Be Confident Hiring A Contractor

 

Replacing windows, siding, doors, and roofing is a scary idea for a lot of people.   It can be scary if you've never done it before and you don't know where to start.  It can even more scary if you have done it before... but had a bad experience.   Guess what?  It doesn't have to be.  Knowing the right questions to ask when you're hiring a contractor is a great first step in a successful home improvement.  Not only that, but feeling confident in your decision and knowing that your contractor is professional will give you the peace of mind you need. 

 

Steve the Window Guy, with Universal Windows Direct MN, can help.   Download this free eBook today and get started.   You'll be glad you did!   We would love the opportunity to earn your business.  Call us at 612-866-2888 to schedule a free, no obligation estimate.  Or, contact us via email and we'll call you to schedule.   Happy home improvements!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author:  Melissa Brager

Universal Windows Direct, MN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tempered Glass: Why do I need my windows tempered?

Tempered glass is a type of safety glass that is 4-5 times stronger than regular glass.   Because of how its made (through a process of extreme heating and rapid cooling) it is a much harder and more brittle type of glass.    When tempered glass breaks, it shatters into little pebbles without any dangerous sharp edges.  Check it out, its quite cool.

Tempered glass is for your safetyTempered glass turns into tiny pebbles when broken.

Your car windows are tempered, for example.

The State of MN building code actually requires tempered glass in several locations of your house and your window replacement will not pass inspection if certain windows do not have tempered glass in them.   It's all in the name of protecting you and your family from potential hazards.

This is why it surprises me a little bit when homeowners and/or contractors are confused about why they need tempered glass.   So here we are on the Friday morning blog and I'm going to lay it all out there.   Me.  The office girl.  The advocate for tempered glass.

Ask yourself these questions about a window you are putting in.   If the answer is YES, then tempered - or safety glass is required.

  1. Is the window less than 18 inches from the floor?
  2. Is it a patio door?   (UniShield Patio Doors come standard with tempered glass)
  3. Is it a large window more than 9 square feet?
  4. Is the window in a bathroom and close to the bathtub?
  5. Is the window within 3 feet of a door?
  6. Is the actual top of the window within 3 feet of the floor?

Tempered windows are your safety net.  They are like a little bit of insurance, or peace of mind that if someone falls,  if the furniture gets pushed hard into the glass,  if a lamp falls off the table,  if you slip getting out of the tub, that at least the glass won't shatter and cause additional harm.

If you are thinking about replacing some windows and are looking for an in home consultation on which windows may need to be tempered, contact us today.

Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Windows at the Fair?: Top Questions asked about Windows at the Dakota County Fair

How many replacement windows and siding companies are at the Fair?  If you are anything like me you're freaking out about the fact that its mid-August.    County Fairs mean that summer is coming to a close.   As much fun as we have looking at the animals, watching the demo derbies, eating the fried food and looking at all the cool stuff in the exhibitor buildings we can't deny that school is around the corner, and winter isn't far behind.

As a window girl the County Fairs mean that I basically leave home for a week.  I pack fruit, healthy snacks and sandwiches so I am less tempted by all the Fair Food.  (If you've ever met me, you know this doesn't work very well.)  I bring a book for the hours where no one is around, and I look forward to meeting my neighbors.    I also do my best to tell interested fair -goers about our awesome UniShield windows and doors and answer their questions the best I can.

After 5 days and 55 hours at the Fair,  I have compiled this list of Top Questions asked at the Universal Windows Direct Booth at the Dakota County Fair.

Q: Is that a wood window?      A:   No, the UniShield window is a vinyl replacement window.    We are excited to offer three different wood grain finishes that give you the look of wood to match your cabinets, floors or woodwork, but in a 100% maintenance free vinyl finish.

Q:  Are these replacement windows or new construction?   A: Both.   The majority of the windows we sell are replacement windows, but we do also do  also sell to remodelers and we can order any window you need with a nailing fin.

Q: What if I want to install the window myself?   A: We do sell windows directly to individuals and contractors.   However, installing windows isn't for amateurs.   If you're not totally comfortable installing a window please allow us to install it for you.

Q: What is your warranty?  A:   Universal Windows Direct offers the double lifetime warranty on windows.   This means that your new windows will be covered for as long as you are in your house, and 30 years to the next homeowner.   This is a non-prorated warranty.   We stand behind the quality of our windows!

