Monthly Archives: October 2016

How Choosing the right windows and doors

If you are currently building or renovating a home, than you know that there is a huge variety of window and door options out there. Windows and doors say a lot about a home. They are functional and need to perform well, yet they can also be statement pieces and express so much about who lives there. What you choose will depend on the functions you need, the style you love and the security you expect.

When you start researching your windows and doors always remember that the Australian building industry often refer to both windows and doors as “windows”.

To help you find the right windows for your house, here is an outline of your choices and things to consider.

Panel Lift windows

Panel lift windows and doors are so modern and allow the entire wall to be opened at the touch of a button. This window type is based on the same system as a panel lift garage door and requires a substantial beam overhead to take the load of the building as well as the weight of the door.

Awning Windows

Awning Windows were once popular in the 1920’s and 1950’s, but due to their unique design quality are seeing resurgence in new homes built in temperate climates, often constructed from attractive and durable aluminum. Awning Windows have a sash along the top of the window, and open from the bottom, creating an awning that allows air to circulate freely but doesnt allow the rain in. Larger Awning Windows are often operated by a manual crank, whereas smaller windows, such as those used in smaller bathrooms, can be pushed open and pulled closed by hand.

Casement Windows

Casement Windows are an attractive and traditional window model that swing open like a door, but can be shut with an air-tight seal. They have a vertical, side-hung sash that allows the window to be opened inwards or outwards, inviting sea-breezes into your home. Aluminum Casement Windows provide some of the best thermal performance of any window type, and have very secure locking mechanisms. They are completely streamlined, and cranks are foldable to allow curtains and blinds to fall naturally. They allow for very large panes of glass, and are therefore perfect for homeowners with a view they want to showcase completely unobstructed.

Breezeway Louvre Windows

A unique style used exclusively in warmer climates, traditional Louvre (or Jalousie) Windows look beautiful in screened-in porches and sun rooms. The window is constructed with horizontal slats of glass, similar to venetian blinds yet wider. These can be opened, closed, or tilted depending on how much light and fresh air you want to let in. Aluminum Breezeway Louvre Windows are more versatile than their predecessors, and can be shut tight to keep harsh weather out. Whats more, they allow not only natural light and air into your room, but add a uniquely stylish touch that pulls together a contemporary look.

Double Hung Windows

Some looks are too good to ever go out of style, and aluminum Double Hung Windows look equally good on classic homes as they do brand new constructions. New Double Hung Windows offer a contemporary twist on an enduring classic; the beautiful, old fashioned look you want with the modern performance you expect. Also known as a sash window, Double Hung Windows are essentially two windows separated horizontally, and can be of different sizes and shapes (such as a semicircle atop a rectangle). They open from both the top and the bottom, and can feature a combination of large and small glass panes, customizable to your specifications.

Sliding Windows

Sliding Windows are now one of the most popular window options out there, and offer a contemporary look. Since they slide completely open, they offer a good air circulation in bedrooms, bathrooms and over kitchen sinks. They slide open and shut manually with ease, without using any additional space, which is perfect in rooms where there isnt an inch to spare. Sliding Windows are very easy to clean as they can be lifted out of their casement from the inside, and their light aluminum construction makes the process of washing both sides of the glass quick and painless.

French Doors

French Doors are a classic choice that looks good in both modern and traditional home decor. They are essentially large aluminum Casement Windows that are used as doors, sometimes between adjacent rooms, and other times it is an attractive entrance to a garden or patio. Their charm lies in the fact that they let full light into the room, creating an open and breezy feel. Usually 2 doors are hung alongside one another, but a single door can also do the trick.

Pivot Doors

Pivot Doors not only add architectural interest to your entryways, but they are extremely functional and last longer than traditional doors. These doors are hinge-less, which means less tension and friction, allowing for effortless opening and closing. The weight of the door is supported by the floor instead of a door frame, as pivots, instead of hinges, are placed on the floor and ceiling. This eliminates wear and tear on the door frame.

Bi-Fold Doors

Bi-Fold Doors are ideal in tight spaces, where there isnt enough room for a door to swing open. Often Bi-Fold doors are a pair of doors divided vertically into 2 parts attached by a set of hinges. The doors run along a track on the floor, so to open a door the knob is gently pulled and the door folds open. These doors are excellent as closet doors, but work in a variety of ways.

Sashless Double Hung Windows

Sashless Double Hung Windows function almost the same as Double Hung Windows, but they are a far more contemporary design. These windows provide a seamless view, because there is no sash holding the sturdy glass panes in place. Two glass panels glide along aluminum tracks, to give a custom amount of ventilation. Washing these windows is extra easy because they are perfectly uniform and smooth.

Aluminum windows and doors provide all the function and style that Australian homes are known for. As well as being beautifully designed, they are durable so you know that your purchase is a true investment in your home.

This How to make the most of the sun in your home

Whether you want to watch sport on TV away from the glare of the afternoon sun, or have a sunny kitchen window to grow basil and parsley, the way that your home is oriented can make a big difference to how you use your home.

