Shutter Maintenance Tips from a Local Expert

As a follow-up to our prior blog about choosing the right shutters for your home, it is important to discuss the maintenance and possible repair of your existing shutters. Even if your shutters look damaged, many times they can be repaired rather than replaced. In addition, regular maintenance of your existing shutters will ensure a long lifetime for this very important decorative aspect of your home.

We spoke to Phil Patterson, owner of Phillip Patterson Painting Inc., about his shutters expertise: repairing versus replacing your shutters, the best ways to maintain your shutters, and mistakes to avoid. He gave us some great advice and guidelines about all things shutters!

 

To Repair or Replace—That Is the Question.

How do you determine if you need to replace your shutters or if can you repair them instead? Patterson gave us this step-by-step checklist:

  • If there are small cracks and/or holes that we can easily fill with caulk or putty, then that’s our first level of repair.
  • If there are areas of rot that are a bit bigger than described above, then we dig out the bad rot and seal and fill with Bondo.
  • If some of the slats are loose or falling out, we put them back in and pull the sides together to tighten all the slats and secure the back of the shutters with metal brackets.
  • If we find the bottom end of the shutter completely rotted, we sometimes can cut it out and replace it with a new piece of wood. However, that can be a bit time consuming and may not be worth the time and effort.
  • You can replace just the metal hardware without replacing the whole shutter. The metal hardware includes hinges, straps and holdbacks. Also, if the metal is still in good condition and there is no corrosion, the finish can be stripped and repainted.

Patterson encourages the homeowner to be realistic, saying that “before we spend TOO much time and money on a bad shutter, we have to decide what’s better for the customer: Repair or Replace.”

Maintenance of Existing Shutters

How important is regular maintenance? What does regular maintenance entail? Patterson says that “the paint is the life of the shutter. If the paint job has failed to the point that the film begins to crack and peel, then the water is getting in. That’s when wood rot begins. The other important thing you can do for a wood shutter to extend the longevity is to install metal caps at the top edge of every shutter. The top edges when exposed to the sun and weather will crack open letting water in.  If you can keep that from happening, you’ll double or triple the life of the shutter.”

It is highly recommended to keep your shutters clean of dirt, debris, insects, birds and even bats. You can accomplish this by brushing them on both sides with a soft bristled brush on a regular basis.

Mistakes to Be Avoided

Here are some common mistakes that shutter owners make that can be avoided.

  1. Not painting them frequently Shutters should be painted at least twice as often as the house they’re hanging on.
  2. Not having metal caps on all the top edges.
  3. Not supporting the outside bottom corner of the shutter with the s-hook Many times, the wider shutters without that support will sag hard, causing the slats to fall out.

In general, the best thing you can do is to keep up the basic maintenance on your shutters with a current paint job using good paint and consistent cleaning practices. Paying attention to the state of your wood shutters and keeping them in good shape is the key to a long lifetime. Many times, fully replacing a shutter is not necessary; repair by a professional is often more than enough to keep them functional and nice.

If you’d like to learn more about shutters, shutter selection or the installation process, contact us today. We’d love to help you add a bit of extra curb appeal to your home!

Choosing the Right Shutters for Your Home

For hundreds of years, shutters have provided a functional cover for windows in homes all over the world. Initially intended for privacy and protection from the elements, shutters now are mostly purely decorative, a nice detail that adds a finishing touch to a house and ramps up the curb appeal!

Choosing shutters for your windows requires some thought and planning to ensure you get the right type for your window. Of course, having them installed correctly is also critical. Here are some elements to consider when choosing new shutters…  

1. Fit

When choosing your shutters, fit is of utmost importance. The shutters need to be proportional to the structure of the windows. In other words, the shutter should be the same shape and proportions as the windows. For this reason, it’s important to choose shutters that complement the shape of your windows.

2. Alignment

Once the fit is established, it is important to align the horizontal and vertical elements with the structure of your window. Shutter rails need to align with the rails on the window sashes. The symmetry of the windows should directly match the symmetry of the shutters.

3. Architecture

Choose a shutter style that complements the architectural style of your house and even your neighboring homes. If you are replacing the shutters completely, experts recommend getting as close to the home’s original shutter style as possible.

There are five basic silhouettes: louvered, raised panel, flat panel, board and batten, and Bahama and Bermuda. These shutter types cover most all variations of windows.

