Energy Efficient Impact Windows and Doors

Categories // Did You Know

Protecting your home and your wallet

Energy Efficient Impact Windows and Doors

Impact windows and doors offer much more than an attractive and convenient alternative to hurricane shutters; impact windows and doors also help improve a home’s energy efficiency.  Homeowners who prioritize energy efficiency should take frame materials, tint, and insulation options into consideration when choosing impact windows and impact doors for their home.

Starting with the frame, homeowners have two basic options to insulate their home and reduce heat/cold transfer, vinyl or fiberglass.  While some manufacturers offer thermally broken aluminum frames, the thermally broken aluminum frames tend to be more expensive and not as readily available.

Vinyl frame options are available for windows, sliding glass doors, and French doors, however, this option is not available for entry doors.  For entry doors, homeowners can choose fiberglass as an energy efficient option.  Both vinyl and fiberglass are very strong and have been tested and proven to withstand hurricane force winds.  Both materials are naturally poor conductors of heat and are slow to transfer heat and cold, making them energy efficient. 

The actual glass used within the window and door frames comes with many readily available energy efficient options starting with tint.  Tint comes in a variety of colors and is one of the most common ways to help reduce heat penetration.  Tint works by absorbing incoming solar radiation, reducing the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC), visible transmittance (VT), and glare; however, most tints are not spectrally selective and some heat will continue to pass through tinted glass.  To combat this, homeowners may opt to add a LoE (low-emissivity) coating.  LoE coating is a microscopic layer of metal/metallic oxide that lowers the U-factor of the glass – in layman terms, LoE reflects heat waves, and reduces energy loss by as much as 30%-50%.

For further energy efficiency homeowners can install insulated impact windows.  Insulated impact windows consist of two panes of glass with a gas-filled space sandwiched in between.  To insulate the window, the glass panes are spaced apart and hermetically sealed, leaving an insulating air space. Insulated window glazing primarily lowers the U-factor, but it also lowers the SHGC.


Introducing the SIW Pivot Door

Categories // Impact Resistant Doors

The only exterior hurricane resistant pivoting door in the industry!

Introducing the SIW Pivot Door

SIW has brought a new door to the market and it is amazing!  Prior to the pivot door homeowners only had two basic options for replacing their entry doors – a single door or double door.  Homeowners who had a single door with a sidelite tended to be even more limited with their choices as the size of the opening prevented them from being able to install a double door, forcing them to keep the sidelite.  SIW’s pivot door has given homeowners a solution to this problem.  In addition to being able to be configured to various opening sizes, the pivot door is a great choice for modern and contemporary homes. 

The pivot door can be manufactured up to 6 feet wide and 9 feet tall (per single panel) and comes with a standard 3-point locking system.  This safe and secure door exceeds both the Miami Dade and Florida Building Codes and features 7/16″ Laminated Impact Glass for full panels and 1″ Insulated Impact Glass for True Divided Lites.  


Coastal Living

Categories // Did You Know

Fiberglass and Vinyl Impact Windows and Doors

Coastal Living

Sun-filled days, balmy nights, water activities, beachfront dining; there are many reasons people choose coastal living.  Nevertheless, homes located near the coastline are more susceptible to weather-related damage, with the most notable being hurricanes and tropical storms.  For this reason, many homeowners, especially seasonal homeowners, choose to install impact windows and doors to protect their homes.  Due to the concentration of air salinity near the coastlines, vinyl and fiberglass frames are popular options.  Unlike aluminum and steel, which can become corroded by the moist, salt air, vinyl and fiberglass fare well in even the most punishing coastal environments. 

Vinyl and fiberglass are excellent moisture-resistant materials, are resistant to pitting, durable, and are low maintenance.  Vinyl frames are the same color throughout, which means homeowners do not have to paint them and they are resistant to fading.  Fiberglass, on the other hand, can be painted, allowing homeowners the ability to customize it.  Both materials are also very energy efficient; their energy efficiency can be further enhanced with the addition of tint, LoE, and insulated glass.

