Arch Design Blog

Choosing Windows That Let More Sunshine In

Arch Design - Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Windows serve several purposes. They open to let in air, and they're also intended to let sunlight into your home. If your home has been feeling a little dark and dreary, then you want to make sure your replacement windows let in as much light as possible. Here are five tips to help you choose windows that really let the sun stream in.

1. Opt for a Full-Window Replacement

If your window frames are still in good shape, then you may be tempted to have your windows replaced with inserts. In other words, the window replacement company will just remove your window sashes and place a new insert window inside the existing frame. 

Window inserts are cheaper than a full-frame window replacement in which the frame and window sash are both replaced. However, inserts introduce more sash material to your window, resulting in less glass space and therefore less sunlight. If your goal is to let in as much sun as possible, a full-frame window replacement is a better choice.

2. Choose Fibrex Sashes and Frames

There are many window material choices, like wood, vinyl, and composite. Each has its merits, but if your goal is to maximize sunlight, then Fibrex is the best choice. Made from wood fibers and a plastic matrix, Fibrex is stronger than wood or vinyl, so sashes and frames made from Fibrex are a bit thinner. This leaves more glass exposed in each window.

3. Consider Installing a Bay Window

If you have a particular room that gets dark at a certain time of day, consider replacing one of your windows with a bay window. Since a bay window projects from the wall and features several window panes at varying angles, it captures sunlight from multiple directions. 

Most people think of bay windows as stretching from floor to ceiling, but there are also half-height bay windows that start halfway up the wall and are great for kitchens and small rooms. If you do not want to do extensive work to your floor to accommodate a bay window, a half-height window may be a good choice.

4. Consider Installing a Picture Window

If your window is properly placed to capture the sun but you feel like it does not quite capture enough light, then perhaps a picture window is right for you.

Picture windows are just large, fixed windows designed to be the focal point of a room. A window installation company can generally expand a current window opening to accommodate a larger picture window without making a lot of changes to the floor or wall as they would with a bay window.

5. Choose Low-E Windows Over Tinted Windows

Some homeowners choose tinted windows with the hope that the tint will keep the heat out and lower their energy bills. The problem is that the tint also blocks the beautiful sunshine. If you want to enjoy both energy-efficiency and natural sunlight, you're better off with low-E windows rather than tinted windows.

Low-E windows have been coated in a very thin layer of metal. This does not change the look of the glass, but it does cause the glass to reflect heat waves rather than allowing them to pass through. Visible light, however, continues to pass through the glass. Low-E windows can save you a bundle on energy in the summer and the winter, but they won't turn your home into a dark cave.

Natural sunlight makes your decor look brighter and even boosts your mood. Follow the tips above, and your replacement windows will let in plenty of sunlight. Contact Arch Design to learn more about your replacement window options, or stop by our showroom to explore our designs in person.

Replacing Your Front Door: Which Wood Species Is Best?

Arch Design - Thursday, July 12, 2018

You love the curb appeal a beautiful wooden door adds to your home, so you're ready to replace your plain metal door for a luxurious wood alternative. However, with all the types of wood available in door designs, which one is best for you?

Use this guide to help you choose the best wood door for your home by differentiating various wood species common in door construction. Your door and window installation specialist will help you decide which wood door style is best for your home.

Mahogany

If you want a durable, thick, and hardy door that will last, mahogany is a wise choice. Mahogany is one of the hardest hardwoods around and will not rot or warp when exposed to prolonged moisture like other wood door types can. Remember that any wood door should be properly sealed to protect the natural material from water damage.

As a bonus, mahogany is very adept at accepting a stain, so if you don't like the original hue of this dark wood, then you can stain your door nearly any custom color you wish for beautiful results.

Cherry

Cherry is a popular hardwood used in entry door construction because the grain is soft and the natural tone of this wood species adds curb appeal. Furthermore, cherry wood gets darker as it ages, which means this door solution will only improve in appearance over time rather than fade or become weathered.

