Volume 35, Number 4, April 2000

Decorative Glass

A Viable Way to Increase Sales While Offering Security Performance

by John Bush

Door manufacturers around the world have been using decorative glass for many years to enhance the appearance of doors and to allow light to enter the area behind the door. This also provides a major architectural feature at the entry point to the home. Privacy has been a key factor in doorlites as few people want an intruder to be able to see into the home. However, the decorative doorlite is an easy target for the intruder. Doorlites are usually manufactured with very thin glass. One small blow is all that is required to gain access to the lock. Many owners have been shocked by the ease with which a burglar can gain access. Deadbolts, which require a key to be used on both sides of the door, usually are not used in the main residential front door because of fire egress requirements, making that special feature a real liability.

The technology of laminated glass has developed a great deal in recent years and now allows the decorative glass to be combined with many types of security performances such as breakthrough-, bullet-, bomb-blast, and hurricane-resistant properties. Solar control properties can also be combined into the decorative glass insulating unit to assist in minimizing the air conditioning or heating loads on the building.

This technology provides an excellent opportunity for both the door manufacturer and the replacement glass shop to offer value-added products to the consumer. “Do you want just ordinary decorative glass or breakthrough resistant decorative glass?” is the type of question the salesperson should be asking at every visit. As this is a highly emotional sales pitch, this will surely result in a high proportion of consumers opting for the security option.

So what products can be offered by that salesperson?

Typically, the decorative doorlite is manufactured as part of an insulating glass unit. The decorative portion is sealed between two pieces of 1/8-inch or 3/16-inch tempered glass. Replacement of one or both of these two lites with a security glass, significantly enhances the security of the building. Depending on the configuration of the laminated glass, this decorative glass unit now can provide any option in security including breakthrough resistant and impact-resistant glass.

Our company has been in the forefront of developing laminated glass products for 15 years and is now offering its many licensed fabricators, and potential new fabricators around the world, the opportunity to be part of the decorative security glass market in external residential doors.

To complement the laminated security glass, we offer the Bevelpane® decorative glass product. This process allows the manufacturer to design a unique, very complex, beveled, cut, grooved, etched or sandblasted glass at a fraction of the cost of comparable glass. Extra or more complex detail does not increase the cost of the finished product and many can be made each day to the identical design. The high tech polymers used have been fully tested and do not yellow or fade, and as they are sealed into an insulating glass unit, the surface cannot be touched, making it impossible to tell, even at close inspection, that it is not real glass bevels.

Building codes and insurers today demand changes to the glazing. The addition of Breakthrough® resistant glass or SafetyPlus® hurricane-resistant glass as one of the lites of the IG unit adds the security element to the high class Bevelpane decorative glass and allows the supplier to meet the most strict specifications and requirements.

Many door manufacturers, especially in Europe, are already using this product and at the recent Glassex show in England, Bevelpane could be seen on 23 different booths. The opportunity is now available to everyone involved in the entrance door business to offer unique designs at economical prices and also to meet the most strict and demanding building code and insurance company requirements.

John Bush is general manager of Glasslam NGI Inc., located in Pompano Beach, Fla.


© Copyright 2000 Key Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.