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!

Arcadia Custom: New Product

Door Store and Windows is now the exclusive Arcadia Custom Windows and Doors dealer in Kentucky and Southern Indiana. Arcadia Custom produces luxury high-performance Thermal Steel and “Steel Look” Aluminum windows and doors.

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.

Windows That Work For Your Space

There are infinite possibilities for creating the perfect window to suit your home and needs. Today, we’re going to talk about six different window styles and how the way they open can make them the best choice for your space.

Window Rot and How to Spot It

Now that spring has arrived, the annual task of spring cleaning is likely to begin soon, making it the perfect time to inspect a few things around your house. Window rot is one thing you simply don’t want going untreated…

Historic Window Replacement

How do you know that our products are the highest quality? We use them in our own homes! In today’s blog, our long-time teammate, Karen, shares the story of her brand-new window recently installed in her St. Matthews home.

The Problem

Like many in St. Matthews, Karen’s is an older home. Her original front window added a great deal of character and charm. However, at this point in its life, the window was not efficient. Karen mentioned that while sitting on the couch in that room, with backs to the window, she and her husband could feel a breeze on the backs of their necks. Something had to give. They didn’t want to sacrifice the beauty of the window, but they needed to control the air getting into the house.

The original window.

The old, drafty window let an uncomfortable breeze into the room.

The Solution

They decided to go with a Marvin replacement. As they made their selection, it was very important to them to keep the overall historic look of the home. Thankfully, Marvin excels at historic replacements, and had all of the design features that Karen wanted. She and her husband chose a narrow divided light, vertical grid on the top portion of the window (precisely like the original window), and no dividers on the bottom portion.

Close-up of the window shows the historical design.

Karen and her husband were able to select a Marvin window that perfectly matched the original window.

One thing that we love about working with the Marvin products is their attention to historic detail. These elements help us maintain the look of historical homes in neighborhoods throughout areas like St. Matthews and the Highlands. More importantly, thanks to new technology, Marvin windows perform better and last longer.

In today’s world there’s no reason to have a window that lets in drafts, so let your window work for you. Whether you’re building a new home or replacing a window from the 1930s, we can help you choose the best design and look for your home, no matter the size or scale! Give us a call or stop by our showroom to get started on your next replacement project.

Click here to see Karen talk about her replacement project!

Noise Abatement

New windows and doors aren’t just about aesthetics. Sometimes we’ll get a customer with a very specific need and we never shy away from a challenge! For example, this customer presented a unique problem: noise abatement.

The Problem

Rick and Kay built their house in Eastern Jefferson County in 1999. A few years ago, Interstate 265 expanded, and the noise from the new highway became impossible to ignore. All day long, but especially at night while they were trying to sleep, the sound of cars and trucks disturbed the family’s peaceful home. “I’m a light sleeper,” Rick said, “and I could hear every truck that went by in the house, all night long, every day. I said ‘we need to do something about this,’ and I contacted Eric at the Door Store. Kay and I met with him and I said ‘we need to have some sound deadening.’”

The Solutions: New Windows and Doors

The problem didn’t have a simple answer, so he started researching. Eric knew that updating the original vinyl windows to a Marvin wood-clad window would be a huge improvement, but simply switching the windows and doors wasn’t going to solve the problem completely.

Noise reduction glazing on glass windows and doors helps reduce sound drastically. Eric researched all the options of glazing profiles to find the right solution for the family. Together, Rick and Eric determined which glass and glazing options were most cost-effective.

“The result was really astonishing,” Eric said.

A close-up of the new windows.

A close-up of the new windows show the quality.

“Whisper Quiet”

One of the project’s primary goals was improving the family’s sleep, so the team focused on the bedrooms. We installed the same windows and glazing along with an additional storm window. Marvin builds their storm window right in, appearing as part of the window as opposed to an a separate piece. This combination made the couple’s bedroom “whisper quiet,” which resulted in an increased STC (Sound Transmission Class) rating by about 7 points.

With the windows finalized, we tackled the kitchen door to the back patio. We installed a 20-gage steel door with triple-glazed glass and added foam insulation all around the frame, so that all the air pockets were filled.

New Marvin Windows

Glazing was added to the family’s windows.

The Result

The resulting noise abatement and the decreased energy bills impressed our customer. The new doors and windows brought down the family’s energy usage significantly, a great byproduct of fixing their initial problem.

Rick also commented on the service he received from our team. He appreciated that our installation team is made up of Door Store and Windows employees, and that they are not an outsourced vendor. Our team’s attention to detail and respect for the home was evident.