A cherry wood door is meant to stay natural and is not a wood species you want to paint over. To retain the door's natural beauty, don't stain the door, but do properly seal the door with a UV-protecting sealant as instructed by your door installation expert to protect the hardy wood against weather and sun damage.

White Oak

Dense and long-lasting, white oak is an ideal choice for a wood door if you live in an all-seasons climate. Keep in mind that the grain of white oak is not very porous, which means that the material may not take to staining as well as other wood species.

An alternative to white oak is red oak, which is slightly more porous (so staining or painting won't be a problem) and slightly less dark in its natural appearance. Whether you choose red or white oak for your home's entry door, make sure the wood used in construction has been properly cured to prevent wood rot from moisture exposure.

Walnut

For a truly glamorous finish that comes in a variety of naturally beautiful tones, consider walnut as your wood of choice for your front door. Walnut comes in a variety of hues, from a purplish tone to a light, nearly white hue. Walnut is a porous hardwood, which means you can stain or finish the door any way you wish if the natural tone of the door doesn't match the rest of your home's exterior.

No matter what type of wood species you choose for your entry door, remember that all woods are susceptible to sun and water damage to some degree, so curing, sealing, or painting of your door is necessary to protect the wood surface.

Before you install a wood door on your home, consider the normal weather patterns in your area - for example, a humid climate may not be best for a walnut door - and remember that regular maintenance is key to keeping your wood door looking amazing for years.

You can customize a wood door by having windows inserted into the upper or side panels of the door, or you can have laser etching placed in a solid door's design to add custom appeal. Our window and door specialists at Arch Design will help you choose a wooden entry door that is ideal for your home. Call us to schedule an appointment today.

The Differences Between Bay and Bow Windows

Arch Design - Monday, May 14, 2018
If you're renovating your house or putting on an addition, you can install a beautiful bay or bow window. These windows change the appearance of the inside and outside of your home and give it a touch of luxury.

While bay and bow windows have a similar appearance, they are different in a few ways. Here's how they differ and some tips for choosing the right one for your home.

Bay Window Have a Center Picture Window

A bay window is made of three sections. The middle is usually a picture window with a window on each side positioned at an angle. The side windows can open if you want, and you may want double-hung windows on the sides to be able to open them.

The configuration of a bay window causes it to protrude from the side of your house. This enhances your home's appearance from the outside and creates more space inside.

Bow Windows Are a Row of Casement Windows

A bow window also protrudes from the side of your house, but a bow window has more of a curved appearance. These windows have four or more casement windows, depending on the size of the window you have installed. A bow window can be placed on the corner of your home for maximum light streaming from two sides.

The individual windows in a bow window may not open. If they do open, they usually open on hinges rather than slide up and down. Both bay and bow windows can be styled with grills for added décor, or they can be sleek with few obstructions of the beautiful view beyond.

Bay Windows Offer a Larger Seating Space

One advantage of a bay window is that it angles out farther from the side of your home and provides more interior space. This gives you plenty of room to build in a storage box and window seat. Another good thing about a bay window is the ability to put double-hung windows on the sides.

Double-hung windows are easy to clean because they tilt inside. You can also lower the top to let in a breeze and keep the bottom windows closed. This prevents kids and pets from damaging a screen or escaping through an open bottom window when they play on the window seat.

A bay window is also a good choice when you want the best view of a nature scene from your home through the large center picture window.

Bow Windows Let in More Light

You can buy both windows in various sizes, but the bow windows tend to let in the most light. They have multiple windows in a row, so bow windows are typically wider than bay windows. If natural lighting is your goal, a bow window could be the best choice.

Bow windows don't project as far away from your house because they have a gentler curve, which could be an important consideration if you don't have room for a bay window. Rather than a large window seat on the inside, bow windows tend to have a shelf that can hold items like pretty pillows or candles.

Both types of windows are beautiful, and either one is a good choice. You might choose a bay window if you want the extra space and window seating. If you want the most light without taking up too much space, then a bow window might be more to your liking.

Call Arch Design for advice on choosing the perfect new window for your renovation or addition. We install all window styles and we'll help you achieve your goals for appearance and natural lighting.

