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!

1. 

2.

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

Foggy Windows: Why are my new windows fogging up?

This blog post reviews why you might see fog on your brand new windows.

Has this ever happened to you?    You step into the kitchen to get a hot cup of coffee and notice that the entire window is fogged up.

Like this.fogged up window

You freak out.   Didn’t that window guy tell you that a fogged up window is a sign of seal failure?   Didn’t he say that his windows had this amazing warranty so they were guaranteed not to fog up?   You just spent all this money on new windows and now this?

You’re mad.  You panic.

Deep breath.

This is normal. Your new windows are still awesome.

 

Here is the thing.   There are two kinds of condensation that can be on windows: Exterior Condensation.  The kind you can drag your finger through and leave a drippy mess. Interior Condensation.   The kind that is in between the panes of glass.    You can’t touch it.

What causes condensation on your windows?

  1. Exterior condensation is typically found when temperatures outside are very hot and humid, and the temperature inside is very cool and dry.  Like August in MN.  Like today.
  2. Interior condensation is typically found when your window seal has failed – so all the gas has escaped and any wind and water that wants to gather and get trapped in between the window panes is welcome to.

So as you can see, exterior condensation is really nothing to worry about.   If it is indoors you can reduce humidity.  If it is outdoors you can be happy that it is summer because we all know that in Minnesota, summer is fleeting.

Steve The Window Guy

 

However, if you interior condensation and are afraid that your windows have failed, call us.   We’ll send Steve the Window Guy out to your home to take a look, diagnose the problem, and give you a quote on some new energy efficient windows.

 

 

Author:  Melissa Brager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roofing Quote - What to expect when getting a quote for a new roof

Roofing quotes can be crazy.  Here is a story about one of them.

 

We recently met with some homeowners; we'll call them John and Mary.    They know it is time to get their roof replaced and have started the processing of talking to roofing contractors and getting quotes.

Moss growing on roof Moss growing on roof

Each contractor that came to their home gave them a very different experience.

1.  One guy was there two weeks ago and still hasn't given them a price.

2.  Another guy jotted down a number on the back of a business card and told them to call when they were ready.

3.  A third guy asked what the jotted down price was and then gave them a lower bid - verbally.

None of these guys talked to them about the condition of their current roof, the process to replace it or the materials they were quoted.  Even though John and Mary had been at 3 meetings about their roof they had no idea what was included or excluded from the quote.  They never saw any shingle samples, and they certainly didn't pick out a color.  So they felt they were moving forward with the process, but only because of the amount of activity...  not because of the information they had gained.

Enter Steve the Window Guy.   Cartoon come to life!  

 

He does roofs, too!

He started by going up on to their roof so he could really see the current condition of it.   That way, when he talked to John and Mary he could tell them what he saw and how the install of the new roof would eliminate those visible issues.  He even took pictures so he could show them what he was talking about.

Next he went into their attic to look at the insulation.   Having an insulated - and well ventilated attic is key to helping your roof perform.  Not only that, but it also helps to prevent ice dams.

When he sat down at the table with John and Mary he talked about product.  He explained to them why the system of products work together to give them the strongest roof possible.  He pulled out several shingles color samples so they could make a choice.   He talked about warranty.   He explained to them what would happen during the roofing tear off and install.   He was specific about possible issues that could be discovered during the tear off and exactly what would need to happen to repair them.

He was the most thorough, and provided the most piece of mind  to John and Mary.  We'll be starting their roof in a few weeks and we can't wait to show you the pictures of their before and after.

Concerned about your roof?  Contact us today to schedule your free, no obligation estimate. 

You can call us, too  at 612-866-2888. 

 

Cheers!

Melissa Brager

Operations Manager

 

Rain Glass: Obscured Glass Option from Universal Windows Direct

This blog post gives you 4 reasons why you may want to upgrade to Rain Glass.

Rain glass is a beautiful glass upgrade offered by universal Windows Direct, Twin Cities.

When making a replacement window decision for your home you have lots of options available to you.  The question “Do you want any obscured glass” is bound to come up.  If you haven’t thought about it, it can be a tough question to answer.  This blog post will help guide you to decide if rain glass is right for you.

You may want to upgrade to Rain Glass IF.......

  1. The blinds or window treatments on a window are constantly drawn.  It makes sure no one can see in the window, but it also makes sure no light comes in.
  2. You don’t like the look of traditional obscured glass.
  3. You have one of those awesome bathroom windows actually inside the bathtub.  Or worse, your neighbor can see straight into your bathroom.  Day or night.
  4. Your basement windows are too small to really put window treatments on them, but glass block windows just seem too industrial for your taste.

Rain Glass

Rain glass is an obscured glass option, meaning that it allows light to flood into the room, but it does not let you see clearly what is outside.  Perhaps more importantly, it does not allow anyone outside to see directly inside to you.  So if you are sick of having a window that is constantly blocked off, if you are craving light AND privacy in your bathroom, or if you just like the design aspect, rain glass may be for you!

 

 

Steve the Window Guy and Universal Windows Direct offers rain glass upgrades with our exclusive UniShield line of windows.   Curious?  Contact us for a free, no obligation estimate.

Author:  Melissa Brager

 

County Fairs: Universal Windows Direct works the County Fair

Read this blog for a behind the scenes look at Universal Windows Direct working the Anoka County Fair.

