When tract housing developments first appeared in Levittown, N.Y. and Daly City, Calif., they were built to house the masses affordably. Only commodity-level building products were used. Even today’s McMansions, are built with value in mind. But thanks to the technological strides, a basic box can now become a one-of-a-kind dream home incorporating style and functionality.
In 2005, the top trends in windows and doors fall into four categories: protection, customization, space maximization and stylization. Each trend category approaches homeowner issues ranging from architectural and decor dilemmas to and climate and safety concerns. And manufacturers offer some unique and intriguing solutions and a few alternatives for each.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, nearly 75 percent of the nation’s homes are in areas that experience flooding, hurricanes and hail. In 2005 forecasters expect the Atlantic region’s above-average hurricane activity to continue. Most window vendors now offer impact-resistant glass products ? windows that can withstand the force of flying debris. Today’s impact-resistant windows offer enhanced benefits to the consumer. These windows absorb outside noise, block harmful UV (ultraviolet) rays, and offer security from intruders.
Impact-resistant glass includes a layer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) between two panes of glass to create a single sheet of impact glass ? much like an automobile’s windshield. They are designed to withstand the impact of an 8-ft. long, 9 lb., 2 by 4 traveling at 50 ft. per second.
CertainTeed’s impact-resistant windows meet wind-borne debris testing standards ASTM E 1996 and ASTM E 1886. “During high-wind conditions, one of the most vulnerable parts of any building is its windows and doors when they are unprotected,” says Jerry Habeck, manager of design for CertainTeed’s window group. “These windows are designed to keep wind and debris from penetrating a home’s exterior during volatile weather.”
The StormForce MP Series from Loewen takes the performance of its standard window and doors to the extreme, offering homeowners structurally enhanced windows and doors to meet even the most stringent demands of Miami-Dade County test protocols. Rated to DP 70, this design is able to withstand 9,000 cycles of positive and negative wind loading, 105 psf structural loading and the impact of a D-Missile.
Manufacturers also offer impact-resistant glass on many patio door lines. Hurd FeelSafe windows and patio doors exceed coastal building codes and also feature the Energy Star rating. Marvin Windows and Doors expanded its StormPlus line to include a new swinging French door, which is available to fit a new standard 10-ft. rough opening.
In addition to protecting windows from possible storm damage, Jeld-Wen now offers defense from another threat: termites. Jeld-Wen’s AuraLast wood, available on both wood windows and doors, is vacuum-treated for 100 percent absorption of active ingredients. This way, the wood’s protection is not compromised when sanded or nicked. Typically, treated wood is coated in only a thin protective layer approximately 1/32 in. deep.
Whether a homeowner wants to individualize his or her property, express a design theme or ensure maximum energy efficiency, the window of opportunity has never been better. With nearly limitless custom offerings, windows used in remodeling projects can enhance an existing design style or help create a whole new facade.
Combining the look of Douglas fir’s grain with low-maintenance fiberglass, Milgard introduced its new double-hung, tilt-sash windows. This fiberglass window, featuring a detailed wood veneer interior, promises strength and stability regardless of climate conditions. Mark Gallant, Milgard senior marketing manager, explains, “It is so dimensionally strong that even across thermal variations, the movement of the frame isn’t affected.”