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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!  

A photo of a beautiful high security glass door leading out to an elegant back patio.

Let Us Show You How Easy it is to Pick a Lock

Every doorknob comes with a built-in lock. Exterior doors typically also come with a deadbolt. Most apartments have a chain on the entry door as well. 

This is what the average person is using to keep intruders out — a handle, a deadbolt, and maybe a chain. And perhaps that keeps people feeling safe enough on a normal day. After all, many intruders are looking for an easy way into a house, so if the door is locked, they’ll move on. Right?

Sure. But not all of them.

A quick online search will show you how simple it is to pick or bump a lock. There are plenty of YouTube videos that will show you exactly how to do it. 

And of course, we’ve seen James Bond and bad guys in movies pick locks with paper clips, bobby pins, credit cards, and nearly anything else they can find lying on the ground. But is it actually easy? James Bond is a trained spy — could anyone learn how to pick a lock?

The short answer is yes. The average lock on a household door is barely more than a deterrent. 

To get more information, we got two of our favorite lock experts together: Jon Douglas Rainey (It Takes a Thief) and third-generation locksmith Anthony Hilt, owner of Florida-based Lockman Security. They were both generous enough to take time out of their busy weeks to talk to us about security, lock-picking, lock bumping (including how disturbingly easy it is), and what you can do to make your home safer.

How to Pick a Door Lock

One of the more surreal experiences we’ve had was watching Anthony pick (and also bump) a lock right before our eyes. We’re a security company who works tirelessly to make sure our clients feel safe and secure at home, and we know that regular doors and windows just won’t keep out determined intruders. But to watch someone get through a locked door that quickly and that easily was disconcerting.

It turns out, we’re not alone in that. Anthony told us that his wife has made him install high-security locks on every house they’ve ever lived in for that very reason — she watched him pick a lock one day and it terrified her.

Many years ago, they went over to her grandmother’s house while she was out of town — your typical pick up the mail and water the plants kind of scenario. But when they got there, his wife realized she’d forgotten the key to the house. Of course, Anthony figured he could pick it. And he did — in less than 30 seconds. 

There are two basic techniques that people can learn to pick a lock. Both are easy enough to find online, but one requires far less skill than the other: lock bumping and lock picking.

Lock Bumping with a Bump Key

Anthony told us that before the recession in 2008, someone published some how-to videos on YouTube about lock bumping. This was back when he was selling Medeco high security locks directly for the company — a product he still sells now in his store because he believes in them so highly. “We couldn’t keep Medeco locks on the shelves after that,” he said. “Everybody suddenly wanted those locks.”

How lock bumping works is that a special key (a bump key) is cut to the deepest cuts of a possible key and then the key is “bumped” into the cylinder of the lock, nudging the pins into place on the key until they’re all settled properly and the key can turn in the lock. 

Now, you can use basically anything for this process. The bump key itself needs to be purchased, but they’re readily available online. Then the intruder can use almost anything to simply bump the key into place — the handle of a screwdriver, a bump hammer, or a rubber mallet, for example. Some prefer to use a rubber mallet or a bump hammer because they’re quieter than a screwdriver. (It only took Anthony five hits with a bump hammer to get the door open.)

A close-up photo of a glass door with a high security lock installed.

But regardless, the noise it makes isn’t anything that would alert a neighbor to anything out of the ordinary. They might think someone is hammering something, driving a stake into the ground, or gardening. It’s not the type of sound that would even catch someone’s ear as being out of place. 

And as Jon points out in the video — even if a police officer pulls someone over, they’d never see a key and a screwdriver and think that their plan was lock bumping. The items themselves seem innocuous. 

Lock Picking with a Pick Set

The other way to open a locked door is with a pick set, but Anthony admits that this method is more of an art form and takes much longer to master. You’ve seen it in movies though — spies and bad guys with a couple small tools that they insert into locks and somehow open the door. Anthony and his technicians all know how to pick locks with pick sets, and they do so daily (not illegally, of course — typically, to get into customer’s homes when they’ve locked themselves out). 

Pick sets are harder to come by. You can’t just buy them anywhere. But experienced criminals who have been able to practice enough will be able to open just about any common household lock. 

As you can hear in the video, picking a lock with these tools is incredibly quiet — you might not even be able to hear someone picking the lock on your front door when you’re inside the house. 

Why Picking a Lock is Easy

Like every other security measure, the more widely available and mass produced it is, the less secure it is. In order to mass produce anything, you need to standardize it — that’s just simple economics. You can create more of a thing if you create a standard process and a piece of machinery that makes it. 

This is a cornerstone of manufacturing that dates all the way back to the industrial revolution. By building a machine that pressed and stamped metal into a specific shape, they were able to produce a much higher volume than if a human were doing the stamping and pressing themselves. It was (and still is) cheaper and faster.

In order to standardize a product like a door lock, you’re literally limiting the number of key combinations that are possible to unlock it, which makes it easier to open. 

A close-up photo of a steel security door finished in hand-stitched Italian leather featuring a keypad lock.

As Anthony and Jon discuss in the video, it’s entirely possible that you and your next door neighbor could end up with the same house keys if you purchased locks from the same batch. And if that’s the case, how many people in your city could have the same house key as you? That doesn’t sound too secure, does it?

Of course, people breaking into your home aren’t likely to have keys, but the fact that the locks are so standardized makes them very easy to pick or bump. Once you learn how to pick a lock, you can pick pretty much any standard lock you come across. 

You can see in the video that Anthony is able to open a standard lock in under one minute whether he’s using the lock bumping technique or a standard pick set. Aside from the fact that this information is terrifying, it also highlights the limitations of normal household security measures.

Notice also that if you purchase a new doorknob and deadbolt set from your local hardware store, the same key opens both locks. We can tell you with certainty that neither is difficult to pick, but why make it easier for people by giving them a duplicate lock? 

