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 Windows: Now or Later?

 

Replacement Windows: To replace Now or later? That is the question.

People like you ask us all the time… do I need to replace my windows now or should I wait until later?  How do I know if now the right time is?  I don’t want to regret my decision; but I have a lot of projects going on right now.   Should I do my ___________________ (insert project here) first, or replace my windows first?

If you listen to any window salesman talk he will say NOW NOW NOW!    Every radio commercial you hear and every advertisement you see might make it look like you absolutely need to drop everything and get your windows replaced immediately.  

Guess what?   You don’t.  There are situations with every homeowner in every home where you can wait to replace them.    Maybe your windows are old, but still seem to be working just fine.   Maybe the seal has failed but the window is in a back bedroom that sits empty.   Maybe starting with the windows in your main living space would make you more comfortable.   Maybe you really WANT new windows to make a space look fresh but realistically you know they aren’t dire and you can save money by waiting. Here is the thing.   Maybe you’re right.  

Download our FREE infographic on “Replacement Windows:  Now or later?“  and see for yourself. 

When you’re ready, contact us.  We’ll give you a free, no obligation quote,  talk to you about interest free financing AND even introduce our Guaranteed Price Program.

Author: Melissa Brager

 

Related Article:

9 Questions to ask before you hire a contractor

 

 

 

Steve the Window Guy and Universal Windows Direct, MN earn Angie's List Super Service Award 2014

 

 

 

 

Universal Windows Direct Earns Esteemed 2014 Angie’s List Super Service Award

 

 

 

Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service

 

 

 

Universal Windows Direct has earned the service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of service provided to members of the local services marketplace and consumer review site in 2014.

  

Steve the Window Guy, owner of Universal Windows Direct said, “As a family owned business, earning the trust and the praise of our customers is the most important thing to us.   We are honored to once again receive this award.  It lets us know that our hard work and determination is paying off.”

  

“Only about 5 percent of the Window companies in Twin Cities have performed so consistently well enough to earn our Super Service Award,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “It’s a really high standard.”

  

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2014 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade; the company must be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

  

Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality.

 

 

 

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Angie's List helps facilitate happy transactions between nearly 3 million consumers nationwide and its collection of highly-rated service providers in 720 categories of service, ranging from home improvement to health care. Built on a foundation of authentic reviews of local service, Angie's List connects consumers directly to its online marketplace of services from member-reviewed providers, and offers unique tools and support designed to improve the local service experience for both consumers and service professionals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Window Guys can be awesome. A story from Universal Windows Direct.

      Getting a quote for replacement windows doesn't have to be awful.    I took a call from a new customer yesterday and we spoke for about 5 minutes or so.   Although she was calling to schedule the measure for her new windows, she spent most of the time raving to me about how great our salesman Zach was in the house.    

 

  Here are some highlights.

 ·        He was on time.

·        He was a great listener.

·        He was genuinely easy to have in the house.

·        He was very knowledgeable about the product.

·        He answered all their questions.

·        He was a delight.

 

She went on to tell me that even though they cancelled the other appointments for window quotes they still had a guy show up the very next night.  Wrinkled.  In a baseball cap.   Pushy about giving them a quote even though they already bought.   Driving a luxury vehicle.  

I’m not surprised at all.   Zach is the best.   His behavior and the way he presents himself in a home is not an accident.   We know that replacement window salesman are a rather smarmy bunch.   We made the decision very early on that we would go into the home prepared.  And clean.   In un-wrinkled clothing free of pet hair and stains.   Our shirts and/or our jackets would carry our logo.   And always, we’d carry a smile AND a sample into the home.  

 

Does that seem like common sense?  

It is.  

So why doesn’t everyone do it that way?

Who knows.

 

If you are sipping your coffee, looking out into the snowy windy outdoors and knowing that your winter will be cozier if you replace a few of those windows, call us.  

