Custom Window Systems--Three Options Beyond "Off the Shelf"
March 17, 2011
Windows can be a major architectural element of your home, and can do things you you may not be familiar with. Custom window systems provide options in looks, materials, colors, types of glass, and in purposes beyond what even the best off-the-shelf windows have available.
Enter the World of Custom Window Systems
Maybe you've seen custom homes that are unlike the ordinary: Glass windows that meet at a corner with no frame to hold them in place. Long rows of bi-fold windows. Windows that have withstood truly fierce wind storms. If it sparks your imagination to see how custom window systems give homes a real look of distinction, just a little research reveals sources and ideas that you can discuss with your architect and builder. Examples:
- Very contemporary designs: Aluminum windows offer the highest ratio of strength to square footage of glass than most other windows frame materials. Want a glass wall, for example, that has smaller horizontal panes up the middle,and larger rectangles of varying sizes on each side area--all without any intrusive wood frames? Think custom aluminum. Such companies provide windows to the wear and energy standards of commercial buildings. Many also make residential windows to the same specs. Glass may be tempered, annealed, or lamininated, It may be 1/4" to 1" thick. Hardware and hinges will be of superior design and quality. The aluminum frames may be annodized in attractive tints or durably painted.
- Special functionality: Your hallway or powder room could use an oval or circular wood frame window that pivots open for breezes and easy cleaning. Your historic restoration may call for Palladian-style windows. Threats of noise, earthquakes, hurricanes, or security require special windows. For authenticity you may prefer divided windows in which the muntins (wood dividing strips) aren't sealed between glass or simulated. How about a custom stained glass window with a solid glass panel inside for energy efficiency? A long series of bi-fold windows, windows that pivot horizontally or vertically, and casement windows that are hinged but also tilt in, are among options to explore.
- Doors: Windows and doors are equally important to the integrity of your home's shell. Many manufacturers who create custom window systems also provide special entry and patio doors. Using the same manufacturer will achieve a unified look, but using different manufacturers may give you more options.
A little exploring online will launch ideas you didn't know were available. Your architect and general contractors of custom homes can provide additional sources. Whichever way you go, custom window systems and doors make your home uniquely beautiful.