When you choose a floor plan that faces the right way on your block, you’ll make your home more comfortable, and you can save money on heating, cooling and lighting. Your home builder can flip or rotate your floor plan to make the most of your block’s orientation.

Here is a quick guide to help you work out which rooms to position where in your home:

North- This is side of your home that will be warmer in winter. The north side is generally the best place to have living areas and rooms that you use the most.

South- This is the coolest side, so it is generally the best place for bedrooms in warmer climates, or rooms that you don’t use during the day.

East- This side is where you will receive morning sun, so it is a great idea to have your kitchen or bedrooms on this side so you can enjoy a relaxing breakfast in the sunlight.

West- Since this is the direction the sun sets, the western side of your home is more likely to get hot in the afternoon. This is a great area to place rooms that you don’t use often, such as your bathroom, garage or laundry.

You can also make the most of the sun within your home by using eaves. In summer, eaves will shade your walls and windows from the sun – and in winter when the sun is at a lower angle, the eaves will let the sun into your home.

When you’re working out the orientation of your home, always keep the amount of glass you have in mind. Glass looks great, but it can turn your home into an oven in summer and an igloo in winter!

This The different types of locks you can get for your home

Nothing is more important than the security of your home and family. As technology gets more sophisticated and more affordable the choices you have around types of locks for your home increase. In this article we’ll give you a run down of the kinds of locks you may want to consider for your home – from standard key locks through to the latest in smart phone technology.

It’s always a good idea to get an assessment from a professional locksmith as many things can impact your choice of lock including: style and material of your doors and windows, insurance requirements, location of your home (ie: crime rate), lifestyle and occupants of your home.

Single key or basic cylinder lock

Pros

A basic cylinder lock such as you would find in a door knob or level handle is usually inexpensive. However, as with most things in life, you get what you pay for!

Cons

Locks such as these can be ‘picked’, jimmied or broken. And also if an intruder breaks into your house via another means, these basic locks can make it easy for them open a door from the inside and exit easily – with a whole lot of your possessions!

Sliding door locks

Pros

Sliding doors provide wonderful ease of access, especially for ‘indoor / outdoor’ living where doors open directly onto a back decking or covered verandah area. You should always have a secure lock on your sliding door.

Cons

Many sliding door locks are very basic and make it easy for an intruder to ‘lift’ the door out of the sliding frame. It is worth investing in specialised keyed locks and install them at both the top and bottom of your doors. You can also reinforce sliding door locks with a thick piece of dowel in the bottom track or a bar that comes down from the door frame itself – both of these will prevent the door being forced open.

Deadlocks and deadbolts

Pros

A deadlock is a lock that requires a key unlock it from the inside or the outside. So if someone manages to get into your house they will not be able to simply open the door or window and exit easily. They will have to try and break the lock somehow, which is difficult and might attract unwanted attention. Make sure you purchase high quality metal locks and it is generally recommended that the bolt itself be at least 1 inch in length.

Deadlocks on all external doors and secure locks on all windows are usually the standard minimum requirement for most insurance companies.

Cons

A deadlock can still be ‘picked’ by an expert intruder. You must be careful not to lock yourself (or family members, especially children) inside without a key. This can happen if someone deadlocks the doors from the inside and then leaves the house while someone is still inside.

It’s a good idea to keep a spare key inside the house somewhere. But please – nowhere obvious like a hall stand near the front door! And also – don’t ever attached labels to keys that state what door they are for or your address. Never make life easy for a potential intruder.

Mortise locks

Pros

Mortise locks were more common in the past, before the development of cylinder locks that are more easily attached to a door. Mortise locks require that the lock be built into the door itself (lock body) with a strike plate (usually metal). The lock trim can be a range of mechanisms (knob, lever, handle set etc) and a keyed cylinder operates the actual locking and unlocking. Mortised locks are extremely strong and acts as both a door knob/handle and a deadbolt.

Cons

Drilling into a door (as is required when installing a mortised lock) can weaken the door. It is not recommended that you install mortised locks on your own. This is a job best suited to professional locksmiths who will do a tidy job.

Key control

Pros

This is where your keys cannot be copied at a standard locksmith or key cutter. The key has a code which means that authorisation is required to cut any new keys. You can control how many copies of keys to your home exist in the world and who has access to them.

Cons

Key control can make life more difficult in case of an emergency. An ordinary locksmith may not be able to help with a lock out so you will potentially have to wait longer or pay extra to get access to your home in the case of lost keys.

Push button or key pad locks

Pros

An electronic keypad with a code eliminates the need for keys. No more fishing around in your bag or worrying if you lose your keys, who might have access to your home! Most keypad systems are very sophisticated and come with a range of features including: change codes at any time, give different codes to different people who need specialised access (eg: house cleaner), additional benefits such as automated deadlocking, links to security company, reporting and online management.