We'll send Zach out and you'll be delighted too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Replacement Windows Save Lives

You already know that new windows can increase the curb appeal of your home, save  you money on energy costs, and reduce drafts…  I mean, doesn’t EVERY window guy tell you that?  (Yes. They do.)  Look at any window ad and that is the main story.   BUT… what they don’t tell you is that replacement windows can also save lives.  

Here is how. 

 

Most cities require a building permit for replacing windows in your home.   So after they are installed an inspector needs to come out and inspect them.  While he is there, he will walk through your house and make sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms are installed, placed correctly and in working condition.  

What this means to you is that you could have perfectly installed and insualted windows but FAIL your building inspection if you don’t have batteries in your smoke detectors.    Why, you ask?   Because your city officials really want you to stay safe.   They want you and your home to be there for a long, long time.   Go ahead, be cynical and say it is just because they want to keep collecting your taxes.   Who cares?  As long as you are alive life is good.   And my point is proven.   Replacement windows save lives. 

Want to read that actual?  MN Building Code on that topic?  Click here.  

Are you reading this and thinking that now you have just one more thing to worry about when you replace your windows? Don’t worry.  Steve the Window Guy will give you all the information you need to make sure your home is protected and all the smoke detectors and fire alarms are in working condition.   Not only that, but he will give you windows that will increase the curb appeal of your home, save you money on energy costs and reduce drafts.  Call him. 

 

 Author:  Melissa Brager

 

Recent Articles:

Choosing a glass package

Choosing colors and grid patterns

Choosing a window style

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Window Replacement: Choosing a Glass Package

 

Imagine sitting at the table with your spouse and the window salesman when you get the question...  "Do you want double pane or triple pane glass?"   ACK!!   I don't know!  Panic!  What do I want?  What do I need?  HELP!

If you're going to replace your windows you want to choose the window that is right for you and glass package is a big part of that.  The decisions you need to make about glass package are both panes of glass and type of insulating gas.   But how are you supposed to know what is right?   This blog will give you a few things to think about as you make that decision.   

UniShield Glass Options

Decision #1:  Is double pane enough or would triple pane be better?  Here are some things to think about.   Is your home exposed to lots of wind?  Do you live by a busy road?  Are you near a school with lots of bus traffic?  Do you have airport noise?    If so, the triple pane upgrade is a great option because it can really reduce outside noise.  Are you just sick of being cold and you want the most energy efficient window possible?  With an extra pane of glass and a second insulating chamber the triple pane window will give you a higher energy rating than a double pane.   Not only that,  but the overall glass width is typically wider with  triple pane so it provides lots of room in the glass to fill with insulating argon or krypton gas.  All of that said,  in reality, the majority of windows we sell are double pane glass.  

 Decision #2:  "Do you want Argon or Krypton?"   Both are odorless, non-toxic gasses used in window construction.  They are the gasses that hang out between the outer and inner panes of glass to insulate the unit and slow down the outside air temps from getting inside.   Argon gas is the most common insulating gas.  Krypton gas is more dense, more energy efficient and more expensive.   You can get argon or krypton gas in either the double pane or the triple pane.

So what is the different, really?   Just cost?    Nope.  Should we dive deep into numbers for a second?  Energy Star rated windows for MN require that the U-Value is .26 or below.   For a double hung window, double pane windows with argon are .26 and triple pane with Krypton are at a .17.  (The lower the number the better).    So there is absolutely a difference in the glass package you choose.    As you make your decision you need to know if the energy efficiency and overall glass package performance is the most important to you, or if budget is.    Krypton gas in a triple pane is far and away the nicest window we have, and it is also the most expensive.  

Finally,  your return on investment is another part of your decision.  How long will you live in your house?  Is the plan to move in 3-5 years or are you making improvements to your forever house?    Upgrades to windows are an investment that will absolutely pay for themselves in energy savings and comfort.  Butif you are moving in a few years will you get enough of that investment back?  Maybe not.   Will the upgrades be awesome selling features?  For sure.   Will they be enough of a selling feature to command a higher asking price?  Not necessarily.  

Glass package is just one of the many options you have when choosing your replacement windows.    

