Category Archives: Windows & Glass

Coverings For Sliding Glass Doors and Windows

Coverings For Sliding Glass Doors and Windows

Covering glass doors and glass windows is an art of its own. There are so many different outfits for covering glass doors and glass windows that you can truly capture the exact mood you are looking for. If you’re serious about perfectly decorating your home, you should at least be aware of the available options for covering your glass doors and windows. Though there are many more options to choose from, we’ll do our best to present the most common ways to cover glass doors or glass windows in this article. And you can rest assured that after reading this article, you’ll have tons of new inspiration for getting the job done!

curtains vs drapes
curtains behind the drapes

Curtains: Curtains are what most people immediately imagine when they think of covering a glass window. Curtains, as distinct from drapes, are usually made of a lighter fabric, and are not necessarily designed to block out light. Often times, curtains can be seen through, thus they are not designed for privacy.

Drapes: Drapes, as opposed to curtains, are usually made of a heavy fabric in effort to block out light. Remember the last time you visited a hotel? – that heavy fabric hanging over the windows that blocked out tons of that morning sun – those were drapes. But not only do drapes work at blocking out light, they are also designed to insulate against cold and heat, and of course, keep your room private.

interior wood shutters
interior wood shutters

Shutters: Shutters (aka blinds) are pairs of hinged panels, often louvered, fixed inside or outside a window. Shutters offer a classic and clean feel, and can go along fine in any room. They are terrific at creating privacy and blocking out light. They are commonly chosen for their insulating properties as well, as closed outside blinds can keep homes cooler in hot weather, and closed inside blinds can keep homes nice and toasty in cold weather.

sliding solar shades
sliding solar shades

Sliding Solar Screens: Sliding Solar Screens are perfect for a modern sensibility. Many of them are built to let in tons of natural light while at the same time blocking out the damaging UV light. They are also sleek and out-of-the-way as they mimic the style and function of the door itself.

roman shades
roman shades

Roman Shades: There are two types of Roman shades: those that sit above the frame, and those that sit within the frame. In general though, you can think of Roman shades as drapes that work vertically (instead of horizontally). They tend to be out of the way a bit more than drapes, since they sit high above the ground when not in use. Just make sure that there exists plenty of wall space at the top of the frame and above every glass door or window in a room, that way you can mount the Roman shades at the same level across the room. This is incredibly important for visual symmetry.

sheer shades
sheer shades

Sheer Shades: Sheer shades are similar to Roman shades in that they typically sit above the frame, though, they are made of a very thin material, allowing you to see outside even when they are pulled all the way down. They are manufactured mainly to let in tons of natural light, preserve the view, and control the glare. They are also incredibly sleek when drawn, so they nearly sit flush with the top of the window frame. Of course, if privacy is your concern this is likely not your candidate. However, if you live in a fairly isolated area and have tons of beautiful scenery outside, sheer shades might be your best bet!

vertical cellular shades
vertical cellular shades

Vertical Cellular Shades: These are also a very modern option to consider. Depending on the variety, they can allow for tons of natural light and are likely one of the most versatile candidates we’ve discussed so far. That’s because vertical cellular shades function along a track either vertically against a window frame, or horizontally above a glass door. Thus you can move both ends of the shades to suit your decorative vision. If for example, you’d like light to enter from the top half of the window, while keeping the bottom half covered with the shade, this can be easily done. Or, if you’d like just the middle portion of your glass door to be covered, while allowing light to flow in from the right and left sides, this too is totally achievable using vertical cellular shades.

exterior shades
exterior shades

Exterior Shades: You can think of exterior shades as outdoor shutters. They work really well for two particular reasons. Firstly, if you live in a warm climate, you might consider exterior shades, as they do a great job at insulating your home from the hot sun outside. Also, if you have a large outdoor space, such as a patio, and you’d like to increase privacy, exterior shades will do a great job of creating a sense of privacy from the remainder of your home.

