Icy Windows and Doors: The Cobbler’s Children Need New Shoes

We’ve all heard the old adage about the cobbler who is so busy providing shoes for everyone in the town that his own children do not have adequate footwear. We seem to have a cobbler in our midst, Laurie Scarborough, our co-owner. This is the story of her older windows and door.

Written Sunday, New Year’s Eve, temperature 16°

Like you, my husband Kevin and I are weathering this icy-cold blast this freezing New Year’s Eve in Kentuckiana. Today, our 1960s-built home turned up some interesting problems before we were out of our pajamas.

In the spirit of keeping this post to windows and doors, I won’t mention the near miss in our laundry room, and the almost frozen pipe. I know many have experienced those in the last week. The real reason for this message is to share the problems we noticed with the older windows and doors in our home. We hope that it helps those of you with similar issues.

It might be time to replace this huge window.

We have been updating our home over the last few years and have one more window to replace. It’s an architectural element on the front of the house — a huge 14’ x 12’ bow window. Bow windows are designed to create space by projecting beyond the exterior wall in an arch. It has been the topic of many conversations both at home and in the office — how to replace it, with what will it be replaced, and the proverbial ‘when.’ We have caulked, painted and babied the window for as long as possible. The real impact of this wall-length window to our heating bill and physical comfort has become very evident during this cold snap.

The window is single-pane glass. It’s been so cold this week that the internal humidity is freezing on the inside of the window. Ultimately this moisture causes the paint, glazing, and wood to deteriorate. This means wood rot! With wood rot you generally experience drafts and, if the rot is extensive, a strong wind could blow the glass out. 

If you see problems like these pictures, it’s time to have your windows replaced.

TIP from this local window and door dealer: You do not have to replace all your windows at the same time.  We have replaced our windows and doors over the course of many years. You can too.

Wait – the door too?

Unfortunately, this window is not the only issue that presented itself with the cold. Our front door is 30+ years old. For the first time we discovered ice on our threshold (at the bottom of the door.) 

The threshold is brass and the weather stripping on the bottom of the door is also metal. Although we don’t feel a draft, the metal conducts the freezing temperature. This, combined with the internal humidity, causes icing on the interior section of the threshold. In addition, we have seal failure in the decorative glass. Ice buildup can be seen there too.

A new door system with a threshold and “compression” weather stripping, made with composite and synthetic materials, will quickly solve these problems. Today’s doors are very energy efficient.

With all of these developments, we have been working on plans to update the front of our home — both the bow window and the front entry door.

Seven Steps To Ease Your Fears About Cold Weather Installation

The first blast of winter is upon us and the chill inside your home tells you your windows or doors need to be replaced. Don’t put it off until better weather arrives. We’ll protect your home from the elements during installation and new windows or doors will make your home comfortable year-round.

Installation Manager Craig Rowe and Lead Installer Steve Hudson outline our process for cold weather installs:

1. We Plan Ahead.

Planning ahead will keep us from going in and out of the house unnecessarily and limits the amount of time your door or window opening is uncovered. This includes making sure we have adequate plastic for temporary walls (if necessary), plenty of floor protection pads and a thermos of hot coffee! Caulk, foam insulation, and weather barrier membrane are moved to a warm area to keep them ready-to-use.

2. We Protect Your Home From Dirt and Weather.

Floor padding protects against dirt, snow, water or construction debris that might be tracked into the house. Plastic is hung over nearby openings to reduce the amount of cold air entering the home and to reduce dust transmission. Plastic or padding is placed on any surface or object in the installation area to prevent damage and protect from dust. Delicate hanging items are removed from nearby walls. When possible, temporary weather barriers are created using spring loaded posts and plastic sheeting to close off the installation area from the rest of the house. We also check that all tools and supplies are in place before work begins.

3. We Work On One Opening At A Time.

It might be more efficient to do it differently, but in cold or other extreme weather conditions, we work on one opening at a time to reduce the weather exposure inside your home. And we don’t stop working on that opening until it is filled.

We don’t stop working on an opening until it is filled…even if it means we work through lunch, darkness or whatever it takes.

– Door Store and Windows Install Team

4. We Make Sure The New Product Is Ready.

New product pre-install preparation, such as the removal of packaging and wrapping materials, is completed prior to the removal of the old product so the new product is ready to install.

5. We Double Check Everything.

Prior to removing the old product, we double-check the opening measurements to make sure it will accept the new product. We also check the product against your contract specifications to ensure the right product is being installed. Double-checking keeps us from fully removing the old product only to be surprised if it doesn’t fit.

6. We Remove The Old Product…Quickly!

The extra time we spend double-checking the product and opening size usually allows us to quickly remove the old product and immediately begin prepping the opening for the new product. Once the old product is removed, the opening is thoroughly cleared of debris.

