Your Practical Manual on French Doors

White French Doors

French doors are a door design that was inspired by French windows turned into access points to balconies. Around the 17th century, after the war between the French and Italians, the design concept was adopted and became part of the Renaissance style.

French doors make beautiful use of glass as a significant part of the door panel for the primary purpose of bringing in the natural light. True to form, these windows and doors were dressed elaborately and delicately as only the French know how to do resulting in beautiful and practical elegance that struck the fancy of other Europeans and the rest of the world.

The original French doors were made of wrought iron and wood. Today, you have more choices with aluminum, wood, or PVC.  Other interesting facts about French doors that may add value to your decision are:

  • French doors are energy efficient because of the amount of natural light that is allowed to stream indoors. During cold months or on evenings, French doors can keep the heat in and maintain a level of privacy through the use of curtains, privacy glass, shades, or other similar attachments.
  • With multi-point security locks, security will not be of concern. Multipoint locks pass standard testing and certification. These types of locks have one centrally located deadlock, one live latch, two hook bolts, and compression bolts. Furthermore, some multi-lock systems can be equipped automatic engagement, enhanced frame, and additional bolts.
  • If you’re interested in upgrading or enhancing the interior or exterior of a room, French doors are not just practical but beautiful, dramatic, and classy as well.
  • The value of your property increases with French doors. Using French doors as your main front door is said to bring the highest ROI among all remodeling projects. Indoor French doors do not give the same high ROI but still offers a respectable return. One way to improve ROI is securing the help of a professional and experienced supplier who will not delay or cause back jobs for poor installation or workmanship

East Coast Windows offers different French door designs from single or double doors, full or narrow frame, with or without colonial grids.

Decisions You Will Have to Make with New French Doors

Some of the questions you have to be prepared to answer when planning the installation of new French doors include:

  1. What materials do you want to use? Wood is most expensive, quiet, and attractive but at highest risk of moisture and damage like warping. Vinyl can be brittle but stands well against rain and humidity. Aluminum is practical but noisy.
  2. What kind of glass do you prefer? You can choose opaque, transparent, double pane, single pane, impact-resistant, or tempered.
  3. Do you want it to open outward or inward?
  4. What kind of weather stripping and security system do you want?

French doors are a great choice for homes because it gives it character and style. And it does not require heavy maintenance and cleaning to maintain its condition. Just make sure that you get a good supplier because so many issues can arise from inferior products and poor installation like sagging doors, misaligned locks, and sticky doors, among others.

A 2018 Primer on Sliding Glass Door Systems

Sliding Glass Doors

The sliding glass door is a pre-WWII design element that originated from North America but based on Japanese paper panel doors or Shoji. The traditional design consists of two glass panels wherein only one of the two panels is mobile. The other sliding door designs are the Disappearing, Trackless and Disappearing, and the Opening Corner.

Initially used to give access to balconies and patios, sliding doors are now being used in bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens, and as room dividers instead of walls. The rationale behind using sliding doors inside the house is to create the perception of open space while providing the option for privacy.

Choosing the sliding glass door is not a matter of design aesthetics alone. Other factors that must be considered include:

  • House design
  • Personal lifestyle
  • Space
  • Climate
  • Budget
  • Time for Maintenance and Glass Cleaning

Choosing your Sliding Door Design

Today, you can also have up four stacking panels and can select the size opening. More important than the number of panels is the track design. The sliding door design has two tracks: top track and bottom track. The model you select will either be top weight heavy or bottom weight heavy which means the weight of the system will rely more on the top or bottom track. Some experts believe that if the top track supports the weight of the glass panels, you achieve a cleaner look because your bottom track can be hidden or flush against your floor. This support means no more accidental tripping which is one of the leading reasons for accidents with sliding doors.

Top track support also allows you to have amazing panel curves, prevents misalignment, and gives you a much smoother sliding performance. Furthermore, it’s easier to clean, and some suppliers can offer a design wherein the top track is also concealed. These kinds of flushed designs protect your home from strong wind pressure and forced entries.