Why Rekeying Isn’t the Answer After a Break-In

As Anthony says in the video, a lot of homeowners who’ve been robbed choose to rekey their homes, which means to reprogram or replace the cylinders inside their locks and have new keys made for the locks on their doors. Doing this makes them feel safer — they’ve replaced their locks and they feel like they’ve done their due diligence so it doesn’t happen again. 

But that assumes that the person who broke into their homes used a key, and as we can see in the video, there’s really no need for a criminal to have a key to your house in order to gain entry. They can do it in seconds with the lock bumping technique and almost no practice.

If you’re concerned about intruders entering your home, the only solution is to upgrade your security, whether that means getting high security locks that are drill, pick, and bump resistant, or by going all out and getting high security doors. 

A photo of an elegant steel security front door finished with wood and glass.

If you take nothing else away from this video, please remember that regular locks from the hardware store are not going to keep determined intruders out of your home. They’re easily picked and very flawed. 

Upgrading Your Security with Locks You Can’t Pick

Because our locks aren’t made the same way as mass produced locks you’d find at the hardware store, they simply don’t have the same problems that those types of locks have. For example, there’s no way you can pick our locks — not through lock bumping or a pick set.

As Ricky demonstrates in the video, some intruders (perhaps with less patience or desire to hide their crime) prefer to drill through the lock to gain quick entry. While drills are louder, they’re not out of the ordinary and do not signal to anyone that a crime might be occurring. Neighbors may think someone is building or repairing something on their own property.

As a part of Anthony’s work as a locksmith, he sometimes has to drill through locks, but when Jon shows him the FBS door at Premium Kitchens, he has to admit that even if he tried to drill it, he wouldn’t even know where to start.

And it may go without saying, but FBS keys cannot be duplicated. You can’t walk into a hardware store and ask for a copy of our keys — they don’t have the equipment. Every key we make is specifically created for your lock. 

For convenience purposes, we can have master keys made that will open every security door in your home, but you can still have keys made that only open specific doors.

If you’d like to take keys out of the equation entirely, we can do that, too. We offer motorized locks that work with facial recognition software and fingerprint scanners so you don’t even have to think about keys anymore. (This is particularly exciting when your hands are full and you don’t want to set down all your stuff to open the door.) 

If biometrics aren’t your thing, we can also use proximity sensors that you can keep in your wallet or on your keychain that will work in the same fashion: you get close enough to the door and it opens for you. We’d say it’s like magic, but it’s not — it’s technology. 

A close-up photo of an FBS high security door and its impenetrable lock.

Perfecting the Art of Security

At FBS, we’re constantly striving to perfect the art of security. It might sound like we’re bragging, but no one else is making the same products we are: completely custom security doors and windows that are not only hurricane-certified, but are unique works of art.

We’d love to talk to you about our custom security doors and windows, and how we can tailor them to your design aesthetic, color palette, and existing decor. If you have questions, feel free to check out our common questions page to see if you can easily find the answer you’re looking for there, but we believe that talking on the phone is the best way to get an idea of what you’re hoping to achieve.

We’ve built bespoke security doors and windows for clients all over the world (you can read what they have to say about us here), and we’re completely confident that we can do the same for you. All new orders of our doors and windows now come with our Platinum Level Service plan, which provides you with a one-stop shop for any questions or maintenance issues.

Get in touch with us today to see how our products can help protect your home, your valued possessions, and most importantly: your family. 

 

A photo of the steel security pivot door at FBS headquarters in Boca Raton, Florida.

Your Steel Security Doors Don’t Have to be Ugly

When we tell people we make steel security doors, they usually picture ugly doors with nothing unique about them whatsoever. We don’t blame them — this is what most people think of because that’s what they’ve seen on businesses or homes. But that’s not at all what we make at FBS.

Our steel security doors are works of art made by experienced artisans in Italy. Each door we make is specifically designed for you — your design aesthetic, your tastes, your home’s color palette, and the type of statement you want to make with your front door, or interior doors. They’re the kind of thing you have to see to believe (and we have plenty of examples to show you).

Your steel security door doesn’t have to be ugly, and we’re here to prove it to you. Here’s how we transform security doors into showstopping centerpieces of your home.

Typical Steel Security Doors

When you research steel security doors, what you typically find are products that look a lot like industrial screen doors. Some are more decorative than others, but overall, they’re simply steel bars that are installed on the outside of your exterior door. 

You’ve probably seen them before. They’re frequently on businesses in high traffic areas, as well as low-to-middle class homes near major streets. For the most part, they’re a deterrent to intruders not only because they create an additional barrier between them and the inside of the house, but they’re more difficult to kick in.A photo of a steel security door finished with wood and an elegant door knocker.

In many ways, they’re simply screen doors with a higher level of security. In addition to the steel bars instead of mesh (which can obviously be cut through with almost anything sharp), the locks are more like actual door locks with a deadbolt as opposed to a cheap piece of metal that flips down over a latch. 

Overall, they’re on the lower end of the quality spectrum and even though some of them are quite pretty, these types of steel security doors aren’t what people want to buy for their luxury homes. They simply don’t look right on refined, elegant homes. 

Revolutionizing Steel Security Doors

At FBS, we make steel security doors, but they don’t look like the ones you’ll find at big box stores. In fact, you wouldn’t know by looking at our custom doors that they’re security doors at all — and that’s the point. 

You don’t want to flaunt your security measures out in the open for just anyone to see. Your home security should be hidden as much as possible so no one has the opportunity to try and game the system. (Not that you could game our system — you can’t.)

We’re not interested in creating products that look like something everyone else has, or something anyone can buy at their local hardware store. After all, that’s not how luxury homes are built. They’re carefully planned, meticulously crafted, and customized down to the very finest detail.

So that’s how we build our steel security doors. Every single detail — from the inside out — can be customized to meet your standards of beauty, strength, and personal preferences. 

One of the most fun parts about our doors is that they’re essentially two doors in one: the interior side of the door can be its own design with specific color palette and patterns, while the exterior side of the door can be something completely different and unique on its own.