7. We Place The New Product…Quickly!

The ready-to-install product is placed into the opening and final installation begins. This critical step involves attention to detail to ensure a proper weather barrier is created. The product is leveled, shimmed and fastened. Expanding foam is added in the gaps between the product and the opening to create a lasting weather-tight seal. Final installation details such as installing trim and adding hardware is completed and your new window or door is ready to make your home more comfortable.

If you’re ready to make your home more comfortable with new windows or doors, give us a call. We’ll ease your fears about cold weather installation and make sure your experience is outstanding.

How New Windows Can Save You Money

The typical home can lose more than 30% of its heat through bad windows (from the Department of Energy). Summer does not change this fact. Remember the cold drafts that you felt any time you moved near your windows last winter? They are still there…just warmer and less noticeable in the summer. But, that cool air you’re pumping through your home to combat the high temperatures outside, guess where it’s going? Yep, right out the old windows. They are simply no longer energy-efficient. 

 Purchasing New Windows Can Help Save Money and Energy

If you select new, high quality, energy-efficient windows, it is possible to see a significant savings in your energy bills. Replacement windows with energy-efficient glass (like insulated glass with Low-E coating) can drastically reduce the movement of hot and cold air in and out of your home all year. With better control over this transfer of air, you can then better manage the energy usage and comfort level in your home.

In addition Low-E coatings on glass actually radiates heat and harmful UV rays away from your home, much like aluminum foil works in the oven. This effect allows your home to feel more comfortable and your furniture, fabrics, and flooring to enjoy protection from the harmful rays. 

When your home feels more comfortable you are using less energy, which will be reflected in your gas and electric bills. In addition, protection from harmful UV rays, means less replacement of dull, worn-out furnishings. 

When Is It Time To Replace My Windows

Chances are that if you think it may be time to replace your windows…it’s definitely time. Below are a few key considerations:

  • Is there film or moisture between the panes of glass? If so, that means there has been seal failure and the glass has lost its effectiveness in insulating.
  • Is there fading in the flooring or furniture around your windows? This indicates that the sun’s rays are harming these items. 
  • Are they in bad condition? Do you have rotting trim around your windows, sticking or broken frames? It may be time to replace the windows for functional purposes. 
  • Are they simply outdated? Renovating your home and the old windows simply do not look right? Wish to update to a more modern look? New windows can help turn your home into a show-stopper. 
  • Do you wish to restore architectural accuracy? The wrong window can drastically affect the overall look of a home, particularly in some cases of historic homes. If you wish to restore architectural accuracy to your home, while updating your windows turn to experts who understand the nuances of maintaining architectural accuracy. 

Does all of this sound a bit overwhelming? No worries. Our Louisville area window and door experts can help you determine the right windows and glass to use for your situation. They can even help determine if replacing your windows in stages makes sense for your home and budget. Give us a call to get started. Interested in reading some more content from us? We wrote a blog about trendy dark interior windows we think you would enjoy!

Does Low-E Glass Help?

If you’ve ever shopped for windows, you probably wondered whether you need low-e glass or if it’s just some marketing mumbo-jumbo. “Low-E” refers to low emissivity.

Ok. What does that mean?

Well, emissivity is a measure of how easily a surface transfers radiant thermal energy…the heat absorbed by objects. Low-emissivity means the surface transfers radiant thermal energy at a low level.

Energy-Efficient Benefits of Low-E Glass

We could go into the details of radiant energy and throw around terms like shortwave rays, long-wave rays and thermal radiation, but we want to keep this simple. The simple explanation of the energy-efficient benefits of low-e glass is that it reflects radiant

heat. In the summer, it keeps your home cool by reflecting away the heat radiating from sidewalks, driveways, patios, decks, and other objects that absorb heat. In the winter, it keeps your home warm by reflecting the radiant heat your furnace system worked so hard to create back into the house.

For example, compare low-e glass to aluminum foil. Foil reflects heat back toward the food to keep it warm. If you covered your windows with foil, your room would be cooler in summer and warmer in winter. But the view wouldn’t be so good. Low-e glass to the rescue!

Reduce Fading and Other Damage

Besides keeping your home more comfortable year-round, low-e glass also works to reduce the early fading of your wood floors,

carpeting, drapes and upholstery fabrics caused by ultraviolet (UV) and other damaging rays, by blocking about two-times more UV light than clear, single-pane glass.

Available on doors, too! – Doors can also benefit from low-e glass. We’ve seen examples of indoor rugs that completely faded in front of a full view door and wood floors that faded compared to the same floor underneath an area rug. The more glass on the door, the more important low-e glass becomes.

Our window and door experts can help you determine the right glass to use for your situation. Call us to get started.