We are a shop at home company specializing in replacing windows, siding, roofs and front entry doors.   As we sit with you and learn about what you want to change on your home we can provide the best product and color options to you.  You can expect lots of questions from us as we try to understand what you're looking for.  For that reason,  it is best if both homeowners are there.   We commit to giving you a detailed, same day estimate.  

 

Author:  Melissa Brager 

 

Good Stuff?   Check out some of our other recent blog posts!

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3.

 

Steve the Window Guy for Universal Windows Direct is owned and operated in Bloomington, MN by Steve and Melissa Brager.   Steve and his team are experts at working with people just like you to create a plan for updating and enhancing your home exterior to create beauty, warmth and the curb appeal you dreamed about;  at a price within your budget.    We are part of a national dealer network that has catapulted the company to the 16th remodeler in the Nation*.  Locally we have an A+ rating with the BBB with zero complaints and have won the Angie's Super Service Award 5 consecutive years.  Steve has been recognized by Universal Windows Direct as National Dealer of The Year three different times for his hard work and dedication.    Updating your home can be easy.  Contact us today!

*Source: 2017 Qualified Remodeler Top 500 list

 

 

 

 

 

Window Replacement: Choosing a Window Style

Choosing replacement window colors and grid patterns

Read this blog for a quick overview to choosing a style on your replacement window purchase with Universal Windows Direct, MN.

What style of window do you want to choose?

Do you want to replace your windows with the exact same style?  You know, sliders where you had sliders, casements where you had casements, etc?  Do you think you have to do it that way?  Guess what?  You don’t!.   When your windows are being replaced, the first step is to remove the old window which leaves you with a window frame.   You can put any window you want back into that frame. Ooh, the possibilities!!

Do you hate your casement windows?  Pop a slider in there!  Do you want to change the look of your house?   Go to all Double Hung Windows!   Are you dreaming of a Bay Window in the front of your house?  Go for it!  Do you want to replace those weird windows in that one room that you never open with a picture window?  Go for it!

Disclaimer…   Of course, you do need your bedroom windows to meet fire code so if you have a casement in your bedroom that one may need to stay.  Building Code requires a certain opening size in your bedroom windows for escape if needed.  Depending on the size, a slider could meet that size requirement but often if a casement is in there, a casement needs to stay.  If you think you want to switch out the style in your bedrooms, Steve the Window Guy can help you figure out your options. 

Steve The Window Guy

No matter what you want, it s important for you to have thought about what style of windows you want so was you gather your quotes you are truly comparing apples to apples when you look at their totals.

Ready to get started?  Call Steve the Window Guy at  Universal Windows Direct, MN today schedule a free, no obligation in-home estimate.   We will talk to you about the available options, and will help you design the perfect windows for your home.   Quote are free, and you are never obligated to move forward with the job.   To get started, Contact Us today at  612-866-2888.

Related Articles:

Choosing a glass package in replacement windows

Choosing replacement window colors and grid patterns

Questions to ask before you hire a window guy

Hiring a Contractor: 9 Questions to Ask Before you Hire a Contractor

This blog will help you hire an experience contractor, and feel confident in your decision.

Hiring a contractor is one of the most important decisions in any home improvement project, and often the decision that scares homeowners the most.

Whether you’re looking for large remodel, or an exterior improvement of replacing your windows, siding, doors or roof, hiring an experienced and reliable contractor is critical to the success of the project.

If you don’t know where to start in finding a contractor, this guide is for you.   After reading it you’ll be able to:

  • Know what questions to ask a potential contractor
  • Weed out unqualified contractors
  • Feel confident in your final decision

Ready?  You're going to love this!

9 questions to ask before you hire a contractor

1. Is he a licensed contractor in MN?  You want a contractor who is properly trained and who can pull a building permit for your job.   You want to feel confident that the job will pass inspection.

2. Can he show you a copy of his liability and workers compensation insurance?  You need to know that in the absolute worst case scenario that he has the insurance to cover any damages or injury.

3. Does he know who will be doing the work? You want him to vouch for the quality of the guys doing the work.  It means he knows them and trusts them to represent his business.