4 Home Window Designs Inspired by Churches

Arch Design - Monday, May 14, 2018

No matter what type of faith or religion you practice, you cannot deny the architectural beauty of a church. Churches all over the world are known for their intricate designs, beautiful art, and the windows that adorn the buildings in multiple ways.

As you choose to upgrade windows in your own home, learn about some of your ideal window options inspired by churches. These types of windows may be used on multiple areas in the home and can add a unique view and style both inside and outside your home. 

Window professionals will help with the installation and ensure the windows match your style and needs.

1. Arched Windows

Many churches are known for their large and dramatic arched windows. These windows typically feature a long vertical base that arches at the top and meets with a soft point.

You can feature this type of window in your home in multiple ways. Make the window a centerpiece of your exterior design by featuring the window in the direct center of your home.

You can also install multiple arched windows in a pattern on your home so the windows match well and look even.

The location of the window is ideal for main foyers, attics, or second story windows in the home. The higher the window installation sits, the more dramatic and elegant it looks with the long arch.

2. Stained Glass Windows

One of the more iconic looks of a church is the stained glass windows featured in several designs. Stained glass features a number of different colors tints and frosts usually formed into a pattern or as an image.

When light shines through the stained glass, it comes into the building and creates unique rays of light. In various sections of your home, you may choose to have a stained window installed.

The stained window can add a nice pop of color to your home. Not only are they beautiful to look at, but the stained glass windows add some privacy options for the home. These windows are available in a number of shapes to fit into your current window frames.

3. Sky Windows

A number of churches have incorporated the use of sky windows or skylights to add some light into the church. The positioning of these windows is often done in a dramatic fashion. For example, beams of natural light may shine directly on the altar.

The use of sky windows on your home comes with several benefits. You will increase the natural light in the home, get great views of the sky, and have a better mood when you enjoy the sun throughout the day.

Sky windows are typically installed in the upper rooms of the home. In a two-story home, the windows are ideal for master bedrooms or bathrooms. The extra light will save you from having to use extra forms of artificial lights, like lamps.

4. Glass Block Windows

Another common window found on a variety of churches is the glass block window. Instead of using a single large panel, the glass block windows feature a number of small windows in the shape of a square. The block design of the glass adds a thickness to create extra protection.

In a traditional home, glass block windows work great for bathrooms or home offices. The natural light still shines through the opaque blocks while giving you plenty of privacy.

As you choose glass blocks, there are multiple textures and designs to choose from. A lot of churches use flat and smooth designs, but you have multiple patterns to select from.

Contact us at Arch Design to find out more information on window installation and the variety of products we have available.


Factors to Consider When Choosing Your Patio Doors

Arch Design - Thursday, March 15, 2018



If you are in the market to replace or to add patio doors to your home, then you may find yourself overwhelmed with all of the choices available to you. There are several types of patio doors that will suit most homes, and each has their own unique benefits and drawbacks.

Get to know more about some of the factors you should consider when you are choosing your patio doors. Then, you can be sure that you are selecting the right doors for your home.

Door Style

One of the most important factors to consider when you are choosing your patio doors is the style of the door. There are many different style options available.

Perhaps the most common style is the sliding door. These patio doors slide open horizontally along the plane of your walls, using a sliding track. These doors are often comprised of one moving glass panel, one stationary panel, and an optional screen door that can slide open and closed as well.

Another popular door style is the French hinged patio doors. These patio doors swing open, much like a standard entryway door.

You could also opt for folding patio doors. Folding patio doors fold open like an accordion and can create a wide opening to the outdoors. These are excellent options for large patio openings as well as temperate climates where you will want to have fresh air flowing through your home often.

Type of Glass

The type of glass you choose for your patio doors is another important factor to consider. Many people choose clear glass as it gives them an unfiltered and clear view of the outdoors and allows in the most light. However, the amount of light that comes into your home might be a problem.

When unfiltered light comes into your home, UV rays from the sunlight may damage the color or finish of your furniture and other household items. Additionally, that extra UV radiation can also increase thermal transfer through your windows, raising your energy costs.