We have four classifications for our door coverings to make sure you’re getting exactly what you want in each and every door, whether it’s for your front entrance, garage, slider leading out to your patio, or your bedroom.  

Essential Coverings

Essential coverings include our most basic, cost-effective options. They include smooth panels affixed to the outside of the steel door to hide the impenetrable security inside. The panels can be wood veneer finished in many shades and patterns, or a multilayer laminate finished with lacquered color (including Pantone® colors using our FBS PerfectMatch™ System).

The most important thing to know about essential coverings is that they’re designed for interior use only. The laminate and the wood veneer aren’t suitable to withstand potential harsh weather or temperatures outside. But of course, because our doors are basically two-in-one, these coverings are suitable for the interior side of any exterior door you want to create. 

A photo of a steel security door finished with blue panels and gold accents.

We often use our essential coverings on interior doors — most frequently bedroom doors as part of our Sanctuary™ System. Another common use is on fire doors leading from the garage to the main part of the house, but they can be used anywhere inside the home.

Just because this is our lowest level of covering doesn’t mean they look or feel cheap. Quite the contrary, these materials look elegant, sleek, and perfectly fitting in any luxury home. To see a gallery of our essential coverings on real steel security doors we’ve made for clients, click here and look under the “essential coverings” section.

Enhanced Coverings

Enhanced coverings are the next step up. These offerings include panels made of wood composite or anodized aluminum. Both of these materials are approved for outdoor use, provided that the door is covered by some sort of awning, such as a portico, a porch, or an overhang. 

The wood composite comes in multiple shades ranging from very light to very dark, including finishes such as light or dark okume, pine, fir, oak, and mahogany. Of course, these could be combined to form a pattern. For example, one of our clients liked both the light and the dark okume, so our architects alternated the two shades and created a V-pattern for this gorgeous, stylized arched door.

To see some of our enhanced coverings on real doors we’ve made for clients, click here and look under the “enhanced coverings” section.

Elegant Coverings

Elegant coverings provide a rather sizable jump in terms of luxury and class for your steel security door. These finishes include solid wood, decorative glass, and Italian gres. All of these materials are approved for outdoor use, even when they’re not covered by some sort of awning. 

The wood can be stained any shade you’d like, including custom mixing to match any existing wood in your luxury home. The decorative glass can be left clear, made opaque for privacy, or even stained any color you’d like. The Italian gres is simply breathtaking, and is the perfect way to add a little extra something to your doors — especially if you’re designing a front door.

None of these materials require a lot of maintenance, but because these coverings are frequently used on the exterior side of doors, we’ll check on them during our first annual maintenance visit to make sure they’re still in good shape, and then every year afterward if you renew the Platinum Level Service Plan

To see how we’ve incorporated elegant coverings onto real clients’ doors, click here and look under the “elegant coverings” section.

Extravagant Coverings

Extravagant coverings are the ultimate in decadent luxury for your steel security door. Incorporating hand-stitched Italian leather or precious stones (such as marble, onyx, agate, obsidian or even Swarovski® crystal) into your design transforms your door into a work of art, rather than a regular door. 

A photo of a steel security door finished with wood and glass accents.

Because of the wide variety of precious stones we offer, we can’t say with certainty that they’re all approved for exterior use. This will depend on what you’d like to incorporate, where you live, and what kind of harsh weather you may encounter.

While most of our clients don’t opt for decking an entire door in Swarovski® crystal (though, one client did!), people typically incorporate precious stones in their design to add a decorative element to their steel security door. After all, who would think that a security door has such a decadent design?

To see how extravagant coverings have been incorporated into our clients’ doors, click here and look under the “extravagant coverings” section. 

Putting Them All Together

Most of our clients choose selections from more than one of these covering classifications. They might choose a wood veneer panel that is broken up by anodized aluminum, or wood composite that is broken up by decorative glass inserts.

Regardless of what your preferred design aesthetics happen to be, or what your current luxury home looks like, we’re confident we can create a steel security door that completely amazes you. We’re also willing to bet that your guests will stop and ask you about your door — how many other companies can make such a claim?

Steel Security Pivot Doors

Pivot doors are all the rage, and with very good reason. On a very basic level, they’re impressive because they’re different. When you walk up to a door and pull on the handle, you expect the door to open at the very edge — you’re expecting a normal hinge door because that’s what’s on so many buildings, whether commercial or residential. 

But when you pull on the handle of a pivot door, it surprises you. 

Pivot doors don’t have hinges. They literally pivot on a designated point that is determined by the size and weight of the door. Typically, the pivot point is about one-quarter to one-third of the way in from one side of the door, but it can also be placed in the middle. Regardless, our pivot doors are always perfectly balanced so they don’t require a motor to open them (though, we highly recommend a motor because it’s so much fun to open a door that you don’t have to touch).

Our pivot doors are also steel security doors. They are just as secure as a regular hinge door, and can also be hurricane-certified. In fact, we’re currently working on a stand-alone hurricane-certified pivot door, meaning that it doesn’t require a special drainage system or an awning. (Stay tuned!) 

Furthermore, our pivot doors can be stylized using any of our coverings, from essential to extravagant, and be upgraded with any of our technology and convenience options, such as facial recognition, motors that automatically open and close your doors, and our specialized and completely customizable Sanctuary™ Management System.A photo of a steel security door finished with real wood on a stone building.

Designing Your Own Steel Security Door

When you’re ready to design your steel security door, our architects will sit down with you to discuss exactly what you’re looking for. Whenever possible, they’ll actually travel to your home (wherever it is) to physically see the space for themselves. This helps them get a feel for your home and assess the architectural style more accurately. 

They’ll go over your materials options (depending on the location of your luxury home and where in the house the door will be located) and help you make decisions based on their breadth of knowledge of the product selections. After that, they’ll draw up a few different designs for you to choose from.

Once you’ve made your selections and finalized the design, we’ll send it to the artisans to make sure they’re good to go. We’ve yet to design a steel security door that they couldn’t make to our exact specifications — even when they think we’re crazy! As soon as they’ve approved the design, they’ll get to work. In a few weeks’ time, your custom steel security door will be delivered directly to your home.

