A project to make you feel better

New windows and doors make your home more comfortable

  • New exterior doors and windows can greatly improve the energy efficiency of your home.

    New exterior doors and windows can greatly improve the energy efficiency of your home. Photos Courtesy of Sahara Window and Doors

  • The front door says a lot about the homeowner's personality.

    The front door says a lot about the homeowner's personality.

  • Sahara Window and Doors is located at 150 S. Main St. in Mount Prospect

    Sahara Window and Doors is located at 150 S. Main St. in Mount Prospect

  • Sahara and American Thermal Window carry nine window lines, including Marvin and Pella.

    Sahara and American Thermal Window carry nine window lines, including Marvin and Pella.

By Jean Murphy
Daily Herald correspondent
Updated 4/10/2020 3:34 PM

These days, neighbors are walking (with or without their dogs), running and biking through our neighborhoods more than they are driving, so they naturally have more time to check out homes along their routes.

In addition, small businesses are suffering. So, it is a good time to improve the look of any home that more and more people are examining, while at the same time supporting a local business and its employees.


"We have been part of the community for nearly 40 years, serving homeowners well when they upgrade their homes. During this difficult time, we hope homeowners will find a way to support us -- even in a small way -- by doing a home improvement they have been contemplating," said Iver Johnson Sr., owner of American Thermal Window of Chicago and Sahara Window and Doors of Mount Prospect.

For instance, maybe now is the time to replace a door or window that has been bothering you.

The front door, sometimes with side panels, is like a home's face. It gives both visitors and passersby their first impressions of the house and gives one a glimpse of the homeowner's personality.

Windows serve a similar function. Eye-catching bay, picture and other specialty windows add personality to a home while also keeping the interior of the house comfortable.

Windows keep heated or cooled air inside where it is supposed to be, improve a home's indoor air quality and save the owner money in the long run, Johnson said.

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"Window manufacturers are continually upgrading their products," he said. "Today's windows, which are generally available in wood, vinyl and aluminum, have much higher energy ratings than those being replaced, of course, so they save on heating and cooling costs."

Johnson, a former Chicago police officer, has been providing windows and doors to Chicago-area homeowners through his American Thermal Window Co. for 39 years. Eleven years ago he acquired Sahara Window and Doors in Mount Prospect, too.

Both stores have retained their individual names, but the two showrooms function as a single company with identical offerings and crews that skillfully install a variety of products in single-family homes, townhouses, condominiums and commercial properties.

American Thermal/Sahara is very discerning when it comes to product selection, Johnson said, carrying nine window lines, including Marvin and Pella.

"We only offer the best. If it isn't up to our standards, we don't carry it," Johnson said.


He also cautioned that homeowners shopping for replacement windows and doors need to do their homework before choosing a company to supply and install them. The company should have a long track record and a high standing on rating services such as Angie's List and Yelp.

"You can't purchase those ratings. They have to be earned. We have been awarded with the Angie's List's Super Service Award for several years in a row and have an exceptional rating on Yelp. Those ratings reflect the way our customers feel about us. We also have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau," Johnson said.

It is important to note that all of its installation crews are employed and trained by American Thermal Window and Sahara Window and Doors, so they are not independent subcontractors with differing standards. Crews always arrive in company trucks and the average installer has a minimum of 10 years of experience, Johnson said.

American Thermal Window and Sahara Window and Doors also offer 58 door styles with 36 standard paint and stain combinations and more than 200 custom glass options. Custom paint colors are also possible.

Fiberglass is a common modern choice for outside doors because it is very durable, Johnson said, but his two companies also offer nationally recognized Simpson Doors that are made of solid oak, birch, cherry, poplar and other woods, produced in America. Doors that must be fire-rated (those between a garage and a home), however, must be metal and the showrooms also sell those.

Johnson's two companies also offer and install custom patio doors. Custom cuts, designer glass and designer grids are readily available. Steel security storm doors are also part of the inventory for unbeatable protection, as are garden windows for growing plants, windows with blinds between the panes and fashionable doors with decorative glass options.

Sahara and American Thermal also have a good following with condominium and townhouse associations because it is willing to attend association meetings at no charge. They also offer a wide variety of fire-rated windows and doors for mid- to high-rise residential buildings and commercial properties.

Delivery takes three to six weeks, depending on the order's complexity. Johnson's crews work year-round "because we are capable of doing all of the windows in an average house in a day without causing an undue temperature drop or rise."

"At American Thermal and Sahara, we understand what it is to own a home, so we are easily able to relate to our customers," Johnson said. "We strive to make sure our customers receive a positive experience from beginning to end, from their initial phone call, to their interaction with the sales rep and the showroom staff, to their experience with the installation crews. We want nothing but positive experiences!"

The American Thermal Window showroom is at 5304 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. Sahara Window and Doors is located at 150 S. Main St. in Mount Prospect.

"For the duration of this pandemic, we will open our showrooms only by appointment," he said. "But we are always anxious to serve you."

For an appointment, call (847) 259-9099 or (773) 774-3131 or visit www.americanthermalwindow.com or www.saharawindowanddoors.com.

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