However, glass specialists have tried to address this problem, with glass that has a low-emissivity (or low-E) coating. Low-E coatings are specialized glass coatings that filter out some of the damaging UV rays from the sun, so the rays won't get into your home. While this coating can tint the windows, it can improve energy-efficiency and keep your interiors looking as nice as possible.

Floor Space

When selecting the right patio doors for your home, floor space is an issue to consider. Sliding patio doors, for example, take up virtually no floor space inside of your home.

On the other hand, French hinged patio doors need space to swing open, which can take up several feet of floor space. Accordion or folding patio doors require floor spaces as well. You should measure the amount of floor space you have available and the space the doors will take up as you choose your patio doors.

Door Material

Choosing the right material for your patio doors is another important part of the patio door selection process. Wood is one of the most traditional choices for patio doors and can be quite stylish and beautiful. However, wood is a heavier material and requires resealing and refinishing to keep it in good condition when it is exposed to the elements.

Lighter-weight modern options include vinyl and aluminum. Vinyl can be designed to look like natural wood which can help you get the look you want without the extra costs of real wood. Vinyl also is very durable and requires minimal maintenance. Aluminum doors are similarly durable but aren't as energy efficient.

Now that you know more about the factors to consider when choosing your patio doors, you can select your new patio doors and have them installed as soon as possible.

Buying A New Home? What To Look For In The Windows

Arch Design - Monday, February 12, 2018

Buying A New Home? What To Look For In The Windows

Buying a new home is a major step in your life. Whether you're moving to a new city, upgrading from your existing home or it's your first time in the housing market, you want to get the most for your money. That means making sure that the home is in top shape, or at the very least, has sturdy basics to work with.

There are plenty of areas, spaces and parts of a new-to-you house to seriously assess before submitting an offer. It's likely that you'll look at (or have a professional evaluate) the electrical and HVAC systems, the home's plumbing and pipes and the overall structure. But that's not all. Don't forget about the windows.

Even though windows may seem like an aesthetic accent or a part of the home's décor, they serve a serious purpose. Old, worn or poorly installed windows can cost you money - and in several different ways. As you shop for a new home, what do you need to know about the potential candidates' windows? Take a look at what you should watch out for.

Window Frames

The window itself may look pristine. But if the frame has cracks or gaps, you have a problem. The average home in the U.S. expends almost all of its total energy usage on heating and cooling, according to the Department of Energy.

Cracks, gaps and poor-fitting frames cause air leaks that contribute to energy loss. This makes it harder for your heating and air conditioning systems to work, raising your energy bills.

As you walk around the exterior and through the interior of the home, check for air leaks. Keep in mind, you may or may not see visible cracks and gaps. Just because the window frames look solid or newer doesn't mean that they can't have leaks.

Feel around the windows when you're inside the home. If you notice a draft or feel the outside air coming in, the window frame may have a problem. The extent of the problem requires a professional to evaluate. Small gaps and cracks are easy to fix with caulking and weather-stripping. But larger gaps and poorly-installed windows may need a more serious repair or a replacement.

Window Panes

How many panes do the windows have? Single-pane windows are low on the energy-efficiency scale and may cost you money when it comes to heating and cooling the home.

Multi-pane windows are exactly what they sound like - they are single window units that include more than one pane of glass. Not only do the panes add extra insulation themselves, but these windows are filled with a gas that sits in-between the glass. The gas adds to the insulation, keeping you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Replacing older, single-pane windows with new Energy Star multi-panes models can save you between $101 and $583 a year on energy costs, depending on the specific windows. Replacing a double-pane window with a multipane Energy Star window can also save money. The expected costs savings for these replacements are between $27 and $197 annually.

Look for multiple panes as well as evidence that the windows are energy-efficient. This might mean that the homeowner has proof that the windows are Energy Star certified or that the window glass itself has energy-efficiency ratings on it.

Window Defects

Even though energy efficiency is absolutely important when it comes to windows, it isn't the only issue that should be on your mind. Seemingly small chips and cracks can spread and turn into a major pain later on. Inspect all of the windows (this means pulling back curtains, blinds or other window treatments) thoroughly.