If you’re interested in learning more about our doors (or windows), please don’t hesitate to call us. We love talking to people about their luxury homes and determining how we can best help them achieve their goals. If you’re in the area, we’d love for you to make an appointment to see our showroom. 

In the meantime, check out our common questions page to see if you can find any immediate answers there. Feel free to read through our articles to learn more about our products. And please check out our videos for product demonstrations. 

We’re confident we can create a steel security door that no one would believe is a security door — and if you’re in Miami-Dade County (or any other hurricane zone), we can make sure it’s hurricane-certified as well. 

We hope to hear from you soon!

A photo of a waterfront luxury home in Miami lit up brightly at dusk.

How Custom Front Doors Can Change Your Home

Your luxury home typically gives two major first impressions: the location it’s in and what the main entrance looks like. Obviously, if your home is feet from the ocean, that’s going to be a major draw to your guests, but they’ll still be entering the house through your front door — and a surefire way to leave them speechless before they even get to the breathtaking view is with a custom entry door.

We’ve made quite a few custom front doors for our clients (and interior doors as well), and every time, we’re blown away by how unique each piece is. You’d think by this point that we’ve seen every combination and possibility out there, but that’s not been the case. In fact, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever tire of seeing what our clients want out of their entry doors.

While many of our clients come to us asking for security doors, not all of them have such concerns — they just want a really beautiful door and they can’t find anything that they feel works with their luxury home. Of course, we can make anything they want, so that typically solves their problem. 

If you’re struggling to find an entry door suitable for your luxury home, we can help with that. Here’s how we create custom front doors for our clients and how they can change your home’s main entrance. 

Welcoming Guests in Your Home

While you may not use your front entry door very often (if ever), your guests will use it almost all the time. They’ll pull up to your home, park in your driveway, and stare up at your luxury home in all its glory. 

A photo of a mansion with stately columns at the front entrance.

We have no doubts that your home is quite impressive on the outside, as well as the inside — and your view is probably incredible — but you need an entry door that does it justice. It needs to be able to stand on its own as a gorgeous part of your home, but it also needs to fit in perfectly. The door all of your guests walk through can’t be a place where you skimp or make compromises. 

No, you need a custom entry door that blows your guests away. 

All of our doors are completely bespoke from the inside out (which we’ll get to in a moment), but for the time being, know that if you’d like, we can essentially create two doors in one for you. The interior side of the door can have one look with its own color palette, materials, and design, while the exterior side has a completely different design that flawlessly complements the facade of your home. 

The choices are all yours, but we’ll guide you along in the process, recommending what we believe would fit with your architectural style, design aesthetic, and climate. No matter what, we’re dedicated to creating a custom front door that you’ll never tire of talking to your guests about.

Custom Front Doors From the Inside Out

We take a great amount of pride in the fact that we can completely customize your home entry doors (and interior security doors, for that matter) from the inside out. Most of our doors are made with a steel core that we cover in any way the client wishes (seriously — we can do almost anything).

The Internal Structure

Regardless of whether you want a regular hinge door or a more modern pivot door, each of our custom front doors is built using either steel and/or glass. Of course, it doesn’t have to be solid steel or glass — we can use steel with glass accents, and many of our clients choose to do this. It just depends on their design aesthetics, perceived and actual security needs, and personal preferences.

Regardless of what we build the inner workings of the door out of, the frame will be made of steel. Additionally, you can use our state-of-the-art technology on any of our doors, including facial recognition and motors so you don’t even have to touch the door for it to open or close — or even lock (it can do that all on its own). 

Hidden Compartments

One of the more fascinating aspects to our custom security doors is the way people choose to utilize the inside of the door. Some clients have asked us to create hidden compartments in their doors for a variety of reasons. Many times, these secret compartments are intended to hide their most precious, irreplaceable items, such as their grandmother’s engagement ring, or the watch their late mother bought them when they got their first job.

Others choose to keep important paperwork hidden there, such as wills, life insurance policies, or documents they want their families to have after they pass. Some even keep emergency cash hidden there.

A photo of a large black and gold custom front door for a stately townhome.

Because our clientele is so often concerned with their personal safety, many hidden compartments are designed to hold weapons for self-defense. Typically, this means small handguns. For custom front doors especially, a hidden self-defense mechanism can be an appealing idea. 

Another place our clients like to have hidden compartments in their security doors is in their bedroom. In these cases, their bedroom is often doubling as a panic room because they’ve installed our entire Sanctuary™ system. If you want to make sure all your bases are covered, you could choose to have hidden compartments in both doors.

Of course, because all of our doors are custom made for each client, we can take into account whatever needs each individual has. If you want to store a handgun and spare cash in each compartment, we can make it large enough to accommodate that, complete with ways to hold each item against the back panel so they aren’t moving around when the door opens and closes. 

Each hidden compartment is heavily considered when designing the custom front door because there cannot be any kind of discernible difference or break in the design. In order for the compartment to be truly hidden, it must look like nothing is amiss. 

When clients do have a hidden compartment, we typically install hidden proximity sensors so there is no way to tell there is anything hidden there — think of it like a bookshelf that opens to a secret room. You don’t want to have a giant lever on the wall that indicates there is anything other than a bookshelf on that wall.

For security reasons (literally), we won’t get into the details here, but if this is something you’re interested in for your custom front door, we can certainly explain further.

The External Coverings

Our custom front doors can be covered in almost anything you can imagine. Regardless of the design aesthetic you’ve chosen for your luxury home, we can find the perfect materials for you and create a design that will distinguish your home from anything else like it. We want your front door to be something you’ll be proud to show off to guests.

We have four different classifications of coverings for our custom doors: essential, enhanced, elegant, and extravagant. 

Essential coverings are suitable for interior use. In terms of your custom front door, this would mean the interior-facing side. These materials include multi-layer laminate (finished in any color you want, including Pantone® color-matching) and wood veneer in many varieties of shades and patterns. 