Coastal living has its pros and cons, but the overall benefits generally outweigh the cons.  With a little bit of planning and preparation, homeowners can enjoy their lifestyle for years to come.


Same Door, Different Configurations

Categories // Impact Resistant Doors

CGI Estate Entrances

Same Door, Different Configurations

Most customers do not realize when looking around a showroom or at a brochure that most impact door manufacturers offer a variety configurations, allowing them to create a custom door.  CGI has a line dedicated exclusively to entrance doors called “CGI Estate Entrances Collection”, which allows customers to create custom doors.  The aluminum doors can be made-to-measure for most opening sizes while the ability to mix and match options allow customers to create a door that is unique to them.


Aluminum Versus Vinyl Comparisons

Categories // Did You Know

Aluminum and Vinyl Frame Breakdown

Aluminum Versus Vinyl Comparisons

Impact windows and doors have two frame options, aluminum and vinyl, which leave many wondering “What is the difference?”  Both materials are approved and rated for impact windows and doors, and each one fulfills different prerequisites.  Ultimately the decision comes down the needs and budget of the homeowner.

Aluminum versus Vinyl: Strength

Aluminum is three times stronger than vinyl, making it a winner in the strength category.  Aluminum’s stiff frames also make it easier to install and once installed it is less likely to be dislodged or loosened. 

Aluminum versus Vinyl: Maintenance

Vinyl frames tend to be relatively low maintenance and do not need to be painted as the material is the same color throughout.  Aluminum frames require more maintenance and their moving parts need to be regularly lubricated with approved lubricants.  Additionally, aluminum frames need to be cleaned on a regular basis, especially if the home is located salt water. 

Aluminum versus Vinyl: Noise Reduction

Because aluminum is thick it prevents more external sounds from reaching inside the home, whereas less dense vinyl frames do not filter noise as efficiently.

Aluminum versus Vinyl: Energy Efficiency

Though some aluminum frames offer a “thermal” options, this option is not always available.  When it comes to energy efficiency vinyl always wins over non-thermal aluminum.  Unlike aluminum, vinyl is a poor conductor of heat and cold, making it more energy efficient and less likely to transfer temperatures.

Aluminum versus Vinyl: Durability and Resilience

Vinyl frames are less susceptible to environmental elements such as airborne salinity and air pollution. Because vinyl does not react with salt and does not rust, vinyl frames are more suitable for homes near saltwater.  Over time, especially if the frame have not been properly cared for, aluminum may experience rusting or pitting.  Houses located in environments with extreme temperature fluctuations or prolonged heat tend to fare better with aluminum frames.  Aluminum frames are more resistant to cracking and disfigurement, whereas vinyl frames warp and bend over time.


Hurricane Matthew Continues to Brutalize the Caribbean

Devastation and Destruction Ensue

Hurricane Matthew Continues to Brutalize the Caribbean


As of 11am South Florida is officially under a tropical storm watch that spans from the Seven Mile Bridge in the Keys to Deerfield Beach. A hurricane watch has been issued from Deerfield north to the Volusia/Brevard County line.

Hurricane Matthew’s reign of terror continues as the category 4 hurricane pummels Haiti with sustained winds of 145mph.  Haiti, which has not completely recovered from the 2010 earthquake, is expected to endure devastating damages due to heavy storm surges, extreme winds, heavy rains, and flash floods.  Neighboring islands Cuba and the Bahamas are expected to experience hurricane-like conditions later today, with surrounding islands experiencing tropical storm conditions.  The U.S. Embassy in Nassau has urged U.S. citizens remaining in the Bahamas to take shelter.