Q: Do you make awning windows? A: Yes.   We can build any style window you need.  Double hungs, sliders, casements, awnings, hoppers, garden windows, bays and bows.

Q: Where are the cows?   A:  The did leave for a night for a barn cleaning, but no worries...  the next afternoon we had a huge cow trailer parade and they were all returned, safe and sound.

Universal Windows Direct at the Dakota County FairThe cows are back!

Q: My window is  really weird size.   Can you do custom sizes?   A: Yes!  All of our windows are custom ordered to fit your rough opening.   So bring us your weirdest size window and we'll replace it.

To everyone who stopped by our booth at the fair, thank you.   I appreciated the chance to tell you about our great windows. If it was a particularly slow time of the day, I appreciate the visit.   If you have any additional questions, or are interested in a free quote, contact us today.

 

 

 

 

 

Vinyl Siding: What Should I Look for When Buying Vinyl Siding?

Buying vinyl siding doesn't have to be difficult, but most people have no idea where to start.  Bottom line,  you need to choose a vinyl siding that is strong, rigid, durable, and energy efficient, that is also beautiful.

Think about it!  When you drive up to a house the first thing you notice is its appearance.   A vinyl siding with solid construction will affect how it looks.  It immediately boosts your curb appeal and increases the value of your home.

As you shop for vinyl siding, consider the following:

Strong vinyl siding is constructed to perform well over time.

Look for a siding that has been impact tested and has a panel thickness of at least .44.   Choose siding with an insulated backing to  offer you even more  impact resistance and overall strength.  Finally,  look for features like a staggered or  rolled nailing hems that will increase the quality of the install by making sure the connection of the siding panels to your home is tight.

You want your siding to be very rigid.

When the install is completed you want to gaze proudly at the strong straight lines down the side of your  house.    Your siding should never look wavy, sag, or have any gaps in it.

The  TriBeam suspension system offered in the UniShield siding is one of the most rigidly constructed panels available  and will make sure your siding will continue to look beautiful for years to come!

How durable is the siding?

Weather is the enemy of poorly constructed siding.   A thin siding with no insulation will be quick to dent and chip in a hail storm.     A siding that hasn’t conformed to industry fading standards will fade quickly under the heat of the sun.  Siding panels in the shorter 12’ lengths increase the total seams on your house – giving wind a chance to pull away those panels  and giving water  and insects an open invitation to invade.

Finally, look at the warranty.   A  5 year warranty is okay.   A 30 year warranty is better.   A warranty against hail damage and fading is the best.     Always ask about the warranty and ask to see it before making your buying decision.

Perm Ratings matter.

Did you know that the average household creates moisture and humidity through normal activities like showering, and cooking?      Perm ratings measure how well that moisture can escape the house.   Choose a house wrap and vinyl siding product with a perm rating of at least a 5.

Always pick Energy Efficiency.

 

It's just smart.  Look for a siding with a full insulation backer to increase the overall energy efficiency of your home.  Your siding covers your entire home.  You want it to be at least as energy efficient as your windows, right?

 

To learn more about UniShield Siding from Universal Windows Direct, contact us today for a free, in home consultation.   Remember, the price reflects when you buy direct!

Hiring a Contractor: Find a Contractor You Can Trust

Easy, right?   Start by getting referrals from family and friends.   If someone you trust had a good experience with a company, chances are you will too.  Don’t forget to Use your social network on Facebook and Twitter!

If a contractor is punctual, professional and organized when he meets with you, chances are he will run a clean job site.   Use this quick checklist as a guide:

  • Is he on time?
  • Does he have a tidy appearance?
  • Is he licensed?
  • Does he carry liability and workers comp insurance?
  • Is he certified by the EPA to perform lead safe practices on your home if needed?
  • Can  he describe the install process to you?
  • Is he able to show you pictures of his work?

Remember, YOU are the customer.   Don’t let him push you into making a decision until you are ready.   You get to decide what you want on your home. Make sure he answers all of your questions to your satisfaction.  And always, ask for references!

Universal Windows Direct is proud to be a contractor you can trust.   Contact us today for a free quote.  612-866-2888