When clients, architects, and interior designers call us to discuss residential security windows for their (or their clients’) homes, the most common concerns they list don’t actually pertain to security.
They want windows that will keep out unwanted guests and intruders, sure. But their main concern is actually what the windows look like.
They want a thin profile and they don’t want anything to block the gorgeous view.
We totally understand — the view is a major selling point of the house and you want to be able to enjoy it (and maybe make your friends jealous).
It’s our goal to create flawless residential security windows for you. We want them to be beautiful enough to do your luxury residence justice, but the most important aspect for us is that they keep you safe.
Creating a product that meets both of these expectations was an arduous task — and frankly, an ongoing process — but we’re very confident that we do it better than any other company.
Here’s what makes our residential security windows stand out among the mass-produced security windows you find in big box stores and from typical window dealers.
What Makes a Security Window a Security Window?
When most people think of security windows, they think the glass is the most important component. People familiar with our company may recall the video of two grown men hitting a pane of security glass with a sledgehammer — and failing to break it.
While the glass is certainly important, it’s not the only part of the structure that matters. The frame and the installation are critical and the reason for this has to do with how easily people can bypass the glass.
Security is about layers. It’s about having backups. One component of the window is just that — one part of your security system. The glass, the frame, and the installation all work together to create layers of protection between you and potential dangers.
Some of our clients have contacted us specifically because intruders managed to cut a hole in the bottom of the glass and simply pop the window out of the frame. Others have told us that the entire frame was popped out. Of course, these were their old windows — not our security windows.
Trust us when we say it doesn’t give us any pleasure to tell you this: all you really need to break into a house through a window is a screwdriver. More adventurous intruders may bring a cordless drill — it may be louder, but it will also be quicker.
FBS Security Window Construction
Most high-end windows are pretty simple. There’s a pane of glass (perhaps multiple panes of glass with an air gap for energy efficiency) in a U-shaped channel set inside an extruded aluminum frame. Depending on your preferences, the frame may be steel. With enough determination and patience, that glass can be wiggled out.
FBS residential security windows are built differently.
Instead of a single U-shaped channel in an aluminum frame, we start with a steel frame with multiple channels. This design makes it nearly impossible for intruders to get the glass out, but because there’s still a margin of error there, we also install our windows differently.
How is FBS Security Window Installation Different?
If you’ve ever purchased residential windows, you probably have a good idea of how the installation is done.
A team of installers descends upon your home, starts ripping out your old windows, throwing everything into the back of a trailer to haul away later. Once the old windows are out, you’re left with gaping holes in your house while they work to install the new ones.
The new windows are in one solid piece. Whether they’re operable or fixed, they are taken out of their packaging and quickly placed into their designated openings. Spaces around the windows are caulked to reduce airflow and keep water from coming through the seams.
After that, some sort of finishing material may be placed over the window frames — it could be vinyl or wood. On the inside, there may be other finishing touches to accomplish.
The coverings are then caulked, they clean up after themselves (hopefully), and then they’re gone. Most skilled teams can install one window per hour from start to finish.
The difference here is that these windows — while expensive because of their materials — aren’t security windows. They’re designed to be beautiful, but also to be reliable and easy to install. This ensures quicker turnover for their ordering process. (All windows are custom in that they have to be made for the exact opening in question.)
FBS residential security windows are a completely different beast than something you’d buy from a window dealer.
Security Windows: Jobsite Installation
First of all, our security windows aren’t shipped to their final destination in one piece. Our frames and the glass are shipped on their own and then assembled during installation at the job site.
When your residential security windows arrive at your home, a team of professional installers will need to be present. This process isn’t at all what big box installers are used to. In fact, we’ll help you screen installers before you hire them if you’d like — this is a different beast.
The frame is installed first. It’s bolted to the cinderblock or the concrete — whatever is surrounding the opening. (If you have questions about what materials are acceptable here, please contact our team.)
Once the frame is securely in place, the glass is installed from the inside. This is very important because this creates a singular piece from the outside. The glass will only be able to be removed from the inside.
Of course, this means that intruders won’t be able to pop the glass out of your security window from the outside with a screwdriver. And because the glass is real security glass, they won’t be able to break it either.
Complicated Installation Means a Complicated Removal
You may be wondering why our residential security window installations are so complicated. It’s a fair question with a simple answer — the harder they are to install, the harder they are to remove.
As we’ve stressed, breaking the window is not the only way to get into the house. Removing the glass or the window itself is preferable for intruders for many reasons.