4. Installation

When installing shutters, the location of the shutter is key. Shutters should never be attached to the house next to the window. Shutters need to have hinges. They should be mounted on top of the window casing on the hinge. Mounting the shutter on the hinge gives the shutter appearance depth and shadow lines, which is the aesthetic norm. Without shadows, the shutters appear fake and flat.

If you’d like to learn more about shutters, shutter selection or the installation process, contact us today. We’d love to help you add a bit of extra curb appeal to your home!

Why Buying Replacement Doors and Windows Based on Price Is Not Always the Best Idea

As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.

We understand that shopping to find the best deal seems sensible, but when you shop for replacement windows and doors based solely on price, you can put your considerable investment in your home at risk. Below you’ll find some of the reasons the cost of windows and doors is not always comparable and how Door Store and Windows goes above and beyond to ensure you get the best final product for your money.

Select Quality Products Built by Reliable Manufacturers

All door and window manufacturers are not created equal. Each has different manufacturing processes and quality management practices that contribute to the overall excellence of the product. To ensure your doors and windows don’t fail prematurely, make sure to research the manufacturers to determine which offers the best in demonstrated function, strength, and longevity. It also doesn’t hurt to find out how long they’ve been in business. A decades-old company is more likely to have time-tested production systems in place that make it more likely you’ll get a higher standard of door and window. And don’t forget to check the warranties—you don’t want to be left paying for a replacement for your replacement.  Here at Door Store and Windows, we only work with manufacturers that have the best and most predictable quality over time, not to mention industry-leading warranties that protect your investment long after our job is done.

Expert Project Consultation Is Key

Choosing replacement doors and windows might seem like a straight forward process, but if you don’t get it right it could mean more expense down the road. That’s where an expert replacement consultant is invaluable. They can help you determine exactly what product you need to meet your functionality and design requirements. Is your door in an overexposed entry way? You don’t want a wood door. Want your new windows to look like they have always been there? Beware standard sizes used in larger openings. This idea may lower your price, but will ultimately  detract from the overall beauty of  your home. When you work with Door Store and Windows, our project consultants carefully listen to your needs and provide you the best options for your project. We size and order products to perfectly fit your home for the highest level of functionality and aesthetic beauty. We also double—and triple—check everything before ordering to make sure you’re getting exactly what you want.

Don’t Skimp on Installation Supplies

 Using only the best installation supplies available will help your windows and doors perform at their best for a long time. Though there are cheaper options on the market, caulks with multi-year warranties and high-quality spray foam can make all the difference. Anchoring screws, adhesives, and on and on—every aspect of installation matters. That’s why we use only the best in class in all our supplies. It’s worth the cost to ensure there are no weak points in your installation that could come back to haunt you down the road.

Expert Installation Makes the Difference

Replacing windows or doors in an existing home that has settled or experienced other wear and tear is not a project for unskilled workers. A poor install could mean leaks and other issues that lead to serious damage and repair costs. You want to work with installers and service technicians who are seasoned professionals with years in the business. That’s what you get at Door Store and Windows. Our installers are factory-trained and receive ongoing safety training from outside consultants. Every member of our team is drug-tested, bonded, insured, and has passed background and safe-driving tests. To back them up, we supply them with all the best equipment as well, including new trucks and quality tools kept in top notch condition. When your installers can work at the highest level, you receive the highest level of service and expertise in return.

Measuring A Replacement Window

A TDSW Installer measuring the window insert area.

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Some examples are:

  • How invasive to my home is replacing my windows or doors?
  • What will I need to do before and after the installation?
  • Who hauls away the old windows?
  • Will I have to paint the walls or trim in my room after the installation?
  • How long will I have an open “hole” in my house?
  • How long will the installation take?
  • Do the installers clean up after themselves?

Depending on the answers, you may have more expense ahead of you.  Ultimately, knowledge is power.

We Are Here to Answer Any Questions

If you’d like to discuss adding replacement windows or doors to your home, our expert Sales Consultants can help. We’re happy to walk you through all the options to find the perfect fit for your style and budget. Give us a call today to set up a free in-home, no obligation consultation.