With an unpredictable north-moving path, concerns of Hurricane Matthew making landfall in Florida are very real and "direct hurricane impacts are possible" later this week said Michael Brennan, a forecaster for the National Hurricane Center.  However, it is still unclear if Matthew will landfall somewhere in the Eastern U.S. or remain.  Erring on the side of caution, Florida Governor Rick Scott activated a state of emergency in all counties Monday afternoon.  "Right now, the projected path is a little off the coast, but it can change at a moment's notice," Scott said at a news conference. "When that happens, we're not going to have a lot of time to get ready."


Category 4 Hurricane Matthew

The Most Dangerous 2016 Atlantic Hurricane So Far

Category 4 Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew continues to barrel through the Atlantic wreaking havoc.  Unlike other hurricanes from this past 2016 season, Matthew is showing no signs of slowing down or weakening.  Described by the National Hurricane Center as “powerful” and “extremely dangerous”, Hurricane Matthew is expected to bring life-threatening rain, wind, and storm surge as well as landslides and flash floods to portions of Haiti, Cuba, and Jamaica. 

As of 11am Hurricane Matthew had a sustained wind speed of 140mph (category 4) with higher gusts and was projected to move north, possibly along Florida’s east coast.  Even if Hurricane Matthew does not make landfall coastal counties may still see substantial rainfall and feel tropical storm force wind.

Though Florida has been fairly lucky this hurricane season it is still important for Floridians to be prepared and not let their guards down.  As Bill Johnson, the director of Palm Beach County’s emergency center stated “Whether or not we are in the cone, I don’t think that makes a darn bit of difference.  This is a major storm and all it takes is a little wobble to the west and we could have the potential of a potent hurricane on our doorstep.”


Energy Efficient Windows

Categories // Energy Efficiency

Selecting glass and tint

Energy Efficient Windows

Retrofitting your home’s windows is more than finding designs that match your style preference.  Well-thought out window selections, if done correctly, will also reduce your energy bill.  Replacing older windows helps prevent energy leaks thanks to the new windows’ tight seals, weather stripping, and improved mechanisms.  Homeowners interested in investing in their windows to improve their home’s energy efficiency have several options available to them.

One of the most cost effective ways for a homeowner to increase energy efficiency is to tint their windows.  Tints come in a variety of colors and reduce heat/light transfer by absorbing incoming solar radiation.  High-performance LoE is a specialized tint option available to homeowners that deflects heat by separating heat energy (long waves) and light energy (short waves) and allowing the short waves to pass while reflecting long waves.  Unlike traditional windows, impact windows must be manufactured with the desired tint(s) inside the layers of glass.  Aftermarket tints and films not only void the warranty of impact windows, they may also trap heat in the glass window pane and cause stress cracks. 

For further enhanced energy performance homeowners may opt to install insulated laminate glass.  Insulated glass contains two panes of glass to create a pocket of sealed air space that may or may not be filled with gas.  Insulated glass may be used alone or in conjunction with tint and LoE.  One drawback to insulated glass is it tends to be a pricier option.  Regardless of a homeowner’s budget there are many options to decrease indoor energy usage and lower heating/cooling costs.


It’s Officially fall but hurricane season isn’t over

Categories // Did You Know

More cyclones form in the Atlantic

It’s Officially fall but hurricane season isn’t over

“Easy come, easy go” seems to be the theme with the majority of tropical storms brewing in the Atlantic Ocean and hopefully Invest 97L will disappear before wreaking havoc.  Though the National Hurricane Center estimates there is a 90% chance that Invest 97L will form into a cyclone within the next 5 days and possibly be named “Matthew”, there is still a good chance that it will not make landfall in the United States.  However, for most of Florida the weather forecast continues to look wet and windy.  With so much water on the horizon it is important for homeowners to take a few minutes to make sure their homes are not adversely affected by the weather. 

  • Apply wax-based polish to wooden floors (they tend to absorb excess water).
  • Check seals on windows and doors to make sure they are keeping water out.
  • Drain water from your pool if you see the water level is high.
  • Inspect Roof Gutters and Downspouts to ensure adequate flow.
  • Run a Dehumidifier to help cut down on moisture.