4. Has his company been operating under the same name and ownership for at least 5 years? You want a company with integrity and business strength.  Longevity is one way to measure that.

5. Does the company have a positive reputation in the Twin Cities? You should check the BBB and Angie’s List for reviews and ratings of their work.   If there are complaints, always read the company response or resolution as well.

6. Will he show you what he is going to be installing? You are thinking about spending your hard earned money.  You deserve to see exactly what is going to be installed in your home.   Your contractor should show you more than a picture in a brochure.

7. Does he listen to you so he can understand what is important to you? Your contractor is your partner in home improvement.   Is he listening so he can give you what you want or is he just telling you what to do?

8. How long will you have to wait until the install? You should know approximately how long it will be until the project is completed.   If you have an event or a deadline you are working with, tell him!

9. Do you like him? If you don’t like him, don’t hire him.   (That is an easy one!)

Steve The Window Guy

Steve the Window Guy would love the opportunity to earn your business.   Call him today at 612-866-2888  for a free in-home consultation. He'd be happy to answer all of your questions!

 

 

Author:  Melissa Brager

 

Universal WIndows Direct, MN: Top 5 WInter Activites of Universal Windows Direct

This blog post shares an update on the winter activities of Universal Windows Direct, Twin Cities

Remodeling and Construction businesses typically have a slow period through the winter.     Homeowners hibernate in the winter and spend their time preparing for the holidays, watching more TV, and planning their spring vacations.   Then, the first day the temperature rises to 40 degrees spring fever hits and the phone starts ringing.

No business owner in the home improvement business looks forward to this slower time in the year, but at Universal Windows Direct we really embraced it this year.

Top 5 Winter Activities of Universal Windows Direct

  1. We did a bit of remodeling of our own, as we prepared to move into our new office and warehouse.   We stripped the space down, removed a wall, replaced tessie playroomsheetrock, added attic insulation, painted and replaced the carpet.   We are left with a large work space and lots of natural light… with easy access to our warehouse.  We are especially loving the play room area for Tessie and the conference room so we can meet with clients.
  2. We attended a national sales meeting in January where we immersed ourselves in networking, business planning, and goal setting for 2014.   It is amazing how dedicating time to something as important as that can set your whole year off on the right path.
  3. Universal Windows Direct Job FairWe hosted a job fair at our new location so we could bring the right talent in to our company.   Within a week we were blessed to hire both Zach and Ryan.  These guys are awesome.   They are smart, they take in new information quickly, they ask good questions and they made training very easy.   We are so pleased with the contributions they have already brought to us
  4. We prepped for the big Minneapolis Home and Garden Show.  We have a large 20x20 booth with all of our full size samples and we sit on a main aisle.    We added a video monitor on our bay window this year to attract more attention and we hired the BEST SHOW STAFF of all time to help us work.   We seriously have never felt more confident or more proud of the people in our booth representing us.weides at the home show
  5. We kept working.   Yup.  We started and finished several siding jobs over the winter and we were installing windows every week.  We ran appointments every week.   We started working home shows in January.   We never stopped working.

Now that it is “spring”  (ignore the snow from earlier this week) we are poised for a fantastic spring!   We are actively quoting home improvent jobs for window replacement, sliding glass doors, front entry doors, siding, and roofing.   If you've been waiting until spring to start your window, siding, door or roofing project, it is here.   Contact us today to get started.

Author:  Melissa Brager, Operations Manager, Universal Windows Direct MN

Last 3 Articles

How to Prevent Ice Dams

UniShield Max Window

Heat Stopper Technology

Ice Dams: What is a Roof Ice Dam and How Do You Prevent it?

Ice Dams are a thick ridge of ice that build up on the eaves of your home. This blog shares more detail on how roof ice dams form in MN and offers attic insulation as one way to prevent them.

Ice Dams.   We’ve all heard about them but what is an ice dam?