Enhanced coverings are suitable for interior use, as well as covered exterior use. These materials include wood composite in a variety of finishes ranging from light to dark, and anodized aluminum, which can be finished in any Pantone® color. 

As long as you have some sort of awning, portico, or porch over your front door to ensure they won’t get directly hit with rain, snow, or other harsh weather, enhanced coverings will work quite well for your main entrance.

A photo of arched double custom front doors finished with real wood.

Our elegant coverings are a significant upgrade in quality, as well as luxury. These materials include Italian gres, decorative glass, and solid wood — all of which are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use (no cover necessary). 

The Italian gres is not only stunning, but very low maintenance. The decorative glass can remain clear, frosted, or be any color you’d like. (Do you want a stained glass window in your door? We can make that happen.) And as you’d expect, the solid wood can be stained in a variety of colors ranging from light to dark that is sure to match your existing wood. 

Extravagant covers are our most luxurious and decadent option. They’re perfect for those who want to turn their custom front entry door into a show stopping work of art. Materials in this class include hand-stitched Italian leather and a variety of fine stones, including (but not limited to) marble, onyx, agate, obsidian and even Swarovski® crystal.

These materials aren’t necessarily approved for outdoor use. For example, leather cannot be on the exterior side of the door, but could certainly be incorporated on the interior. The fine stones will depend on the specific type you’d like to use, but we’ll be sure to communicate that with you during the design phase. 

How We Help You Design Your Custom Front Door

We understand if all of this is a bit overwhelming. When people ask what is possible for us to do in a custom front door, we usually say “whatever you want.” Of course, that doesn’t help you narrow down options or conceptualize what that means.

Our staff architects will sit down with you to discuss your design preferences, color palette selection, existing home decor choices, and the climate in the area before creating a selection of designs for you to choose from. They’d never lay out a blank page and tell you to make choices out of thin air. 

Instead, they’ll give you ideas and materials that are suitable to your luxury home, your personal preferences, and the weather your front door must be able to withstand. 

For example, all homes in Florida must have hurricane-certified doors and windows. This is a safety precaution that is intended to protect people and property in the inevitable event of a hurricane. We’ve spent a lot of time and energy ensuring that our custom front doors (and any glass pieces inserted into them) will not only pass the necessary tests, but exceed expectations. 

The front door itself will be hurricane-certified as required, but as we discussed before, we must be more particular about the materials we can cover it with and where they would go. 

Again, if you want leather on your custom front door, we can do that — it just needs to be on the interior side of the door. On the exterior side, we can use any combination of outdoor-approved, all-weather materials, such as wood composite (provided your front entrance is covered), solid wood, or Italian gres.

A photo of double custom front doors with glass inserts for an Italian villa.

Once we’ve had a chance to meet with you and discuss your personal preferences, our architects will get to work creating design options for you. They’ll draw up three different front door designs for you (both interior and exterior) and let you choose between them. Of course, if you want anything changed, you can let them know.

After you’ve settled on your design, we’ll send it to the artisans at the factory in Italy to make sure everything we’re asking for is possible. Truth be told, we’ve given them some serious tests over the years, but they’ve always been up to the challenge. 

Once they begin the work, it only takes a few weeks to complete construction and testing. After that, it gets shipped straight to your luxury home, where your contractor can install it. Our technicians will be there to guide them and make sure everything is set up properly. And for the first year, you’ll receive our Platinum Level Service guarantee free of charge.

Are You Ready to Design Your Custom Entry Door?

If you’re ready to talk about your custom front entry door for your luxury home, give us a call today. Alternatively, you can message us through the website, or make an appointment to visit our showroom if you’re in the area. 

In the meantime, feel free to read through our common questions. And if you’d like to read what some of our clients have to say about our work, check out our testimonials page. For security reasons, these are all anonymized, but are real stories our clients have shared with us. 

We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

A photo of the front entrance of a high-end restaurant with a luxury front door made of wood and glass.

What Your Luxury Front Door Says About Your Home

The average person might not give much thought to their front door. In their daily lives, they might not even use their front door — they only open it when someone is visiting. The reality of the matter is that you don’t often see your front door, much less devote time to thinking about it. 

However, your luxury front door isn’t intended for you. It’s there for everyone else. What it looks like — the color, the size, the shape — is all meant for other people to look at. The front door is an important aspect in the overall facade of your home. 

What Your Front Door Says About You

As our favorite architect will tell you, it’s actually not about the door. It runs much deeper than that. 

Since long before history was well-documented, front doors have been a way to demonstrate wealth and status. In this case, the larger the door, the more wealth, importance, or power the homeowner wants to exhibit. 

This is true for luxury homes as well as places of business. Think about the government buildings in your hometown — they probably have tall double doors at the main entrance. The same goes for churches, courthouses, libraries, and every other official building you can imagine. To be fair, the larger opening is likely also fire code for public spaces, but no one mandated that the doors have to be quite so tall, elaborate, or grand. 

A photo of the grand entrance of a very large luxury home, complete with an arched front door and a chandelier.

The front door is one of the first impressions you’ll make as the owner of your home, and luxury homes are not exempt. If anything, luxury homes are more scrutinized than middle-class homes. After all — you’ve got the means for bespoke items. 

When people visit your luxury home for the first time, the front door is how they’ll enter. Sure, they’ll see the house itself in all its glory, but this is how you’re welcoming people into your home. 

When you open that gorgeous custom door (which we of course recommend a pivot door), you want your guests to be completely amazed. You want them to stop and ask you questions about that door, because they’ve never seen anything like it. 

Color

Believe it or not, the color of your front door plays a major role in the facade of your luxury home. People are always talking about curb appeal, and from that standpoint, even putting a fresh coat of paint on a regular door can increase its perceived value. With luxury homes, the front door is easily overlooked by homeowners. 

