Louvres and Pet Doors

Louvres and pet doors are good investments in your house. Louvres are inexpensive and easy to maintain. Pet doors, on the other hand, are loved by owners as they give easy access to their pets.

Wayne Bucklar:  My guest today joining me in the studio is Gerry Whelan from Archer Glass in Mt. Gravatt in Brisbane. Gerry welcome to the program

Gerry Whelan:  Good morning Wayne, thank you.

Wayne Bucklar:  Now, Gerry today I thought we might talk about rather than big pieces of glass, little pieces and in particular I had in mind louvres and if we get a chance before we run out of time we might be able to talk about pet entry ways because I’ve got a particular problem with cats and dogs coming in through my glass doors. But let’s start with louvres, now louvres are something that is pretty essentially Australian but I’ve noticed they’ve changed in recent times.

Gerry Whelan:  Yeah, it has changed quite a lot, they’ve gone from the old galvanized metal to ionized more particle aluminium, they’re like a heavy duty plastic fit which has a matching color as well to the frame with a much neater and modern looking profile as well. So you can see what the frame looks like, that it’s actually much better and then you’ve got the nylon fittings inside that won’t rust so it’s literally completely changed.

Wayne Bucklar:  Now I remember louvres from my grandmother’s house. They were the kind of cheap alternative to windows I guess and you always need an oil can and a pair of pliers to get them to open or close, that’s all changed now?

Gerry Whelan:  That’s all changed, yeah. Now, we put them in for airflow, you can add an insect screen outside or a security screen after down low and you can just leave them open on a beautiful spring day and let that really nice breeze flow through the whole house.

Wayne Bucklar:  And Gerry are they popular window alternative with Architects and designers?

Gerry Whelan:  There are new modern homes that put them in all sorts of area like stairwells, lounge rooms, closed-in decks, patios and still have the benefit of the air or if the weather changes they can be closed up and have a sheltered space.

Wayne Bucklar:  What about rain leaking through them, is that a problem?

Gerry Whelan:  No, these are all waterproof now as well. So if the rain beats against them there is weatherproof with any window really.

Wayne Bucklar:  Weatherproof louvres would be a wonderful thing for ventilation. What sort of glass or what sort of material makes up the actual louvre?

Gerry Whelan:  Well the louvre there, the basic frame is aluminium and then you’ve got there heavy duty PVC type clips that don’t rust and them the nylon inner parts, moving parts inside as well which don’t rust and then for the actual louvre you can use glass or you can still get nice wood grained timber louvres as well if you wanted that look down low for privacy and you can use those sorts. It’s quite versatile as well.

Wayne Bucklar:  It does sound like a very versatile solution. Are there any tips or tricks that people should be aware with they’re contemplating putting on louvres these days?

Gerry Whelan:  Yeah it’s good to be aware of which side the breeze comes from and maybe planning to use them there and open up the house to let the breeze through or the office or shop, whatever and then let that nice breeze through and air the whole place up with natural air rather than that aircon running all the time.

Wayne Bucklar:  Right. The louvres when I was a kid growing up were always a bit of a security concern, is that still the case?

Gerry Whelan:  I suppose yes, you could break one and climb in but they all could be easily lifted out and put aside. So there’s a clip now that stops that, so they have to be smashed to get in. So there’s no way but also with the surround frame available to install them. It can be a wider frame to take an insect screen or a security screen, so we can still have space to open out. The security screen is enough to allow for that and you can literally leave them open all the time then day and night once that’s on there.

Wayne Bucklar:  It sounds like the best of both worlds Gerry.

Gerry Whelan:  Yeah, it is. It really does do a good job and it’s got a modern look and a whole lot, yeah. It’s very popular.

Wayne Bucklar:  Now let’s turn our attention to my problem – me, me, me, me. I’ve got a dog and with glass doors and windows, what do I have to do to give access to a dog?

Gerry Whelan:  Well you can have a new panel of glass usually if you fit it in the door because the glass has to be toughened after a hole has been cut. So to put it in a door or panel next to a door, now you would need a new panel of glass with the hole cut and then we have this cat door, I don’t know if you can get a decent look at it more, all we have the dog door which has a slightly bigger diameter to allow, well at least a medium sized dog to come thru easily. But the main problem we’re solving for people is that getting up in the night to let the cat out.

Wayne Bucklar:  Yes.

Gerry Whelan:  Well it’s a magnetic cat door…so the cat can go in and out as it pleases.

Wayne Bucklar:  You see, there’s a solution to everything if you talk to the right people. So dog and cat doors fit into glazing these days.

Gerry Whelan:  Yeah. So we cut out a hole in the low down window and fit this cat or dog door and away you go really.

Wayne Bucklar:  And I’m pleased that you’re cutting a hole in the glass because it does look like something that would lead me to have a whole lot of broken glass before I get a nice round hole.

Gerry Whelan:  Yeah, it’s not the easiest thing to do, you need quite a knack to getting the hole out neatly without cracks.

Wayne Bucklar:  And I guess, Gerry that is why you are a tradesman and I’m on television.

Gerry Whelan:  We hope there’s a difference in that.

Wayne Bucklar:  Yes. They tell me a tradesman is someone who knows a thousand tricks of the trade and clearly you’re…

Gerry Whelan:  Well, after 40 plus years I suppose you start to get a bit of an idea of what you’re doing. You find it hard to start thinking about stopping (Laughs)

Wayne Bucklar:  Gerry did I hear you correctly when you were saying that the panel of glass be it a door or a panel that the head… goes into has to be toughened after it’s been cut?

Gerry Whelan:  Yeah, that’s correct. If we put the dog or cat door in a glass panel which is in a door, an external door or a side panel next to a door which by nature have to be safety glass because of that position. You cannot cut the dog or cat door hole in your existing toughened glass so you need a new piece of glass so it’s an expensive way to do it that way. If you can find another like a low like panel, you know you get the low panel under your sliding window, often that’s where it’s nice to put it because we can cut a hole in that panel on site and then just fit it.

Wayne Bucklar:  Okay. And so clearly the smart thing to do here is give you a call and get you to have a look at it and advice on a good place to put this based on your experience.

Gerry Whelan:  Yeah that’s right, just to see which would be the best one to use. We usually need a panel that’s down low particularly for the dog that you can just, I mean usually most houses have a panel that stand low enough to do it.

Wayne Bucklar:  Yeah. Those cats seem to be able to find a way in and out of any way given half a chance.

Gerry Whelan:  Yeah, you can certainly put it a little bit higher up for the cat.

Wayne Bucklar:  And Gerry for people who do have dogs and cats – they’re a member of the family and they’re certainly entitled to their own door and as you say not having to get up to let the cat or dog out at night is well and truly worth the cost.

Gerry Whelan:  Yeah, absolutely. That’s mostly the problem we’re solving when we install these to allow them to come in and out.

Wayne Bucklar:  So to recap on dog and cat doors, the best time to these of course is when you’re putting in a new glass then you can do it before it gets turned to safety glass, otherwise it needs to be a low panel, it’s not necessarily safety glass or you need to replace the whole panel and have the cat or dog door fitted at the time.

Gerry Whelan:  Yeah, correct if the glass has to be safety glass then you would need a new panel.

Wayne Bucklar:  Of course we talked about safety glass many times in the past.

Gerry Whelan:  Yeah, we’ve covered all the toughened and laminated glass. Yeah.

Wayne Bucklar:  Gerry it’s a pleasure talking to you today, thank you for your time. Gerry Whelan is the CEO of Archer Glass Mt. Gravatt in Brisbane.

Gerry Whelan:  Thank you Wayne, all with pleasure.