First of all, broken glass is a hazard. It creates opportunities for them to cut themselves, which would leave behind evidence that they were at the scene of a crime.
Second, the sound of glass shattering is alarming for most people. It catches attention. We’ve discussed before that intruders are more likely to kick doors down than to break a window.
One loud bang is less alarming than shattering glass because it’s easily explained away as being a harmless accident. Perhaps someone is moving something heavy and dropped it. Perhaps someone is doing some renovations.
But glass breaking makes people automatically assume that something is wrong.
By building security windows that are already nearly impossible to break through, then installing them in a more secure manner, we’re creating layers of security for you and your family. It’s all intentionally designed to keep you safer.
What About Alarm Systems and Windows?
How windows interface with your alarm system varies according to how you specified for it to be set up, and how your installer actually did it.
When security systems are set up to interface with windows, the alarm is set to go off when the glass shatters. Of course, this alarm is useless if the intruder simply pops the window out of its frame, or rips the entire frame out altogether.
Home alarm and security system companies don’t make much money off the sale or installation of the alarm system itself. These companies make money off of the monitoring — the monthly fee you pay for them to answer calls when you need them or if your alarm goes off.
We’ll admit that we’re not huge fans of home alarm systems. It’s not that they’re not a good idea — it’s that they don’t prevent intruders from getting into the house. They may deter someone, but surveys have shown that it doesn’t necessarily stop someone from gaining entry.
Our approach is to keep intruders out entirely. Having an alarm system in conjunction with our security doors and windows isn’t a bad idea, but know that it’s not foolproof.
Why Ballistic Glass Doesn’t Make a Security Window
Remember that what makes a security window an effective security window is multifaceted. It’s the frame and the installation — not only the glass. Unfortunately, that’s not something most window dealers will admit to you. They’re trying to move product, so the faster they can get you out the door, the more money they’ll make.
They accomplish the goal of higher volume by cutting the price. This increases their potential market size, which increases their potential profits.
However, the way they cut down on the price of bulletproof windows is by creating the kind that is fortified with ballistic film on the glass. The downside here is that your entire view — probably the reason you purchased the residence in the first place — is tinted green.
So let’s say you have this beautiful view (that is tinted green now), but your window frame isn’t made of steel and it’s installed in the same way every other window in your house is installed.
A determined intruder may choose to shoot at your window, but he might not. He may decide to just pop the frame out of the opening instead. And then you have a gaping hole in the side of your house that anyone can crawl through.
Who cares if you have bulletproof glass if the frame isn’t going to do you any favors? In order to get bulletproof windows that will also act as security windows, you can’t buy the cheaper versions with ballistic film on them.
How Much Are Bulletproof Windows?
While it sounds very James Bond to say you have bulletproof windows on your residence, it’s not always necessary. In fact, we’d venture a guess to say you probably don’t need ballistic windows.
If you’d like to see the price difference between security glass and ballistic glass, we can certainly demonstrate it. If you go to our windows page, you’ll find a budget calculator, where you can enter information to give you an estimate of how much a window may cost you.
You’ll need to know the size of the opening, whether it will be fixed or operable, and if operable, whether it will be a single window or a double.
Additionally, you’ll need to choose the level of security you believe you need. Those options include:
- High security
- High security + small-caliber handguns
- High security + large caliber handguns
- High security + rifles
After you’ve made your selections, you’ll get a ballpark estimate. You can always start over and choose different levels of security to get a price comparison.
What usually happens is that people inquire about them, and then they realize how expensive it is to get ballistic security windows worthy of a luxury residence.
In order to create beautiful bulletproof security windows, you need to create custom glass in a steel frame. And no one does it as well as we do it.
Custom Residential Security Windows
We’ve been building custom security windows and doors for a long time now. At this point, there’s very little we haven’t seen, or are unable to prepare for in terms of worst-case scenarios.
To make sure all of your bases are covered, we work with your personal security team to determine what gaps exist in your current security plan. We can help you devise ways to close these loopholes and help you prioritize the openings (doors and/or windows) that should be replaced first.
If you’d like additional help creating a more comprehensive security plan, we can connect you with an elite team of former military, Secret Service, and Homeland Security personnel who are trained to do exactly that.
Between our expertise and theirs, and our security doors and windows, we’re completely confident that you’ll be safe and secure at home.
In fact, some of our clients have told us that they were able to finally sleep peacefully at night after implementing their new security plans with our products. Frankly, this is the greatest compliment we could ever be given.
If you’re ready to discuss your residential security window needs, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We look forward to helping you!