When your spacious, one-of-a-kind home is on the water, facing a cliff, or nestled in between picturesque mountains, the view tends to steal the spotlight — and rightfully so. It’s one of the major reasons you bought that home, or chose to build it there. But again, when people enter your home, they’re doing it through your front door. 

Color evokes emotion. This is why interior designers take time to create color palettes for the entire home and specific rooms. Bedrooms are often done in muted colors, frequently with blues, greys, and greens because they’re calming. And that’s exactly what you want in a space where you need to calm your busy mind and rest for a few hours. 

A photo of the front entrance to a colorful luxury home featuring double doors and green shutters.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the color of your luxury front door can make a very distinct impression for your guests. 

    • White is an extraordinarily common front door color — it may be the most common. So if you’re going for something to set your luxury home apart, this isn’t the direction you want to go. However, white is a very clean color. When people see a white door, they expect to enter a clean home. 
    • Purple is a very sophisticated color and is therefore often associated with royalty. If your front door is purple, you’re giving the impression that your home will be luxurious inside. Of course, you’re aiming for elegance here, not Mardi Gras. Going too bold can border on garish. 
    • Blue is often used in tranquil environments — like bedrooms, as we already discussed. Used on your front door, blue hues can evoke a sense of trustworthiness, which may give guests the impression that they can relax in your home.
    • Green is another color often associated with calming environments. However, it’s also linked to wealth. If you’re looking for a pop of color on your door, but you want it to remain effortlessly elegant, a tranquil green could be your best bet. Fun fact: at one point green was the most popular door color in England.
    • Yellow is an incredibly cheery color. It evokes thoughts of summer, sunshine, and warmth. If you love bold colors and you’re hoping to create a warm vibe throughout your luxury home, this isn’t a bad place to start.
    • Orange can be tricky because it’s such a bold color. It’s easy to veer into tacky territory instead of elegant design. If you’re going this route, think Hermès orange, which is already associated with luxury and class. 
    • Red is typically associated with vibrance and high energy. Being the bold color that it is, it can show your guests that you’re the kind of person who gets a lot done in a day. They probably expect your home to be full of excitement, and also impeccable.
    • Black is both bold and classic. On a front door, it sets a serious and formal tone for your luxury home. Of course, if you don’t want to make things too intense, you can break it up with accents.

Size

Whether we’re talking about the front entrance to a large building or a luxury home, size matters. Your home is already opulent, luxurious, and spacious — you can’t have a regular sized front door. It would look so out of place it would almost be comical (that is, if the poor design and lack of forethought weren’t so embarrassing).

You simply cannot have a standard sized front door on a luxury home. It needs to be large — whether that means in height or in width, but preferably, both. 

For many, the obvious answer is double doors. Hinge doors have a limit in width (37 inches) because of the weight limit on the hinge. Switching to double doors allows the opening to be twice as wide (up to 74 inches), and given their larger size, they’re automatically considered more grandiose than a single door. 

Of course, none of this accounts for the height. Hinge doors (either double or single) that are the full 37 inches wide can be up to about 7.5 feet tall — a height that definitely gives an impression of distinction and importance. If you’re willing to narrow the opening, the door could be taller, because it’s a weight issue on the hinge. But if you don’t want to make any compromises, you don’t have to. 

Pivot doors are the solution to this situation. 

Because pivot doors don’t have hinges (they literally just pivot at a designated point), they aren’t restricted to a specific size limit. To date, the largest pivot door we’ve made is 8 feet wide and 13 feet tall. 

Pivot doors are redefining luxury front doors. You’re no longer inhibited by size limitations and you have the added bonus of blowing people’s minds when your door doesn’t open from one side. Having a door with an offset pivot will give your home an opulence your guests simply won’t see coming.

Custom Luxury Front Doors Hand-Crafted in Italy

We make our custom luxury front doors in Italy at a factory staffed with skilled artisans who have been doing bespoke work their entire lives. You see, there is no such thing as a “standard” door size in countries as old and storied as Italy. So when we ask them to do things like make an 8 foot wide, 13 foot tall door that ends up weighing 1,500 pounds, they don’t balk at it — they simply tell us what we need to do to create a design they can bring to fruition.

To that end, trust that we can create anything you want in a front door. When we say custom, we mean it. Size, color, finishes, accents, handles — you name it, we can do it. Here are some of the ways you can customize your luxury front door.

A photo of a luxury front door in a rich mahogany on a brick home.

Essential Coverings

Essential coverings are our most basic of options. All of these finishes are smooth panels that can be used on any interior surface (i.e. an interior door, or the interior side of an exterior door). 

The laminate or lacquered panels can be made any color you’d like, including color-matched to a specific Pantone® hue, or made into a patterned wood veneer. They can be matched with any color palette and every design aesthetic.

Essential coverings are minimalist and clean. If that description speaks to your personality and the design aesthetic of your luxury home, these may be good choices for the interior side of your door. 

Enhanced Coverings

A step above our essential coverings, enhanced coverings include materials like wood composite and anodized aluminum. Anodization is a special treatment that makes metal impervious, which helps preserve the metal and protect it from wear and tear, corrosion, and severe weather. Anodized aluminum can be painted any color you’d like.

Our wood composite can be done in many different shades, including dark or light okume, pine, fir, oak and mahogany. We can match basically any existing wood or composite in your luxury home. 

Both of these coverings are suitable for exterior use, provided that they’re covered (i.e. a portico, an awning, porch, etc). Either of these finishes would create a stunning luxury front door.

Enhanced finishes are at least required for the exterior side of the door. Regardless, they tell your guests that you spent time really thinking about what the door would look like. Furthermore, both the anodized aluminum and wood composite are elegant, yet durable, which tells people that you’re sophisticated, but also practical.

Elegant Coverings

Elegant finishes elevate your home’s facade to new levels of luxury. Whether it’s Italian gres, solid wood, decorative glass, or any combination of those materials, your front door will be a showstopper in and of itself. 

