Window Replacement: Do you Check the Contractor's Insurance Before You Sign a Contract?

Replacing Windows in your home can be a long and confusing process.   Once a decision is made on a window purchase,  contractor details can be overlooked.    

 

The results are not surprising.   If you're like most people you care about the level of liability insurance your contractor carries,  but when you're in the thick of decision making on windows you don't think of it.   You and your window buying partner are choosing styles, colors, glass upgrades, and often trying to fit the windows you want replaced in to your budget.    By the time you've come to decisions on all of that,  it can be hard to remember if your contractor carries insurance.   Did it come up when you first met him?  Did you ask to see it?  Did he say he had it but you didn't see it?    Suddenly, the excitement of buying new windows can be clouded by panic that you may not have hired the right person for the job.  

 

Next time you meet with a contractor to discuss a project, arm yourself with information.     Download our FREE eBook on "9 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Contractor"  and feel confident in your decision to hire.

  

 

 

Replacement Window Cost: What does it cost to replace a window?

What does a window cost?  

You know you need to replace some windows but you really feel you need to get an idea of what windows cost before you let a sales guy into your home.   You do a quick web search, you call a few places, and find you aren’t really getting a straight answer.   Frustrating!     What does a window cost?   It seems like it should be a straight answer.  But it isn’t.   You wouldn’t call a car dealership and ask what a car costs would you?   The last time you wanted a house did you call a Realtor and ask what a house costs?   No – because with those purchases you’ve made them before and you understand that quality, options, brand, and features all make a difference in the bottom line price.

Guess what?  Windows are the same way.  {gallery}double hung{/gallery}

Sure, you can buy a window for $189 but you can also  buy a window for $1500 or more.   That is a wide range and not particularly helpful.  So when you call and ask us what a window costs we can't tell you.   We aren’t trying to be rude.   We need to understand what you’re shopping for so we can be helpful.   The answer to each of the questions below will impact the price of the window. 

 

How big is the window?

What style is the window?

Are you looking at vinyl, fiberglass, wood, aluminum clad, a composite or a mix?

Do you want the window unfinished, primed, stained, painted, an upgraded vinyl color?

Do you want double pane or triple pane glass?

Do you care about energy efficiency?  You can have air, argon or krypton in the panes of glass

How many coats of Low E do you want?

Which spacer do you want in the glass package?

Does the window need to be tempered glass or egress size to meet code?

Do want the glass obscured?

Do you want to upgrade your screen to a full screen or a smaller weave?

Do you want grids or etched glass?

What is the condition of the existing window frame?   Does the sill need to be rebuilt?

Are we doing the install or are you?

Is the install a pocket / retrofit / replacement or is it a full frame install?

Is nailing fin required?

Will new stops, sills and jamb need to be built?  If yes, are we looking at pine or oak?  Will you paint or stain when we’re done?

How does the interior casing look?  Can we re-use it?

 

You don't have to know all of these answers right now.   The purpose of an in-home estimate is to help you and your window buying partner understand what these options mean, and decide what you're really buying so we can give you a price.  

Every window replacement job is going to be different, and different factors and decisions will play into the cost.  If you know you need to replace windows in your home and you want to get an idea on what it will cost you, an in-home estimate is the only way.   Let a window consultant come into your home and help you and your window buying partner decide what you want in your home.  In -home estimates should be free, and should not come with an obligation to buy.

Contact Steve the Window Guy today and get started with that quote.  

 

Author:  Melissa Brager

 

Want more info?  Check out these blogs:

 

Choosing a glass package

Choosing window colors and options

 

 

 

 

 

Siding and Roofing Season: Summer is the time to replace your siding or roofing with Universal WIndows Direct


This blog reviews why summer is the perfect time to replace siding or roofing on your home. Siding and roofing replacement is the home improvement of choice in the summer months. Especially in the short summer, we have here in Minnesota! At Universal WIndows Direct we can install replacement windows and doors all winter long, but tearing off and replacing the siding or the roof on your home is really a summer project. Don't you agree?