See Eric and Rick talking about the project below, and visit our social channels to see more.

We’re pleased to be able to offer a noise abatement solution to our customer. We wish them many more happy, peaceful, and quiet years together. Are you curious about our window installation process? Learn more here. 

Intentionally Inconsistent: Mixed Hardware Finishes

A recent customer approached us about her St. Matthews home. The home was built in the early 1930s and her recent renovation aimed to modernize it, while keeping the original aesthetic in place. A challenge? Not really.

There is no rule that says all hardware within a home must match. In fact, adding different finishes around the house, when done thoughtfully, can really add a new layer of design and interest within a home.

For this client, she was intentional not only about design, but also about her specific needs as related to both window and door hardware throughout the interior and exterior of the home.

Brushed nickel hardware on the window matches the stainless steel appliances in the kitchen.

With stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, she felt brushed nickel hardware worked best and maintained consistency throughout the room. In other parts of the house, darker hardware was used due to touches of dark accents in each room.

Oil-rubbed bonze is considered a “living finish.”

On her beautifully adorned brand-new back patio, she brought in the darker hardware with an oil-rubbed bronze. Oil-rubbed bronze is what’s known as a “living finish” which means it is uncoated with a sealant and will naturally oxidize over time to show a unique patina on the finish. It will transform slightly over time through exposure to the environment and regular use. Some refer to a living finish as a way for hardware to age gracefully, adding personality and charm to the doorknob over the years. This works in this beautiful space.

Dark bronze is sealed and perfect for doors in high-traffic areas.

For a more utilitarian approach, she selected a dark bronze doorknob for what is probably the door with the heaviest usage. Her side door is where she most enters the house from the car as she comes and goes throughout each day. For this reason, the dark bronze is the right fit as it is sealed and no patina or aging is expected. The color on a dark bronze piece of hardware will remain constant for years to come.

Finally, the question became what to do with the hardware on her front door. Original to the home, this brass doorknob really seemed to work. Our salesperson guided the homeowner to keep what “wasn’t broken” and continue using this ornate door knob which really serves as a jewel to the home – and it works with the design and in conjunction with the rest of the house. A nod to the past, this doorknob reminds all who enter that although this home is updated and current, it has a history which should be respected and enjoyed throughout all of its future generations.

The original brass doorknob adds character and charm to the home.

If you are considering updating the hardware throughout your home, consider adding different finishes to meet your needs and work with your design. Our designers can help guide you to select the right choices that will bring you happiness every time you enter a room!

Customer Satisfaction, 12 Years Later!

New doors and windows can be a big investment of time and money, but is that investment actually worthwhile? Recently we checked in with a Door Store and Windows customer who purchased twenty new Marvin windows for her home back in 2007. When we asked how the look and function of the windows compared to when they were first installed over a decade ago, she replied “I really can’t tell a difference.”

The Porter Family in front of their 12-year-old Marvin windows

When the Porters moved into their 90-year-old Louisville home in 2004, they knew that window replacements were on the horizon. They wanted windows that looked original to the home, but provided modern safety, energy efficiency, sound proofing, and temperature control. After looking into several local vendors, they decided to trust TDSW as an authorized installing retailer of Marvin windows.

After 12 years, these windows still look as good as new!

Once the Porters decided to move forward with Door Store and Windows, owner Ann Gregory visited Angela Porter in her home to look at the existing windows and discuss options. Angela recalls that this left a great impression on her as she had a young child at the time and visiting the Idea Showroom would have been difficult.

The Porters selected these Marvin windows because they were energy efficient, easy to clean, matched the style of the home.

The Marvin windows that the Porters selected had a historical feel and resembled the original windows in their home, with wood and framing color options that they could not find anywhere else. According to Angela, the installation process was quick and smooth. The windows offered immediate gratification and checked every box: beauty, safety, efficiency, and noise abatement. A bonus, she added, was the convenience of cleaning the easily removable windows.

The Porters also appreciated that Door Store and Windows is a local, family-owned company. In 2008, their home was damaged by a fallen tree, and while insurance covered the repairs, Angela recalls that TDSW representatives were quick to repair the broken windows to look exactly as they had before. If she had to do it all over again, she wouldn’t have changed a thing. “It isn’t inexpensive,” Angela said, “but it is worth it.” Door Store and Windows stands behind their products. Once the initial investment is made, our doors and windows will last, and if any problem comes up, we’ll will be there to fix it.

Let us help you love your windows. Call Door Store and Windows today!