If you’ve never encountered Italian gres before, it’s a porcelain stoneware that is incredibly durable, resistant to scratches and abrasions, and nonporous. It’s also very easy to take care of, in that it requires almost no maintenance. And of course, it’s made in Italy, so it’s also gorgeous. 

All of these coverings are suitable for indoor or outdoor use, and can be used in any fashion you’d like. Like every other finish we offer, we’ll make sure it blends seamlessly with your home’s design aesthetic.

Elegant coverings tell people that you took pleasure in designing your luxury front door. Guests are sure to stop and ask questions about it — and when they do, you can tell them all about the materials, the design, and why you chose them. 

Extravagant Coverings

The top of the line extravagant coverings we offer are intended to turn your luxury front door into a stunning work of art. This is the time to let your imagination run wild — think of the most grandiose ways to decorate a home, and this is where the extravagant line comes in. 

We can cover your luxury front door with precious stones, such as marble, onyx, agate, obsidian and even Swarovski® crystal or hand-stitched Italian leather (on the interior side only — obviously leather isn’t waterproof).

A photo of a three-story townhome with a custom luxury front door.

While it’s unlikely that someone would want to cover their entire front door in Swarovski® crystals (though, stranger things have happened), many people choose to use precious stones as accents on their doors. The same goes for leather, Italian gres, and glass (because plain glass is pretty boring by itself). 

Something to keep in mind about glass accents is that they don’t have to be boring. They can be dyed a color, be clear, or frosted, and can cover up to 65 percent of the door. 

Extravagant finishes tell people that you don’t mind showing off a bit. You have specific tastes, and you’re willing to go for it. These coverings are definitely not for people who like to lay low or be understated. 

Creating a Luxury Front Door that Leaves an Impression

We want to help you design a luxury front door that gives the impression you’re aiming for. Do you want your home to feel extravagant and stately through and through? Or do you want to keep things simple? Whatever you want, we can make it happen — all with a Platinum Level Service guarantee. 

Give us a call today to learn more about how we can create custom luxury front doors that will blow your guests away. You can also check out our common questions page to see if there are any answers you’re looking for there. And if you’re in the area, we’d love for you to make an appointment to check out our showroom. 

We look forward to hearing from you!

A photo of the exterior of a luxury home with large columns and statues out front.

How a Bedroom Security Door Can Help You Get Better Sleep

Many people choose to protect their homes with security alarms, complete with cameras and motion sensors. They’re certainly not a bad idea, but they’re definitely not a guarantee of your safety. At least, not in the same way a bedroom security door can be. 

What ends up happening with home security systems is that they’re used improperly, which makes them less effective. Residents set them off accidentally by venturing outside a specified zone, opening the door before disarming the alarm (because they forgot), or the dog is tripping the motion sensors. For all of these reasons (and more), homeowners tend to turn the alarm off when they’re home, leaving them entirely unprotected. 

Before long, the alarm is only used when the residents leave for the day, or the evening, or when they’re on vacation. And if that’s the case, the alarm is actually just protecting your stuff

We understand that some of your possessions are incredibly important to you — your computer might store valuable work, your grandmother’s jewelry is in your bedroom, the art on your walls would certainly be worth something to someone in-the-know. But unequivocally, the most important thing in your house is your family.

All of this begs the question: if your home security alarm is only armed when you’re not there, what’s actually protecting you

A photo of a bedroom security door that blends perfectly with the decor of a luxury home.

Furthermore, what’s protecting you while you’re sleeping and otherwise unaware of your surroundings?

Given this line of thinking, it may be unsurprising that one of our most common client requests is our Sanctuary™ System — and in most cases, they specifically want to fortify their bedroom. This allows them to sleep more soundly at night, knowing that they are completely, entirely protected. No one is getting through their bedroom security door or windows. 

Let’s talk about why clients typically request their bedroom to be fortified, how this system works, and why it will help you sleep like a baby. 

The Vital Importance of Sleep

We hear stories about how important sleep is all the time — from doctors, random articles online or in the newspaper, or from our well-meaning family when they’re chiding us for not sleeping enough. Why we need sleep so badly is frustrating for those of us who are hyperactive, have ambitious goals, or simply like to be awake and experiencing life in all its glorious chaos. 

While the question of why we need sleep remains a partial mystery, the fact that we do need it is irrefutable. 

Scientists know with certainty that sleep is essential: “Sleep serves to reenergize the body’s cells, clear waste from the brain, and support learning and memory.” In short, sleep is like a spa day for our brains. It’s the time when our brains dump the needless stuff we haven’t used in years (like Algebra) and repurpose the space to store the information we still need.

We literally need sleep so our brains can function on a higher level — or any level at all, for that matter. When we suffer from sleep deprivation or deficiency, we have more trouble making decisions, regulating our emotions and behavior, and even processing simple information. Surely, you’ve experienced this in some way or another, snapping at someone for a silly mistake or forgetting something important that you were reminded of multiple times.

Lack of sufficient, quality sleep can lead to increased anxiety and depression, which isn’t really any wonder — your brain simply cannot cope with the realities of your life. 

A photo of a bedroom security door in a luxury home.

Not only is sleep essential for our brains, but for the rest of our bodies as well. Sleep (quite literally) has healing powers, working to repair tissue and vessels. The rest of your body gets to rest, which means it can focus on more pressing matters. Those who don’t get enough sleep are at a higher risk of heart and kidney disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, and stroke.

Sleep also helps regulate important hormones, such as the ones that make you feel full after eating and the one that controls your blood sugar. Not getting sufficient rest makes it difficult for your body to judge when you’re actually full while eating a meal. Alternatively, your body may tell you you’re hungry when you’re actually not. Therefore, lack of sleep is often linked to obesity and diabetes. 

Getting Restful Sleep

Doctors and other relevant experts tell us we should sleep eight hours each night. (Seriously, how many of us actually get eight hours of sleep?) The average adult is unlikely to hit that marker.

Furthermore — even if we’re actually in bed attempting to sleep for eight hours — how many of us get eight restful hours of sleep?