How Impact Windows And Doors Are Tested

Categories // Did You Know

What Makes Them Special

How Impact Windows And Doors Are Tested

Do you ever wonder how impact windows and doors receive the stamp of approval?  Miami-Dade County has some of the toughest wind-borne debris standard in the world.  In order to be approved by Miami-Dade impact window and door manufacturers must meet certain criteria.

The Missile Test:

The height of a structure or building is taken into consideration when testing for projectiles.  From ground level to 30 feet high must be tested for “large missiles” while structures over 30 feet high only need to be tested for “small missiles”.

To test for large missiles, 2x4 missiles weighing 9 pounds are shot from a canon at 50 feet per second.  To pass, the window or door must withstand at least two large missile strikes.  To test for small missiles, ten 2 gram steel balls are shot from a cannon at 89 mph and windows and doors must withstand at least three test strikes.

The Cyclical Test:

A cycle test is used to determine how a window or door having withstood impact withstands rapidly changing positive and negative wind pressure during a hurricane.  Using a pressure chamber to simulate a hurricane, impact doors and windows must successfully withstand both 4,500 positive cycles in a pressure chamber and 4,500 negative cycles in a pressure chamber.


Caring for Aluminum Doors and Windows

Categories // Did You Know

Increasing Your Windows and Doors’ Lifespan

Caring for Aluminum Doors and Windows

Regular care and maintenance of your aluminum doors and windows will help increase their life expectancy.  Routine maintenance every 3 months should suffice unless your home is near the coast, which may require more frequent maintenance.  Salt, sand, and dirt buildup can cause corrosion, and salt buildup can permanently scar the glass so it is important to remove all buildup.


  • Clean casement and project –out/awning operators with a mild soap solution and a soft rag.
  • Clean frames and glass with a mixture of mild soap and water, wipe dry with soft cloth.
  • Tracks and sills should be cleaned and debris vacuumed away regularly.
  • Weep holes should be free of debris.
  • Swing door hinges and hardware should be wiped clean of sand, salt and debris.

Use gentle cleaners, avoiding citrus or vinegar based cleaners, cleaners with a high PH, or cleaners that are abrasive.  Likewise, avoid using abrasive scrubbing pads, industrial strength solutions, paint/lacquer thinners, or pressure cleaners.


  • Inspect weather stripping to ensure an even seal around the perimeter. Replace if crimped or dislodged.
  • After cleaning, it is important to lubricate all moving parts, operator arm, hinges, and locks.  Be sure to use a lubricant that is approved by the manufacturer.
  • After cleaning, apply light marine or car wax to the frames only (not the glass) to help maintain colorfastness and prevent chalking.

When lubricating your windows and doors check to make sure that the lubricants are approved.  Silicone based sprays and lubricants can cause some parts to become brittle, so it is best to avoid these.


Tropical Storm Karl Continues Westward

Little Change Reported as Karl Travels Across the Atlantic

Tropical Storm Karl Continues Westward

Tropical Storm Karl make its way across the Atlantic and does not appear to be a threat, however, that could change.  The National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Karl is moving west at 14 mph with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph and is expected to continue toward the west for the next couple of days. 

No coastal watches or warnings are in effect and whether this system will have any eventual impact to land later this month is still in question.  Tropical Storm Karl is likely to move into an area more favorable for strengthening.  As a result, Karl could become the fifth hurricane of the season in the Atlantic.


