Bringing the outdoors in, enjoying the beauty of the natural landscape and savoring the beauty of natural light—that’s how big windows and floor-to-ceiling glass can beautify your home. Plus, these days expansive glass is the signature of a modern masterpiece.
We talked with Doug Saunders, owner of Roadrunner Glass, who collaborated with Bedbrock Developers on ICONIC HAUS 2020, a luxury designer showhouse that presented the work of 19 marquis design teams under one roof. His company’s beautiful work can be seen enclosing the decadent glass shower and the homeowner’s wine collection, and scaling the house interior walls to creating a true indoor-outdoor experience with windows and sliders. Saunders shared how more and more luxury home are pushing the envelope with giant sliding doors and spectacular glass walls and why he loves the opportunity to be creative and solve challenges each and every day.
Established in 1972, Roadrunner Glass Company specializes in everything from windows, glass doors and railing systems to all-glass shower enclosures, mirrors and glass tabletops. If it involves high-end residential or commercial glass services, Roadrunner has probably done it.
Roadrunner Glass shifted towards the custom home market—where he feels people appreciate the work more—in the early 2000s. With 28 people on his team, business is split into 60 percent new custom homes, 20 percent renovations and 20 percent service work.
Located in the Phoenix area, where summertime means scorching hot temperatures, a lot of work at Roadrunner Glass involves navigating the high UV rays. He strives to educate people on proper glass selection in this extreme environment.
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“Out here in Arizona, with our high UV rays and the intense heat, clients need a product that deflects UV rays, plus the radiated heat coming up off the hardscape and the high-performance outdoor patio coatings,” Saunders said.
Saunders discussed that about 13 years ago, people began to show interest in front, big pivot doors. This was especially true in Arizona, where warm temperatures equal a desire to spend time outdoors—of course, with the ability to quickly run back inside to cool off in the AC when necessary.
“It seems that multi-slides that give that indoor-outdoor feeling, are big because of the great climate that we have here,” he said.
While lining your home with windows is an excellent way to live beautifully, it is also important to select glass that is suitable for the climate.
While lining your home with windows is an excellent way to live beautifully, it is also important to select glass that is suitable for the climate. For instance, though Roadrunner Glass’ clients may prefer tinted glass, they must also understand that tinted glass absorbs heat. Additionally, framing requires a thermally broken system, or a barrier that separates the interior from the exterior.
In this case, it’s not just about what looks pretty. Saunders explained, “Obviously black gets hot, so if you don’t have that thermal break, that heat is going to transfer to the interior.”
That’s why he uses high-performance glass from Cardinal, which he feels has an outstanding product line of energy efficient glass, from clear to tinted glass. Recently, Roadrunner Glass was tasked with creating the windows and door for the new Cardinal facility in Buckeye.
Unique attention to detail and craftsmanship is Roadrunner Glass’ goal just as much as effective teamwork and leadership. Essentially, Saunders creates a welcoming work environment in which he never refers to employees as people who work for him. Rather, they work with him.
There's always something unique, and I always like working with individuals that like different things. Sometimes we go outside the box.
Saunders is particularly fond of his career because it keeps him on his toes; no two jobs are ever the same. “There’s always something unique, and I always like working with individuals that like different things. Sometimes we go outside the box where other companies won’t. We will design something that’s not standard, and we make it happen,” Saunders said.
According to Saunders, the lowest-cost option is not always the best choice, and some people find that out the hard way, especially with companies that don’t to follow up on their jobs after the initial installation. Roadrunner Glass does things differently.
“We’re not the cheapest guys in town, but if you want a job done right, you want a quality product, you want somebody that’s going to be here to help service or do any type of renovations down the road, we’re that company,” he said.
To maintain this promise of following up on its projects, Roadrunner Glass has 24/7 emergency board-up and glass replacement services, offering the expertise and high-quality standards to overcome any challenge
If you’re in the market for custom, elegant glasswork, check out this company that has stood the test of time.