The negative effects of sleep deprivation and deficiency can also manifest when the sleep you are managing to get doesn’t include enough deep sleep. The REM portion of the sleep cycle is when your body is getting its best rest. If you’re laying down for eight hours, but only getting 30 minutes of REM sleep, you still might be exhausted in the morning. 

If you wake up every morning still tired, you may be experiencing something like this, and if the reason you can’t seem to get restful sleep is because of anxiety or fear for your safety, a bedroom security door is a first step toward changing that pattern. 

How a Bedroom Security Door Helps You Sleep Better

Shutting Down Your Primitive Brain

Tens of thousands of years ago, our ancestors couldn’t afford to be caught unaware. Their very survival required alertness and strength. Neanderthals needed to be able to fight off whatever threat was looming, whether it was in the middle of the night or the bright sunshine of the day, or otherwise outrun it. 

In the 21st century — millennia after cavemen fought for daily survival — this instinct has not left our primitive brains. Now, experts call it the Fight-or-Flight response

When we’re lying in bed at night, trying to sleep, we’re at our most vulnerable. Because we’re not awake, our brains aren’t as attuned to potential danger, but they’re still paying attention to our surroundings. If we hear a noise, if someone touches us, if we can’t breathe — if anything at all seems out of the ordinary, our brains wake us up.

For those who have endured threats of physical violence, shutting down that primitive part of their brains can be nearly impossible. Some resort to sleeping pills to get a restful night’s sleep, while others can’t fathom being knocked out too hard. 

If you’re missing out on too much sleep, eventually, you’ll just crash. But in the meantime, your physical and mental health will suffer, and so will your job performance.

Creating a Sanctuary™ 

Broadly speaking, we have two types of clients: those interested in gorgeous doors and windows, and those interested in high security doors and windows

Of course, we can accomplish both tasks at the same time. 

A photo of a bedroom security door designed to feature a portrait of Marilyn Monroe.

To help our clients get more restful sleep, we developed a Sanctuary™ System. Altogether, it includes a high security bedroom door, high security windows, hardening technology on your walls, and state-of-the-art technology that allows you to manage the system via a tablet.

The Sanctuary™ Management System is written using a Crestron base (though it’s compatible with many systems) and is housed on a dedicated tablet. From there, you can see the status of your security door, lock and unlock it, and view or record using our PerfectVision™ Stealth peephole camera.

Furthermore, you can include an extra layer of security through facial recognition technology, which can be used to allow entry through your high security bedroom door if you permit it. Obviously, you’d be able to enter whenever you want, but you can set restrictions for anyone else.

For example, if your housekeeper comes on Mondays and Thursdays, but you only want her to enter your bedroom on Mondays, you can make that happen. You simply program her facial recognition profile to allow her entry at a certain time on Mondays. (It’s incredibly easy. You can do it yourself — we promise.)

With the full system, we can tell you with certainty that no one is getting into your bedroom without permission. And if someone tries, you’ll be notified via the Sanctuary™ Management System. With the right options included, it can take a picture of the person trying to enter whenever the facial recognition scanner is active.

It’s the perfect solution for people who struggle to get a good night’s sleep, whether that’s because they can’t shut their Fight-or-Flight Response down or because there is a true and credible threat looming.

The entire system (always customized for your unique needs) can be installed together, or you can opt for pieces and parts. We’d always recommend a high security bedroom door, but beyond that, you can pick and choose. You don’t even have to do it all at once. If you want to start with the door and expand beyond that, we can do that, too. 

Reimagining the Panic Room

The other main draw of our Sanctuary™ System is that it allows your bedroom to double as a panic room. While panic rooms aren’t as in-demand as they once were, a specific subset of people still request them — and in many cases, there is a direct overlap between the people who need panic rooms and our client base.

All in all, panic rooms are awful additions to your home. They’re typically cramped, windowless boxes that waste valuable space in your floor plan. When you think about it, you’re spending an awful lot of square footage on a room that you hope to never be in. Wouldn’t that space be better utilized as a powder room? Or a large window to let light in where you could create a reading nook?

A photo of the interior of a bedroom fortified with a security door and our Sanctuary Management System.

This is all the more reason to turn your bedroom into a fortress and skip the dedicated panic room. Your bedroom is probably already set up to be a place where you relax, from the paint color to your favorite scents to the books on your nightstand. Why not put a high security door (and windows) in place so you have somewhere to go in an emergency?

While we hope it never comes to that, it’s a reality that some people have to accept. So if you’re ever in that position, we want you to have a place to go where you feel safe and secure, rather than panicked and terrified.

A Better Night’s Sleep, One Door at a Time

We have multiple clients who have told us how much our Sanctuary™ System has positively impacted their lives. Not only do they love the way their high security bedroom doors and windows look, but they’re sleeping better than they have in years

One client who’d been physically threatened for many years told us that after installing our Sanctuary™ Management System (complete with security windows and a door), she was finally able to sleep soundly. It wasn’t overnight, or even within a week, but as her brain began to accept that no one was getting to her in her bedroom, she not only slept for longer stretches, but the quality of her sleep improved. For the first time in years, she woke up feeling rested. 

It’s entirely possible to shut down that primitive part of your brain enough to sleep restfully at night, but it takes a lot of practice. With effective security measures in place, you can get there a bit faster.

Our bedroom security doors are more luxurious versions of adults buying weighted blankets, or how babies love being swaddled, or even animals feeling comforted by thunder shirts. It makes them feel safer, more relaxed, and more able to get restful sleep. 

No, of course you won’t be putting the door on top of you (they’re very heavy — they would crush you), but the concept in this case is similar. You’re creating an environment in which you feel completely safe. And we all deserve that, don’t we?

To learn more about how we use our bedroom security doors and windows to create a Sanctuary™, give us a call. We’d love to talk to you about your security needs, and how our technology can help you fortify your home. If you’re in the area, we’d love for you to make an appointment to view our showroom! (This kind of Italian craftsmanship is something you have to see to believe.)

We look forward to hearing from you!