Ice Dams are a thick ridge of ice that build up on the eaves of your home.  They are caused when snow starts to melt and run down the roof, and then re-freezes when it reaches the eaves.   The warm air on the top of your roof causes the snow to melt, and it runs down the pitch of your house to the cold eaves where it gets trapped and then freezes.

Moisture is always attracted to the coldest surface it can find.  If it is cold enough, it will freeze.  This is the same reason you may find frost on the bottom of your old windows or patio doors inside your home.   On your roof it is just worse because the melt off literally rolls down-hill to the eave where it collects.What is an ice dam

Once the ice dam has been formed, it only gets worse.   Any additional water that rolls down towards it gets trapped underneath the dam and it can seep into your home, causing water damage.   On a large scale that damage can cause paint to peel, ceilings to be replaced, floors to be warped, insulation to rot, and window treatments to be replaced.

**Fun fact**  Glacial ice dams are the same thing, but on a much larger scale.   With a glacial ice dam the frozen glacier moves until it gets blocked by a river, and the backup of water causes a lake.   In Minnesota that gives us a place to go visit in the summer.   In your home, the backup could result in an insurance claim.

How do you prevent an ice dam?  There are several actions you can take to prevent an ice dam.

When snow starts to pile up take a large roof rake and remove the snow from the eaves.  Pay special attention to any snow buildup around roof vents and make sure the downspouts on your gutters are clear so drainage can occur.

Attic insulation is a great way to prevent ice dams.   By making sure your attic is properly insulated you are both trapping the warm air inside your home, and with proper ventilation, you are ensuring that the roof is staying cool.   A cool roof will not melt the snow, therefore working to prevent the main cause of ice dams.

Universal Windows Direct can help prevent ice dams from forming. Universal Windows Direct can help prevent ice dams from forming.

Is your attic insulated?   Do you have the proper ventilation in your attic to keep your roof cool?   Contact Universal Windows Direct, MN today for a FREE consultation on your current attic.   A small amount of time now can prevent huge problems later.

Call us today at 612-866-2888 to schedule your appointment!

 

 

Author:  Melissa Brager, Universal Windows Direct, MN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home Improvement Projects: Top Home Improvement Projects for Fall

No matter which of these projects is your top priority, Universal Windows Direct, MN is here to help you . Call us today at 612-866-2888 for a free, no obligation estimate.

Fall Home Improvement Projects.   Fall.  Did I just say Fall?

It doesn’t matter if you like it or not, it’s here.    Say goodbye to summer.  Pack up your beach bags and put the sunscreen away.  I will miss the feeling of the hot sun on my face and the spontaneous trips to the beach more than anyone.  BUT…   I also love fall.   What can I say?  I am a Minnesotan through and through.

fall_leavesI love the changing leaves and the cool mornings.  I love anything cooked with apple and pumpkin.   I love sweatshirts with hoods and fall TV and decorating the house for all the holidays.   I love cooking  comfort food.   I love planning family Halloween costumes and starting to think about holiday gift giving.  But enough about me.

For lots of people fall is also the harsh reality that winter is right around the corner.  And every home improvement project that was put off during the lovely summer is now a priority once again.   So I ask you this,  what is your fall home improvement project?

  1. Attic insulation?    Stop letting all that energy escape through your attic.   If you feel like you're put off attic insulation too long already, this is your year.  It will make an amazing difference to the  comfort of your home.
  2. Gutter Topper!   Stop wasting your time cleaning the gutters!  Gutter topper is less expensive that you think and with all the time you save not cleaning your gutters, you can install even more holiday lights!
  3. If you're concerned about your roof – have someone take a look at it.  Replacingpanther with house in hands a bad roof before winter will give you peace of mind against ice dams and water leaks.
  4. Is your front door drafty?  Is the sill rotted away so you have one of those crazy draft stoppers to keep the wind out?  Let’s replace it.  We have a variety of front door styles available  - from the very basic to the very ornate.  We are confident we have the style of door and the price point that will work for your house.  Plus, with our composite threshold, it is guaranteed never to rot so you can throw that draft stopper away once and for all.
  5. Storm windows are a pain.   Replace windows with a double or triple pane glass for a higher energy efficiency rating and eliminate the need for storm windows.   Start with getting the worst windows  replaced now and do the rest in the spring.  100% of homeowners who replace their windows are amazed at what a difference the new ones make.   Rooms are instantly warmer.  The fresh look of the new windows makes the rooms look newer, too.

