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photo/design credit Pritchett + Dixon Architects/Atlanta THE DESIGNER TREND OF STEEL DOORS/WINDOWS: 5 MUST-KNOW TIPS FOR HOMEOWNERS.

1) BUDGET: Fabricated steel door and windows can cost on average 3-4 times as much as conventional options. Budget early folks!!! Lets be clear...... its doable if you ear mark appropriate amounts of money early on in your build. As a homeowner, you will need to prioritize the items that you value the most in your design.

2) CREATING A FOCAL POINT: Due to the cost of the steel doors and windows many of my clients opt to simply create a single focal point in order to get the "wow" factor. Consider simply doing an entry door set that will greet all you guests as they arrive to your home. Or a single winecellar door can be a signature statement to your custom home. For the homeowners who love to entertain and cook, consider a steel pantry door that you have the pleasure of interacting with each and every day!

3) FRAMING: If you're moving forward with your custom steel doors/windows, inform your contractor before or during the framing of your home. The earlier the better!! Due to the extraordinary weight of the doors/windows adjustments to framing and/or structural support is often necessary. Telling your contractor at the right time to make these changes to the framing package helps prevent against additional costs of making necessary changes at a later date.

4) QUOTES: While deciding on a supplier for your steel doors/windows, be sure that your quotes are comprehensive and include all of your potential costs for this item. Quotes should include site visits for measuring rough openings (some suppliers charge for site visits), CAD documentation or shop drawings for fabrication, actual door/window costs, finishing (some metal finishes are a premium cost over the standard black or white), delivery to the job site and installation. Door hardware or handles/levers are the responsibility of the homeowner. Many times your contractor can help with the measurements for the rough openings or installation....but have that conversation with your contractor and verify who is responsible for those items. Comprehensive quotes are a critical part of understanding your complete costs for the steel doors/windows, as well as verifying where these costs fit into your overall budget.

5) WARRANTIES: This might not seem like a big deal..... until you have major issues after your installation and no one is taking responsibility. Ask your suppliers up front about the terms of the warranty and have the documentation included in your signed quote. Also be sure to ask if your warranty if affected by your installation. Some suppliers will not honor the warranty if any one other than themselves completed the installation. If that's the case, pay for the supplier to do the installation... money well spent.

Folks.... as a designer who has been in residential construction for over 16 years, documentation is critical to understanding the products you are buying and being informed as to how they will perform. These are just a few of the need-to-know basics of steel doors and windows which I have experienced first hand. Let me know if you have any questions and I will see if I can help. Happy building!!

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