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6 Things To Consider When Purchasing Scenic Doors

Spring has sprung, and the weather is finally warm! Are you ready to open up your home to the outdoors? Indoor/outdoor living is key in warmer months, and can translate well in the colder months too. Scenic doors are becoming increasingly popular, offering extended openings with a large covering of glass that increases the natural light flowing into a space and allows for expanded views of the outdoors.

What are the critical factors you should consider when purchasing a scenic door? We’re here to help:

  1. Budget: A scenic door is larger than a standard patio door – starting at 9’ wide going up to 40’ wide and 10’ tall – so they will cost more than regular swinging or sliding doors.
  2. Primary function: Will the door be used for entry/exit or primarily as a space divider? Options like the Marvin Ultimate Multi Slide Door is a panoramic door that offers expansive views, but may not be practical if being used as a primary point of entry.
  3. Opening: Is the existing opening large enough, and the wall deep enough to accept a scenic door? Most homes do not have the large openings required to receive these larger doors. A remodel or new construction project each offer perfect opportunities to achieve the open feeling of bringing the outdoors inside a great-room or kitchen.
  4. Proper overhang: Marvin Scenic Doors are designed to keep the weather out. But, since these are very large doors, extreme weather could be a factor. A proper overhang will help protect your doors and home from the elements.
  5. Style: Is your architectural design more contemporary or traditional? With the array of options available, this is a deciding factor. Our design team is happy to help with your selection.
  6. Floor covering: Will the floor be the same inside and out or will the door separate two different floors? Ideally the flooring will be the same height on both sides of the door. If they will be different, you will want to consult with your builder/remodeler on your best options.

“The impact these doors have on a home is difficult to explain. I met a builder and homeowners at their home to discuss some hardware issues. The builder and I were talking as the homeowners arrived. They walked to their new Bi-fold door going from the family room to the patio and I could not count the number of times they said WOW. Clearly this would be the focal point of their home.” – Jim Platt, New Construction Specialist, Door Store and Windows.

Ready to make this kind of impact in your home? Give us a call.

Patio Door Transformation Brings the Outdoors in

We spent a couple of days last winter getting this patio door ready for the outdoor season in Louisville. The original patio door (shown above) was a single door with a window to the side – not exactly a show stopper. With fantastic deck space, the home owners wanted something more dazzling to transition from indoors to outdoors.

So we helped them design this beauty. Basically, a door with two full width sidelites, this patio door truly transforms the space between indoors and outdoors and better suits the deck space in scale and size. And when the homeowners saw it for the first time, they fell in love again with their patio space.

 

Check Out Our Video Series On Patio Doors

 

 

 

Our employee-installers are experienced craftsmen and created a new opening that looks like it belonged on the house all along. And what they do behind the scenes during installation is what creates real value in this door project. Preparing the door opening to accept the door involves more than removing some bricks in this case. Proper shimming and weather barrier installation will prevent moisture and rot and is how we are able to provide a lifetime installation warranty…part of our Worry-Free Guarantee.

Call today to get your patio door project ready for summer and fall. Our design consultants are here to help you get exactly what you want.

How to Choose the Right Exterior Window Shutters for your Home

Exterior window shutters have a long history gracing windows before glass was readily available or affordable. Wood shutters served to protect the window opening, provide privacy, add additional insulation during winter and block the sun in the summer. As window technology has improved, shutters are used less for these purposes and more as a decorative feature for your home’s exterior.

Shutters are available in operable and non-operable styles. Design selection, sizing and installation is very important for operable shutters, especially for maintaining historical accuracy. If you have a home that calls for operable exterior shutters or if you have an older home and you want historically correct shutters, come see us to discuss your options. We would really want to see your home as part of the shutter selection process.

Here are a few tips for selecting shutters for your home:

 

Match Your Shutter To Your Home Style

The shutter that is historically accurate for a Victorian home is not the same shutter for an Arts and Crafts home. Check out homes in your neighborhood and decide which style works best for your home. Many of today’s architectural styles are based on historic styles, so keep your home facade true to it’s architectural style.

Louvered – Historically accurate installation will call for louvers to offer rain protection when closed. We’ve become so accustomed to shutters remaining open that today’s louvered shutters are often installed so that rain protection is provided when open. Not exactly useful, but visually, we’ve grown to accept this look. Louvers can be fixed or movable and can be designed as full louvered or louvered/panel combination.

Board and Batten – Generally consisting of several boards mounted vertically with horizontal or “Z” cross bracing and traditionally used on barn-styled homes for a rustic country feel.