Siding


Steve the Window Guy is a siding guy too - and has done replacement siding jobs in steel and fiber cement, but his product of choice is the full backed insulation panel of vinyl siding. Here is why:

  1. The insulated backer provides more insulation AND makes sure the siding is strong and rigid—resisting dings, hail and whatnot significantly better than vinyl siding without the backer. Plus, a rigid siding panel gives you a straight clean install so your home will look amazing when the job is completed.
  2. You can choose from a wide range of colors, and a full host of decorative options so the completed project is exactly what you want




Roofing


Now let's talk roofing. We are proud to be an Owens Corning Preferred Contractor. The best thing about being preferred is that you can be confident that we will use the entire system of Owens Corning Roofing products on your home, which lets us offer you a 50-year warranty. If you’re going to replace your roof anyway, don’t you want the best warranty? You do. So how do you know if you need a new roof?
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  1. If it is bad, it is bad. Do you have missing shingles, bald spots, moss growing, or water getting in your home? That is bad.
  2. If your roof is over 15 years old, you might want to have it looked at. While roofing products today are built to last, that hasn’t always been the case. Don’t wait for a problem. If you think your roof may need to be replaced call us.
  3. Weather. My goodness. A good hail or wind storm can cause serious havoc to your roof. If a storm rolls through your neighborhood and you want a trusted, local company to take a look, call us. We are glad to help. 612-866-2888



Roofing consultations are free. We will get up on your roof, inspect for damage or signs of excess wear, and will share information about the Owens Corning System of roofing. New roofs can be installed in a month.

Get your free in-home estimate today!

Patio Door Replacement: Replace your Patio Door with Universal Windows Direct

Now is the time to get your patio door replaced with Universal Windows Direct.

Patio door replacement.   Amazing when it happens, but not exactly something most people look forward to.    It just doesn’t seem fun, right?   It seems like all winter when the door is closed and there is 15 feet of snow piled up on the other side of it you can forget all about it.   The door is just one with the house, keeping the snow out and perhaps making you wistful about warm spring days on the deck or hot summer afternoons by the pool.

 Vinyl Patio Door

Not only that, but in the winter there are more fun things to spend your money on.   Like gifts for the holidays, entertaining, and winter vacations.    Or your windows.   (There is nothing better than replacing a drafty window with an air tight window in the dead of winter).  Hardly anyone replaces their patio door in the winter.

Spring is really the best time to replace your patio door.   Winter is melting away, it is starting to warm up outside and summer is right around the corner.   You start thinking about summer but it isn’t actually here yet, so you have time to get the door replaced.   You haven’t opened that door for the first time to realize, with dread, that it didn’t magically get more awesome over the long winter.    The door still sticks.  You still have to fight with the screen door to get it to open.   There is still that hole at the edge of the screen from when your neighbor tried to walk through it.  The wood frame is still moldy.  It might even be more moldy now, not that you look at it.   And look at the top of the frame.   Is it actually rotted through and sagging?  Great.  The entire door is basically an eyesore.  And you still don’t like it.

Let’s replace it.  Once and for all, let’s get it replaced for you.   Sick of the mold?   Our exclusive UniShield patio door comes in 100% pure virgin vinyl.   It will not mold.   Concerned about color?  The doors come in white, tan, or dark brown vinyl.   We even have three different wood grain interiors that are all maintenance free.  Concerned you have an odd sized door?  We offer standard and custom sizes! Looking for quality?  With fusion welding on the frame and on the door you know it is a solid product.  Add a foam filled frame for greater insulation value and a warm edge spacer to keep the entire door warmer.  Have a pesky pet?   Upgrade to a durable and longer lasting pet screen!

As always, enjoy factory direct pricing and the option to have us do the install, or pick it up and install it on your own.

Steve The Window Guy sells more than just windows in MN!  So contact Steve the Window Guy to have him come to your home and give you a free quote.  Or you can always call us at 612-866-2888. 

 

How long have you been putting off replacing your patio door? Contact us today to start your free, no obligation estimate.  

 

Author:  Melissa Brager

Universal Windows Direct, Twin Cities

Recent Blog Articles:

Choose a vinyl replacement window

Screens with better bug protection!

What color options are available for my replacement windows?

Severe Weather: Universal Windows Direct MN can help after Severe Weather Strikes

Did you do it?

Yesterday when the severe weather sirens went off did you look at the sky? Or did you quickly try and remember what day and time it was? I did it. I heard the siren, I turned my head to the window, then back to the person I was talking to as I realized it was not 1:00 on a Wednesday. My very next thought was.. “It really IS spring!!”.

