger in the exact right position every single time you want to open your phone — otherwise, your phone would not unlock. 

In our everyday lives, our security is taking a back seat to convenience. But our clients can’t afford to ease up on their security — their lives (or their families’ lives) will be put at risk if they choose convenience. Therefore, we focus on having tight security with the added convenience they’re seeking.

How Biometrics and Security Work Together

As you’ve surely guessed by now, biometrics and security work hand-in-hand for a very simple, and effective reason: when they’re done well, they’re very difficult to trick or outsmart. 

Generally speaking, the door locks you buy at big box stores are pretty awful in terms of security. They’re only a deterrent if the potential intruder is choosing targets at random — if they’re actually targeting you, it won’t stop them at all.

Anyone who is determined enough can steal and replicate a regular house key. You could put a keypad on the door instead, but key codes aren’t too difficult to crack. And of course, you can learn how to pick a lock on the internet. 

Of course, our door locks are not like the normal locks you’d find at the store — they require multiple turns, rather than one or two, and you cannot duplicate the key. In fact, the security level is so high, it actually slows our clients down when they’re trying to get in the house. This is only one of the reasons we love biometric locks.

Not only is it faster than turning a key multiple times, but in order to get through a biometric screening, you have to physically be present. Your finger, your face, your retina has to be physically in front of that biometric scanner in order for that door to open.

A photo of facial recognition software at work, mapping out someone’s head on a screen.

Quite obviously, this is the most crucial and important benefit of incorporating biometric screening into your security systems. 

If you, yourself have to be present in order to open a door, you can be completely assured that no one is getting into your home without your knowledge. You have to be there. It’s the most secure way to keep our home and family completely safe. It’s not foolproof, but it’s certainly the best option available.

FBS Biometric Security System Offerings

While we primarily create completely custom security doors and windows for our clients, we’re not a door and window company. We’re a security company. Our primary concern with every one of our clients is to make sure that they and their families are completely protected in the event of an unwanted visitor or a would-be intruder. 

The products and technology we use in order to accomplish our goals — which is to say: your security goals — just happen to be mostly doors and windows. (We also use hardening technology that goes on your walls, but that’s a topic for a different day.)

Because the majority of intruders will start at your doors (oftentimes, the front door), we have incorporated biometric security into our motorized locks and openers, ensuring that no one is getting in that you haven’t already authorized.

Fingerprint Scanners

One of the simplest biometric security measures we have at FBS is a fingerprint scanner. As you’d expect, it’s a small panel with a laser that reads your fingerprint. If the fingerprint matches, the door will open for you. If it doesn’t — it simply won’t.

Remember what we mentioned earlier about the relationship between security and convenience being inversely proportional? Well, our fingerprint scanners are pretty good, if we do say so ourselves, which actually causes our clients to get frustrated with the scanners sometimes.

Your finger needs to be perfectly placed on the scanner in order for the door to open, and if your skin is too hot or too cold, the scanner can’t read it. Additionally, there is about 12% of the population who simply doesn’t have fingerprints that scanners can read.

And from a convenience standpoint, they’re not hands-free, so you have to stop and pause to open the door. If you’re carrying a lot of stuff, you have to put something down, or balance your load on your knee so you can free your hand. 

We’re happy to install fingerprint scanners for you, but we much prefer facial recognition.

A screenshot of the front entrance camera through the FBS Sanctuary Management System.

Facial Recognition

The most accurate and secure form of biometric security we have at FBS is facial recognition. Aside from a retinal scan, you can’t really get any more secure than this. And of course, the best facial recognition is 3D (2D facial recognition can sometimes be tricked by a photograph). 

3D facial recognition operates using infrared technology, which means it struggles to work in the daylight — traditionally, it’s needed darkness in order to properly read your face. Thanks to new technology that allows 3D cameras to see your face in the daylight, that limitation is now a concern of the past. 

All of this is to say that our facial recognition software is accurate to the five-thousandths of one percent. Make no mistake that your face has to open that door. 

We’ve worked tirelessly to make sure that our facial recognition software is accurate, convenient, and fast because that’s what our clients deserve.

Again, biometric screenings are the most secure methods of locking down your home, but facial recognition is particularly safe because it’s the most difficult to fake. Ignore all the science-fiction spy movies you’ve seen where people wear masks and fool facial recognition scanners — it’s not that easy in real life.

Regardless of what Face/Off or Mission Impossible have tried to teach us, the bone structure around your eyes doesn’t change as you age. From adolescence through adulthood, no matter how much weight you gain or lose, your eye sockets will remain the same. Even with extensive plastic surgery, this basic structure is difficult to change. 

Hidden Compartments

One of the more popular features we can incorporate into our high security doors is a hidden compartment (or two, or three). Without getting into the details or showing the entire world exactly what we can do here, we can say that it’s entirely possible to have panels in your door that are completely invisible to the naked eye. 

