With all the direct work we do with residential and commercial architects, we know meeting your design vision is at the heart of our business. That’s why we offer a premium palette of posts, top rails, frame colors, and infill options for your specification needs.
When that interior or exterior aesthetic calls for maximum transparency, as it often does, the usual railing infill defaults are a cable or a tempered glass system. It may come as a mild surprise to some to learn our DesignRail® system offers designers both view-friendly systems. Yes, we’re a single-source, infill agnostic when it comes to meeting your project goals and budget.
Both glass and cable railing systems offer style, proven performance, and unfettered sight lines for interior or exterior applications. As you consider the best infill solution for your project, keep this in mind:
Allows full air flow across the deck or balcony area.
CableRail is easy to install with patented automatic locking jaw Quick-Connect® fittings. No crimp tools or wedge-type compression fittings required.
Stainless steel cables contain 70% pre-consumer content and 0% post-consumer content.
Compliant with the International Building Code and International Residential Code when vertical or horizontal cable spacing is 3 inches or less.
Minimal. Periodic treatment with a stainless steel cleaner and protectant is recommended. Occasional cable tightening is a routine procedure.
Tempered Glass Infill
Offers a full or partial wind break, which can be a consideration in coastal projects.
Can be modulated from clear to custom tinted, helping manage light flow and privacy.
Clear tempered exterior glass panels can prove to be a hazard to birds.
Tempered laminated glass can be specified for varying safety and security levels.
Requires periodic cleaning, though higher quality glass can help reduce cleaning time and frequency.
Tempered glass or cable... both infill msystems offer important design advantages. Feeney is at your service with winning solutions for both.
Company: Feeney, Inc
Because most banks have similar needs—a secured teller line with bullet resistant windows, secured ballistic doors, and bulletproof fiberglass to reinforce counters—many security companies try and push a one-size-fits-all solution.
With decades of experience designing, engineering, fabricating, and installing custom bandit barriers in banks and credit unions, Total Security Solutions knows how rarely this turns out well.
Bullet Proof Barriers Attuned to the Banker’s Needs
“Banks can be pretty ornate, so were used to having to adjust what we do to match a given location.” Total Security Solutions CEO Jim Richards explains, “That’s our speciality, that sort of customization. Even when we’re doing many locations for the same chain, in different parts of the country each office looks a little bit different. It’s like housing, in that it has this regional component. So we don’t try to come up with a single one-size solution we can just keep punching out.”
Total Security Solutions isn’t limited to just shuffling around pre-fabricated pieces. They can customize down to the individual component level: curved ballistic transparency, special communication and ventilation solutions, all-glass and completely custom high-security doors, and so on.
In contrast to many security companies—especially local glazers—Total Security Solutions is sensitive to how important relationships are in banking. Jim puts special emphasis on clear sight lines and communication in such settings. Gina Mims, a facilities manager, recently coordinated with Total Security Solutions to secure several offices for the Health Plan of San Joaquin: “I love the fact that … it doesn’t look like the old school [barrier] with that metal plate [and talk hole]. It all looks very nice. Our buildings, both of them, are very modern, so I wanted to make sure that they stayed along those lines.”
ATMs: An Evolving Security Challenge
ATMs pose obvious risks to customers, both in terms of their physical safety and fraud exposure. They are also proving to be a significant and unpredictable liability to financial institutions. For example, within the last several years European banks have been increasingly plagued by teams of thieves who attack ATMs in the night, flood the machines with a mixture of oxygen and acetylene (gases usually used to fuel welding torches), and then ignite the volatile mixture, blowing the machines open. These attacks don’t just result in significant monetary losses (both in damage to the unit and building, as well as money stolen)—they’re also incredibly dangerous, as you can see here (the ATM is at the far right edge of the frame, in a mostly blue enclosure with a red top half):
This could easily result in injuries not just to the thieves, but also to passersby, staff, and even people in adjacent buildings. Although there have been no reported ATM “gas bombings” in the United States as of yet, the US currently leads the world in losses resulting from insecure ATM locations.
According to Jim Richards, “There are a lot of different ways that ATMs are deployed, but we have yet to see one we couldn’t secure.” In many cases Total Security Solutions favors a design similar to their bulletproof vestibule system used in schools, replacing the outer glass and doors of the ATM vestibule with bullet-resistant transparency and framing, and securing access to the ATM with a ballistic door outfitted with a card swipe-actuated computer-controlled electric strike. “Customers swipe their ATM card to gain access, and then the door latches behind them–just like any other security door. These are really easy retrofits for situations where the ATM is installed in the bank vestibule or outer lobby, but the same idea works with exterior-wall ATMs: You build a bulletproof glass curtain wall around an exterior wall-mounted ATM, with the same sort of card-swipe entry system. What’s key is that this solves both the skimmer/fraud/vandalism problem, as well as protecting customers.”
Painless Bandit Barrier Installation
Most importantly, owing to their decades of experience, Total Security Solutions has optimized their prep, design, fabrication, and installation processes. “It can be two teller stations or 15; we’re able to move on the project as quickly as the operations or facilities manager are ready.”
Bullet resistant barrier system installations are designed to absolutely minimize any business interruptions. Most installations can be completed overnight, with even the most challenging retrofits installed in under a weekend.
“I just returned from see[ing] the install and boy what nice work!” Holly Eades, vice-president of finance for Clark Energy wrote after having several payment offices secured by TSS. “They were here when they said they were going to be, … showed up when they were supposed to, and everything was just as neat as a pin. We were really, really tickled with their work.”
Company: Total Security Solutions Inc
Product: Bullet Resistant Barriers
Glass has become such a common material in modern buildings, it’s often easy to forget that we are relatively early in understanding the extent of its capabilities. It wasn’t even until the early 1950s, with the development of an automated float glass manufacturing process that provided consistent high quality at a moderate cost, that glass was truly made available to the masses. The future of architectural glass, however, is taking on a new shape. The ability to curve and bend glass has helped to evolve this material from a means of allowing natural light within interior spaces to an artistic focal point.
