Upgrade Your Front Door and Increase Your Curb Appeal
What first impression is your home making? As visitors approach, do they see rustic practicality? Upscale elegance? Modern minimalism? Historical charm? A home in need of a renovation and facelift?
Try something: Go outside, stand on the curb and look at your house as if you are seeing it for the first time. What do you see? What do you feel? What do you want to change?
Siding, roofing, landscaping, windows and doors come together to create the curb appeal of your home. If tackling all those variables sounds daunting or if your home improvement budget doesn’t cover such extensive renovations, it’s okay. You can still make a lasting impact by changing just a single item: your front door.
A front door is a natural focal point for your home. Make that focal point work for you by trading out your old, boring door for a statement piece.
There are so many materials and styles of doors to choose from and options for every budget. Hire a professional and you can focus on the fun of choosing the perfect door, not the nitty gritty details of measuring, leveling, and installing.
Ready for some inspiration?
Choose Your Front Door Material
The material you choose impacts the cost, energy efficiency, durability and security of the door.
Common exterior door material options include:
Aluminum is lightweight and relatively resilient. Aluminum doors will last a long time without the need for much maintenance. They are also inexpensive and can be painted.
Despite its strength, aluminum may weaken under high temperatures and it is a poor insulator. An aluminum front door may increase heating and cooling costs in areas prone to temperature extremes.
Bamboo is more than just a well-known flooring and textile alternative. It is also making an appearance indoors. Composite doors constructed of a blend of bamboo and jute are water and termite resistant.
Bamboo’s biodegradable nature makes it a preferred choice for homeowners seeking an environmentally friendly material.
Choose fiberglass doors for their durability and versatility. If you are looking for a lightweight, energy efficient, sturdy door that will last a long time with minimal maintenance, fiberglass should be on the short list.
Since fiberglass is such a popular choice, these doors are readily available in many finishes and styles. Fiberglass doors can even be finished to imitate a wood grain at a fraction of the cost of real wood.
It may sound surprising, but glass front doors are indeed an option. Visually, they provide a stunning and unexpected look.
The trade-off with glass is the decreased durability, increased security risk and heightened maintenance concerns. The hefty weight and substantial price are also deterrents for many homeowners.
Steel is a trendy new door material that feels very modern with its cold, industrial vibe. Doors made from steel are durable and need little maintenance.
Improve your home’s level of security along with its style when you opt for a robust steel door. Keep in mind that the lower the gauge, the thicker and sturdier the steel will be.
Vinyl or PVC doors are formed from a lightweight, sturdy, resilient material. If your focus is on finding the most cost-effective, effective option for a front door replacement, vinyl may be the winner.
With a vinyl door, you no longer need to worry about termites or moisture damaging your door.
The most historic choice for exterior doors is, of course, wood. Although wood doors are still used to lend a rustic or traditional feel to a home, this material is increasingly being adapted to have a place in modern luxury homes.
Wood feels warm and inviting. Its substantial weight makes a bold statement of strength and protection.
Choose Your Front Door Style
Congratulations – you have chosen the material for your front door. Now, what do you envision that door looking like? What style speaks to you?
If you are still figuring it out, here are some ideas to get you started:
Craftsman doors are a slight variation on a traditional solid hinged door. Their straight, traditional lines reflect this style’s no-nonsense Quaker roots.
Not quite sure what a Craftsman door looks like? The signature style feature is the set of 1-3 windows set on the top one-third of the door. The remaining two-thirds of the door on the bottom is solid.
A Craftsman style front door is, of course, often found in Craftsman homes. It feels classic and timeless.
Dutch doors are, historically, a rustic choice. Dutch doors were originally designed to allow air and sunshine into farmhouses while keeping all the livestock out.
This style of door is divided horizontally so that the top half may swing open while the bottom half remains closed.
Dutch doors are still primarily made from wood as they have been for centuries.
The signature of a modern style door is its clean, unobtrusive lines accented by large, minimalistic hardware. Geometric patterns can add interest and are a simple way to make the exterior of an older home appear more contemporary.