Some of our clients have requested hidden compartments for keeping precious possessions safe, such as irreplaceable family jewelry, engagement rings, and heirloom watches. Others prefer to use these compartments for important documents like wills, life insurance paperwork, or safety deposit box information.

And others feel safest knowing that they have a concealed weapon handy in the event of a life-threatening emergency, so we’ve created custom hidden compartments that can hold small handguns. 

Now, the trick with biometric security and hidden compartments is that you don’t want to alert anyone’s attention to the fact that anything is amiss with your door. For this reason, some clients choose to use our Invisiprox™ tags to open them, which means the tag would have to be placed at a specific point on the door in order to make the compartment open.  

All of our facial recognition units also have a keypad, which can be easily used to open the hidden compartment in your door. No one would ever suspect the keypad would be used to open anything other than the door, whereas installing an extra fingerprint scanner or separate keypad would alert people to something hidden. This allows you to hide your most precious belongings in plain sight. 

A photo of a security keypad used as part of FBS facial recognition panels.

Biometric Security in Our Sanctuary™ System

Another benefit of biometric security in your home is that it allows you to control who exactly is entering. For example, if your assistant gets caught at an appointment and can’t drop off the wardrobe you need for your next important interview, he or she can’t ask someone else to take the clothes over to your house and leave them in your hall closet. The assistant is the only one who can do that errand.

Furthermore, when biometric screenings are incorporated into our Sanctuary™ Management System, you can program allowances for each person who may need to gain access to your home. In this case, let’s use the example of your housekeeper. 

Let’s say you have one high security door at your front entrance and another for your bedroom. Your housekeeper comes on Tuesdays and Fridays, but you don’t need or want her to check on your bedroom more than once per week. 

With either the fingerprint or the facial recognition panel, you can set the parameters so that your housekeeper can enter the house at her regularly scheduled time (perhaps between 10:00am and 12:00noon on Tuesdays and Fridays). However, you can restrict access to your bedroom to Tuesdays during that same time frame so she can get the trash out before rubbish collection on Wednesdays. 

Alternatively, you can choose to not allow anyone entry after a certain time of day — not even you. This could prevent people from trying to trick your facial recognition systems with a photo of your face. (This is why we recommend a keypad as a second qualifier if you choose a 2D camera.)

And on a fun side note, our Sanctuary™ Management System can work with your home automation program so you can see the status of any of your doors from one place. Our system can send necessary information to your smart home so it knows you are home, specifically, so it puts the shades to the exact height you like them, the air conditioning to that exact right temperature, and turns on your favorite playlist. 

We like to say that we can make your smart home brilliant.

Perfecting the Art of Biometric Security

We don’t mean to brag, but we’re very skilled at integrating biometrics with security systems. We’ve been doing it for many years, and we’re constantly striving to make the best possible security doors and windows for our clients.

In current times, it’s nearly impossible to get any privacy — paparazzi are following celebrities around, fans are getting closer and closer to private residences and taking pictures on their smartphones, and the vast reach of the internet makes it difficult to conceal our movements. You have enough to worry about when you’re out in public. We want to make sure that when you’re at home, you have a fortified Sanctuary™ where you can fully relax and unwind — and biometric security is the best way to do that.

If you’re interested in learning more about our fully customizable high security doors and windows for your luxury home, give us a call. We’d love to talk to you about your security concerns and the design plans for your home so we can create a truly unique product for you. In the meantime, feel free to check out our common questions page and client testimonials to see what others are saying about our work. 

And of course, if you’re in the area, we’d love for you to make an appointment to visit our showroom, but even if you’re not, we make house calls and we ship worldwide.

We look forward to hearing from you!

A photo of two arched fixed hurricane windows overlooking a sunny back

How Security Glass, Hurricane Glass, and Ballistic Glass Differ

When we talk to potential clients, our primary concern is that they’re getting a door or window that addresses their major concerns, whether that be security, hurricanes, or classic beauty. The reason we need to know is because it will affect the product we make for them. 

Every single door and window we make is custom-made for each customer and their needs. Someone who lives outside the spotlight in South Florida might need hurricane windows and has no use for ballistic glass. But someone who has been physically threatened might desperately need that extra layer of security.

Security glass differs from hurricane glass, which differs from ballistic glass. Quite literally, their physical makeup is different. Our clients may not notice the difference when they look at (or out of) the window, but they’re all different because they have different purposes. 

Hurricane glass, security glass, and ballistic glass are all very effective for their intended purposes, but they’re not often made to be multipurpose in the way that we can at FBS. It’s exceedingly rare to find a company that can do all of these things — and we’ll explain why. 