A Match Made in Clifton: Replacement Windows Restore Classic Look to Historic Home

As any owner of a historic home will tell you, renovation projects can be exciting but often come with a long list of challenges. Architectural styles can be difficult to match, as can paint and stain colors. Not to mention, there’s the exacting process of working within the strict guidelines of local historic preservation codes. The good news is there’s no need to navigate these challenges alone—the experts at Door Store and Windows can match nearly any window, color or style to ensure your replacements retain or restore your home’s historical character.

A great example of how Door Store and Windows has helped with a historic window replacement comes from our client Stephanie, whose home in Clifton was built in 1925. Before she purchased the house, the previous owners had replaced several of the original grid windows with ill-fitting and unattractive aluminum windows that did not match the home’s architecture.

Before: The Aluminum Windows in the Front Room (Left) and Kitchen (Right)

“Nothing really looked or felt right,” Stephanie said. “The aluminum windows didn’t reflect the charm I knew the house had when it was first built. I really wanted to restore the house as best as possible to its former beauty and level of craftsmanship.”

In her quest to restore the home’s look, Stephanie also had several windows that were original to the home restored by an expert. She was very happy with the results, but realized now she needed matching storm windows for better energy efficiency and protection from the elements. It was yet another detail that had to comply with the stringent specifications required by Clifton’s historical district guidelines.

“I knew it was a big project that would require a lot of specialized expertise and a huge attention to detail,” Stephanie said. “That’s why I turned to Door Store and Windows.”

After a consultation with one of Door Store and Windows’ window and door replacement specialists, Stephanie selected a non-standard window style that matched her 95-year-old windows, down to the grids. The specialist was also able to review Door Store and Windows’ comprehensive catalog of stain colors to find one identical to that of the original trim. They even sourced hardware to match. To finish the job, low-profile storm windows were installed over the new replacement windows as well as the restored windows. The final result exceeded all expectations.

After: The New Windows with Matching Trim

“After everything was finished, I could not believe it,” Stephanie said. “Everything blended so well, inside and out. You’d never know the new windows hadn’t been there since the house was built. It’s amazing. One of the reasons I first fell in love with the home was the beautiful woodwork throughout the place, especially around the windows. I definitely had worries that the new window installation would possibly destroy some of that woodwork. I’m so glad to say that wasn’t the case. Door Store and Windows were able to seamlessly meld everything together. I couldn’t be happier.”

If you have questions about historic replacement windows, stop by our showroom to checkout all of the unique designs we have available or CONTACT US to set up a consultation.

Order Your New Doors and Windows Sooner Rather Than Later

Were your windows noticeably drafty last winter?

When you looked at last January’s heating bill, did you think you paid enough to heat the outdoors?

While in the thick of summer it can be difficult to think about colder temperatures, now is time to fix these problems and order your new doors and windows.

Why so soon?

This past year, our industry has been experiencing ever increasing lead times. In fact, production times for both doors and windows have doubled and some have tripled as of late.

Here at Door Store and Windows, it is our goal to be totally transparent.  The lumber and workforce shortages and other manufacturing and raw material delays coupled with record home improvement sales have caused our lead times to change from weeks to months.

Here’s Why:

In 2020, despite the ongoing pandemic and business shutdowns, demand for new construction and remodeling increased substantially. Consumers spent $17 billion dollars in the door and window industry alone. As people sheltered in their homes, they discovered the need to either change their living situations, or repair or renovate what they already owned.

This demand has continued into 2021, and the supply chain is still struggling to keep up. Meanwhile manufacturing is still compromised by low inventories and raw material shortages.

For our business specifically, since our products are built to order, factory shutdowns and production adjustments greatly affected our lead times. When these industries reopened, they were already behind on fulfilling orders from before the shutdown, and now the wait has been extended.

Here’s our advice:

  • Expect extended lead times. It’s happening industry wide.
  • Door products seem to be experiencing shorter lead times.
  • Prices for product and labor have increased significantly. We have multiple price increases from the same vendor in the same year. This was rare in the past.
  • Don’t wait to order. Commit and get in line.
  • Only do business with legitimate companies with a history of longevity and obvious financial strength. Door Store and Windows is starting its 25th year of business on October 1.

Here’s our promise to you:

Our situation isn’t singular. Supply chain delays are affecting all industries across the globe. We know this greatly affects our customers and we are working hard to keep all lines of communication open with our clients and suppliers and to overcome delays when and where we are able.