Along with obvious damage, look for condensation between panes, fogging and signs that the indoor air is causing humidity problems. These issues have several different causes, some of them minor and others that may cost you more to fix. If you have any concerns, a professional window contractor can assess the water/moisture that's accumulating and provide repair options.

Are you buying a new house with not-so-new windows? Arch Design can help.

Energy Efficient Doors

Arch Design - Thursday, December 28, 2017

How Can Your Entry Doors Increase Your Home's Energy Efficiency?

You may be spending more on home heating and cooling than you think. Almost half of the average home's energy use goes to using the HVAC system, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The heater and air conditioner aren't the only parts of your home that contribute to rising heating and cooling costs. Your entry doors also play a role in how efficient your home is.

What do your doors have to do with your heating and cooling costs? Take a look at the ways that entry doors affect energy efficiency and how they can help you to lower your HVAC-related costs.

The R-Value and Efficiency

You're choosing a new entry door and keep seeing R-values. What is this number, and why should you pay attention to it? The R-value measures the door's resistance to heat flow. Doors with a higher R-value are better insulated, making them more energy efficient.

Some doors are made from multiple layers of material, such as insulation sandwiched in between steel. To get the true R-value, you need to add the values of the insulation layer and the steel layer.

Doors made from fiberglass and steel (especially those that also contain insulation inside) tend to have the best energy efficiency properties. They'll do better than a solid glass door or an uninsulated wood door at keeping the cold (or heat) out.

The Door Frame

You can have a well-insulated door with a high R-value and still feel a draft when you walk by. While the door itself is important when it comes to energy efficiency, it isn't the only factor at play. Frames with cracks, gaps, and holes can cause air leaks. This lets the cold winter air in and your warm heated air out (as well as the opposite, warm air in and cold air out, in the summer months).

If you're replacing the entry doors and the frames are in disrepair, have serious gaps, or are old, it's time for them to go, too. Replacing the frames with new ones that are solid, don't let air in/out, and fit the door snugly can improve your home's energy efficiency.  

Frames that are slightly worn may need repairs, not replacement. Small gaps that are under one-quarter of an inch are candidates for caulking. A professional door contractor can assess your frames and advise you on whether they're salvageable or not. If they are, the pros can repair the gaps and cracks, making the doors more energy efficient.

Adding Insulation

You can add extra insulation by installing a storm door, weather-stripping, or both. Deciding to install a storm door isn't always necessary, but doing so can boost the efficiency of an older entry door or one that doesn't have an adequate amount of insulation inside of it. If you do choose to use a storm door, make sure that the glass is high quality.

Glass with a low-emissivity (or low-e) coating helps to stop the heat transfer from one side to the other. While this type of glass may cost you more, it can also save you money on energy costs. Doors that easily let heat transfer through the material can benefit from the addition of a low-e glass storm door.

If a storm door isn't on your home improvement agenda, make sure that the weather stripping around the door is in good shape. If it's falling off or falling apart, replace it. This will help to insulate your door and keep the air out.

Do you need a new entry door? Arch Design Window Door Co. has options that can increase your home's energy efficiency.

Advantages of French Hinged Patio Doors

Arch Design - Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Holiday Celebrations and the Advantages of French Hinged Patio Doors

The holidays are often a unique time of year for many homes. There is a lot more cooking, many guests visiting the home and unique celebrations for everyone involved. If you love to host for the holidays, then you want to ensure your home is welcoming and accommodating to all of these changes.

The kitchen is naturally a main hub for all the festivities and this is why it's important to have an open and free moving area. The installation of French hinged patio doors can really help with this process. Not only are these doors convenient through the rest of the year, but there are clear advantages of using them during the holiday season.

Guest Arrivals and Departures

One of the main advantages of the use of French hinged doors is the ability for them to open double-wide. In a typical installation, two doors are placed side by side and can swing both outwards and inwards as needed. As you prepare for the arrival of guests, the versatility of the doors can really make things functional and easy. With both doors wide open, guests can easily enter and exit the home.