No matter which of these projects is your top priority, Universal Windows Direct is here to help you .   Call us today for a free, no obligation estimate.   We offer financing programs  for qualified buyers and get your home improvemnts done within 8 weeks.   Don’t delay!  Call Steve The Window Guy at Universal Windows Direct today to get started!  612-866-2888universal windows direct mn

Author:  Melissa Brager, Operations Manager

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Roofing and Siding Replacement with Universal Windows Direct

Contact Universal Windows Direct, MN for your siding and roof replacement after the recent storms.

Roofing and Siding  can get beat up when huge hail storms come through.    If you live in one of the areas that was hit hard you are probably in the midst of dealing with door to door canvassers, insurance adjusters and contractors.   How are you supposed to know if you are making the right decision?roof hail damage

It seems like life would be much simpler if you had one contractor who you trusted that you could just call. At Universal Windows Direct people know us for our exclusive UniShield Windows but did you know we also do siding, roofs, and gutters?

If your roof and siding has been affected by the recent storms we would love to come out to give you an estimate on the repair of your home, and have the opportunity to earn your business.

Still doing your online research?  No problem!   Here are a few items that all reputable contractors suggest you check on before hiring someone to work on your home.

  1. Is the contractor a local company?   You don't want a "here today gone tomorrow" contractor from another state to work on your home, do you?
  2. Is the contractor licensed?   Click here to check the status of a contractor's MN license.
  3. Is the contractor covered with insurance?  Is it enough insurance to cover your home if something goes very very wrong during the install?   Ask to see their coverage.
  4. Has the contractor been in business for more than a few months?  Make sure they have both the skill and the experience to give you a beautiful finished product.
  5. What the reputation of the contractor?  Check out the BBB and Angie's List for Reviews.

This list may seem like common sense,  but when your home is damaged and your life is disrupted it can be very hard to keep your common sense hat on.   Your focus becomes GET IT DONE!  No matter how hurried you feel, always choose a contractor who is local, licensed, insured, and with the experience and reputation to do a great job for you. universal windows direct mn

Universal Windows Direct is a family owned company that is owned and operated in the Twin Cities.    We are fully licensed and insured, and take pride in the relationships we have built with our past customers.    We are more interested in making sure your home is put back together the way you want it to be.  If the work wouldn't be good enough for our

home, it won't be good enough for your home.   We are here to make things easier for you.

Call us today at 612-866-2888  or contact us  through our website for a free, no obligation estimate.   We'd love to help you!     Do you like videos better than websites?  Click here to watch a video introducing our company!

Author:  Melissa Brager

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Window Screens with Better Bug Protection: Universal Windows Direct MN Offers Screen Upgrades

Window screens  prevent mosquitoes from getting in to your home.

Nobody likes mosquitoes.   Even though people in Minnesota sort of joke about them being the "state bird" no one is really proud of that.   This past weekend my brothers and sisters and I spent a day at our parents house doing projects outside and every bugsingle time a mosquito was spotted it was disgust.  Discussed.   Whatever.   Nobody likes mosquitoes.   We were  all slightly horrified that they were buzzing around us on what felt like the first warm day we've had.

I wonder how many people consider screen options as they head down the path of window replacement.  It is easy to focus on quality of window, window ratings, window options and price .... so the screen just gets lumped in as part of the overall project.   I think most people focus on how that new window will perform when it is closed.   Will it keep your home warm enough?  Cool enough?   Will it keep you safe?  Will it drown out the outdoor noise?  Few people consider the performance of the screen on that window when its open.

Screens are just there, right?  Day and night.  365 days a year.  Screens just do their job.  Clinging to your windows like superheroes protecting your home from outdoor junk like sticks and rocks and all sorts of bugs.   But they actually do more than that.