Bamboo, steel and glass are all popular material choices for modern doors.
In a world where so many elements are straight, square and rectangle, an arched door adds a feeling of unexpected whimsy and historic nostalgia. Wondering where you may have seen an arched front door before? They are most common in Tudor style homes.
If you fancy an arched door, be aware that their unique shape means that they are usually custom ordered and built to fit rather than mass-produced to a standard spec size. This raises their cost.
What Do I Do Next?
You have a good idea of what material and style you would like for your new front door. So, in order to upgrade your front door, the next step is to contact a professional company, ask some final product questions and get an estimate on the cost of the door and installation.
Take some before and after photos because this is a transformation that you will want to remember and share.
Ask most homeowners if there is anything they dislike about their large windows, and invariably one of the top responses will be: cleaning them. This twice-yearly task is an often-dreaded part of home maintenance. Window washing sounds relatively straightforward, but professional washers use very specific techniques.
Very few people know the best way to clean windows.
Too many homeowners have invested time and effort into cleaning their windows only to realize on the next sunny day that streaks and grime still mar their view.
Don’t be one of these unfortunate homeowners. Learn from others’ mistakes and set yourself up for success when you put into practice these tried and true window cleaning tips:
Use the best window cleaning solution
To fully remove built-up dirt and grime from your windows, you need to use the right cleaning solution. The best window cleaning solutions are heavy-duty enough to provide results yet gentle enough to not damage window frames, trim or your home’s siding.
Commercial solutions are available, but not necessary. Homemade solutions are inexpensive, more environmentally friendly and easy to make.
The most effective DIY window cleaner has just three everyday ingredients:
Vinegar, especially white vinegar, is acidic. The acid helps to loosen stuck on dirt, tree pitch, and residue from previous cleaners. It also helps to minimize and avoid streaks.
Many DIY cleaner recipes use water and vinegar. However, the addition of dish detergent is critical to window cleaning success. The dish detergent contains soap which acts as an emulsifier. The soap helps lift the loosened debris and allow it, as well as oils, to mix with the water. The whole mixture can then be rinsed off leaving behind a sparkling clean window pane.
To make your window cleaner:
Use the most effective window cleaning tools
Before getting started on your window cleaning project, ensure you have all the tools and equipment you will need.
The basics include:
Choose the right day to clean
The first tip professional window cleaners will give to schedule your cleaning for a cloudy day or a time of day when the windows are not in direct sunlight. The faster the window dries, the higher the likelihood that the cleaner will dry on the window before you can remove it.
Don’t skip the prep work
It is tempting to dive right into cleaning the glass because, after all, that is the part of your windows that is generally most noticeably dirty.
Before tackling the glass, turn your attention to everything surrounding the glass.
Your interior window frames are likely coated in a layer of dust. Exterior frames may have cobwebs, leaves, dirt and other debris wedged in the corners. Take care of these issues first so that you don’t drag extra dirt onto the panes when you are cleaning them.
Use the soft-bristle brush to remove debris from your exterior frame gently. Wipe both the interior and exterior frames using a lint-free cloth and household cleaner.
Now that your frames are clean, it is time to move on to washing your windows.
Learn your technique from the pros
Expert window washers make their technique look like a fluid dance. Watch them in action, and you will see that the best professionals don’t move their applicators and squeegees at right angles, but instead use an “s” or “snake” pattern that helps prevent streaking.
The basic window washing process used by the pros is:
Remember to clean all parts of the windows, not just the panes
The panes are the first place we notice dirt since we look through the glass. That doesn’t mean that we are done cleaning once the glass is sparkling.
The act of window cleaning is more all-encompassing than that. The next time you tackle window cleaning, go the distance and remember these often-forgotten areas:
Use this opportunity to check for any maintenance needs
Pair your semiannual window cleanings with your spring and fall window inspections. While you are cleaning the windows and frames, be alert for any of the signs that your window seals have failed or that your windows need to be replaced or repaired.
Taking the time for proper cleaning and maintenance will pay dividends by improving the look of your home and extending the life of your windows.