Here’s how security glass, hurricane glass, and ballistic glass differ, and why the differences are so important. 

3 Types of Glass

To understand what makes security glass differ from hurricane glass and ballistic glass, you first need to know that there are three different types of glass, in general. The differences lie in the way they’re made, and how they break. The three types are annealed, heat-strengthened, and tempered. 

A photo of hurricane windows installed in a luxury home master bedroom.

Annealed

Annealed glass is the softest type of glass (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing — we’ll explain why later) and it’s also the cheapest because it’s the easiest to make and manipulate into the necessary shape. 

The process by which annealed glass is made is simply melting down sand and forming it into a shape. (If you didn’t already know: glass is just sand in liquid form.) You can buy it in large sheets and cut it down to the size you need it to be.

In terms of strength, annealed glass is the “weakest” type of glass, in large part because it doesn’t go through all of the strengthening processes that heat-strengthened or tempered glass goes through. When it breaks, it breaks into large pieces. 

Older windows in homes were made from single-pane annealed glass. In terms of energy efficiency, they were pretty terrible. If you have any experience with these, you might also have experience putting plastic over them in the winter to keep the cold out. 

Annealed glass has come a long way in terms of quality, and most new windows for houses aren’t single-pane any longer — even the cheapest windows are double-pane with a gap in between for energy efficiency and noise reduction. Furthermore, the installation practices lend themselves to these goals as well. 

Heat-strengthened

Heat-strengthened glass is basically what it sounds like — it’s glass that is strengthened by a heating process. In fact, the glass is heated and cooled, and then heated and cooled again (twice through is typical). This process makes a glass product that is two times as hard and as strong as annealed glass. 

Because there’s more processing involved, heat-strengthened glass is more expensive to both manufacture and purchase. Once heat-strengthened glass has been formed and molded into its final shape and size, it cannot be cut or drilled, as it will simply break. When it breaks, the pieces are much smaller than annealed glass. 

It’s important to note that heat-strengthened glass is not safety glass, but because it’s stronger than annealed glass, it’s often used for general glazing, and is good in situations where more intense wind pressure and/or heat are likely. 

Tempered

Tempered glass is the strongest of all types of glass. It’s also strengthened through the same process by which heat-strengthened glass is, but it goes through the heating and cooling cycle more times. The end result is a product that is four times as strong as annealed glass.

This type of glass is very common — it’s in every single vehicle that is manufactured, it’s used in ovens, stoves, and any other appliance that gets extremely hot, it’s typically used for shower doors, it’s what your smartphone and tablet screens are made of, and it’s even what the hard protective covers you place over those screens are made out of. 

Tempered glass is also known as safety glass, because when it breaks, it shatters into many very small pieces, making the glass far less dangerous. While shattered glass can get stuck in your skin, it won’t slice you open the way annealed glass will. 

As you might expect, it’s also more expensive because of the lengthier strengthening process and difficulty in creating it. And of course, like heat-strengthened glass, it’s always custom made because it cannot be cut or altered once manufacturing is complete — it will shatter if you try (because that’s the point).

A photo of a luxury home with high security windows installed.

How These Types of Glass are Used in Security, Hurricane, and Ballistic Windows

Now that you understand the differences between these types of glass, let’s discuss how we utilize all three of them to accomplish different goals, whether that’s to protect your loved ones from intruders, hurricanes, or bullets.  

Hurricane Glass

Hurricane glass is made one of two ways: 

  1. Using two pieces of heat-strengthened glass with a layer of PVB (polyvinyl butyral) in the middle or, 
  2. Using one layer of annealed glass with one layer of heat-strengthened glass (still with the PVB in the middle).

This type of window is meant to withstand intense air and water pressure, as well as random flying objects (bikes, boards, perhaps a grill). To test these occurrences, trained professionals hit windows (and doors, for that matter) with sustained simulated winds, water, and then finally hit them with a two-by-four (2×4) in one or two randomly chosen spots, depending on the size.

For the water test, the seals are important. Anyone who lives near bodies of water knows that the water will always win, and will seep into even the smallest cracks, so having proper caulking and seals on the frame are paramount. 

For the air and missile test (the 2×4), the window must be able to stay in one piece — it can crack and splinter, but it cannot break apart. And as stated above, we know now that annealed glass will crack into large shards and both heat-strengthened and tempered glass will shatter. This is where the layer of PVB comes into play.

PVB is made of plastic (hence, “poly”) and bonds very well to glass, but the most important property of PVB is that, when the glass shatters, it actually adheres to the PVB. This is what makes “safety glass” a thing — it keeps the broken glass more contained. 

Security Glass

Security glass must have an entirely different set of properties because the purpose is entirely different. People seeking out security windows aren’t concerned about gale-force winds or water pelting the sides of their home for hours on end. 