Earlier this year, the design for the new Little Caesars Headquarters in Detroit, Michigan was unveiled, featuring 14-foot tall formed laminated glass shapes that loosely resemble a piece of pizza, the hallmark product of the company’s success. What seems so visually simplistic–a pane of glass bent down the middle–is actually an engineering marvel. The double-curved glass walls of the Emporia Shopping Mall, located in Sweden, is an example of the intricacies involved in manufacturing a large scale curved glass structure.
The Art of Bending Glass
There are several methods of curving or bending glass, including bending and tempering, hot bending, cold bending and lamination bending. In the case of lamination bending, the glass is first layered with other interlayer materials and then bent before ultimately being placed inside an autoclave at temperatures near 280°F to complete the lamination process. The extreme temperature causes the interlayer to soften to the consistency of honey and fill the crystalline of the glass, resulting in a laminated safety glass. Due to the autoclave process, however, the glass must actually be bent at a tighter radius than is ultimately desired because the heat will cause it to spring slightly back to its original shape.
The 804 double panes of glass installed at the Emporia Shopping Mall were manufactured by heating the glass, causing it to soften and through its own weight, take the shape of a mold. Almost 600 different molds were used to create the intricate curve pattern. Equally as important as the heating process, the glass had to be properly cooled to ensure there was no residual stress within the panel. The final step was laminating the panes of glass together using an amber or blue plastic film, which provided the desired color and safety characteristics.
Photo Credit: Emporia Shopping Center, by Håkan Dahlström
Company: Total Security Solutions Inc
Case study: Otterbein University’s STEAM Innovation Center featuring Extech’s Lightwall 3000 series curtain wall system
A State-of-the-Art Renovation in Central Ohio
Project: Otterbein University’s STEAM Innovation Center
Location: Westerville, OH
Architect: Moody Nolan
General Contractor: Corna Kokosing
System: LIGHTWALL 3000
In a world where factory jobs are being replaced with smart technology and globalization has made the manufacturing industry increasingly competitive, Otterbein University saw an opportunity. The plan was to partner with leading organizations from the private and public sectors in central Ohio to build a hands-on curriculum focused on teaching – and innovating – cutting-edge skills in engineering, technology, science, and math. To achieve this, a laboratory that fostered experimentation and possessed state-of-the-art tools was necessary. To further complement the innovative facility, a state-of-the-art architectural design was developed.
The decision was made to renovate an older campus building in time for the 2016 fall semester, and with groundbreaking delayed into early 2016, the project timeline would be tight. Moody Nolan architects had a unique design in mind – a multi-paneled, geometric façade that would deliver daylighting with minimized solar heat gain and glare. Their plan was to use a curtain wall that could incorporate metal, polycarbonate, and glass that delivered diffused daylight with visual clarity in key locations.
EXTECH’s LIGHTWALL 3000 series curtain wall system was selected for the project because it is one of the few that properly accommodates both polycarbonate and glass glazing within the same system. This is accomplished by using deep glazing pockets and low friction gaskets that allow for the thermal movement of polycarbonate, while still providing superior water and air infiltration performance.
To create Moody Nolan’s distinctive geometric design, EXTECH fabricated a new horizontal mullion that allowed for the inclusion of non-continuous vertical framing members. The new mullion “flushed out” the interior surface of the system and allowed it to span up to 8 feet between vertical mullions – typical span lengths are only 4-5 feet. It also allowed for the application of point loads from vertical framing members without additional structural reinforcing - horizontals typically deliver their loads to verticals.
The STEAM Innovation Center’s “wire-cutting” (a technology pun on “ribbon-cutting”) was just in time for Otterbein’s fall semester. All told, the center is a 61,000 square foot building that provides classes and training in areas such as 3D printing, advanced electronics, metal and machinery, and also provides office space for lease. If you would like to learn more about this project or EXTECH's LIGHTWALL 3000, please contact us.
Company: EXTECH/Exterior Technologies, Inc.
Product: Translucent Walls
Lauded for its use of space and light that includes an eye-catching string of skylights featuring Kalwall translucent sandwich panels, the $44 million student life center at SUNY Cortland is one of the two main winners of the American School and University Magazine’s Educational Interiors Showcase awards.
The SUNY Cortland project, led by Hastings + Chivetta Architects of St. Louis, Mo., was awarded AS&U’s prestigious College Citation by a panel of three judges.
“Great use of space, light, and color,” the judges said. “Aesthetically pleasing and notable. Architecturally outstanding.”
The student life center includes a common area, café, and sports and workout areas. The skylights that feature the Kalwall panels flood the athletics portion of the building in diffuse natural light that spills into the common area. The Kalwall panels also fit into the facility’s design to consume less energy and earn a LEED Gold certification.
“Sustainability and energy efficiency have been at the core of Kalwall for 60 years,” says Amy Keller, one of the principals of Kalwall. “We’re honored educational institutions and other environmentally-conscious organizations continue to utilize Kalwall for their daylighting projects.”
Company: Kalwall Corporation
Total Security Solutions is dedicated to producing high-quality bullet-resistant products that effectively secure your company’s most valuables assets, from the employees behind the counter to the cash in the drawer. We manufacture our bulletproof barriers in-house to stringent specifications, the most demanding in the industry, guaranteeing superior quality. In addition, all of our system components pass rigorous testing, often conducted by multiple standards agencies, including UL (Underwriter’s Laboratory).
Security Ratings for Bulletproof Systems
Security levels for bullet-resistant systems have been established by UL, the primary testing organization for materials used in these systems. There are eight levels of bullet resistance for bulletproof glass. These ratings are designated by the UL to determine the type of protection each level offers. They conduct extensive tests on bullet-resistant glass, which determines what kinds of firearms each can withstand. The most basic protection comes with levels one and two where you’re protecting yourself from small caliber handguns all the way up to level eight glass that protects against assault weapons.
We’re confident that our bulletproof barriers will not be compromised by the type of projectiles they are rated to withstand, ensuring the safety of your employees. But when you’re the employee standing behind the bullet resistant glass during an armed robbery, it can often be difficult to trust your life to the protection of something you can see through. Watch as we test components of our bullet-resistant barrier systems, including bulletproof glass with UL rating from 1 through 4, as well as UL Level 8.