Mix up some cleaning solution, order yourself a deluxe squeegee and start practicing those “s” patterns. Your windows will thank you.
Discover 4 Elements at https://chicagowindowguy.com/home-tips/4-factors-to-consider-when-choosing-a-new-door/ You Must Consider If You Will Change Or Incorporate A Door To Your Residence. A door can easily give numerous points in a home-- safety, thermal barrier, privacy or even possibly an aesthetic focus. The key reason for your door, your budget, the style of your residence and your tastes will certainly all play a role in selecting a new door. Chicago Window Guys serves the Chicago area including north of Lake Bluff and south of Alsip. Call us today for a free quote +(847) 701-4011.
These Are The 6 Most Popular Home Window Problems You May Come Across at https://chicagowindowguy.com/home-tips/6-common-window-problems-to-watch-out-for/ . As you carry out regular home window upkeep on your residence, it is vital to additionally be on the lookout for indications of potential problems. Through catching little problems before they come to be big worries, you can easily save on your own both money and time. When it is time to get a brand-new residence, understanding what to look for in regards to window wellness may also be valuable.
Refresh Your Home This Spring With This Remodeling Ideas
The last bit of winter is almost over and spring is nearly here. Spring is a time of new beginnings and this may explain why we naturally feel drawn to clean and refresh our homes during the spring season. If you are feeling the urge to spruce up your home this season, here are some spring remodeling ideas to get you started:
Remodel Your Kitchen
Whether you enjoy spending a lot of time in your kitchen or you are in the process of preparing to sell your home, a kitchen remodel could work wonders for you.
Yes, a full-scale remodel complete with new countertops, flooring and cabinets can be a bit on the expensive side, but if it works in your budget, the impact will be impressive. Your home will look and feel better, plus its resale value will increase since one of the things buyers tend to look for is an updated kitchen.
Don’t have the budget to tackle a complete renovation? Try something less expensive but still impactful when you paint your existing cabinets, add a backsplash, or change out the cabinet hardware. These little details will quickly update your kitchen’s visual appeal without the sticker shock.
Invest in Wood Flooring
Imagine floors that look stunning, don’t hold on to allergy-triggering dust and dander, and are easy to clean. Wood is a classic flooring material that is still a winning choice for both aesthetic and practical reasons.
If you are nervous about wood floors because you have heard that you can’t use them throughout your whole home, don’t worry. Wood flooring can be placed in nearly any room of your home provided you choose the correct type.
If you are planning to replace flooring in a room that has moisture and/or temperature fluctuations, has a concrete subfloor or has heated flooring, your best option is engineered flooring. This type of flooring is made of multiple thin layers of wood which are bonded together and topped in a layer of your chosen wood species. The multiple layers allow for more flexing to occur without warping the plank. An engineered floor is resilient and can withstand more challenging climate conditions than a solid wood floor. Solid wood floors are a good choice for rooms with stable climates and plywood subfloors.
Regardless of which style of wood floor you choose, you will have extensive freedom of customization when you select your wood species, plank width, wood grade and finish. With all of the options out there, you are sure to find the perfect fit for your home.
Change Up Your Interior Color Scheme
One of the most cost-effective ways to create a stunning new look in your home is through the use of color. Determine what you want to feel when you enter a particular room of your home, and then use color to help you achieve that impact.
When deciding how to incorporate your exciting new colors, consider such mediums as your walls, wall hangings, centerpieces, lamps, throw pillows, duvet covers, chair cushions, towels and window treatments.
Little dashes of color can go a long way and depending on how they are incorporated, they can be changed for each season to continually maintain a sense of freshness throughout your home.
Refresh Your Exterior Paint
Redoing the exterior paint on your home may sound like a massive undertaking, but it is a home maintenance task that should be accomplished roughly every 10 years.
If your home is due for a repainting, make it more fun by considering this your opportunity to update your curb appeal and choose a new paint scheme. Review some inspirational photos and scope out other homes to see what stands out to you.