Quick Tips

  • Consider your interior layout when planning the sliding door. For example, if you have limited space, opt for the two-panel design or one stationary panel with one swing door instead of a two-panel sliding door.
  • You will have a choice of aluminum, wood clad, fiberglass or vinyl frame. Choose based on weather, maintenance, and durability
  • If the glass panels lead to the outdoors, opt for impact-resistant e-glass especially if you live in hurricane-prone areas. E-glass, on the other hand, will help keep your monthly energy bills manageable and give you UV protection.

One of the 2018 design trends for sliding door systems is a taller and broader frame to suggest more extensive, organic space extending naturally to the other room or your outdoors.

The Simplest and Easiest Way to Retrofit Your Windows and Doors

House with windows and lights on inside

Have you ever seen professionals retrofit windows and doors? Doesn’t it look reasonably straightforward since you don’t replace the existing frame? It should be an “open and shut” DIY project, right? Unfortunately, professionals make it look easy because they’ve done it a hundred and more times. For a homeowner interested in saving money with a DIY retrofit window or door project, there are some caveats to take into consideration.

  • You will need to know what type of store-bought replacement windows to get. They are not just based on size and aesthetic design. You will have to understand the design structure and differentiate new construction windows from replacement windows.
  • Window replacements sold in hardware stores that perfectly fit your existing frames are not that easy to find and can be almost impossible at times.
  • If you’re buying several replacement windows in the hardware store, expect to be charged a delivery fee, which you should anticipate and add to the total cost to find out if the project will be cost-effective.
  • Exterior cladding is part of the job. You will need the special tools to handle the cladding stage.
  • If there is any aluminum in your replacement window, best to learn first how to work with aluminum seeing that it isn’t that easy to do it with finesse as an amateur.
  • Often the damage to windows and doors are hidden from plain sight and will only be evident after you have removed the window. Therefore, you might bite off more than you can chew or not have enough experience to fix the structural damages safely.

The simplest and easiest way to retrofit windows and doors would be to contact a professional window replacement company with a good reputation. Granted, the automatic assumption is that it will cost but the question to ask: will it cost more than a DIY taking into consideration unknown factors and the level of skill that you can bring to the project?

On the more serious side of a retrofit window or door project is the time element. A DIY project could take as long as several weeks, especially if there are structural damages to the frame or other components. A professional team can do the job in a day depending on the number of windows and doors to retrofit. This means the inconvenience will be cut by more than half the time of a DIY and you can proceed with other items on your agenda for the month. Getting it done and getting it done quickly carries with it a great many advantages worth considering. Get a quote from East Coast Windows today and find out for sure just how cost-effective, simple, and easy it is to repair your windows and doors.


Building a Better Stronger Florida in 2018

Florida Home on the beach

In 1992 when Hurricane Andrew hit South Miami, the damages to houses were extensive and severe. Looking back at the property development market in the 1980s, according to the History of Miami Museum, a significant fact shows that there was overbuilding and less than stringent regulations on property development. The Category 5 hurricane proved how poorly the buildings were constructed, destroying around 63,000 houses and damaging approximately 100,000 other dwellings.

Some of the reasons for the magnitude of the damages were in the construction of the buildings and houses. For instance, the roofs in Country Walk, a suburban neighborhood near Homestead that was practically flattened, were made of low-grade plywood and attached using staples, not nails. In just three hours after the storm hit land, second floors of homes were being ripped off by winds.

After Andrew, government officials had no choice but to strengthen building codes and strictly implement them. Since 1992, many hurricanes have come and gone and the most recent Category 5 was Hurricane Irma last September 2017, 25 years after Hurricane Andrew.

Irma was described by Florida Governor, Rick Scott as “This is bigger than Andrew. This could be worse.” Fortunately, many buildings and houses remained standing after the storm. Some of the changes that were enforced were the roof integrity and wind resistance codes. Impact resistant or hurricane windows became standard for all new buildings, and cheap construction materials were banned altogether.