Custom Bulletproof Systems
We can work with you to design a custom bulletproof security system that meets your unique facility needs, from a high profile ballistic barrier for additional deterrent factor to a more low profile solution that seamlessly integrates with the aesthetics of your facility without compromising protection. If you’re a business owner who’s already chosen to install a bulletproof barrier in your facility, then you’re probably aware of how security products can contribute to maintaining consistent operations and a profitable revenue stream, as well as a greatly reduced risk of armed robbery.
While bullet-resistant barriers are often enough of a deterrent to prevent a robbery, for the sake of your employees, you should feel confident in the performance of your system during a actual event. We can work with you to determine what level of bullet resistance your facility requires as well as provide tips on developing a comprehensive security plan, of which bulletproof barriers are just one component.
Company: Total Security Solutions Inc
Urban loft spaces in trendy areas like Victorian Village in Columbus or Little Italy in Cleveland can be cool but not if they are dark and have closed in spaces. One challenge of loft apartment housing is how to create a light open space while creating visual separations between rooms. Once excellent way to do this is through the use of distinctive modern glass block wall partitions.
Glass blocks have moved on from its traditional roots to now incorporated fun and vibrant colors and eye-popping textured looks which stand out in your modern home. Check out these 5 cool ideas to move light through the inside of your loft while providing privacy and an interesting look which can be as unique as you are.
Idea #1 – Adding shape and texture to your glass privacy walls
If you go to sleek modern hotels like “The W” you’ll see ample use of textured walls. I am now seeing this trend in textured ceramic wall tiles in bathrooms and kitchens. But one application which is just now getting known is the use of textured glass partition walls to separate rooms. These walls are fun because they not only move the light between spaces – but they literally extend into a room to create a sense of texture and excitement. There are patterns with horizontal flutes and even a pyramid type of look which juts out into the space. Very fun!
Idea #2 – The glass brick partition wall
When you think of bricks I bet the image which comes to your mind is the traditional red brick building more associated with life in the suburbs or old industrial buildings. While there is nothing wrong with the suburban red brick look (and some exposed red brick walls can look cool in an urban contemporary space) a ceramic brick cannot move light through walls. This is where the glass brick partition comes in. This hip, upscale material comes in clear, bronze, black or an aqua blue colors and beautifully (and colorfully) moves light while creating a steady and attractive wall partition.
Idea #3 – Illumination in unexpected places
What makes loft apartment housing more difficult is you rarely find windows on more than two sides (note: this is because overall plan layout tends to be vertically oriented with one apartment next to another with interior walls separating spaces). This makes the need to be creative with your illumination strategies critical. While natural lighting is always tops on the list – finding other ways to transmit light also needs to be incorporated into your plan. Check out this lofted apartment space which added lighting under the raised section for an alternative lighting approach. It’s creative and unique.
Idea #4 – Fun colors in small spaces
Let’s face it, part of the reason you’re moving to the city is to have more fun. Being able to jump out of your apartment and take in an Ohio State Buckeyes, Cleveland Browns or Columbus Blue Jackets game on a whim. The urban lifestyle enables you to enjoy the vibrancy of the city without the hassle of cutting a lawn – every again (yes!). That’s the nice part about city life. The tougher part is you don’t have the sprawling inside space you once enjoyed. Tighter loft spaces require more thoughtful design – both with respect to lighting and the use of color. Smaller urban spaces beg for more personality than what you had in the ‘burbs. Whether you’re working with an interior designer or using your own creative inspiration think about adding some eye-popping color to your design. Now is the time to dump the boring beige tones you were captive to in the ‘burbs!
Idea #5 – Shape can be your friend
Who ever said all the walls had to be straight and rectangular? They must have been designing those cookie-cutter McMansions in the suburbs in the late 1990’s. Whether you’re looking at drywall or glass walls why not add some curvature or even a fun serpentine design. The glass block wall below used an S- shaped serpentine designs with one of a kind glass tile block accents. It’s certainly not going to be confused for boring!
To my way of thinking I see cool, contemporary glass and the downtown urban loft apartment vibe as natural partners of one another. What do you think about the use of glass (or glass block or bricks) textured or colored walls to add some fun, light and interest to your space? If you have any questions feel free to call the numbers or comment below.
For assistance with modern glass or glass block or brick partition walls (which can be prefabricated to your specifications) call Innovate Building Solutions on a nationwide basis 877-668-5888. For a local installation or supply project Cleveland Glass Block (216-531-6363) or Columbus Glass Block (614-252-5888) can help.
Company: Innovate Building Solutions
Of: Mike Foti
If you're looking for a unique glass shower or tub enclosure for any style of home the Fleurco line is a must see. Product lines vary from a high end frameless intelligent hinged system, a mid priced semi-frameless sliding or pivot door to a low priced value line. There is an option to fit any budget or bathroom design style.
In the Fleurco line there are many choices of shower stall and bases to choose from. Here's some of the benefits that make this line through The Bath Doctor unique:
Innovative systems for any budget. Many people want a unique design but at an affordable price. Fleurco product lines vary from a high end frameless intelligent hinged system, a mid priced semi-frameless sliding or pivot door to a low priced value line.
Curved, round, square, rectangular and neo angle acrylic bases to fit any space. Whether you've got a small bathroom which requires a corner or alcove shower stall or a larger space, there is a pan to fit your bathroom décor.
Superior hardware design for better long term performance & reduced maintenance costs. Quality hardware and European inspired rolling and hinge systems create unique looks combined with smooth performance.
Flexibility to use standard sized pans with multiple wall systems. The broad Fleurco line combines 9 standard shaped bases (available in many sizes) with different priced swinging and sliding doors – mix and match to create a cool, contemporary, sleek or traditional bath decor.
Multiple uses - From tub & shower enclosures to screens to walk in shower stalls to offices & partitions. This line has a wall and base system for most any design.
Nationwide supply and regional installation services available from a company you can trust. We are accredited by the Better Business Bureau and have won service awards through Angie's List and Consumer Choice through our parent corporation.
Free selection and installation assistance. Take the guess-work out– we can help select the right product and install your system (regionally) or supply your system (nationally).
Nationwide Shipping. No hidden shipping fees or costs. We ship anywhere in the United States – from Washington to Texas to New York to Florida.