If you’re happy with your existing paint colors or if your whole home isn’t due for repainting yet, but you still want to do something to make the exterior of your house pop, try something simple. Paint your front door a statement color. If you have window shutters, try painting the shutters to match the door. This little bit of color sets off the house like bright throw pillows on a neutral tan couch.
Upgrade your Windows
As you clean and inspect your windows following a long winter, you may notice signs that it is time to purchase new windows. If your dual or triple pane windows have condensation between them, if your windows are cracked/warped, or if your energy bills are increasing for no other apparent reason, the time has come to consider replacement windows.
When you contact us for a quote, let us know what type of windows you are interested in. While you are replacing your windows, you may be interested in embracing one of the top window trends. Current styles are seeing a resurgence of clean, modern lines in dramatic frame colors accented by brass hardware.
Even if your windows haven’t reached the end of their useful life, an upgrade can give you a window style that is more in tune with you and your needs. For example, what type of window do you have in your master bathroom? How do you balance allowing plenty of sunlight in while still maintaining your privacy? An innovative option that provides that balance is a decorative glass window. The pattern provides privacy while still allowing plenty of light to pass through.
Install a Patio Door
Before summer arrives, plan for all the outdoor barbecues and backyard parties you want to host by finally building that patio and installing a door to it. Patios are the perfect relaxed place for entertaining summer guests while the kids play in the yard.
Connect your patio to your home with either a French or sliding door. The particular door you choose will depend on your stylistic and functional preferences as well as the design of your home. In either case, a patio door will provide that transition from indoors to outdoors and encourage you and your family to enjoy the warmer weather that is just around the corner.
Discover The Difference Between Bay and Bow Windows and Pick The Right Style For Your Home
We get it – there are so many window styles out there that it is hard to keep them all straight. Some windows like “bay” and “bow” have such similar names and styles that it is even more complicated to sort out their differences.
What is a Bay Window?
A bay window is a protruding window that usually consists of 3 panes set up in an angled configuration. The center pane is fixed while the side panes may be either fixed or vented. Bay windows tend to have a contemporary, modern feel.
What is a Bow Window?
A bow window also protrudes from the side of the house. It typically has 4 or 5 smaller panes which fit together to create a gently rounded appearance. The panes may all be fixed or vented. Traditionally, bow windows speak to the Victorian style of architecture and are often used to evoke a sense of vintage charm.
Comparison of Bay and Bow Windows
One of the primary purposes of a window is to allow natural light to enter the home. The larger the pane size and the more panes a window has, the more light it lets in. Light streams in through the many panes of a bow window while a bay window isn’t quite as sunny.
Part of the appeal of any sort of protruding window in a home is the additional interior space that is gained. If you imagine yourself providing a few sun-loving plants with a happy home in your new window, a bow window will suit your needs just fine. For the bookworm who envisions curling up on windowsill cushion to savor a good book and a cup of tea, a bay window offers a much more comfortable and spacious porch.
Some homes have limited amounts of wall space or feature floorplans that flow more smoothly with some window configurations than others. Bay windows are a good choice if you are in the market for a protruding window that isn’t overly wide. From a placement and style perspective, bow windows offer an opportunity to do something different. Unlike bay windows, bow windows may be positioned to wrap around the corner of a building to form a turret shape and create a statement nook area inside.
If you have researched your options and are still on the fence between the bay and bow styles, cost may be the tipping point. More openings and more individual panes of glass make the bow window more expensive than the bay window. All else being equal, if you are looking for the more economical choice, we recommend a bay window.
It’s Time to Choose
We want YOU to win the battle between bay windows vs bow windows. No matter which window style you have in mind, we have expertise that can make the decision-making process smoother. When you are ready to price the options, we will provide you with our best quote right away so you can make the decision that is best for you and your home. Let’s get started!
Save Yourself Some Money: Learn How To Check Windows And Doors For Air Leaks
It’s subtle and easy to miss if you aren’t paying attention, but each little gap around your windows and doors provides an unwelcome pathway for airflow.
In the winter, air leaks allow frigid cold air to pour in. During the summer, your air conditioner fights to keep up with the influx of hot, humid air from outside. Your home’s energy efficiency suffers.
