Windows Protect and Beautify

Thanks to technological strides in window design, any home can become a one-of-a-kind dream home incorporating style and functionality. In 2005, the top trends in windows and doors fall into several categories, including protection, customization and stylization. Each trend addresses issues homeowners have ranging from architectural and décor dilemmas to climate and safety concerns. Manufacturers offer some unique and intriguing solutions and a few alternative ideas for each.

In 2005, hurricane forecasters expect the Atlantic basin’s above-average hurricane activity to continue. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), nearly 75 percent of the nation’s homes are in areas that experience flooding, hurricanes and hail. Most window manufacturers selling and distributing along the Eastern Seaboard now offer impact-resistant glass products — windows that can withstand the force of flying debris. And following extensive research and developments, today’s impact-resistant windows offer enhanced benefits to the consumer. In addition to storm protection, these windows absorb outside noise, block harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, and offer security from potential intruders.

Impact-resistant glass is produced by bonding 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. Windows featuring the impact-resistant option are designed to withstand the impact of an 8-ft. long, 9-pound 2x4 traveling at 50 ft. per second (34 mph).

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. “Our new impact-resistant windows are designed to help keep wind and debris from penetrating this part of a home’s exterior during volatile weather conditions.”

Hurd FeelSafe windows and patio doors exceed coastal building codes and also feature the Energy Star rating. 

In addition to protecting windows from possible storm damage, Jeld-Wen now offers defense from another threat: termites. Typically, treated wood is created using a dipping process, coating the wood in a thin protective layer approximately 1/32 in. thick. Jeld-Wen’s AuraLast wood, available on both wood windows and doors, is vacuum treated for 100 percent absorption of active ingredients. The wood’s protection is not compromised when sanded or nicked.

Weather Shield Windows & Doors offers its LifeGuard and LifeGuard IG brands of impact-resistant windows in eight styles/shapes, in single-glazed or insulated models. “Some large-format combinations require special mullions and reinforcements. We also offer a wide assortment of trim styles, 55 colors, eight hardware finishes per mitre grille and simulated divided light grilles,” says Jeff Williams, senior brand manager, Weather Shield.

One of Weather Shield’s main goals of developing the LifeGuard program was to offer architects and designers the freedom to be creative, Williams explains. “To accomplish this goal, we have had to design and test an amazing number of product styles, shapes and options. We have invested significantly in the research, development and testing of this product line, and that is why we are a market leader in this arena.”

Kolbe & Kolbe also offers impact-resistant windows, and has certified nearly 100 windows and doors in the process, says George Digman, director, research and development, Kolbe & Kolbe. Kolbe’s impact products are available in wood, roll-formed aluminum clad and extruded aluminum, and are custom crafted in the following styles: casements, awnings, double-hungs, single-hungs, patio doors, transoms and sidelights, in a wide variety of sizes. 

“Kolbe is known for its customization, and its impact windows can be customized, too,” Digman says. “Sometimes you can tell if a window is impact-certified by the appearance — unsightly metal brackets, visible vinyl liners, extra hardware, or heavy glazing beads. One of Kolbe’s custom-crafted windows which is unique to this is the Sterling double-hung. Put an impact-certified Sterling next to a standard Sterling unit and you’ll see they look the same.”

Exterior trim, in standard or custom profiles, grille patterns, colors, finishes, and wood species are some of the other options that are available, Digman says.

In terms of trends, the four hurricanes in Florida in 2004 highlighted the necessity for these products in other states. Sales of these products are growing 150 percent from one year ago, says Bill Lazor, senior product manager, Simonton Windows. Other states have adopted codes and are enforcing them, too. “Southern states typically are slow to move on things like this, but last fall tore apart places like Baton Rouge and New Orleans, and so they’ve adopted new codes now.”

In its vinyl line Simonton offers double-hung tilt, casement, awning, picture windows and a hinged garden door, and in the aluminum line the company offers a single-hung, single slider, picture window and sliding garden doors.

“With customization you are limited by glass options; you can’t get etched or beveled glass,” Lazor says. “But you can get high-performance Low-E, various grid configurations, and get it all in white or tan.”

Window superiority
Whether a homeowner wants to individualize his or her property, express a design theme or just ensure maximum energy efficiency, the window of opportunity has never been better. With nearly limitless custom offerings, windows can create individual style.