frosted glass
frosted glass

Frosted Glass:  Frosted glass can add tons of style to a room, but it does require an acquired taste and an eye for detail. Usually, frosted glass works great between rooms, such as on indoor French doors between rooms, or on sliding glass doors for an indoor office. However, you’ll also see frosted glass on exteriors of modern style homes as well, such as on glass railings or wind screens. Other than being incredibly sleek and dapper, they let it tons of natural light and are excellent for privacy.

decorative screen

Decorative Screens: Decorative screens are one of those coverings that you’ll have to see to believe. Essentially, they are a screen on the outside of your window usually made out of aluminum but etched with tons of intricate designs that not only creates a stunning design, but lets in tons of natural light and preservers privacy as well. They are usually found along ocean front properties as these coverings also help to protect against harsh winds and hurricanes.

There ya go! As you can see, there are tons of options for outfitting your glass doors or windows. Just use your imagination, and use these options to help set the perfect mood for your room!

How to Install a Sliding Glass Door

How to Install a Sliding Glass Door

Installing a sliding door is a great way to spruce up a room, as it adds tons of light and openness to any space, and of course makes it easy to get some of the fresh outdoor air breezing through your home. Installing a sliding door can indeed be a very intimidating process, especially if you’re unused to working with power tools yourself. And there are certainly many unforeseen contingencies that commonly plague from any do-it-yourself activity, but with a little research and preparation, the whole process can become a lot more approachable. This article is intended to give you a rough blueprint of how to approach installing a sliding glass door in what is likely the most common of situations; that is, installing a sliding glass door within a wooden wall. 

Remove Any Existing Windows & Doors

reciprocating saw
cut walls with a reciprocating saw

The first step of the process is to remove any windows and / or doors that might be present within the existing wall to be converted into a sliding glass door. Existing doors and windows are a likely obstacle you’ll encounter in installing a sliding glass door, because they’ll be in locations where you’d like an upgraded passageway. Most of the time, doors can be removed by carefully unscrewing hinges, and windows (and the wall itself) is best removed using a reciprocating saw. If you intend to save the old windows, you can use your reciprocating saw to cut around the window hinge, and then carefully remove it before demolishing the rest of the wall. Cutting out the size of your glass sliding door can be accomplished almost exclusively by a reciprocating saw. And once the wall is carefully pulled down, simply clean up any loose ends and prepare the space for the door frame. 

How to Lay and Level a Frame Floor

2x4 as a form
use a 2×4 as a guide

The first step in a framing a sliding glass door is to make sure that the sliding glass door frame sits on a flat and level surface. Most likely, you will be laying new cement as the bottom surface of your sliding glass door. A tip is to use a 2X4 as a “form” that will be used like a guide and will hold the cement level and straight. Once you’ve excavated the floor so as to make room for the 2×4, and of course, to create a void for the new cement to be poured, you should screw in the 2×4 to the existing floor, and proceed to fill the void with cement. To fasten the 2×4 to the concrete, you have to pre-drill a whole using a masonry bit and a hammer drill. Then you can screw the 2×4 down using a masonry screw. You should use a quick setting cement mix and make sure the consistency is on the thicker side. A pro tip is to wet any existing cement where the new cement will be laid, so that when you pour in the new cement, the old dry cement doesn’t absorb the moisture of the new cement. Use caulking to run a bead against the edge of the 2×4 and on the surface of the floor; this will create a gasket between the new cement and the old concrete, so if any water were to seep toward your door entrance, it will not be able to enter your home. Then pour your cement, and level it to the top of the 2×4. 