Some Summer Energy-Efficiency Tips…

  • Check the weatherstrip on your doors and windows. This is typically only considered in the winter to prevent drafts, but an improperly sealed window or door can let summer heat into the home, too.
  • Install awnings, overhangs or shades over windows or doors that get extreme sun exposure. A combination of minimizing sunlight and adding low-e glass is the best way to reduce unwanted heat gain.
  • Use window, ceiling and whole-house fans to keep your home a little cooler.

Looking for replacement windows? We recently wrote a blog about how much you should be spending when replacing windows in your home. Read it here!

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

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.


Rules of Proportion and Scale For Windows and Doors

Have you ever seen a home with windows or an entry door that just didn’t look right? We see them all the time and offer design assistance to help homeowners understand the importance of proportion and scale when it comes to replacing their windows or entry doors. We don’t just plug one of our products into an opening…we evaluate the relationship of the window or door to the overall architecture and how we can stay true to the architectural integrity or even improve the overall look of the home.

Here’s a quick primer on how proportion and scale impacts your windows and doors.

Window Grids

These “before and after” photos show how selecting the correct grid size can have an overall impact on the proportion and scale of the windows to the home. Our designer suggested a move toward a more open look with larger grid pattern to provide larger daylight openings. Compare the grid patterns on the before and after homes. Notice how “busy” the original windows look when compared to the larger grid used on the replacement windows. (Click image to enlarge)

Here’s another example of how changing window grid sizes creates a cleaner and simpler look to better match the scale and proportions of a home. Not only did the grid sizes differ in the original upper and lower windows, but the lower window grid lines didn’t even line up to the upper window grid lines.

Door Styles

Sometimes the door style should be changed due to proportions of the opening. For instance, the door shown below was changed from a standard height door with two sidelites and a large transom over the door to a taller, double-door configuration with less transom area. The new door was sized to allow a simple half circle transom rather than the odd-sized transom on the original door. The door and transom size change “stretches” the look of the entryway to make it less intimidating and more pleasing to the eye. (Click image to enlarge)

Here’s a situation where the original double doors are not in scale with the home. The doors seem to be squeezed into the opening. Without changing the size of the opening, we suggested a single door with two sidelites to better suit the low ceiling height of the porch. (Click image to enlarge)

If you have a project that needs a good design eye, give us a call. One of our design consultants will visit your home and provide design opinions on how you can achieve the windows or doors of your dreams. Give us a call at 502-896-1717 to get started today. Interested in reading more of our content? Check out our blog about budget conscious window replacement options!

What to Know About Using Windows as Emergency Exits

Having a family plan for evacuating your home in the event of an emergency is a smart idea. In your plan, it is recommended to include two ways to escape from every room in case one way is blocked by fire or smoke.

Here are some tips for evaluating the windows in your home for emergency exit use:

  • Window opening control devices are intended to help protect against accidental window falls by children age 5 and younger. Teach household members 6 and older how to operate the release mechanism in case of emergency.
  • Be sure to leave at least one window in every room unblocked by window insulating film, window air conditioners or other obstructions.
  • Never paint, nail or weatherstrip windows shut.
  • The National Fire Protection Association recommends storing one escape ladder in every occupied room of your home that is above the main level. Make sure every member of your family knows how the ladder works.
  • Regularly test and verify operability of escape windows and window opening control device release mechanisms.

This might also be a good time to check the operation of your smoke alarms and replace batteries if necessary. Be safe and be prepared.



Window Safety for Children

As spring arrives, you naturally want to open your windows and let in fresh air. If you have young children in your home, take a moment to make sure the open window doesn’t pose a danger.

According to a study by the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Center for Injury and Research Policy, every year in the US, falls from windows injure about 5,100 children. More than 3,300 are under age of five. Researchers also suggest that most could be prevented with simple window safety measures.

No Precaution Or Device Is A Substitute For Close Supervision

Tips To Help Protect Children From Window Falls

  • Keep windows closed and locked when not in use.
  • Keep window opening control devices (see more info below) securely engaged unless needed for use in an emergency.
  • If you open windows for ventilation, choose windows not easily reached by children. For example, open the upper sash of a double hung window. When not in use, keep windows closed and locked.
  • Don’t place furniture such as sofas, beds or bookcases under windows.
  • Don’t rely on insect screens to prevent falls — 83 percent of falls are from screened windows.
  • Landscaping can provide a cushion to break falls should they occur. Consider landscaping beneath windows with wood chips, shrubs or other soft surfaces.

Window Safety Features

Tempered Glass

Tempered (or safety) glass is used in applications where standard glass could pose a potential danger. Tempered glass is four to five times stronger than standard glass and does not break into sharp shards, but shatters into small oval-shaped pebbles when broken. Tempered glass is typically used on large glass panels like full view doors, storm doors and large windows that are installed less than 18″ from the floor.




Opening Control Devices

Opening control devices limit the window opening to help prevent falls from the window. The devices feature a release button to open the window fully.

Ask your Door Store and Windows design expert to show you how these features work.