Window screens also allow air flow into the home and depending on the weave, can even offer you a clearer view of the outdoors.    Our patio door screens even offer an pet screen that increases performance of the screen if you have a dog or an energetic cat going after it.

At Universal Windows Direct, MN we offer several different screen options for your replacement windows - including one that offers advanced protection from bugs.   In addition to our proven and reliable standard screen, we offer the following replacement window screen upgrades:

BetterVue Window Screen

  • 10% Better airflow into your home.
  • 10% Clearer view to outside
  • 10% Better protection from bugs

UltraVue Window Screen

  • 25%  Better airflow into your home
  • 25%  Clearer view to outside

Check out this picture that illustrates the differences in the view with the upgraded screen options.   Amazing, right?

So, bring on the mosquitoes because our upgrade screen options can handle it.    Mention you saw this blog post and receive a FREE upgrade to the BetterVue Screen with increased insect protection for the month of June.    Quotes are always free and we have samples of the screen we can show you in your home!

"If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito."   Dalai Lamai XIV

Thanks for reading!

Author:  Melissa Brager, Operations Manager

Universal Windows Direct, Twin Cities

PS:  After re-reading this post I am noticing all the assumptions out theree.   Nobody likes mosquitoes.  Nobody thinks about screens.   Nobody wants bugs in their house.    My apologies if I'm wrong!

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Window and Door Replacement Problems: Why expecting problems can make your project better

Window and Door Replacement Jobs can have problems.   Knowing what to expect can make your job go more smoothly even if a problem is experienced.

A very VERY long time ago I worked at an amusement park.   While I was there  I spent a few summers interviewing  teenagers for jobs  - which was really just a big “realistic job preview” song and dance.  It was a total “no surprises” kind of work statement and it went like this:

“You are working outside.  Your uniform is shorts.   When it is cold out you will need a sweatshirt.  When it is hot out you will sweat.  When it rains all day you will be very wet.  If there is a storm, we stay open. If the storm is very very bad, we will evacuate.   This is part of the job.  Some days you will talk to hundreds of people.  Some days you might only talk to 5 people.    You will hear the exact same question repeatedly all day long.   This is what you can expect"

Then I asked if they still wanted the job and if they said yes we hired them.  We figured that if they knew everything that could go wrong at the beginning and were still interested that all would be fine.  For the most part, it was.   Some kids were surprised at how much they didn't like working in the rain, for example, but they weren't surprised that they had to work in the rain.   They were prepared.

As a business owner, I think of that situation now. I understand it would be sales  sabotage if our salesman sat face to face with a homeowner and listed out everything that could go wrong as they sign the contract and collect the initial investment.   But at the same time,  it sure would be nice if we could prepare homeowners and say something like this:

"90% of the time jobs go very smoothly, however  we do expect to have some problems some of the time. Our windows are made by real people in a real factory.   They are USA made and they keep people working, and towns functioning. We are proud of this.   At the same time we know that mistakes happen.   To help you prepare, here is a list of problems that could affect your job.

  1. Sometimes windows get broken or screens get gouged on the truck
  2. Sometimes an entire job is loaded on the truck, but one window is forgotten.
  3. Sometimes a window breaks when coming off the line and has  to be remade
  4. Sometimes the weather gets nasty and installation needs to be delayed.
  5. Sometimes an issue with an order isn’t discovered until it gets to the job site.
  6. Sometimes an order gets measured wrong.
  7. Sometimes an order gets placed wrong.   Or Lost.
  8. Sometimes an order gets made wrong.
  9. Sometimes there is a misunderstanding on how the install will work.
  10. Sometimes our installer might get sick, or have a personal emergency, or have truck or trailer problems.   He is a person too, this is unavoidable."

I wonder how people would react if we did this.   Would preparing them for the potential of issues make a difference?   Would they shrug their shoulders in acceptance?  Would they expect more issues and then be even more thrilled when their job was smooth?  It's an interesting thought to consider, but I don't think we'll start doing it anytime soon.