Erect a Simple Wall

building a simple wall
build a simple wall

Once your cement is poured and laid, you should then measure the difference in length between your sliding glass door frame, and the void in the wall that has been created as a result of demolishing. Most of the time, if you have to work around old existing windows, or old existing doors, you will not have a perfect fit between the void and the sliding glass door; therefore, you will have to close the void by building a simple wall. Use pressure treated wood that sits flush against the new concrete (known as a seal plate), and nail it to two studs that run vertical (called “king studs”). Nail the king studs to a “top plate”, which sits parallel to the seal plate, and then finish off the simple wall with a stud that runs vertical and along the existing wall of the house. It is best to use pressure treated wood for that portion of the wall as well because it will likely be sitting flush against a concrete wall. After your simple wall is constructed, put sheeting along the outside wall. Use a 5/8th of an inch piece of plywood to place over the studs. Nail the plywood in place and then cover it with 15 pound felt paper and use a staple gun to keep it in place.

plumb the walls
measure from corner to corner

Install a Door Jamb

Next step is to install the door jamb. The top part of the door jam has something called a nailing flange which is intended to secure the door jamb between the existing walls. You want to run a nice think bead of caulking along the nail flange in order to seal the joint. A nice thick bead of caulking will ensure that when the threshold sits against the caulking, it will seal it, not allowing any water to enter the house. Do so on the top and bottom of the door jamb. 

Once the sliding glass door frame has been inserted and sealed by caulking, you then want to make sure that the left and the right sides are plumb. Of course, if you were careful to level the cement upon which your sliding glass door is sitting, most of this work should be done for you. Nonetheless, take your measuring tape, and measure diagonally from corner to corner, first from bottom right to top right and then from top left to bottom right. The measurements should be exactly the same. If measurements are the same, you know your frame is square and the sides are plumb. If your measurements are off, use shims to make sure your frame is square and your sides are plumb. 

The next step is to secure the sliding glass door jam to the simple wall. This is done by shimming behind the frame and then screwing through the shim into the 2×4. 

Pop in the Panels

sliding glass door
the final product

Sliding glass doors are usually composed of two glass panels, one of which rolls for entering and closing, and the other stays stationary. It is a good idea to install the sliding panel first, by securing it in the track on top of the sliding glass door frame. Then install the stationary panel by pushing it to be flush against the threshold, and using the bracket provided with the sliding glass door to hold the panel permanently in place. 

Next spray some minimal expanding foam between any additional space that may exist between the sliding glass door threshold and the simple wall. No matter how great your craftsmanship, you will likely have a small gap which can be filled with this minimal expanding foam. This foam will seal the unit and keep the house airtight. 

And that’s it! Your sliding glass door should be fully functional now by this point. Of course, there still will exist some aesthetic improvements to be made to the simple wall, but other than that, your sliding glass door should be ready to use. Just don’t lose your keys!

Energy Saving Window Treatments

Ways to Save Energy through Energy Saving Window Treatments

Throughout the life of our business, we have witnessed our customers express more and more concern about how windows can affect energy efficiency. The truth is, windows play a huge role in the overall energy efficiency of one’s household, and this can have a dramatic effect on your monthly energy bill. For example, did you know that 50% of your heating costs is wasted on heat seeping out of your windows? Or for example, that 10% to 25% of your electric bill is accounted for from your windows alone. This means, that if it costs $1000 to heat a home during a cold season, $225 of that $1000 is literally seeping out the windows! By this logic, it’s no wonder that many consumers today rightfully feel that investing in state of the art energy efficient windows will literally pay for themselves and save them thousands in the long run.

Since our climate here in Ventura County stays pretty stable throughout the year, there is no need for extreme measures to be taken with regards to windows. But there are some simple tips about energy saving window treatments that the U.S. Department of Energy recommends, and we wanted to share this information with our customers.

Window Treatment to Cool Your Home

hotel room with white curtains
white curtains to deflect sunlight

First of all, during the hotter seasons, it’s best to install white window shades, drapes, or blinds to reflect heat away from your home. Remember, darker colors absorb heat, and lighter colors reflect heat. Haven’t you ever noticed how hotels usually have white curtains along windows? That’s because with hundreds of rooms to keep cool, it’s important that costs are kept as low as possible, and needless to say, hotels save thousands of dollars on cooling costs with this simple tip.