Company: Bath Doctor
Armortex Waterjet cutting is accomplished by using a sophisticated Flow Mach 4 waterjet system. A waterjet allows for cutting of soft and hard materials (from food to granite, glass, metal or composite materials up to 6” thick) using highly pressurized water and an abrasive if required. Precision cutting tolerances are achievable as well as beveling and 3D cutting without the associated heat that is prevalent in other types of advanced cutting systems.
If I’ve been asked this question once I’ve been asked it a thousand times, “ Mike – how big should I make the opening for my new shower?” OK – I’ll give you my standard answer. It depends. Boy doesn’t that sound like a cop-out!
In all seriousness designing a shower opening is a bit like being a politician -you’re trading off competing interests. On one hand you want to have the biggest opening so it’s simple to get into and out of the shower whether you’re walking in, shuffling in or rolling in with a wheelchair. On the other hand you want the opening as small as possible so you don’t get water pooling on the bathroom floor which could lead to leakage in the floor below. Given these competing benefits of a smaller vs. larger shower opening where does that leave you? How can you find just the right sized shower opening for you and your family? Explore the answers to the following 5 questions and you’ll be assured to get the size and design of your shower opening correct.
Question #1 – Who is going to use this shower now and possibly in the future?
Start out by identifying who will use the shower today…and possibly in the future. Is your son whose claim to fame is being a “lean and mean” 350 lb. defensive tackle of the football team going to be the main user or is your daughter who is a pencil-thin gymnast using this space? Obviously if you’re designing the shower opening for your son it will need to be significantly wider. What can/should you do if they are both going to share the shower? I would recommend to split the difference in the opening size – which may mean your son will step into the shower sideways vs. your daughter going in straight on.
While considering the here and now usage of this shower is critical – you will not want to lose sight of who may be using it down the road. Is it possible your Mom or Dad may come to live with you if their health starts to fail? If so – the new shower opening may need some design tweaks (possibly a ramped entry, a lower curb or one level base design) which will prevent you from ripping out the brand new shower you’re putting in right now (see question 3 to get specific ideas).
Question #2 – What method are you going to use to get into the shower? Do you need to walk straight in or are you OK stepping in sideways?
This may seem like a funny question but it is important and practical. If you’re walking straight into the shower you’ll need significantly more space than if you’re stepping in sideways. When determining the opening for a straight in entry – which is preferred by most- I recommend measuring across the shoulders of the people using this shower. You’ll want to use the largest shoulder to shoulder measurement of all the people using the space to drive the size of the opening. On the other hand if you’re OK with a sideways entry you can measure the “depth” of the person.
If you have a small shower the sideways entry may be required but in general the most common straight in entry for people walking in is 24” wide.If you’re designing the opening for a wheelchair or walker for your home know you do not need to follow ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) guidelines for public spaces which require a 36” wide opening. With that being said you do want to make the opening comfortable to get into. In this case I would recommend you get a measurement of your family member in their wheelchair and allow side to side clearance room for their hands.
Question #3 – Are you stepping over, ramping up or rolling in (designing for either a curb or curbless shower)?
Not all people using a shower are created equal – I’m sure you’re saying tell me something I don’t know. Your family (if it’s like mine) – is definitely made up of some characters in both their personalities and physical capabilities. A “simple” 4” high shower curb which is a breeze to step over for your football playing son and gymnast daughter, could be a huge mountain to climb for your elderly Mom. So for the kids the 4” high step over curb (which does a great job keeping the water in) is no problem, could be the wrong shower entry design choice for Mom if she is mobility challenged. Here are 4 competing shower curb and entry options for you to consider depending on who(m) will be using the space:
- Option 1 – The 4” tall step over curb – generally the preferred method for small showers because it keeps the water in well in small spaces. This is an unacceptable and dangerous choice for anyone with limited mobility.
- Option 2 – Low profile curb – This lower curb (usually about 1 ½” tall) provides for a sleeker looking design and is safer than option 1. It has the benefit with a solid surface shower base of having the flexibility to add a curb extension should a family member need a ramped entry down the road.
- Option 3 – Barrier free ramped entry – This ramped entry will have a slope up to get in and a slope down towards the shower drain. It creates a “curb free” design where you get in. This design works best with a base which is a bit wider.
- Option 4 – One level wet room – This is a cool and underutilized approach in the United States. This design provides a shower floor which is at one level with the bathroom (note – the drain is still a bit lower than the floor level). It is super popular in European and Asian countries where space is limited. It can provide a sleek contemporary design – but better yet – it is safe and completely workable for small showers (my wife’s Grandfather had this type of wet room shower in a 4’ x 5’ bathroom in Italy – now that’s tiny!).
Question #4 – Will you use a doorless walk in shower or a framed or frameless glass shower door?
When you design a walk in shower the finished opening is not made smaller by any hinges or framework (basically the opening is the opening!). Walk in showers are growing rapidly today as people want to eliminate the cost of a door and hassle of cleaning them. With this being said walk in showers are not practical for every situation. This is usually true where there is only room for a small shower.
If you are looking at a shower door you’ll want to think beyond the “rough opening” (the opening before you install the door) and focus on the “finished opening” (or the space which will be left minus any framework around the door). A frameless door will give you a larger finished opening than a door with a framed system around it. The frameless system looks more luxurious, but comes with a higher price tag.
Question #5 – Will you have more than one opening?
This one sounds like a trick question. How can you have more than one opening in a shower? The answer is – when the glass (or framed enclosure) has either a curved or L shaped design. Many walk in showers are not straight walls but have shape to them so the water will be directed back into the “wet area” (shower head area) of the shower. What this means is you actually have two openings. One is the “entry opening” where you step in and the other is the “interior opening” as you move towards what I like to call “the business side” of the shower.
While the entry opening is critical so is the “interior opening.” If you make the interior opening too small you’ll get a shower which feels cramped. I usually recommend the “interior opening” be at least 4” wider than the “entry opening” to make the shower feel like one continuous space. If your shower is large it can work out just fine to create a separate entry area vs. the main showering area, but for more compact spaces I recommend one continuous space.
Conclusion – how to size and design a shower opening
OK – how have I done? Do you feel you know the right questions to ask how to figure out the size and design of your shower opening (or openings)? If you’re looking for more information or an estimate on remodeling a shower or nationwide material supply for the shower wall panels, shower bases or wet room systems call The Bath Doctor in Cleveland (216-531-6085), Columbus (614-252-7294) or for nationwide supply Innovate Building Solutions (877-668-5888).
