Bring the Outdoors in With Great Big Windows and Doors

April 10, 2022

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Text by Maria LaPiana

You dream of alfresco living all year long, love to take in views, live for fresh air and natural light. But let’s say you reside in a region that has weather. And moving is out of the question. Do the next best thing: add outsized windows and doors that open your cozy home to your surroundings (literally and figuratively). Large architectural windows and doors, especially those that open and seemingly disappear, allow you to commune with nature, enlarge your home’s living space, and create a happy place wherever you live.

“Everyone wants to bring the outside in, and the trend toward large openings—both windows and doors—just won’t quit,” says Denny Giantomasi of SBS OneSource in Pembroke, Massachusetts.  The demand is high—from window walls to sliding glass doors to folding doors and windows—according to Giantomasi, who heads up sales of architectural windows and doors for the company.

Serving all of Massachusetts including the Cape and Islands, the company carries a unique roster of brands like the top-selling Loewen; the expertly crafted HeartWood Fine Windows and Doors; high-performance products by Mathews Brothers (originally designed to withstand the unforgiving climate of coastal Maine); and minimal-frame systems from panoramah! ®.

Here are some of Giantomasi’s tips on how to get the best inside-out look:

Frame the View 

  • Decide what you want to look at, how much of it you want to see, and how you want to transition between vantage point and view. Be sure to measure your space.

The Big Picture 

  • The sheer number of large windows and doors available for residential use today can be overwhelming—from a unique fold-up window to entire moving door/window systems. Your options include everything from a seventy-foot-wide series of sliders to a panoramah! ® window wall measuring thirty feet wide by ten feet high (that’s a full 300 square feet of unobstructed views in one glass panel!).
  • Form and functionality matter. Consider how you want your doors and windows to operate, and what kinds of frames (material substrates run from wood and aluminum to thermal steel) and finishes will best complement your home.
  • Think about your climate and environment. A window will never be as efficient as a wall, so bear in mind the impact of weather, wind load, and your home’s elevation on large panes of glass. “The goal is to take stress off of HVAC systems,” says Giantomasi, “and efficiency naturally translates into savings.”
  • Remember that screening for large windows and doors is critical because any breach gives bugs (and birds) an open invitation. Not every manufacturer of large-opening products offers screening options—but SBS One Source does. Your existing windows and doors can even be retrofitted with screens that get the job done.
  • Keep your vision and budget in check. There are lots of products in the $3,000 to $4,000 range, but a complete, high-end window package can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Install with Precision   

  • “The performance of a window or door is 100 percent dependent on how it’s installed,” says Giantomasi. A lot can go wrong—starting with how to gain access to the opening in the wall with a giant, extremely heavy window in tow—so there are some products the company won’t sell unless they handle the installation themselves. “There’s nothing easy about installing a massive steel window, for example,” says Giantomasi. Safe installation requires special vehicles, equipment, and know-how.

Work with the Pros 

  • Experience is key when it comes to selecting a company to install large-scale windows. Choose a company with a sales team that is made up of skilled, factory-trained specialists who know windows and doors, well, inside and out.

SBS OneSource, sbsOneSource.com/pembroke