The solution is simple: save yourself some money by learning how to check or air leaks in windows and doors.
Conduct a Visual Inspection
Start with the most basic means of leak detection – your eyes. Using a flashlight to help you, visually inspect the entire area around the interior and exterior sides of your doors and windows. Note any gaps or cracks that you see.
A two-person approach to this technique involves positioning one person on either side of the door or window. Slowly run the flashlight around the edge of the frame. If the person on the other side of the door or window is able to see the light through the frame, there is a gap.
Use Smoke to Trace Airflow Patterns
Smoke provides another visual clue to the presence of air gaps. To use smoke for tracing airflow, first close all your home’s windows and doors. To avoid tainting the results with errant sources of air flow, turn off any appliances that work using combustion – oven, stove, range, space heaters and furnaces.
Create a negative pressure environment inside your home by turning on the exhaust vent fans in your kitchen and bathroom. With the fans on and the doors/windows closed, the air pressure inside your home will be lower than the air pressure outside. The pressure differential means that air will only flow in, not out of your home.
Now you are ready to use smoke to help you locate any sources of air inflow. To do this, slowly and methodically move an incense stick around the edges of windows and doors. In each position, hold the stick still for a moment and observe the smoke. If smoke rises straight up, no leak is detected. If the smoke column fluctuates and shifts away from the window or door frame, there is airflow coming through.
Quantify the Severity of the Leak with an Infrared Thermometer
Visual and smoke-based inspections will allow you to identify the presence of a leak, but they can’t quantify the impact the leak is having on the thermal stability of your home.
An infrared thermometer test will show temperature differentials. This allows you to not only pinpoint the exact location of the leak but also provides data on just how severe the leak is.
On a very hot or very cold day, use the thermometer to compare the temperature all the way around the frame of a closed door and window. If you find an area of abnormal heat or cold, it can indicate a leak.
Fix the Problems
Once you have determined the source and severity of the leak, its time to fix or replace the product. Many leaks can be sealed with caulking. For doors, an adjustable threshold or new weather-stripping may also remedy the situation.
If the leak is more severe, it is time to call in the experts. We can assess your situation and provide a plan for fixing it. Just contact us and schedule a free consultation.
These Are The 6 Most Common Window Problems You Can Encounter
As you perform routine window maintenance on your home, it is important to also be on the lookout for signs of potential problems. By catching little problems before they become big concerns, you can save yourself both time and money.
When it is time to buy a new home, knowing what to look for in terms of window health can also prove beneficial.
To set you up for success, here are 6 of the most common window problems to watch out for:
1. Window seal failure
Homes with double or triple pane windows enjoy improved energy efficiency and suffer less rapid thermal transfer than those with single pane windows.
Double and triple pane windows also have the potential to suffer from window seal failure which compromises their effectiveness and their visual appeal.
To determine if a seal has failed, check for dirt, fog, haze or condensation between the panes. When standing outside, you may also observe a slight distortion of the glass in the center of a pane whose seal has failed.
2. Rotted exterior wood trim
Wood frames are a classic and visually appealing design choice for homes. This material also requires careful inspection and routine maintenance.
Exterior wood trim is exposed to the elements and must be scraped, sanded and re-painted or stained as needed to protect the wood from moisture. If moisture is allowed to seep into the wood, it can cause rotting and structural instability.
Check wood trim for peeling paint/stain and for signs of rot.
3. Water intrusion
If the space between the window frame and the wall is not sealed properly, water may infiltrate into the wall of the house. This is a problem which is of serious concern because if the leak isn’t noticed and resolved, the water can linger in the wall.
Over time, the water can rot the wall from the inside out. Not only will the window need to be repaired or replaced, but the home’s wall itself will need to be repaired and the damage can be extensive. You may also have to deal with mold and mildew.
Water intrusion can be difficult to detect in its earlier stages. Look for staining of the interior wall, especially in the areas by the bottom of the window sill. Feel for moisture in the same area immediately after a rain storm.
4. Broken or missing hardware
Whether due to operator error or normal wear and tear, window hardware can take a beating over time and may eventually break.