Company: Innovate Building Solutions
Client performance goals continue to evolve, growing more complex every year. At one time, a client was either very concerned with security, or very concerned with sustainability. It was rare for a client to be equally concerned with both.
But the increasing need for ballistic materials in all sorts of construction has collided with the increased stringency of building codes, specifications, and energy performance standards. Old-line ballistic framing systems—which are still the industry standard—are simplistic. They are fabricated from a grab-bag of materials to a variety of standards. Many aren’t even UL-rated to stop bullets. Instead, they are cobbled together from standard aluminum frames packed with chunks of bullet resistant fiberglass glued in place. Enhanced R-values, thermal breaks, gas fills, and insulation are just not an option with traditional bullet resistant window and door frames.
Today, advancements in designs and fabrication techniques have resulted in not only standard, true UL-rated door and window frame systems, but also premium systems offering new levels of thermal and ballistic performance.
Thermally Enhanced High-Security Ballistic Door and Window Frame Systems
A security-conscious end-user might be interested in earning a LEED Platinum certificate, or might be passionate about daylighting, or might just want to keep the energy bills down—in any case, having a solid aluminum frame conducting heat directly through the building envelope doesn’t serve any of those goals. The TSS Thermal Frame System does.
“We developed this ballistic frame system specifically because architects were asking for it,” Jim Richards, CEO of Total Security Solutions (TSS), explains. “I don’t know if you know, but buildings use more than half the energy on earth.”
As one architect recently put it “for all practical purposes, all other issues are subservient to sustainability now.” That’s been beyond challenging with old-style exterior bullet resistant windows, since the windows themselves are solid—no gas fills—and the frames are rarely built with any sort of thermal break. For example, here’s a cross-section of a traditional window frame:
The old-style frames are solid steel or aluminum members all the way around the window or door, penetrating the exterior wall. As Jim Richards is quick t point out, “Think about what that means in certain regions of the United States: In the summer it could be in the 90s, and in the winter it could be 30 below, but the inside of that building is always 72 degrees with 40 percent humidity. Your HVAC is fighting heat leaking in all summer, heat leaking out all winter. You’re not just going to have cold spots and drafts. You’re going to get condensation, even frost.”
TSS’s thermally improved, Kevlar-reinforced bullet resistant exterior aluminum door and window frame system is calculated to optimize R value, given the needs of a bullet resistant materials. It offers bullet resistance up through UL Level 8, and can accommodate a wide variety of acrylic, polycarbonate, and laminated bullet resistant glazings. “It’s an enormous performance boost, in terms of energy, and ballistic—a true ‘best of both worlds’ scenario.”
All-in-One Multi-Threat Ballistic Window Frames
“This isn’t your everyday, run-of-the-mill frame,” Jim says of the TSS AIO (All-In-One) Frame. The AIO is a modular, multi-threat glazing frame optimized for higher-threat situations, especially government applications. It can accept any glazing between .75 and 2.5 inches thick—that’s everything from UL Level 1 acrylic (i.e., which stops three shots from a .9mm pistol) to Level 8 glass-clad polycarbonate (for blocking full-auto bursts from assault rifles). The frame itself is rated through Level 8, and also has forced entry and blast-resistance characteristics. The AIO Frame has a broad security and safety profile that encompasses all sorts of threats to life and property, from break-ins and riots to lone gunmen, terror attacks, and even extreme weather.
Rather than using a lighter aluminum backed with strips of Kevlar-based fiberglass paneling, Jim and his team opted for all-aluminum construction and a design that takes full advantage of the edge-on resilience of the glazing itself. The front-wall of this frame is hearty enough to deflect most calibers, and designed to capture and hold any high-power rounds that do penetrate the frame itself.
Of course, not every job calls for premium ballistic door and window frames. TSS continues to offer their full line of standard UL-rated and non-rated frames to meet your client’s performance goals.
Company: Total Security Solutions Inc
Glass flooring has made its way to Paris, putting a new spin on the classic tourist experience at the Eiffel Tower. The new glass floor installation highlights a stunning birds-eye view of the city from approximately 187 feet in the air—something that visitors are unlikely to forget. Although it is one of the latest attractions to capitalize on the glass flooring trend, the Eiffel Tower is not alone in its endeavor to give visitors a cool new view. Designers, architects, home builders and homeowners are seeking solutions for incorporating glass floor and stair systems in their spaces with the help of Innovate Building Solutions.
Innovate’s modular glass floor systems are engineered to safely stand the test of time, supporting large amounts of weight with a durable aluminum grid and structural supports. These prefabricated systems can be installed within different flooring materials, including wood, tile, stone or concrete floors. They are durable and easy to install, with transparent or acid-etched design options that can be customized to meet the needs of each individual client.
Some of the most famous glass floors in the United States can be found at Willis Tower’s Skydeck in Chicago, the Grand Canyon’s Skywalk and at Ghostbar in Las Vegas. The design feature also adds a dramatic element with ocean views in many bungalow suites in the Caribbean and on the island of Bora Bora. Residential homeowners frequently use glass for stairways, walkways, wine cellar niches and to highlight elaborate outdoor water features.
To learn more about the functional and stylish glass floor systems available from Innovate Building Solutions, call 877-668-5888 or visit www.innovatebuildingsolutions.com. For regional installation assistance in Cleveland or Columbus, Ohio, call 216-531-6363 or 614-252-5888 respectively.
Company: Innovate Building Solutions
The basics: Rogers Memorial Hospital–Brown Deer, Wisconsin, celebrated its completed renovation in April 2015. Brown Deer is the first Rogers facility to incorporate biophilia into its design. Biophilia design recognizes the way humans have an emotional connection to nature and to natural forms, aiding a patient’s healing process. The new design uses seventy high-impact windows that provide a safe interior as well as natural light and views. The 50,000-square-foot, 56-bed facility now offers inpatient care for children and adults diagnosed with anxiety, depression, addiction and other behavioral care needs.