I don’t like severe weather.   Tornadoes scare me. 

I’m not one of those contractors that gets the glimmer in her eye when she sees a storm might roll in. You won’t find me devilishly rubbing my hands together in anticipation of serious damage in a neighborhood. I’m too soft hearted for that. I don’t want anyone’s home ripped apart or destroyed and I certainly don’t want anyone getting hurt or forced to move. It happened to me once and it was too stressful. I didn't like it one bit.

But I digress.

 

National Severe Weather Awareness week is an important right of passage into spring storm season. Cities check their sirens, school children practice their “duck and cover” and evacuation routes and families talk about what would happen if they were home when they heard the sirens or experienced bad weather. The best way to stay safe is to have a plan. Know where to go. Stock the freezer with popsicles so in the middle of the night when you hear the sirens and grab sleeping kids out of their beds to rush to the basement at least you can offer them an icy treat. Life is less scary with a Popsicle. (right, Mom?)

 

When the storm has passed and you realize your home has seen some damage you don’t need to dread the onslaught of hungry contractors knocking on your door every 5 minutes. Just call Universal Windows Direct. We’ll stop out and give you our factory direct price on replacing your windows, siding, front doors or sliding glass patio doors. We can price the job with or without installation. Take that price to your insurance company or to your contractor and call us when you’re ready. We know you’ll love our prices and our non pressure sales after a storm. We also know you’ll love the solid construction and energy efficiency of our UniShield Windows, the construction of our doors that repel moisture from getting in to your home, and the hail resistant properties of our insulated backed siding products.

Here is to a safe and storm free spring!   (eat a Popsicle anyway!)

Melissa Brager, Universal Windows Direct

Related Blog Posts:

How Universal Windows Direct can repair your home after a storm

What to look for when replacing your siding

Spring has Sprung!

 

Replacement Windows: 5 Reasons Why Choosing Replacement Windows is Like Choosing a Wedding Dress

Curious, aren't you?

Here is the thing. I am behind on my blogging because I have been caught up in the excitement of planning our wedding!!   We are celebrating with 200 people we love and are planning the whole big party in 5 weeks. Crazy, maybe, but fun.

As I get ready for my final dress fitting it comes to me.   Choosing replacement windows and choosing a wedding dress actually have quite a bit in common.

Buying windows is like buying a dress

  1. Choose your perfect look.   Are you thinking traditional, modern, or purely functional?    Do you want to stick with white or something more interesting like a color?  What options do you have to choose from?
  2. Know your deadline and order in advance!   Wedding dresses can take up to 6 months to come in but you can get your custom vinyl replacement windows installed in as little as 6 weeks.   Family coming to town?  Hosting for the holidays?  No problem.  Call today to get started!
  3. Order the right size!   Doesn't it make more sense to order the exact size you need so you don't have to force fit the product, or worse, pay for the labor of unnecessary alterations later?  Our UniShield windows are all custom sizes for your convenience!  Not only that, but with a custom fit they are guaranteed to reduce drafts and keep your family  more comfortable in your home!
  4. Think about how you want to complete your final look.   With your dress you think about shoes, jewelry and veils.  With your windows you consider trimwork, painting or staining, and new custom window treatments.   It's really the same.
  5. Show it off!!   Once everything is decided and paid for and complete don't you want to show it to everyone you know?   Take pictures!!  Post them on Facebook!

See?   Replacement windows and wedding dresses actually have more in common than you think!   While we can't help you choose your wedding dress, we can certainly help you make a replacement window decision.   Quotes are always free and we'd love to visit with you.   Contact us today!

 

Windows Fogged Up: The Number One Reason Why Windows Fog up.

Are your window fogged up? Instead of peering through clear glass to enjoy the view outside are you stuck looking at dirty, drippy, fogging glass? Do you hate driving up to your house and being greeted by fogged windows? Have you ever wondered why this happens?

Metal spacers will cause your window to fail Windows fog up when your glass package has failed. At some point the seal that was holding that glass package together popped, causing all the insulating gas to escape. Without that barrier, and with an opening, wind and condensation have been getting in and causing the mess. Not only that, but without the Argon gas, the window is no longer energy efficient at all.