A new statewide building code was implemented in 2002, and based on a 2005 study by the University of Florida, houses built after 2002 sustained fewer, if any, damages compared to homes made under the old codes. In fact, 30% of the houses under the new code suffered not a single shingle damage during Hurricane Charley (2004) while those built before 2002 had some shingle loss at the very least.

Now, in 2018 there are even the “storm-proof houses” that can resist up to Category 5 winds with 100% survival rate – intact! Windows that can handle 250 mph winds are possible because reinforced glass is used and the glass is tested under controlled conditions and given a rating for consumers to appreciate.

Other innovations that are making sure Floridians are safer and more secure in their homes during fierce storms and hurricanes include:

  • Use of nails that are one centimeter longer than the building standard (extra $10)
  • Use of hurricane straps ($200) for roofs to be 40% stronger
  • Other cutting-edge materials like mechanical connectors tie the house parts to strengthen the frame

If you decide to install hurricane windows and doors or reinforce your house in any other way, do it the right way with East Coast Windows.

Shifting Trends Among Property Buyers in Florida

Large Florida Kitchen with lots of cabinets

Large Florida KitchenSome of the interesting trends in Florida real estate is the preference for fresh home designs, open rooms, cozier interior, smart technology, and a higher level in security and safety. Gone are the days when you have numerous small rooms and mega mansions! In exchange, the new interior ideas border on large screen TVs, large tiles, high ceilings, and large hurricane windows. The preferred finishings are sleek and stylish – nothing too intricate or complicated.

Other new touches that are coming out as necessary instead of optional are greenery inside the house, open porches, big kitchens, and brighter lit rooms. The modern homeowner wants to share space rather than cut up the house into several small rooms. And these trends are not just happening with houses but also apartments and condominiums. According to realtors, the simple project of bringing down a dry wall and opening up the house to create a wide and free space actually increases the value of the property because it brings the layout into the current century.

One of the reasons for these trends is the shift in buyer demographics. Not long ago, most international buyers were from Latin American countries looking for an investment. Lately, there are more Canadian buyers because of the strong Canadian dollar and they are choosing to buy in South Florida. Sales figures from the National Association of Florida Realtors show that Florida captured 22% of the foreign buyer market totaling $24.2 billion from August 2016 to July 2017.

In an article in the South Florida Business Journal, a revelation was made about Florida neighborhoods becoming the new urban center and no longer considered as suburbs. Sales of single family homes increased by 2% compared to last year and the median prices for these kinds of houses is steadily increasing in spite of the recent Hurricane Irma (up by 7.1% from 2016).  According to realtors, most of the buyers who stalled negotiations because of Irma pushed through with their purchase last October. All these are facts that can be checked with real estate organizations and groups and they all attest to the one fact: stay in tune with the trends and your Florida home will remain valuable and sought-after.


Keeping Your Family Safe from Burglars

Family of four playing monopoly in the living room

Family of four playing monopoly in the living room

Based on last quarter 2016 figures, homes in the United States are targeted by burglars every 18 seconds daily. And these burglars are successful in gaining unlawful entry into American homes. According to an FBI crime report, one house out of every 36 houses in the country are burglarized with an average loss of slightly over $2,200. Unfortunately, Miami, Florida was ranked number 10 among all cities with the highest property crimes with a reported 4,390 cases.Continue reading

Best Tips for Replacing Broken Windows

Broken glass still in contact

Broken glass still in contact

Property owners often face the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) or Do-It-For-Me dilemma when faced with having to handle home repairs that they are not familiar with, such as replacing broken windows. According to the True Cost Report 2017, the DIY projects by homeowners increased by 60% compared to 2015.Continue reading

An Overview of the Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program of Florida and What It Means for Homeowners and Entrepreneurs