The players: Architect, TWP Architecture; general contractor, VJS Construction Services; contract glazier, Simmons Building Products; glass manufacturer, PPG Industries, Trulite; glazing systems, window manufacturer: Wausau Window and Wall Systems; glazing systems, finishing, Linetec; metal systems supplier, Manko Window Systems.
The glass and systems: As part of the total renovation, Wausau Window and Wall Systems updated the facility’s old windows with its SEAL behavioral care windows, which provide a safe interior as well as the natural light and views that connect patients with their surroundings. Working on a limited budget, the architect also opened the entry with natural light, using storefront Series 2450 from Manko and Trulite's 1-inch laminated insulating glass unit, made up of ¼-inch clear tempered PPG Solarban 60, a 7/16-inch clear anodized silicone spacer, and a 5/16-inch unit comprised of 1/8-inch clear annealed glass, 0.60 mm clear PVB and 1/8-inch clear tempered glass.
Glazing contractor Simmons Building Products installed 70 of Wausau’s SEAL 2187-DT interior accessory windows with Solarban glass by PPG. SEAL is an acronym for sound, energy, air and light. According to Wausau, the windows are drop-tested for high impact, supporting safety without requiring screens or bars. They also use an overlap sash design, rather than a flush sash, to make them more resistant to patient tampering and prying. Integral between-glass blinds minimize maintenance, reduce solar heat gain, and offer privacy, without the potential dangers of exposed cords and slats, according to Wausau. Linetec finished the windows’ frames with a Dark Bronze anodize finish.
When most people think about a one level (curbless) shower the words which come to mind are – Grandma, wheelchair, roll in, walker and handicapped. While a curbless shower certainly can be a need for grandma in a wheelchair or a person with mobility challenges to safely enjoy their shower, it’s about much more than that. From my experience a one level shower can be cool, contemporary, stylish all while providing a functional design which will work for life. Let’s take a look at 7 myths about one level showers and bust them wide open.
Myth 1 – Barrier free showers aren’t contemporary
As a person who loves a sleek, minimalist contemporary design (you’ll see a lot of these if you check out my company Pinterest account) the one level design does an excellent job breaking down the barriers between spaces in a bathroom. This is helpful because bathroom spaces are usually small and one larger room can create a sense of room, comfort and style.
In one design my remodeling business (Cleveland Design and Remodeling) installed the owners Robin and Pat Baranack specifically chose a one level shower because they wanted to create the clean design of a hip hotel room they stayed in while vacationing in San Diego California. You can see from the picture below even their dog Lucy loves the shower!
Myth 2 – You need a big bathroom for a one level shower
I will grant you creating a one level shower in a small bathroom does take more planning than picking up a standard fiberglass pan at your local home center store. With that being said a wet room (also called a one level curbless shower) is not as mystifying as some contractors make it out to be. They key is to have the right system so you’re not going through a major ordeal cutting joists and dropping the height of your subfloor.
The simplest way our company has found to make a wet room one level shower in a small space is to use a shower base former and waterproofing kit. The base former comes in sizes as small as 32” x 32” to accommodate very small showers. As Adam Droesller (National Sales Manager of ARC Inc. a supplier of these systems) says, “Actually one of the top features of curbless showers is the fact they open up the bathroom by 20-25% vs. designing with a curb.”
One level shower in a 5′ x 7′ bathroom
Myth 3 – You can’t add a door in a curb free shower
Some people love the design aesthetic of a clean-looking doorless walk in shower, but others are passionate about having a door to keep the showering space warmer – especially during the cold winter months (and we have a few of those where I live in Ohio). You’re question might be, “Can I have the best of both worlds?” The answer is yes. For a luxurious one level shower choose either a frameless glass enclosure or a shower screen (also called a shower shield).
A frameless door does not take away from the looks of this open curbless shower
Myth 4 – There is no one in my town who knows what they are doing installing a curbless shower
While this may be true there is research you can do which can provide you with a list of potential contractors who are knowledgeable and skilled at this work. The power of the Internet can help you be victorious over crotchety old-school contractors in your town.
First I’d recommend going to the National Association of Home Builders web site and look for contractors with a CAPS designation (this stands for Certified Aging in Place Specialist). Yes I personally have this CAPS certification but I have to admit I hate the name because as a 55 year old guy I have no plans to “age in place!” People with this designation have deepened their knowledge in topics like curbless showers and universal and accessible design approaches.
This in process job was installed by Cleveland Design and Remodeling (a CAPS) contractor
Another recommendation from Rosemarie Rossetti (a nationally known speaker on universal and accessible design and owner of the Universal Design Living Laboratory) is, “Installers need to watch the manufacturers’ videos and read the instructions on curbless showers. If my husband, Mark can do it, a seasoned contractor can certainly make it happen.”
Myth 5 – There are not many products on the market for one level showers
As the need (healthcare advances are helping us to live longer – but not always age as gracefully as we might like) and desire (one level bathrooms provide a sleek contemporary look which is a hot trend in bath remodeling today) the products have grown consistently with demand. Some options include the shower base former I discussed in Myth 2 and extruded and expanded polystyrene base systems as well.
A popular one level curbless shower base former system
Myth 6 – You can’t have a lot of water sources in an open shower
Definitely not true! If you use a wet room system – where you waterproof the entire bathroom floor – you can create a spa-like environment like something out of the Jetsons cartoon from the 70’s and spray yourself into the next galaxy.
Like something out of the Jetsons!
While lots of water may be fun it is also environmentally responsible to be mindful of water conservation. As Rosemarie Rossetti commented to me, “We put in a single hand held shower in our bathroom. This unit was a WaterSense faucet (meeting the EPA criterion) which saves water and is forceful enough to get the shampoo out of your hair quickly as well.”
Myth 7 – A bath and shower design must be simple for a one level shower –
In many ways I think it is easier to create a more elaborate tile design with an open shower because the bathroom embraces a more “continuous” space without having to “enclose” the shower. Check out this design below – does it look simple to you?
Did this article dispel any of the myths you had about a one level shower? Please comment or call one of the numbers below for additional input or a quote on products for a one level shower.
For nationwide supply of one level showers and other bathroom products call Innovate Building Solutions (877-668-5888). For regional installation service contact The Bath Doctor in Cleveland (216-531-6085) or Columbus (614-252-7294).