On the same note, it’s also smart to always close curtains on the south and west facing windows during the day. This is obviously because the sun will be shining into these windows more directly during the day, and thus by obstructing them with curtains or drapes, you are eliminating excess heat from entering your home, and diminishing your need to blast the air conditioner. If you wanted to take this a step further, you can install sun-control or other reflective films on the south facing windows to reduce solar gain.

picture of window awnings
outdoor window awnings

Another great tip for reducing excessive heat from accumulating in our homes is by installing awnings. This is an often overlooked strategy, but by installing an awning on the south and west facing windows of a home, you can significantly decrease the heat spilling into your home. Now, if you combine this strategy with all the others mentioned above, you can really do wonders to tackle the heat and keep your home cool in the summer months. Please also keep in mind that if these strategies are still not enough for your particular climate, there are specially made windows with spectrally selective coatings which work even more aggressively to reflect unwanted sunlight. And as people become more and more concerned about reducing their “carbon footprint,” these spectrally treated windows have become more popular in recent times.

Window Treatment Works in Cool Weather, Too!

double pane window illustration
illustration of a double pane window

Now let’s talk about the other side of the thermostat: keeping homes warm in the colder seasons. And just like in the warmer months, windows play a significant role in maintaining or affecting the climate of one’s home. One of the most common buzz-words in this area is “double-pane” windows. These have become almost household in recent times, and essentially what they do is trap heat inside and prevents it from escaping. You can use your thermostat less since the heat from your heater or fireplace will not get lost on cold windows. Double pane windows essentially shield the cold elements on the outside (one pane) from the heated home on the inside (another pane), and thus the appeal of “double pane” or “duel pane” windows.

Another tip to keep our homes warm in the cold seasons is to make sure we install tight-fitting, insulating window shades on windows that feel drafty. This is a simple tip but incredibly effective and often overlooked. A small draft along a window or even under a door seal can significantly affect the warmth of a room and cause your energy bills to slowly rise.

Now just as we discussed, the windows on the south and west side of a home have a lot of potential to affect the overall temperature of a home. And just as it’s important to keep windows on the south and west side of a home curtained during the day in warmer weather, doing opposite in colder weather will help to keep homes warm. By keeping windows unobstructed by curtains, you can ensure that any sunshine entering your home will help keep temperatures warm and stable. Likewise, by closing your curtains and shades at night, you can thwart the frigid night air from wreaking too much havoc on your thermostat.

How to Properly “Outfit” A Window Treatment

image of wood shutters
outdoor wood shutters

Now having spoken much about window shades and curtains in this article so far, let me just share with you the differences between blinds, shutters and shades, as these will certainly play a significant role in keeping your home energy efficient. First on the list are cell shades. These are sort of like a cross between curtains and blinds. “Cell” describes each visible side pocket on a honeycomb shade. The more cells there are, the more energy efficient the shade. Cell shades are used almost exclusively interior.

Next are wood blinds. Wood blinds can either be horizontal or vertical slat style and are a very common option for home owners. It should be noted, however, that wood blinds are more effective at reducing summer heat gain than winter heat loss, therefore if you live in a place where you’d rather be cool than warm, you’d might want to consider wood shutters.

Wood shutters are a great energy efficient window treatment option because they can be applied both internally and externally. Wood shutters will decrease both heat loss and summer heat gain, meaning they are all around efficient at keeping temperatures inside a home at a stable level. These insulating shutters consist of wood panels, a vapor barrier and sometimes a decorative covering.

The Effects of Window Treatment Can Be Synergistic

All in all, there are certainly some cost effective measures to reduce your electric bill and keep your home at a stable temperature all year. Please keep in mind that if you combine these strategies, the effects will be synergistic. That is, if you use spectrally coated windows, and also install awnings around your windows, the effects will compound and the results will be incredible at maintaining a stable climate in your home and of course, keeping your energy bills as low as possible.

We at Glass City are excited to share these strategies with you and have much experience with all the above window treatments discussed in this article. Now, we can’t pick out curtains for your home, but we are most certainly well able to spectrally treat your windows to keep out the sunlight, and to install double pane windows to keep homes warm in the winter time. We really do hope you’d consider us for all your window needs, and for all things glass! Also, please check out this great website for plenty of additional information on this top.