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 Post subject: Laminated Windows - Simonton v. Milgard v. HouseArmor
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2006 12:27 pm 

Joined: Tue May 30, 2006 12:09 pm
Posts: 7
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I want laminated windows for my house for security reasons. The three most reasonable quotes I've received have been for a Simonton 7300, Milgard Classic, and Window Factory's HouseArmor.

Simonton and Milgard sell their products for sound attenuation, not security. Still, a laminated window is always more break-resistant than a non-laminated window. HouseArmor is locally manufactured (So Cal only), and is specifically sold as a security window.

The only difference I can find is that Simonton & Milgard use a 3 mil laminating film, whereas HouseArmor uses a 4 mil film, making the window slightly stronger. HouseArmor also has a deadbolt in addition to the "regular" lock found on all windows.

Price-wise, here's how they stack up:

Simonton - average $700 installed ($575 parts only)
Milgard - average $675 installed ($600 parts only)
HouseArmor - average $725 installed (only sold installed)

You guys already know the warranties on Simonton & Milgard, so I'll only tell you about HouseArmor. It has a lifetime warranty to the original purchaser. It covers sagging, installation, weathering, and many things that may be excluded in the Simonton and Milgard warranties. That being said, Simonton covers "accidental" breakage, whereas Milgard and HouseArmor provide NO coverage for glass breakage of any kind.

I have not negotiated with Simonton or Milgard yet, but their prices are the fairest I've found so far. I had to really haggle with HouseArmor to get the price dropped to $725 each. He started out close to $875 each. There may still be room for negotiation with these guys. Any ideas as to what a laminated window should cost?

Any reason to choose the 4 mil lamination over the 3 mil?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2006 6:03 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2005 11:27 am
Posts: 832
Location: Texas - Houston & Austin
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Generally, the accidental glass breakage warranties exclude tempered or laminated glass. Before you make this part of your decision making process, I would carefully read through the warranty to make sure you are correct on the coverage.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2006 6:09 pm 

Joined: Tue May 30, 2006 12:09 pm
Posts: 7
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I appreciate the feedback.

Taking the warranty out of the equation, can anyone share any information or insight they might have about using laminated glass for security purposes?

I know there are lots of people who use hurricane glass on the east coast. This stuff is pretty similar, except most hurricane glass has a 8-9 mil lamination.

Can anyone share feedback on prices? I'm not trying to be cheap, I just don't want to get ripped off!


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 Post subject: laminated glass
PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 7:09 am 

Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2005 8:57 pm
Posts: 113
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There are a few different methods for making laminated glass. The primary method involves PVB or polyvinyl Butyral which is a soft, rubbery sheet that is inserted between two glass lites and is then cooked under high pressure to form the bond with the glass.

The sheets of PVB generally come in increments of .015" with
.030" (car windshields, for example),
.060" (security applications, for example),
.090" (hurricane impact applications, for example)
being the three most common thicknesses of interlayer generally available.

The thicknesses I mention are not set in stone, and there are some variations available, but they are by far the most common that you will see in the market place.

One of the three companies that you mention is local. They also offer a .040" interlayer rather than the .030" of the others. Likely they are using a resin laminating system rather than a sheet laminating system.

A sheet laminating line is very expensive. Few, if any, local companies could possibly afford one. A resin laminating line on the other hand is not particularly expensive and it can be a good fit for a "mom and pop" operation.

In resin laminating two lites of glass are held apart by using a special tape at the edges of the glass. A liquid resin is then poured into this void until it is filled and then a plug is inserted to keep the resin inside the glass "sandwich" until it is cured. Resin laminates cure by heat, UV, chemical, or a combination and .040 is a common resin laminate thickness.

Based on your location I am going to say that if you ask the WindowFactory folks if they use Uvekol resin for their laminated glass they are going to say "yes". Uvekol is a resin manufacturer and their product is used by a few window companies for making their own laminated glass (mostly smaller operations). Uvekol is a UV cure product. There are other resin producers, but I am guessing Uvekol where you live...and I could definitely be wrong.