Mike Foti is a passionate entrepreneur who happens to be in the remodeling and national construction supply business. Follow Mike on Twitter @Mike_Foti and his company @InnovateBuild.
Company: Innovate Building Solutions
Of: Mike Foti
The 1950s marked the beginning of the Mid-Century Modernist movement in architecture with Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe highlighted as a predominate leader. This time period in architecture is characterized by large windows, open floor plans, and a focus on bringing the outdoors in. Flat roofs and sliding glass doors also became more common in residential design.
Mies Van Der Rohe employed a “less is more” design mentality and widely used glass and steel in the construction of his buildings. Glass and steel construction made its debut in the early 1900s, but Mies Van Der Rohe introduced a clean, simple approach to incorporating large panes of glass into a building’s exterior. He has even been credited with designing the original steel and glass skyscrapers we know today. The proposed designs for two unbuilt skyscrapers in Berlin (one in 1919 and one in 1921) feature uninterrupted bands of glass between finished faces of concrete slabs, a technique that is still widely used.
Glass Defines Space Without Obstructing Views
Glass was an invaluable material in Mies Van Der Rohe’s design approach as it allowed for a continuous flow of space, from interior to exterior. One example of this is the German Pavilion or as it later became known, the Barcelona Pavilion, originally constructed for the 1929 Barcelona International Exhibition. It features large glass pane walls, both tinted and translucent, to define space and create flow while maintaining sight lines. The pavilion was actually deconstructed in 1930 at the end of the exhibition and later rebuilt in its original location in 1986.
Mies Van Der Rohe’s Farnsworth House is another prime example of his strong incorporation of glass with its floor to ceiling glass walls. Completed in 1951 in Plano, Illinois, the Farnsworth House features a simple glass box design supported by a minimalistic steel structure.
While it’s a stretch to say a bulletproof barrier can compare to the aesthetic beauty of the Farnsworth House design, the principles of large glass panes, unobstructed sight lines and a minimalistic steel structure are all obtainable. Mies Van Der Rohe took materials already in use and re-evaluated their application. Total Security Solutions prides itself on customization and the ability to work with architectural designers to push the envelope and create truly beautiful, secure ballistic barriers.
As Jim Richards, CEO of Total Security Solutions says, “We know we’ve done a good job if people are like ‘Wow, this isn’t what I expected!’ People have a visual picture of what they’re expecting—something dark and ugly, like a county lockup—and what we provide is drastically different from that. We are always looking for that ‘Wow-factor’ when we leave.”
Company: Total Security Solutions Inc
Glass Countertops for Kitchens, Bathroom Vanities and Bar Tops
Wow – that is what friends, neighbors and family will say when they see your contemporary glass countertop in a kitchen, bathroom vanity, outdoor bar or man cave. This modern material provides color, pattern and lighting options not available in other types of counter materials. Explore the benefits, product options and design possibilities of sleek glass countertops through Innovate Building Solutions.
Sleek, modern contemporary and eye-catching would be just some of the adjectives describing glass countertops. Let’s look at some of the benefits you can expect from putting this material into your home or business:
Design flexibility – Glass counters can be made in virtually any size, shape and thicknesses. Multiple textures, finishes, digital images and colors can also be included in the glass. Custom applications are almost limitless. You can even use this material for shelves and walls.
Low maintenance and easy to clean – Glass is low maintenance. It is non-porous and will not absorb dirt, dust or other debris. A damp cloth or sponge is sufficient for cleaning. Mild, non-abrasive surface glass cleaners can be used to clean tougher messes.
Sustainable eco-friendly material – Glass is a long-lasting and made from natural materials – perfect for someone who wants a green friendly home.
Sleek contemporary look – The smooth look of glass makes it a favorite in modern, contemporary and even traditionally designed kitchens, bathrooms, bars and outdoor spaces. It is easy to match with any décor.
Resistant to heat and moisture – High levels of durability are a key feature of a glass countertop. We recommend putting a trivet or hot pad below a hot pan or baking dish.
Eliminate mold and bacteria – Glass is non-porous so you don’t have to worry about mold or bacteria growing inside your counters.
Light it up – Illumination is a distinctive feature of glass. The ability to move light through the surface make a glass counter much more than just a surface – it’s a 24/7 piece of art which can provide lighting and fascination throughout the entire day.
Access to Innovate Building Solutions design and installation specialists – The design team at Innovate Building Solutions is here to help you with your glass needs. Whether you want a cool glass counter, glass floor or even glass stair treads we look forward to assisting you.
Company: Innovate Building Solutions
Who said log homes had to be completely rustic? Check out the bathroom in this custom home!
Master Bathroom Design – Contemporary Meets Rustic in a Log Home
“Nothing is set in stone with interior finishes in our log homes,” said Joe Dymond of Jim Barna Log Homes. When Joe makes this statement he means it. Although most people associate log homes with a rustic interior design – many owners today have a broader decorating vision for their new home. Such was the case when Joe called me about combining contemporary glass blocks with traditional rustic elements in the master bathroom of a home he was building in Quakertown, Pennsylvania for Ken and Laurie Rittle. In the article below see how contemporary can meet rustic when you combine a flexible builder with progressive and creative homeowners.
Open Minds and Integrated Designs
One of the biggest challenges I have seen with custom building is integrating new ideas and products with practical and sound building techniques. As Joe said to me, “It’s OK to design as we go….but we’re going to build this project right the first time.” It was this open and flexible design philosophy which allowed this log home to literally evolve during the building process.
For example, in the kitchen Joe’s customers (Ken and Laurie) decided to combine 100 year old rustic barnwood with the sleek look of contemporary soapstone countertops.
When it was apparent there was going to be extra barnwood left from the kitchen ideas began to bubble up on how to use this distinctive reclaimed wood in the master bathroom to provide a consistent style and continuity through the home. Let’s take a closer look below how creativity and a unique grouping of product choices (including the barnwood trim) resulted in a distinctive master bathroom.
Creativity – An Open Contemporary Shower with a Rustic Flair
Combining contemporary and rustic interior design elements can be as fun as it is functional. Check out the varied contemporary and rustic design features and products in this Quakertown Pennsylvania home:
Open shower design – I am increasingly seeing new homeowners refusing to deal with difficult to clean shower doors by eliminating them altogether. This NEO angle shower was designed with the shower head spraying away from the doorless entry making it easier to enter and clean the shower.