At the sale, we will make a good faith effort to identify your project completion date based upon that day’s information. As we approach the estimated product delivery date, our operations team will call you to schedule a tentative installation date.

We will call, text or email – your preference – to keep you up to date on the status of the windows or doors you ordered. We will not promise what we can’t deliver. But we will give you an honest appraisal of current production trends and work hard to meet your expectations.

Here’s the Good News:

As the world reopens, and industries return to normal, we know that manufacturers are trying their best to ramp up production to catch up. We will work with you to find the best quality products for your needs that fit your timeframe. We are also updating our timeframes regularly to reflect any changes to lead times and other factors.

As always, we appreciate your business and, most of all, your patience during this time. It is our promise to deliver the best product possible and ensure your complete satisfaction.

Top Window Cleaning Tips from a Professional

You’ve invested and replaced your windows, now make the most of them! The old method of glass cleaner and newspaper is “out the window,” but we’ve got pro tips on keeping your views crystal clear. We sat down with local window cleaning expert Jim Lester of Sunshine Window Company. Jim and his team have serviced thousands of homes in the Kentuckiana area since their start in 1979. Here are his top window cleaning tips for homeowners:

Don’t Use Blue Window Cleaner | Do Use Gentle Dish Soap

That bright blue window cleaner in your cupboard is indeed one of the oldest cleaners on the market, but contrary to popular belief, Jim says it’s one of the worst things to put on your windows. Why? Because it leaves behind a waxy, streaky, and hard-to-remove film. Each time you clean your windows, that film builds up and spreads the dirt and dust, making your view even hazier.

Stay away from harsh chemicals like ammonia: they’re unnecessary, and they can be dangerous to work with. Instead, clean your windows with a solution of warm water and gentle dish soap (like Dawn). About one bucket of warm water to an ounce of dish soap will create a cleaner far more effective – and far more affordable – than the pre-packaged alternatives.

Don’t Use Paper Towels | Do Use the Right Tools

Paper towels are wasteful, streaky, and ineffective. Sunshine uses a tool called a strip washer, which is a soft cleaning sponge on a pole. Once you gently scrub the window with the sponge, remove the bulk of the solution with a high-quality squeegee. Finally, a microfiber or Turkish towel will give you a crystal-clear and streak-free finish.

Have you been cleaning your screens with the garden hose? Sunshine Window Company recommends cleaning your screens the same way you clean your panes! A gentle scrub with a strip washer and a rinse with the hose is much more effective than the hose alone.

Don’t Risk Your Safety | Do Know Your Windows

Cleaning windows can be dangerous! If you’re cleaning windows yourself, be aware of the risks for injury.

  1. Always have someone stabilize your ladder to mitigate your risk of a fall. Even professionals use the buddy system when working on high windows.
  2. Windows can be heavy. Many new thermal pane windows have latches allowing the sash of the window to tilt for convenient cleaning. While this can make things easier, these windows can also be extremely heavy and unwieldy. Improper tilting of sashes can cause damage to your window.  If you have large, heavy windows, Door Store and Windows recommends you engage a professional to wash them.

Don’t Wash Too Often | Do Wash at The Right Time

Every house is different, and certain things can dirty windows faster, like construction, pollution, or pollen. Some of Jim’s regular customers have their windows cleaned yearly, and some twice per year, but any more than that is excessive, Jim says.

There’s no hard and fast rule for when to wash windows. Of course, if you wait until the dead of winter, your cleaning solution may freeze during the washing process. In the middle of summer, high humidity may make it difficult to dry clean windows. Some experts suggest waiting for a cloudy day, as the sun’s heat can cause your solution to evaporate, but Jim says Sunshine simply uses a bit more water on sunny days. In this area, many people wait until autumn, so pollen doesn’t settle on their freshly washed windows.

Don’t Wait to Book | Do Plan Ahead

During a professional window cleaning, experts recommend getting the inside and outside of the windows washed, so they can see what’s been done and do the most thorough job. At Sunshine, this includes washing the windowsills and screens. Trained professionals can thoroughly clean a full house of windows within just a couple of hours!