A pile of cement blocks and debris

A pile of cement block scattered on the ground with other debris

The Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program of Florida was created after Category 5 Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Since then it has been activated 20 times after disasters hit the state and assisted over 2,700 small businesses across the state with over $63 million in loan assistance. This program is kept active for a limited time and then deactivated until the time the state feels the need to activate it again.Continue reading

Benefits From Having Storm Windows Installed

Hand on storm window on a rainy day

There are many benefits from having storm windows installed.  When a hurricane is approaching your area, it is vital to make sure that your house will be able to withstand the impact of the storm. Conventional windows can easily be broken by the high winds and heavy rains that are associated with these storms. This can lead to having to clean up a massive mess after the storm has passed. Having impact-resistant windows installed throughout your home can give you the peace of mind that your windows will be resistant from high winds and flying debris. East Coast Windows is a company that offers impact-resistant windows in the Fort Lauderdale area. Their friendly staff will be able to answer any questions you may have about the advantages of having impact-resistant windows installed in your home.

Florida residents make storm and hurricane protection a top concern. As a homeowner in Florida, if you are worried that your existing windows are not strong enough to stand up to a hurricane or tropical storm, you will want to talk to your window installers about the advantages of having your existing windows replaced with windows that are manufactured to withstand the high winds, heavy rains and flying debris that is associated with a hurricane or tropical storm.

After having the new impact-resistant windows installed in your home, not only will you have peace of mind knowing that your home is protected from potential damange of hurricanes and tropical storms; you will also notice how the new windows improve the energy-efficiency. Your home’s air conditioning unit or heating unit will not need to work as hard as it did before. As a result, you will notice that you are saving on your heating and cooling bills throughout the entire year.

Impact-resistant windows can also boost the value of your home. The windows that you have had installed throughout the home, will increase your property value significantly. If the times comes that you decide to sell your home, it will be more appealing to new buyers that these types of windows are already installed and will give them the peace of mind knowing that the home will be ready for any future hurricanes or tropical storms that may hit the area. Even if you do not decide to sell your home, these windows are a great investment. They will help keep your home safe from damage and give you, the homeowner, the time to worry about preparing for the approaching storm in other ways.

Tips to Increase your Home’s Value

Large House for Sale

Large House for SaleHere are some great Tips to Increase your Home’s Value!  Increasing the value of your home can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, or even more. The amount of money you spend to make these improvements is completely up to you, as the homeowner.

You can start by having a home inspector come out to the home to inspect areas that you do not access on a regular basis. The inspector will be able to let you know if there is a problem with the roof, plumbing, electrical, and other structural things that could go undetected for a long period of time. Fixing a small problem now will help save money on a bigger project. Even a small hidden water leak can decrease the value of your home.

Speaking of inspections, it can also be a good idea to have the home inspected for termites. Finding a termite problem early is the best way to keep them from causing bigger problems later.

Adding fresh paint throughout the house is a cost-effective way to add value to your home. A gallon of paint costs about $25 per gallon. If you’re not sure on which color to pick, you can always ask an interior designer to come out to the home and give you some tips of colors and other ways to make improvements to your home. Some of them will come out for a flat-fee while others charge an hourly fee.

Updating appliances to more energy-efficient appliances can help save on energy costs and will add value to your home. Also updating light fixtures, faucets, worn area runs, or replacing old carpet are all great ways to increase your home’s value.

Replacing older windows throughout the home with impact-resistant windows is another great way to add value to your home. Especially if you live in an area that is prone to hurricanes and tropical storms. These windows help guard against damage from high winds, heavy rains and flying debris that come along with these storms. In turn, it is saving your investment from damages that will need to be repaired after the storm has passed. Also, if you decide to sell the home later, buyers are more attracted to homes that have these types of windows installed and are more likely to pay a higher price for the home. East Coast Windows has a variety of impact-resistant windows and they deal with several local manufactures. All of their products are in compliance with the Miami/Dade and state regulated codes. If you are ready to replace your existing windows with impact-resistant windows give their sales team a call today to set up an appointment.