This makes it especially helpful when carrying luggage, holiday gifts and other items needed for the visits. You do not need to worry about scuff marks on door frames or troubles with people arriving. When the entry is in the kitchen, it makes it easy to clean up any dirt or debris dragged into the house. The dirt can be swept right out the open French doors and into the patio area.

You also have the option of placing a large outdoor floor mat on the exterior of the doors. The oversized mat makes it easier to pick-up excess dirt, mud or any winter-related debris.

Holiday Cooking

During the holidays, you may notice that you are cooking a lot more. There's festive feasts like Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners along with a number of baked desserts between the holidays. When you're using multiple cooking elements, you may find your kitchen is hot, stuffy and uncomfortable. When the weather is nice out, you can really air out the kitchen from steam, smoke and the humidity.

Even if you have oven vents, they don't have the same effect as French doors have. Every time you open the oven to remove cookies, meats or various side dishes, you fill the kitchen with a lot of heat. The intensity of the heat can increase when more bodies are located in the kitchen. Opening the doors allows the fresh air to reach your kitchen in a matter of seconds.

If the kitchen is connected to a covered porch or some type of sun room, then the French doors serve even more functionality. With the doors open, the room will feel expanded and can accommodate more people at one time. Extra dining or serving can be made available in the connected area and help prevent your home from being over crowded.

Holiday Decorating and Seasonal Views

The installation of French doors in your kitchen gives you a whole canvas to decorate for the holiday season. These doors typically feature glass panels from top to bottom on the door. This can be used to hang traditional holiday decorations like wreaths, Santa Claus or small floral arrangements. The glass windows also have a number of decorating options. For example, you can frost the corners of the windows to make it look like a winter wonderland. Window clings also work well as great holiday decorations.

The large windows to the outside not only let a lot of natural light into the kitchen, but it can offer great views of beautiful snowstorms and snow-covered landscapes.

Our expert technicians at Arch Design can help you plan and choose the best French doors for your kitchen needs.

Awnings and Sliding Windows

Arch Design - Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Choose the Best Awnings and Sliding Windows

When it comes to window styles, double-hung and casement windows tend to get the most recognition. And indeed, these are the most popular styles of windows to see throughout a home. However, there are a couple of other window styles that work well in specific scenarios and spaces. You would probably not replace every window in your home with an awning or sliding window, but you may put one in a single, specialized window opening. 

Here is a closer look at often-overlooked awning and sliding windows, their benefits, and instances in which you may want to use them.

Awning Windows

Awning windows are usually longer than they are tall. They're mounted on a couple of hinges, which are placed at the top of the window frame. To open an awning window, you turn a small crank at the bottom of the frame.

Benefits of Awning Windows

Awning windows are easy to open and close. You don't have to lift a heavy window sash or worry about hurting your fingers when trying to operate a complicated locking mechanism. Since awning windows tend to be small, they are often secure; it would be tough for a grown adult to fit in through most awning windows. When they are closed and locked, the locking mechanism is very tough to "pick." 

Awning windows offer good airflow into the home when they're open. You don't even have to worry about rain coming in since the open window glass hangs over the window opening and shields it.

Where Do Awning Windows Work Well?

Awning windows are a popular choice above kitchen counters. They fit well into the narrow space above a counter, and the ventilation they provide helps exhaust cooking vapor from the space. Many homeowners also use awning windows in the bathroom. When placed high up on the wall, they bring in air and sunshine without allowing passersby to see inside.

Sliding Windows

Sliding windows, sometimes known as gliding windows, consist of two side-by-side sashes. One sash slides or glides past the other, sometimes on a rolling mechanism. You just push on the side or bottom of the window sash to slide it open. Like awning windows, sliding windows are typically longer than they are tall.

Benefits of Sliding Windows

One advantage of sliding windows is the lack of necessary maintenance. These windows have a very simple design; you don't have to worry about hinges or spring-loaded mechanisms breaking.