Cons

The main drawback is that anything electronic relies on electricity. So in case of a power outage you would need a back up generator on site or a back up plan of how to get access to your home. Also there is the possibility that expert hackers could hack your code and gain access to your home.

Electric swipe / strike locks

Pros

These are also sometimes known as RFID (radio frequency identification). The basic mechanism is a swipe card. This offers a high level of security and is more common for workplaces / office buildings than residential homes.

Cons

Providing swipe cards to whoever might need to access your home can be a challenge. Also many doors on standard residential homes are not suitable for the mechanism that needs to be installed for this kind of lock.

Smartphone

Pros

Smartphone door locks are likely to become more and more common. There are already a number of options to choose from that will do anything from automatically unlock and lock doors once you (and your phone) are within a certain range, through to operating locks and changing systems remotely from anywhere in the world where you have access to the internet. You can also set up reporting and monitoring with security companies.

Cons

You don’t want to lose your phone (although most systems will have back ups onto your computer or other device). This technology might be an issue in a family home or shared household situation where not every person has easy access to a smart phone.

Biometric

Pros

If you’re a fan of Bond films or science fiction you will have seen locks activated by biometrics such as retinas or fingerprints. This is extremely sophisticated technology that is most appealing because it is so unique (no two finger prints are the same!) and so easy (you always have your eyes and fingers with you).

Cons

It’s a pretty extreme system to set up for residential home security, especially if you have a number of different people coming and going. And of course, it is not cheap or easy to install so you’ll need to pay to have a qualified professional take care of things for you.

Steps Choosing door handles and locks

Four easy steps to choosing the perfect door hardware

Door hardware is an extension of your home’s personality, and selecting the right door handles and locks is a great way to give your home a new look. As with most home improvement projects, executing a well thought out plan for upgrading door knobs, handles and other accessories will yield better results.

Step 1. Decide on your needs

The first question to ask yourself when considering new door knobs, handles and other door hardware is the function of each door – this will help you decide the type of door hardware you need.

Door knobs or door levers

The door knobs you choose depends on the use of each door in your home, as well as the style you prefer. Some people prefer door knobs, while others like door levers (these are easier to open for people with disabilities and children).

There are three types of door knobs or handles to consider for your home: exterior dead locks, interior privacy locks, and passage suite knobs (no locks). Most homes require all three types, so take careful note of the doors in your home and the types of knobs or levers you would like to install.

Door knockers

Adding a knocker to your front door gives it more presence, and can give the front of your home more character. Door knockers come in all shapes and sizes – they can be whimsical or sophisticated, and they are usually made out of durable materials for outside climates.

Coat Hooks

These are convenient to add to interior doors, like the bedroom and bathroom. Adding hooks gives you an extra place to hang towels and bathrobes, so you don’t have to find another place to put them.

Door stops

Whether you live in a quiet home or one full of children, door stops are a must to prevent damage to the walls adjacent to an opening door.

Hinges and door plates

The hinge and door plate should match or complement the door handle, as well as the rest of the room. For example, in your kitchen you would want your door hardware to go with your cabinet ware.

Latches and other door handles

Stylish door handles

Instead of a regular door knob consider adding latches, pull handles, or pull knobs to a pantry door or other door to create country feel. The fixed knobs can match other hardware in the room – such as handles on drawers and cabinets. They can also offer a cheap alternative to full door knobs.

Sliding pocket doors can use finger pulls, pull plates or flush pulls, which allow the door to fit into the wall when open. French doors need to be installed with flush bolts so they remain closed while not in use.

Step 2. Research materials and styles

There are as many different styles of door hardware as there are doors to fit them, so be prepared to spend some time researching. Door hardware in brass or antique bronze may look better in a warm-coloured home, while cooler schemes fit with stainless steel, porcelain, or chrome hardware. If you are using an interior designer they may be able to help with this decision.

Secondly, take a look around your home and decide on your style. If you like modern designs then you should find door hardware with simple and clean lines. Those who prefer more classic designs may want to look for ornate door hardware instead. Ultimately, your choice should complement the architectural style of your home. You may even want to take a look at commercial door ware for more ideas or to find exclusive deals.

Step 3. Consider the environment

If you live near the ocean, then your door hardware has to be able to withstand the elements. Look for premium materials like stainless steel, that are salt resistant and will stand up to the test of time. No matter where you are located, your door hardware needs to be long lasting and remain operable for as long as you need it to.

Step 4. Set a Budget

A budget is extremely important when you get to this point, as it can keep you from going overboard with your accessories and end up with an expensive project. Your exterior front door will take up most of your budget, as it is the one that requires deadbolt security, as well as having the most accessories (door knocker or bell push, security screens, door letter plate doors, etc.)Additionally, the exterior door tends to use more hardwearing materials since it is exposed to the elements, and other added features to enhance security and durability, like escutcheons. While you can find economical options for exterior doors, you want to make sure your home is protected.

Find a budget you are comfortable with, and stick to it. Above all, try to get the most cost effective or economical door accessories you can, while choosing premium materials that will last.