 

Solid Panel and Raised Panel – Panel shutters are identified by the number of panels on each shutter. Three panel shutters generally have a small panel on top, a larger panel in the middle and the largest panel on the bottom. Panel sizes can differ based on the size of the shutter.

 

Bermuda or Bahama – These shutters are mounted much like an awning over the window. Generally found in coastal areas, bermuda shutters offer a Caribbean style with protection from the hot rays of the sun.

 

Correctly Size Your Shutters

Shutters should be sized to cover the window if closed and convey the believable appearance of actually being usable even if theyare non-operable. Also, the shutters should mirror image the window. Rails should line up with the lock rail, transom, muntin or other architectural elements of the window. Often, we see shutters mounted upside down…probably a careless reinstall after painting or maintenance.

 

Select A Material That Suits Your Lifestyle

Shutters are available in a variety of materials including wood, pultruded fiberglass, high density structural PVC and other composite materials. Wood provides an authentic look and many people love the unique character multiple coats of paint give a old wooden shutter. Shutters can be made with from woods such as cedar, cypress and African mahogany for decay-resistance while composite materials can offer you freedom from painting and other maintenance.

Watch Out For These Pitfalls…

 

Fiberglass Windows vs. Vinyl Windows – Which Material is Best?

We field questions every day on which material – wood, vinyl or fiberglass – is best and why. We’ll focus this discussion on vinyl and fiberglass materials. Fiberglass has been around for decades, but recently, it has achieved more attention due to its superior strength, weatherability, energy efficiency and low maintenance requirements. Fiberglass windows are taking a big slice out of the more expensive vinyl window markets and leaving many vinyl window manufacturers fighting for the low-quality, budget window market. Find out why fiberglass – and specifically, Ultrex pultruded fiberglass – is becoming the smart choice over vinyl for more and more homeowners.

As a smart homeowner, you want to…

Choose a material that is both tough and smart.

Our Integrity windows by Marvin are made from Ultrex pultruded fiberglass — it’s tough, durable and built to last. It’s eight times stronger than vinyl and three times stronger than vinyl/wood composites. Windows from Integrity perform at the highest level for the full duration of their life. And they live a long, happy life (as much as 38% longer than vinyl1)—making them an incredibly smart investment.

  • Ultrex fiberglass is more than 8X stronger than vinyl.
  • Fiberglass is a green building material and requires 39% less energy to produce than vinyl.
  • Vinyl windows are not particularly strong or rigid and have a tendency to sag due to their flexibility.
  • Vinyl window frames can soften, warp, twist and bow when heat builds up within the frame.
  • Fiberglass is the fastest growing window and door material in the industry.

Create a comfortable home

Windows keep your house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Integrity’s dual-paned, insulated glass windows with LoE II coating absorb heat in the winter and reflect it in the summer, also reducing damaging UV rays. Additionally, our tri-pane windows with argon gas achieve U-Factors as low as .18, making your home a comfortable oasis in even the harshest environments. Many Integrity products exceed Energy Star guidelines and qualify to be part of an elite “Most Efficient Program” established by the federal government.2

  • Ultrex fiberglass expands and contracts at nearly the same rate as glass to prevent seal failures (the appearance of condensation BETWEEN the glass panes which indicates the glass has lost its insulating effectiveness).
  • Vinyl expands and contracts at a rate of 8X more than glass leading to potential seal failures, frame failures and air gaps.

Get the most for your money

The total value you receive with Integrity Windows is a huge advantage. Multiple factors provide value that’s impossible to ignore:

  • Energy Savings: Integrity’s Energy Star® qualified windows can save you 15% on your total energy bill.³
  • The Warranty: A full 20 years on glass seals and 10 years on manufacturing defects.
  • U-Factor: Our windows with triple-pane glazing boast U-Factors as low as .18.
  • Life Expectancy: A recent study reported that fiberglass windows have a 38% longer useful life expectancy than vinyl.1
  • Ultrex fiberglass has a 38% longer useful life expectancy than vinyl.1
  • Ultrex fiberglass is price competitive to high quality vinyl windows.
  • Ultrex fiberglass resists UV degradation (chalking, fading and cracking) 5X longer than vinyl.

Enhance the look of your home

Integrity Windows are Built to Perform® — for a long, long time. So, unlike most of your design choices and furnishings, they are long-term fixtures in your home. Integrity Windows are available in both classic and modern styles to reflect your style with lasting quality. A variety of available exterior colors allow for an understated look or an adventurous accent mark. Exterior trim and divided lites can add a beautiful touch, and with the durability of Ultrex you’ll have plenty of time to admire them instead of maintaining them.