No, they’re concerned about brute force. They’re concerned about people who have a personal vendetta or obsession with them repeatedly attacking the same spot on a window until it breaks, whether that’s with a hammer, an axe, or a drill. And for that, we need a different type of glass.

For security glass, we want flex in the glass. Think about how you’d try to catch an egg. If someone throws an egg to you, your arm and hand will instinctively follow the trajectory of the egg in order to cushion the landing. If you don’t do that, or try to catch the egg in a box, it will shatter. 

This is the exact same philosophy that is used in body armor. It’s not just steel plates in there — it’s actually layer upon layer of netting. You want to slow down the trajectory of the bullet or the shrapnel as opposed to have it bounce off a piece of steel. This is the exact same reason we want flex in the glass.

A close-up photo of an FBS high security window with a wood finish.

Flex allows the glass to stretch as opposed to break, because once the glass has broken, the intruder is in the house. Therefore, for security windows, annealed glass is preferred. However, we recognize that there are different layers of necessary security, so we make three different levels of security glass.

Basic Security Windows

Our basic security windows are typically made from at least two pieces of annealed glass with a layer of PVB in the middle. When placed in operable security windows and smaller fixed windows, this type of glass will also pass a hurricane certification test, so if you’re looking for hurricane windows, this is an easy upgrade for you. 

For energy efficiency, we can also build a security window that has two layers of glass with PVB on the inside, and then a gap which is filled with gas. The other side of the window is the same makeup (another layer of PVB and two layers of glass) but is thinner. These are also called “insulated windows”. 

For construction purposes, these types of windows are 10 pounds per square foot. They’re heavy, but not the heaviest window we make. 

Enhanced Security Windows

The next step up for security windows is our enhanced security glass, which is largely the same makeup (annealed glass with PVB in the middle), but the glass we use is thicker. Because the panes are thicker, there is less flex in the glass.

This type of glass is the entry level for large fixed windows because it accomplishes two things: it increases the burglary level on the window, and it will also pass hurricane certification. (Again, this is only on large fixed windows.)

The weight also goes up for this level of security, to 14 pounds per square foot, and requires a bigger frame. It’s a significant weight difference, but not a significant price difference, so if you’re concerned about the burglary level and you don’t need the window to be operable, it’s completely worth it.

Top-End Security Windows

Our highest end security windows start off the same way as the other levels: two pieces of annealed glass with a layer of PVB. However, with this security window, we’re adding an air gap and a layer of polycarbonate in between the outside layers of glass and PVB.

The polycarbonate layer is where the bulletproofing comes in for ballistic windows. This window will stand up to all small handguns (such as a 9mm) and is the highest level of burglary and anti-fraction. It will also pass any hurricane certification test.

The good news about this type of security glass is that it’s lighter — it’s only 9.2 pounds per square foot. The less-good news is that it’s much more expensive than our enhanced security windows. However, if the cost isn’t an issue and this is what you need, then we can do it for you.

Ballistic Glass

As far as ballistic glass is concerned, we’ve already covered how they’re made — it’s the polycarbonate layer and the air gap in the middle with PVB and annealed glass on either side. The major difference among levels of ballistic glass then becomes the thickness of it.

Within our top-end security windows, we have a couple additional levels of ballistic properties we can account for, including large handguns and rifles. In order to do so, we increase the thickness of the layers, which of course increases the weight. At its highest, our ballistic glass is 20 pounds per square foot. 

A close-up photo of an FBS high security window sample in white.

Again, this is perhaps more than what the average person is looking for in security glass, but if you need this kind of protection, it’s definitely possible. 

The other good news about ballistic windows is that they’re often able to pass the hurricane certification test by the simple nature of how thick the glass is. The larger area of concern will be the waterproofing, but we can handle that.  

How We Create Custom Windows

When we tell potential clients that we create custom windows, they don’t seem impressed, which is understandable at first — every single window in every single home is custom made. What they don’t realize until we explain it to them is that our windows are custom made down to the very last detail, including the thickness of the glass, the type of glass(es) used, the number of layers, and the size. 

Any window company can make you a “custom sized” window, but not many others are making you custom windows for your exact use-case. FBS can — and we’re very good at it. 

How we create the physical structure of the window is completely dependent upon the clients’ needs and wishes. This level of customization is unheard of in windows — most companies choose between aesthetics and security, but we refuse to compromise. You shouldn’t have to choose.

This is precisely what makes FBS windows so special.

If you’re ready to talk about the custom windows you’d like in your luxury home — whether they’re hurricane, security, or ballistic (or all of the above), give us a call today. We’ll build a completely bespoke product for you that perfectly suits your needs and looks gorgeous in your luxury home. 

In the meantime, feel free to check out the wealth of information we have on our website, from product videos to articles to client testimonials

We hope to hear from you soon!