Glass block shower walls – Glass blocks are durable, easy to clean and can create a clean, fresh design. The rounded and finished glass block ends create a graceful entrance. Joe appreciated that the glass block walls were prefabricated into sections which drastically cut down installation time and improved finished quality. This wall was sourced from Innovate Building Solutions from Columbus Ohio.
Granite countertops – Ease of maintenance and a luxury custom look have positioned granite as a preferred countertop choice in many high end master bathrooms including this project. Ken and Laurie chose a typhoon green granite with a chiseled edge and 4″ backsplash they purchased from Prestige Marble and Granite in Emmaus Pennsylvania.
60 year galvanized corrugated metal feature wall- Who would think reclaimed galvanized corrugated metal could be a focal point for a master bathroom? This wall is not only functional (it houses the plumbing on the other side of the NEO angle design) but it is also fun and distinctive. This featured was purchased from Elmwood Reclaimed Timber in Peculiar Missouri.
100 year old barnwood trim and custom vanity – The barnwood trim left over from the kitchen was put to good use in the master bathroom. Joe’s team used it to trim out corrugated metal feature wall (see the image above) and as a custom base for a double bowl vanity – very cool and unique. Ken and Laurie found this material through Barnwood Connections in Barto Pennsyvania.
Log construction – The 8” x 12” logs truly capture the essence of this rustic luxury home.
Company: Innovate Building Solutions
Of: Mike Foti
Would you swim in this glass 'sky pool'? Ten stories above ground with an all-glass bottom.
If you're scared of heights, this might not be the pool for you.
A new luxury apartment development in London is planning on adding a “sky pool” to the list of amenities the upscale building will feature.
The all-glass pool will act as a bridge between two apartment buildings in Embassy Gardens, a 2,000-home complex in London’s Nine Elms neighborhood. It will allow residents to access the opposite side of the building by swimming laps ten stories above the ground.
Designed by Arup Associates with Eckersley O’Callaghan, the pool is 90 feet long and nine feet deep with a water depth of four feet, according to a statement from Ballymore Group, the organization responsible for the development of the complex.
The pool is expected to give swimmers the feeling of “floating through the air in central London,” according to the statement.
The luxurious development is located next to the new U.S. Embassy, and from the deck residents will have views of the London Eye and House of Parliament.
With units costing around $940,000, the pool is out of reach for many. In the past year, housing prices have risen 10% in the city.
On Twitter, the response to the pool has been somewhat mixed. One person tweeted, "a sky pool, so the millionaires in their Nine Elms penthouses can literally look down on you." Another posted, "as gimmicks go, this one is pretty cool."
Company: Total Security Solutions Inc
Of: Mary Bowerman, USA TODAY Network
I have to admit my fascination with glass has grown exponentially with increased exposure to contemporary and modern home design. The light, shine, flexibility and clean open spaces created with glass are a magnet for my eye. Since I’m a guy who hates even having a North elevation in my home (note – a North elevation is the darkest side of a home) it’s natural for me to like the effects created by the combination of light and glass. The flexibility of glass designs, textures and colors to create expansive views (or obscure them) make this material a contemporary designer or owners dream. The article below will highlight 7 unique uses of glass in a modern home.
#1 – Cast Glass Countertops – The ability to move natural light, add texture and provide the warm glow of illumination are unique features of cast glass countertops. Imagine what your friends will say when they walk into your kitchen or bathroom and see a glowing countertop – how cool is that! These tops come in 1’ – 2” thick, made of custom textured glass and are also easy to clean.
Cast glass countertop with LED lighting
#2 – Laminated Structural Glass Floors – A glass floor or bridge certainly creates a wow factor. Whether the floor offers the ability to see through to a lower level (some applications include water features, wine cellars and collectible displays) or uses an obscure glass to gracefully move light to the floor below (which is popular in urban brownstones and art galleries) it is always a focal point in a luxury home. With it’s 1” tempered and laminated glass design it is not only a sexy feature – but a safe one as well.
Looking up at glass floor panels
# 3 – Clear Thinner Series Glass Block Shower Walls – Glass blocks have been much maligned as an “80’s style” product but recent advancements in patterns, shapes and metal texturing have pushed it back into the contemporary product forefront. A new line of thinner (3 1/8”) see-through blocks creates the ability to create a modern walk in shower in a small space. The ability to add decorative metal facades onto the blocks can tie in the glass shower wall to the surrounding architecture.
# 4 – Glass Entry Doors – For dramatic style and a great return on investment decorative glass entry doors are the ticket. You can have fun combining different colors and textures in glass to provide an architectural element to the front door which provides privacy and moves light. Consider etching the glass or even adding decorative marbles inside a glazed unit for a unique look. The fact that entry doors are the top ROI for home renovations can make you feel good about this investment as well.
Light streaming through decorative glass doors
# 5 – Back Painted Glass Kitchen Backsplashes – For a distinctive pop of color in a kitchen a back painted backsplash is an exciting way to go. It’s high shine luster will command attention and they can be custom colored with any Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams color. The coating is electronically bonded to the back of the glass to ensure a high quality long lasting project.
# 6 – Glass Water Feature – There is nothing quite as calming as the sound of water. Even if you don’t live by an ocean or lake the sense of peace created by a water feature can be special. Whether you use a standard “rain” pattern glass or a custom textured cast glass – a glass water feature can be a welcome sight after a long stressful day.
#7 Glass Stair Treads – Owners of luxury loft apartments in the city or an expansive estates in the countryside the clean have benefited from the modern style of a glass stairs. Glass steps are safe (they are made of 1 ¼” thick tempered and laminated glass with a textured top surface for traction) light transmitting works of art. If personal modesty is a concern an acid etched frosted finish with eliminate any concerns of someone seeing up through the stairs.
Which project is your favorite use of glass? Comment or call us at the numbers below for more information or an estimate on these contemporary glass products.
Call Innovate Building Solutions on a nationwide basis (877-668-5888) or for a local project their divisions in Columbus (614-252-5888), Cleveland (216-531-6363), or Akron (330-633-2900) Ohio.
Company: Innovate Building Solutions