  • Fiberglass windows can be built with thinner, stronger frames than vinyl or composites like Fibrex, allowing larger openings and more daylight.
  • Ultrex provides a superior, consistent finish that can be painted, even in dark colors, without voiding the warranty.
  • Ultrex is the only product in the fiberglass, vinyl or composite category whose finish is certified for quality and durability by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA).4
  • Integrity windows are available in Wood/Ultrex – beauty of wood interior and durability of Ultrex fiberglass exterior.

Fiberglass Windows vs. Vinyl Windows – The Bottom Line…

More architects, contractors and homeowners are choosing durable, beautiful fiberglass windows, making fiberglass the fastest-growing material in the window and door market. And Ultrex has a longer track record than any other fiberglass product on the market. We spent a considerable amount of time researching the best window manufacturers and made visits to several manufacturing facilities to see how the windows are constructed. We’re confident that Integrity Windows by Marvin are a better value than vinyl windows and competitive fiberglass or composite windows.

Stop by our Idea Showroom and let us show you the comparison between vinyl and fiberglass windows. Or, we can come to your home for a No Obligation Consultation. Call us today to set up your appointment and see the difference for yourself.

1 – Life cycle assessment of windows for the North American residential market. Case study by the University of British Columbia. Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, 2008.
2 – http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=partners.most_efficient_criteria
3 – http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=find_a_product.showProductGroup&pgw_code=WI
4 – The Ultrex patented coating system is AAMA 623-10 certified and is listed on the exclusive AAMA Verified Components List for 624-10 and 625-10.

Are Birds Attacking Your Windows?

Have you ever heard a repeated thud on your window only to find out it’s a bird? This is not the occasional strike when a bird inadvertently hits a window…this is a repeated and deliberate attack on your window.

Why Do Birds Attack Windows?

When a bird sees its reflection in a window, it perceives the reflection as a territorial rival. During spring and early summer when birds are defending their breeding territories, window attacks pick up. After the breeding season has ended (as late as August depending on the number of broods), the aggression will wane and the attacks will lessen.

Bird species that are very aggressive or territorial are most likely to exhibit this behavior. In the Louisville area, cardinals and robins are highly territorial birds while swallows, starlings, finches and sparrows are also known to strike at windows.

Some bird behavior is only mildly annoying…

…but other bird behavior is downright terrifying!

What Can I Do To Prevent the Attacks?

A territorial bird can be very persistent. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, “Territorial battles with windows may be so strong that a bird may exhaust itself, but the collisions usually don’t result in fatal injury.”

While you may want to keep the bird from injuring itself, the good folks at the Massachusetts Audubon group suggest that, usually, the best course of action is to do nothing and wait. But if the behavior is disruptive to your daily life or is causing obvious injury to the bird, the key to stopping the attacks is to break up the reflection the bird sees so it does not feel threatened.

Options include:

  • Pull down your shades. White curtains or blinds can prevent birds from seeing their reflections.
  • Use a bar of soap or tempura paint to draw large patterns on the outside of the window to break up the reflections.
  • Place painter’s tape, decals, sun catchers or other objects closely together (leave no clear areas larger than 4″ wide x 2″ tall) on the outside of the window.
  • Place non-reflective screen or netting outside the window at least 2-3 inches from the glass.
  • Add one-way transparent film or opaque, cloudy plastic (medium weight plastic painter’s drop cloth works well) to windows.
  • Move bird feeders or bird baths away from the problem window.

 

How to Prepare Your Window and Door Screens for Spring

Window or door screens are an absolute must in the spring and summer in Kentuckiana. They allow us to enjoy breezes without having to worry about bugs and other unwanted critters. Unfortunately, they can get noticeably dirty with dust and grime build-up. And if you think of them as a filter for the incoming fresh air, you’ll want your screens as clean as possible.

How To Clean Window or Door Screens

NOTE: Screen material and frames can be easily bent or creased, so be gentle!

First, remove your screen from the window or door. If you’re cleaning multiple screens, label each screen so you remember where to re-install them later. For your cleaning solution, nothing works better than this mixture: add one cup of household ammonia and a tablespoon of liquid dish detergent to about three cups of water.

We recommend placing the screen on a smooth, flat surface to help prevent damage to the screen while cleaning. Using a sponge or soft cloth, liberally apply the solution to your entire screen and scrub. You can use a soft scrub brush to gently remove any stubborn dirt. Flip the screen and repeat the process. Rinse with clean water. Soap residue acts as a dust magnet, so rinse thoroughly. Finally, gently shake your screen free of water and allow it to air-dry. Before you reinstall your screens, wipe down the grooves and window sill. Reinstall your screens and enjoy some fresh air!