If your windows have hardware like handles and locks, take the time to inspect them and be sure they are in good working order.
5. Inability to open or difficulty opening
While you are inspecting your windows’ hardware, it is a perfect time to open and close each window. Note if the window has difficulty opening or closing as this may be a sign that the hinge or hardware need maintenance.
6. Cracked panes of glass
Tree branches, errant birds and rocks flung from lawn mowers all have the potential to crack window panes. Just like cracks in the windshield of your car, the crack in your window may start small and then expand over time as it is exposed to freezing and thawing.
After thoroughly cleaning both the inside and outside of each window, inspect the windows for any signs of cracking and deal with problems right away.
Catching damage early will save you time, money and headaches. Avoiding damage altogether by following a preventive maintenance routine is even better. Simply take care of your windows and your windows will take care of you.
Learn 3 Ways You Can Tell If Your Window Seal Has Failed
Unless your home still has single pane windows, your windows have seals and those seals have the potential to fail. Understanding what window seals are and how to tell if they have failed will help you to catch any problems right when they happen.
What is a Window Seal?
The presence of window seals is one of the key differences between single and double or triple pane windows. Windows with seals are constructed from 2 or 3 panes of glass which are separated by a thermal spacer of an inert gas or a partial vacuum. The series of panes and spacers is sealed together at the edges to prevent the gas/vacuum from escaping and contaminants from infiltrating.
How Can I Tell If My Window Seal Has Failed?
1. Windows appear dirty even though they have been freshly cleaned.
A broken window seal is no longer able to keep out dust and dirt. On windy days, small particles get blown in between the panes and become trapped there. Small bugs may also work their way in.
If you have cleaned both the inside and the outside of your windows, but they still look dirty, the dirt is most likely lurking between the panes and is caused by a seal failure.
2. Condensation occurs between the panes of glass.
The purpose of window seals is to create a thermal barrier between the inside and outside of the window so that heat transfer is lessened. When the seal fails, the space between the windows is directly exposed to temperature and humidity fluctuations. Moisture becomes trapped between the panes and is visible in the form of condensation. The condensation is likely to be most prevalent during periods of extreme temperature and humidity fluctuations.
Rather than waiting for the weather to change, you can test for condensation by intentionally creating a temperature differential and observing the results.
If you are seeing water droplets, fog or frost between your window panes, your window seal has likely failed.
3. The window panes appear distorted in the center.
The construction of sealed windows is such that the inert gas or vacuum pocket is designed to exist in a state of equilibrium with the glass panes. If the seal fails, the gas leaks out or the vacuum is replaced with air. This can alter the structural stability of the window pane itself, causing visual changes.
To check for this, stand outside and observe the window from various angles and distances to look for distortions. The most common area for distortions to initially form is in the center of the glass.
What Causes Window Seals to Fail?
If your window seals have failed, it may be due to defective manufacturing or damage that occurred during shipping or installation.
Extreme weather conditions with accompanying temperature and humidity fluctuations are hard on windows and can also lead to seal failure.
Even if windows are manufactured, installed and maintenanced perfectly, seals may still fail as the windows age.
What Should I Do If My Window Seals Have Failed?
The first step to take if you suspect your seals have failed is to pull out your warranty paperwork and confirm whether your windows are still covered. Many windows come with a lifetime warranty that helps protect you from product failure.
Whether your windows are under warranty or not, we can inspect the windows and give you a no-obligation quote. Contact us today and we will be happy to help you get your home’s windows back to looking and functioning their best.
Questions to Ask a Window Installer by Russell Armstrong - https://chicagowindowguy.com/home-tips/what-questions-to-ask-window-installers/
With your research complete for how to pick the best window company and have found a company that you like. Now before you sign on the dotted line, take the time to get the answers to some important yet often forgotten detail questions like.
Lake Bluff, Illinois' top provider of quality replacement windows and doors. My name is Russ Armstrong and I focus on offering energy efficient options for any home. All of our products and services are backed by a lifetime guarantee. Call us today for a free estimate and to find out how you can save money on your heating and cooling bills.