Most window companies get their sheet/PVB laminated glass from one of the laminated glass manufacturers, while a couple (only two come to mind) have their own laminating lines.

The architectural laminated industry is growing tremendously due to the new codes in place along much of the East and Gulf Coastal areas. I know of several new lines under production and the major laminators all seem to be building new or adding on to existing locations.

Viracon just announced a new location in Utah, PGT is adding a new location in Georgia, Arch Aluminum is upgrading and expanding at least one of their Florida facilities, Old Castle has recently finished a new plant in Wausau, Wisconsin - right in the middle of "window country". Cardinal is building a huge new facility in Florida and is expanding their Wisconsin facility as well...laminated glass is quickly becoming a rather large segment of the specialty window market.

edit - edit - edit - actually adding this post script -

I just read back thru the original post and I missed a comment the first time thru it..."laminated glass is more break resistant".

Actually, laminated glass is not more break resistant than "ordinary" glass. Laminated glass will stay-in-place if it is broken, but it is not inherently less likely to break if it takes a rock or other type of impact.

There are laminated products that are more break resistant (tempered or heat-strengthened laminates for example), but those can be quite expensive and clarity of view can occasionally become an issue.

Anyone who tells you that regular laminated glass is "break-resistant" either doesn't know the details or else they are feeding you a line of bull.

Again, laminated will stay-in-place if broken, but it does not inherently resist breakage any better than does ordinary window glass.


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 Post subject: Re: laminated glass
PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 9:51 am 

Joined: Tue May 30, 2006 12:09 pm
Posts: 7
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Oberon wrote:
I just read back thru the original post and I missed a comment the first time thru it..."laminated glass is more break resistant".

Actually, laminated glass is not more break resistant than "ordinary" glass. Laminated glass will stay-in-place if it is broken, but it is not inherently less likely to break if it takes a rock or other type of impact.


Anyone who tells you that regular laminated glass is "break-resistant" either doesn't know the details or else they are feeding you a line of bull.

Again, laminated will stay-in-place if broken, but it does not inherently resist breakage any better than does ordinary window glass.


Oberon,

Thank you for providing such a detailed response!

With respect to my comment of "break-resistant", I only meant in the context of resisting smash and grab entries. I realize the glass itself will crack/spall.

Any idea about how my pricing stacks up to the competition?


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 Post subject: laminated
PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2006 6:35 am 

Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2005 8:57 pm
Posts: 113
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You are welcome trojanman...

I understand what you meant about using lami and break resistance. I tend to overreact a bit when folks say that lami is "break resistant" because I have been involved with that particular issue more than a few times.

Many people do have the mistaken impression that laminated glass won't break...which leads me to a funny story (at least I think it is!)...

I was visiting a job site one time to investigate "flawed" impact glass (bet you can see where this is going). Anyway, the glass installers (who were NOT professional installers - just the basic laborers) were throwing the impact glass around like it was plywood or something. When I asked what they were doing, one of them demonstrated that the glass was flawed by picking it up and dropping it on the ground! He broke the glass and then in a very sarcastic voice he commented on "junk" and "this glass breaks just like any other glass"...

Apparently he felt better for doing or saying that.

I attempted to explain to them that impact glass breaks, but it is designed to stay in place if it is broken...I admit that I was a little concerned at the blank stares and apparent lack of comprehension that I was getting after my explanation.

I admit that I also would have been especially interested in seeing their faces when they realized that the folks supplying the impact product weren't going to be paying one penny for the "bad glass" claim...that the costs of replacing the broken units was going to be the responsibility of the people breaking the stuff.

Anyway, a bit off topic.

Unfortunately, trojanman I can't give you specifics on cast and relative value because I don't work in that area and really don't know what you might expect. Hopefully, one of the professional installers on the site can help out...sorry.


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