Combining the look of Douglas fir’s grain with the low-maintenance aspects of fiberglass, Milgard introduces its new double-hung, tilt-sash windows. This fiberglass window, featuring a detailed wood veneer interior, promises the highest possible 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.”

In the vinyl category, window manufacturers also feel the demand for originality. Ron Vespa, vice president, Superseal, says, “The biggest trend now is people putting in a higher-end product. Homeowners are going for more features and options now, not just your plain vanilla window.”

While climate conditions play a large role in the longevity of wood windows, many homeowners still clamor for real wood and will accept no substitute. Clad wood windows allow the homeowner to enjoy real wood interior while the exterior of the window is protected from the elements. But the cladding is no longer simply practical; it can be a key design element or a dazzling home accent. Many manufacturers offer a broad range of exterior cladding color options. Jeld-Wen covers customer cladding requirements with 39 metal clad colors, three copper finishes and a clear satin, anodized finish.

Also, grilles can now be designed to match the exterior cladding as well as the interior décor. For example, Hurd recently introduced two-tone grilles to match interior style and complement exterior coloring. To make an exterior color scheme look especially sharp, Hurd offers two-tone exterior cladding. The sash and grille can be one color and the frame can be a different color to create a “picture frame” effect.

“Usually people want either white or off-white on the inside grilles,” says Joe Herman, Hurd’s vice president of sales and marketing. “But if your exterior is one of the earth-tone colors that are so popular right now, you probably don’t want white grilles on the outside. Hurd can do white on the inside and earth-tone on the outside to suit the homeowner’s color scheme.

Architectural styling
Based on the doors of the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 20th century, craftsman-style windows are the modern equivalent. But application is not limited to homes of the craftsman era. The theory behind craftsman style is to celebrate the structure of the home by using actual structural elements as decoration, so craftsman doors and windows make striking additions to most home styles.

Since Arts and Crafts-era artisans drew inspiration from using raw materials as their medium, craftsman-style windows are highlighted by rich wood tones and textures. Marvin’s Casemaster windows exemplify the craftsman style with smooth millwork, folding handle, all-wood interior and wood screen options. 

With the invasion of European style in home design, manufacturers also have developed diverse product lines based in Spanish, Italian and English architecture. And, while Southwestern is a style predominant in North America, its roots are based in Mediterranean architecture. 

In general, defining homeowners’ personal space has never been so important, says Weather Shield’s Williams. “More and more people seek the peace of their own homes as a refuge from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We are seeing a healthy trend toward design/build construction, and windows are playing a more important role than ever. That’s why we offer so many colors, wood species, hardware finishes, trim styles, grille patterns, shapes and sizes.”

While real wood windows tend to be relegated to a niche market, manufacturers now offer a wide range of wood species to appeal to customers desiring the traditional appeal of wood. Wood windows highlight the wood used in cabinets and floors, and serve as design accents to satisfy the wood enthusiast.

Wood window manufacturers now offer several exotic species for the discerning homeowner. Standard interior wood offerings include Douglas fir, oak and pine, but for a dramatic finish alternatives are available. Hurd recently introduced red oak and mahogany to its wood window offerings, and Marvin Windows wood interiors are available in a variety of species including cherry and white oak. Each wood species features its own intricate details and variations including coloring, grain pattern and knots. 

To further differentiate their offerings from the competition, manufacturers have added an eclectic array of details to their product lines. Window accents tend to be the final consideration in the selection process, but they add a custom flourish, often without the custom price. 

Thanks to consumer demand, design trends and availability, the hardware category has become a strong focus in building products. No longer satisfied with commodity products, customers now demand hardware that shares color, finish and texture properties with faucets, appliances and fixtures.

Several manufacturers, including Marvin and Andersen, now offer detailed window hardware to better match cabinetry and fixtures. Marvin recently unveiled architectural options from four exclusive brands — Ashley Norton, Bouvet, Stone River Bronze and Valli & Valli. Appealing to the widest range of styles, Andersen’s window hardware includes classic, metro and estate hardware in finishes such as antique brass, brushed chrome and oil-rubbed bronze.

For a low-maintenance, custom window look, CertainTeed now offers PrizmGlass — an alternative to custom, beveled glass. CertainTeed marketing manager Maria McDonagh-Forde explains, “Through patented 3M optical film technology, Prism Grid transforms the appearance of glass in a way that allows light to filter through, casting a rainbow of colors.”