This is the only thing we know for sure.   No matter what may happen some of the time, we know that  ALL OF THE TIME you want a contractor who will acknowledge the problem, empathize with your frustration and then fix it as fast as possible.   We can never control the uncontrollable but we can always control our reaction, and our ability to resolve.   We want your home improvement to be a home improvement.  We want you to love it when it’s done so you tell all your  friends.

If you are ready to start your window, siding, or door replacement project that will most likely go very smoothly  (but could potentially have a surprise hiccup) call us today.  Quotes are always free.   (612) 866-2888.

Author:  Melissa Brager, Operations Manager,  Universal Windows Direct, MN

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Hiring a replacement window contractor can be tricky.  Go with your gut.   In my “former life” as an HR professional we had to always make decisions with facts.  Facts.  Facts.  Facts.   Hiring decisions were based on skills and work experiences..  We were literally told to ignore our gut.   Guess what?  When you are the homeowner and you are considering making an investment into your home GO WITH YOUR GUT!!

He seems friendly, right?

Like it or not, any home improvement project, from just a window replacement or door replacement or new vinyl siding to a full on room remodeling project means your home is exposed.   Your life is disrupted (if only for a day) and your home undergoes change.  You don’t want to trust that to just anyone.  You certainly don’t want to trust it to just the “guy with the lowest price”.    What DO you want?

  1. The best product.   The product that looks and feels like “your house”
  2. The best warranty.   You don’t want to buy the cheapest stuff and then go through this all again in a few years, do you?
  3. The contractor with a good reputation.  You checked him out, right?   He isn’t the guy the BBB has listed with an “F” rating, or the guy with unresolved complaints against him in the double digits, right?
  4. The contractor who is punctual, clean, put together, and well… likeable.   If he is in your home to give you a quote and you ALREADY don’t like him  (because he is rude, or talks down to you or talks over your head, or who you catch in a lie, etc)  why would you invite him back?
  5. The contractor who listens to you.   It’s all any of us want, really.  To be listened to.   Ask questions..  Tell him your concerns.  Give him a chance to answer everything and put any concerns you have to rest.   Sometimes the sign of the best contractor isn’t the one who necessarily tells you what you want to hear, but the one who  responds to you the most honestly

So next time you or someone you know is ready to talk to a window, siding, or door contractor they can trust, contact us.   Experience what a non pushy, honest, and trustworthy home improvement contractor can be like!

Author:  Melissa Brager, Universal Windows Direct

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Do I have to do all my windows at once?  Nope!  Honestly,  hardly any one does anymore so we don’t even think it’s weird!

Let me tell you the story of a customer….  Let’s call her Alice .  Alice  and her boyfriend bought a great little house in South Minneapolis that had the oldest windows ever in it.   We are talking single pane windows,  ropes and pulleys, missing screens, some painted shut, etc.  You get the picture.   She desperately wanted to replace every window In the house before the harsh winter set in.    She just didn’t think she could swing it.

You know how it is, right?   You buy a new house and you feel like all the money you had left after closing went to Target in the first few weeks of living there and before you know it you are happy in you brand new house and you feel the poorest you have ever felt in your whole life.     That was Alice. replace windows in your old home

Still, she was hopeful.   She called us and scheduled a free, no obligation estimate.    Steve stopped out to her home and they discussed  the cost for the entire project.   Then they broke up the windows into a few different projects for her to think about as well.  She considered the entire front of the house for curb appeal, or the entire 2nd level of the house  for energy savings, but she ultimately chose to replace the windows of the rooms she will spend the most time in all winter; her bedroom and the living / dining room.   Smart.

Bottom line, it is normal to replace your windows in stages.   It happens every day and no one thinks it is weird.   It is actually smart.   Of course, with our financing programs you can probably afford more than you think.   Give us a call and let our sales reps stop out and talk to you about what you want, and work with you to create a plan.  Then enjoy a draft free winter!

Melissa Brager

Universal Windows Direct

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