 

Glass packages with metal and aluminum spacers in them will fail. It doesn’t matter if

Metal Spacers cause windows to fog up

your house is 3 years old or if you just had the “best” windows put in 10 years ago. Look closely at the bottom of your glass. See that silver metal? It’s your cause of failure.

Independent tests done by the NFRC test exactly how long each type of window spacer is expected to last. Windows that use metal or aluminum spacers are proven to fail in as little as 3 years and in some cases have lasted as long as 27 years.

When you are shopping for replacement windows focus on finding a quality product at a great price.  Quality starts with the spacer system. Choose a windows with a warm edge super spacer. The super spacer is a flexible material that can actually move with your glass package, allowing it to last 70-100 years longer than any other spacer on the market

I was in a home recently describing the different spacer systems to a homeowner.

You’ve worked too hard for your money. Home improvement decisions need to pay for themselves over time and need to add to the value of your home. Don’t waste your money on a replacement window with a metal spacer that will need to be replaced again in the next 10 years. Choose the highest quality spacer on the market. Choose the super spacer.

Universal Windows Direct, MN offers homeowners across the Twin Cities the highest quality replacement window at a factory direct price. Our exclusive UniShield window comes standard with the warm edge super spacer and a warranty that backs it up. Contact us today for a few quote.

Ideal Customer: Who is the ideal customer of Universal Windows Direct?

We laugh sometimes when people ask us "who is your ideal customer?".   The answer seems obvious - because our ideal customer is anyone who is looking for windows, siding, or doors at factory direct prices.

BUT.....   what that person looks like can be a whole different story.    What do I mean? Check it out.

Top 10 "Ideal Customers" of Universal Windows Direct, Twin Cities

  1. Your niece, the first time home buyer, who wants to update her old single pane windows that came with the house.
  2. Your neighbor, who is selling their house,  who wants to upgrade the front door to something more inviting.
  3. Your cousin, the Contractor, who is looking to get a better price on a great vinyl windows and keep a bit more cash in his pocket.
  4. Our previous customers who replaced windows on the first level of the house last year, and are now ready to replace windows in the upper level.
  5. Your co-worker in North Minneapolis, Fridley, or Forest Lake who was affected by the recent tornadoes and literally needs to replace the windows and siding in their home.
  6. Your Mom or Dad who are looking to add a bay or bow window to the front of their home.
  7. You.  Because you have spent your last winter with cold drafty windows.
  8. Your aunt and uncle, who are building a 4 season porch full of windows.
  9. Your boyfriend, the guy who can do anything - even install windows,
  10. Your sister who has lived with that hail damage on her siding for two years too long.

No matter who you know or what their reasons are for calling, Universal Windows Direct will come to your home, discuss your project, answer your questions and leave you a price.   The price reflects when you buy direct.  Contact us today!

 

Replacing Siding: When should you replace your siding?

First of all, it isn’t as hard as it seems.  If you’re starting to think it might be time to replace your siding, you might be right.

Homeowners ask us these questions all the time:

“When should I replace my siding?”

“How do I know my siding needs to be replaced?”

"I want my siding replaced, but should I?

Top 5 Ways to know it’s time to replace your siding

Is the existing siding damaged? Stand on the street or in your backyard and evaluate the overall siding.  Can you see cracks, chips, or holes in any of the panels?  How many of the panels?   A good rule of thumb is to replace all of the siding on your home when at least 5o of the panels are damaged.

  1. Is the siding warped or wavy? Stand along the side of your home and look down it.  This could be a sign of water damage.  
  2. How are the seams? Are they tight or are they loose and pulling away from the house?  Loose seams allow rain to get in behind the siding panels, causing ongoing damage to your home.
  3. Check for mildew, mold and dry rot – particularly if you have wood siding on your home now.  Mold and mildew create an unhealthy environment for you and your family.
  4. Lastly, think about the energy efficiency of your home. The siding industry has made some amazing improvements in the construction and performance of siding over the last few decades.  Replacing your old siding with new, energy efficient siding will make you more comfortable in your home.

Also worth nothing, although not really “top 5 list” worthy is this:   If you don’t like your siding anymore and you just want your house to look different, that is a good reason too.

No matter what your reason, when you’re ready to get a free quote on replacing your siding, contact Universal Windows Direct at 612-866-2888.  Serving the entire Twin Cities Metro Area.