If you have limited dexterity in your fingers, you'll find sliding windows easier to open since there are no small cranks or buttons to operate. Many homeowners also like that sliding windows are easy to reach when opening and closing them. You only ever have to reach the bottom of the window frame--not push it upward as with double-hung windows.

Where Do Sliding Windows Work Well?

Sliding windows are a popular choice for horizontal window openings that are set against patios or porches. The window does not swing outward when you open it, so it does not create an obstruction on the patio. You may have casement windows throughout most of your home, but choose a sliding window for the room against the patio.

It's easy to pass things like grill utensils and drinks through a sliding window when you're entertaining on the patio. Sliding windows are easy to integrate with screens, so you can keep the bugs out.

When choosing replacement windows for your home, keep in mind that you don't need to use the same style of window in every window space. For instance, it's completely okay to use double-hung windows in most window openings, but put an awning window in the bathroom and a sliding window in the kitchen. To learn more about these window styles and their various benefits, contact the experts at Arch Design today.

Should You Add Security Window Film to Your Windows?

Arch Design - Tuesday, August 08, 2017

One of the problems that windows present is that they are easy to break, giving determined criminals a way in as long as they're willing to deal with shards of glass. You've got your choice of security features, but installing them often requires you to modify the windows cosmetically.

For example, rather than add bars that would block the view through the window, many people turn to security window film. If you want additional safety features, you may have questions about security film. What are the pros and cons of the film? If you are about to get dual-pane windows installed, is it still a good idea to get security film installed? Read on to find out.

Purposes of Security Film

Security window film looks like other window films used for blocking heat transfer and light. The film can be clear or tinted, and it can combine insulating and anti-glare properties or be constructed for security only. You really have a wide range of choices if you want to add security film.

When you add security window film, what you're doing is bonding the film to the glass so that if someone tries to break the glass, the film continues to hold all of the glass together. If any glass shards fall off, the film itself should hold together and resist cutting.

Note that security film has to be attached to the window frame. If you place it on the glass only, all a criminal has to do is break around the pane for the entire window to come out. You'll need to find an installer who can attach the film properly in order to make the film worth the money it costs.

Emergency Safety and Comfort

Obviously, having windows that prevent entry into the home is a good thing if you're worried about intruders getting through by breaking glass. Windows that are hard to break through could present an issue with emergency entry and exit, though. The film could make it tougher for emergency personnel to get into the house if the door is blocked and they need to enter through the window.

It is possible for emergency personnel to cut through the film; however, they need to know that the film or lamination is there so they can bring the right tools. So if you want to get security film, you should contact your local emergency services first to see whether there is a type that is easier to deal with or whether your local emergency personnel have procedures for identifying houses with security film.

If you're worried about getting out through a window yourself, you should know that there are solutions. For example, you can have a film dealer show you how to use film to push a pane out. If you plan ahead and ask the right questions, you can make your home secure both against intruders and in the case of a break-in.

Installation Issues

If you currently have single-pane windows, installing security film isn't that tough. You still want to have the work done professionally instead of doing it yourself, but other than that, installation is straightforward. If you're fine with the possible issues with emergency exists, security window film can be a great addition.

However, if you're getting dual-pane windows, the situation can be a bit more complicated. The two panes in a dual-pane window need to expand and contract (this happens with heat and cold) in essentially the same way. If one pane expands more or more quickly than the other, the difference can lead to a crack. The window's seals would be broken, and all the insulating properties would be gone.

Some heat-insulating films can make one pane expand more quickly than the other. While security window film doesn't necessarily have to have heat-insulating properties mixed in, you should check with your window installers to ensure adding security film is okay.

Adding any film risks changing the heat properties of the window. You must be sure you add a film that will work with the window and not against it. If your window installers advise against security film, listen to them. However, the window company may actually say that a few types or brands of film would be fine.

Next you need to check whether you have to use security-only film or can add anti-glare or insulating features. Don't assume anything: ask specifically about various options.

If you're looking to get some new windows and want to discuss security, contact Arch Design. With the ability to custom-make windows to fit your home, the staff at Arch Design can provide you with the panes you need and the advice you seek.