Springtime is Sunshine Window Company’s busiest time of year, as people prepare to host Derby, wedding, and graduation celebrations. If you’re going to book a professional cleaning appointment, make sure to book far in advance. During the spring, Jim is often booked 6-8 weeks out!

Window cleaning is an important part of enjoying your windows to their fullest, that’s why Door Store and Windows customers get a voucher for Sunshine Window Company with the purchase of eight windows. If you’ve been thinking about replacing your windows, there’s no better time. Contact us to get started today!

Why Do My New Windows Have Condensation?

Windows in areas like the kitchen and bath are more likely to have condensation. However, even if you find condensation in other areas, it doesn’t always indicate a problem.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race: Replacing Windows in Stages

Many customers ask us if it’s necessary to replace all of their windows at one time, and the answer is: “Absolutely not”! There are many reasons to replace windows in stages rather than all at once.

Historic Districts and Landmarks

Renovating a historic home is one of the most fun and exciting projects you can undertake as a homeowner. Whether you’re modernizing an older home or staying true to the original design, remodeling historic homes can be a huge undertaking. We recently helped our client Stephanie with the windows in her historic Clifton renovation.

Image of window and couch set up.

Our coworker, Karen, was able to get a Marvin window for her Crescent Hill house that perfectly matched the original window.

In Louisville, portions of your project may be subject to review by the Historic Landmarks and Preservation Districts Commission. There are seven local historic preservation districts in Louisville (Butchertown, Cherokee Triangle, Clifton, Limerick, Old Louisville, Parkland, and West Main Street), as well as individual landmarks.

This charming Clifton bungalow is one of countless historic district homes the Door Store and Windows has helped to restore.

To learn more about the process, we talked with Becky Gorman, who works for Planning and Design Services and is staff to the Historic Landmarks and Preservation Districts Commission. She says that the best place to start with any exterior changes to a home in a historic preservation district is with a call to the Landmarks Planning and Design Department at (502) 574- 6230. Simply explain that you have questions about windows or doors and ask to speak to a Landmarks staff member, who will walk you through what you need to do to get started, the process of getting approved, and the design guidelines for your area.

This sweet Highlands home required craftsman-style windows in a range of sizes, as you can see!

You can also do preliminary research online. On the Historic Preservation and Urban Design website you can find design guidelines for each district and the review process for a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA).  A COA is the permit needed for exterior changes, and to obtain one, you’ll need to submit a Landmarks application. Your Landmarks application will be reviewed by a case manager, who will help guide you through the process of making any exterior changes to your home. For Stephanie, it included the recommendation that a contractor could repair her original street-facing windows.

Dark, tall, and elegant windows set this stately Highland Avenue home apart. Historical accuracy does NOT mean dull!

The Historic Landmarks and Preservation Districts Commission Design Guidelines prefer that historic elements (like original windows) are maintained rather than replaced unless there’s a serious issue that can’t be fixed. For Stephanie, this meant repairing the windows facing the street, which she was just as happy to get fixed. “I love the fact that these windows are original,” she says. “They have that charming old wavy glass.”

With the front-facing windows in the process of being repaired, Stephanie contacted Door Store and Windows to address the windows on the side and rear of her home. “I knew that Door Store and Windows had a reputation for being able to match existing windows and that Marvin was great at historical replacements.”

We worked with the owner of this brick Belknap cottage to select deep red divided light windows throughout.

Our Window and Door Replacement Specialist Mark was able to assist Stephanie in selecting a window style that matched her original windows, including selecting a wood stain that matched her interior trim. Ultimately, Stephanie was not only able to get Marvin windows that perfectly matched the originals, she was also able to get sleek, low-profile storm windows to protect the 95-year-old windows on the front of her house.

This magnificent Cherokee home required dozens of uniquely shaped and historically accurate windows.

The most important thing to remember when renovating a home in a historic district is that for exterior renovations, like doors and windows, there are special steps you must take to complete your project. If you’re considering beginning renovations on your historic district home, visit the website of the Historic Landmarks and Preservation Districts Commission.

If you have questions about historic replacement windows or doors, contact Door Store and Windows to learn more, or stop by our showroom to see all of our unique designs.

Do My Windows Need to Be Replaced?

There is no hard and fast rule dictating when windows need to be replaced. Similarly, there’s no standard “shelf-life” for windows. That said, there are some warning signs that your windows might need to be replaced.