Tropical Disturbance Forming In Atlantic

10% Chance Of Cyclone Formation In 48 Hrs

Tropical Disturbance Forming In Atlantic
From the National Hurricane Center:

ZCZC MIATWOAT ALL TTAA00 KNHC DDHHMM TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL 200 PM EDT MON SEP 12 2016 For the North Atlantic...Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico: The National Hurricane Center has begun issuing advisories on newly formed Tropical Storm Ian, located well to the southeast of Bermuda. 1. Disorganized shower activity continues in association with a disturbance near the northwestern Bahamas. This system does not have a closed surface circulation, and conditions are not conducive for significant development while the disturbance moves west-northwestward to northwestward at 10 to 15 mph. However, locally heavy rainfall is possible over portions of the central and northwestern Bahamas today, and portions of the Florida peninsula on Tuesday. * Formation chance through 48 hours...low...10 percent * Formation chance through 5 days...low...10 percent Public Advisories on Tropical Storm Ian are issued under WMO header WTNT35 KNHC and under AWIPS header MIATCPAT5. Forecast/Advisories on Tropical Storm Ian are issued under WMO header WTNT25 KNHC and under AWIPS header MIATCMAT5. Forecaster Pasch

Tips To Deter Home Break-Ins

Simple Safety Measures

Tips To Deter Home Break-Ins

With summer coming to an end, it seems as though stores have begun their traditionally premature holiday promotions.  As the holidays approach so does, unfortunately, an increase in home break-ins.  A little bit of preparation can significantly reduce your chances of becoming a victim and keep you cheery year-long.

Start from the outside:

Maintaining the outward appearance of your home is your first line of defense against burglars.  Keep your yard free of clutter, regularly trim your greenery, and keep home entrances clear to remove any potential hiding spots for thieves.  Use a fence or hedges around your property’s perimeter to create a physical barrier.  Make sure your yard is well-lit at night.  Installing motion-activated flood lights will help reduce electricity consumption and do not require someone to be home to turn them on.

Secure windows and doors:

Many home robberies are crimes of opportunity; the homeowner leaves without securing their home and becomes a target.  To prevent this make sure that all windows and doors have working locks and are kept locked when not in use.  Cut strong, wooden dowels to keep in the tracks of your sliding glass doors and windows.  Some sliding glass doors, such as the ones sold here, offer dual-locking systems to prevent the doors from being removed from its track when locked.  Impact windows, which are designed to withstand a hurricane, are also a good choice for home security as they will not shatter if a thief attempts to break the glass.

Install a home monitoring system:

Home monitoring systems are a common and practical way to keep an extra set of eyes on your house.  Keep a home security sign in a visible part of your yard or in a window.  If you use a keypad to access your home from the outside be sure to change the access code occasionally and the actual keypad if it shows any wear.

Look like you are home:

This is especially important if you plan on being away for an extended period of time.  Put a temporary hold on your mail, newspaper, and other subscriptions to avoid a visible pileup.  Place several lights on timers and set them to go on and off at different times to give the illusion of movement within the home.  Recent improvements to technology allow homeowners to control their home’s functions remotely, giving frequent travelers more options in home protection.


Keeping Up With Storm Protection

Categories // Did You Know

Staying Sunny In The Sunshine State

Keeping Up With Storm Protection

Florida, also known as the ‘Sunshine State’, enjoys beautiful weather year-round; but being a peninsula, it is also exposed to severe weather.  Florida has been pummeled by some of the worst hurricanes, including Hurricane Andrew (1992), Hurricane Charley and Hurricane Frances (2004), and Hurricane Wilma (2005).  To combat damage caused by severe storms, Florida continuously updates its building codes as better products come to the market.

As of 2014, all new construction and renovations located within the high-velocity hurricane zone must use HVHZ (High-Velocity Hurricane Zone) impact windows and doors.  Communities located in areas within one mile of the coastline (where the wind speed is 130 mph or greater) or any location where the wind speed is 140+ mph are designated as wind-borne debris regions and require some means of opening protection.  Certain counties such as Miami-Dade County and Broward County have instituted additional requirements for approved forms of opening protection. 

In fact, obtaining a Miami-Dade NOA (Notice of Acceptance) is considered the highest standard for impact-resistant products.  To receive a Miami-Dade NOA products must not only pass tests proving they can withstand high winds and repeated hits from “missiles” (large and/or small items projected at a high velocity), they must also prove that they can prevent air and water from leaking into the building during a severe storm, as well as pass a forced entry test. 

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