Screen Repair

If you have holes or rips in your screens, you can repair them yourself with a screen repair kit (available at most hardware stores) or have them repaired by a skilled pro. Many small local hardware stores have someone on staff that repairs screens.

What’s New in Screens

Window and door screens have become more and more convenient and functional. If you’re in the market for new windows or doors, look for these new screen ideas:

  • Retractable screens slide completely out of view
  • Solar screens offer glare and heat control
  • Pet screens are heavy duty and ideal for door screens
  • Swing out screens are a stylish option for your windows
  • Stainless steel screens keep small children and pets safely inside
  • High transparency screens improve clarity of view through the screen

Trend Watch: Dark Interior Windows

Are you ready to make a statement in your home? Consider adding definition with one of the latest trends in windows — but one that is here to stay — dark windows.

Make A Statement

All black or dark-colored windows can add dimension and depth, while mixed finishes offer a more classic look. It’s one that can help set a window apart in a space and add a touch of statement-making drama to your room.

The New Design Rule

As our friends at Marvin Windows like to say, “The new design rules are that there are no rules.” Using a black or dark colored sash will make your windows stand out, create some contrast and frame your view.

Don’t want to change all of your windows? No worries. “If someone doesn’t want to commit to changing all of the windows, I recommend changing a set of windows or room to create a focal point,” suggests Design Consultant Karen Lamontagne. “ Have a big bay window in the front? Use a dark sash to draw attention to it.”

Mixing Styles

Louisville is a traditional town, filled with many traditional homes. However, even in our town, today’s interior aesthetics are trending toward more modern looks. A black or dark window sash is a great way to mix a modern look into a traditional home. Grilles on glass and divided lites are still popular here. Don’t worry, this look still works.

“Dark windows add a decorative element, almost like a piece of art. A dark window with white trim around it can enhance the beauty of a room,” says Lamontagne.

 

 

No Extra Work Required

Our windows come from our partners at Marvin Windows and Doors pre-finished, primed and painted, or stained and polyurethaned. This means there is little or no work required on your part to achieve this look. But, if for some reason you wish to change the look down the road, the interior of these windows are wood. So, it’s as easy as paint.

Remember, when you choose The Door Store and Windows as your design and installation partner, you are not just picking a window off of a shelf. You are entrusting your windows to experts who will partner with you to provide direction and design expertise. We will help you decide which options are best for your home.

So, if you haven’t already seen and fallen in love with this look, chances are that you will soon. When you do, give us a call!

How to Solve Three Simple Cold Weather Door Problems

Cold weather can bring previously unknown door problems to your attention. These problems can come from older doors or even from doors installed in the past five years.

Sometimes the problems – like the three problems below – are very simple to fix. Other times, there could be underlying structural issues that only an expert can identify. We’re always happy to stop in and take a look at your situation. And, if you buy your doors from The Door Store and Windows, they are backed by a lifetime installation warranty that covers adjustments and other issues.

Let’s take a look at simple fixes to three common problems…

Problem: Draft Coming From Bottom of Door

Solution: If the weatherstripping (or sweep) at the bottom of the door is not damaged, this problem can usually be fixed by a simple adjustment of the threshold – if your door has this feature. If you see four screwheads or caps (screws are under the caps) on your threshold, it’s probably adjustable. Simply turn the screws to raise the threshold so it forms a good seal against the door bottom sweep. Tighten it just enough so that when closed, you can’t easily pull a dollar bill from between the door bottom sweep and threshold. This problem can also be indicative of other, more significant problems like rot or structural failure; so if you have concerns, please call in a door expert.

Problem: Frost or Condensation on Interior Door Hardware

Solution: If your interior doorknob or handle set is frosty, wet or unusually cold, one cause could be loose hardware. Exuberant kids, heavy usage and improper installation can all result in loose hardware that does not seal the door knob hole. Small air leaks can allow cold air to meet warm, moist air and form frost or ice. Make sure your door hardware is centered in the door knob hole completely covering the hole and then tighten all screws on your door hardware.

Problem: Frost or Ice on Interior of French Double Doors

Solution: French double doors typically have an active door (with lock hardware) and a passive door (locks in place using top and bottom slide bolts). If the passive door is not properly locked in place with both top and bottom slide bolts, an air gap can develop that allows cold air into the home. This photo shows a French double door in which the bottom bolt was not properly locked into place. The top bolt can also slide out of position easily when the bolt mechanism becomes too loose from heavy use. When these slide bolts are not locked into place top AND bottom, a security risk is also created. A hard kick to the door will usually allow an intruder easy access into the home.