It’s a glamorous life. County fairs.

photo 1 (2) The view from my booth today is much the same as it has been every day with one small exception. Today there is a cheese curd sitting in the doorway.

I am fortunate to have a great spot. We are the first booth you can see when you enter the building and our display spreads out across the entire wall. This allows us to display windows, siding, asphalt shingles, steel roofing, entry doors and we even have a little patio door sample here!

During the day I love watching the 4H kids come through here. The wild messy hair, the dirty jeans and the cowboy boots are perfectly accessorized by the pride those kids have and their super confident walks. When a group of kids walks through you can always tell which kid is the 4H kid and which ones are friends and family here for a visit. They just carry themselves differently.

Have you ever been to a county fair?  If you have, I bet you went at night. Or over the weekend. Day times at the fair are slow. People meander. They stroll. They generally look around at what the fair has to offer, then they indulge in a corn dog. Or mini donuts. Well, and cheese curds. Always cheese curds.

I think most people check out the animal buildings. Then they walk through the midway, and then MAYBE… just MAYBE they decide to go into the commercial buildings.(Just to get out of the sun for a minute or two.)  Very seldom do daytime fair people come in to the commercial building with the intent to truly visit with the vendors, to learn about products or to schedule appointments. The meandering county fair crowd is not known for having an agenda.

County Fairs get exciting at night time. That is when they have bands play, the grandstand hosts their festivities and the Midway lights up. The energy is just different. Crowds flood the streets and people want to stay and soak it all in. This includes the commercial buildings. And talking to vendors. And scheduling appointments. Nights and weekends at the fair... that’s where it’s at.

photo 2 (2)As I write this it occurs to me that when you staff a county fair you want to do it in a way that is opposite of how you train a horse. You do not want to “break” your best sales people early. You don't want them to be so bored and hot and burned out from the week that they are worthless all weekend.

Those employees that are the best at working with people and asking for the appointment should only work nights and weekends. For example, Steve the Window Guy will be here Friday night and all day Saturday.  He will burst into this building like a game show contestant  - smiling from ear to ear and clapping.  He will infuse the  building with energy.  That is perfect.  You should really save the boring early week day time hours for other people. Like me.

I love working the slow daytime hours. My typical days look like this. The fair opens at 10am. I walk into the building and set up the booth. I greet the same handful of  people that have been around me all week. We exchange quips about our night. We speculate on the weather. We comment that it is at least 15 muggy degrees warmer in the building than it is outside. We see the other vendors wandering around doing their thing too.

Side note:  If it is 10:20 am and a single man in a polo shirt slowly walks by the booth looking curious he is working at the fair. At another home improvement company. Without exception. They aren’t sneaky.  They are all nosy.    I hope they like our booth. I think it looks amazing.   I like that they notice.

I bring a laptop. Most everyone has their phones, or puzzles or a newspaper or novel to keep them occupied.   The fair has been open for 90 minutes right now and there is only one person in this building. I can get some work done. I am accessible if needed, but I am productive.

Later this afternoon I will wander and find a snack. Maybe a Dole Whip and maybe some Kettle Korn. I promised the girls at Tessie’s Daycare Cotton Candy. A bit of fresh air will do me good. In the meantime, I sit. I hold down the fort.    I am proud that I am keeping my sales guys fresh so when the crowds arrive and the buyers flock in they can work their magic.   We are poised to have a great Fair.

If you are at the fair this year, stop out and say HI.  We'd love to see you! Reporting live from the Anoka County Fair… peace out.

Author: Melissa Brager

My week in review: Universal Windows Direct talks Small Business Ownership

This blog post will give you a small glimpse into what small business ownership has been like for me this week.

Small Business Ownership.  Have you ever wondered what it would be like?  This blog post will give you a small glimpse into what it has been like for me this week.

First of all, I should say I am writing this on a rainy Friday morning.   I am super casual, barefoot in fact, and alone in the office with the latest Cities 97 sampler playing loudly.    On my desk is a large very dark roast from Starbucks and a container of fruit that I picked up at Kowalski’s this morning.  I have the freedom to stop and pick things up for my day, just as I have the freedom to snuggle my little girl for as long as she wants before leaving daycare.   Other parents come and go while I’m there and I let them.  They have bosses, deadlines, meetings and people waiting for them.

I have work.

Enormous, never ending piles of work.

You know when your order a huge salad at a restaurant and you feel like you’ve been eating it forever but it still looks like a full bowl?  That is how my work is.  Effort and result doesn’t impact volume.  It is weird.

Some days I have constant interruptions – the drop everything and do this right now kind of interruptions.  Are you familiar with Covey’s Time Management matrix?  Those are quadrant 4 days.  THE WORST kind of days.   I had 2 of those days this week.

Other days I just give in to the work.  I literally pile it up on my desk and dedicate myself to touching each paper only one time and just doing it.  I don’t care how random the task is or how many programs I have open on my desktop.   I just work on eliminating the pile.   According to Strength finder I am and ACHIEVER.  I need to get something productive done every day to stay in balance.   I had one of those days this week.

Still other days I am alone for the entire day and I have the freedom to jump into a project and give it the real focus and time to do it right, and help it move forward.   The days I get to put plans and ideas into action to help our business move forward are my favorite. They feed my other strengths of STRATEGIC ANALYTICAL and RELATOR.   I also had one of those days this week.

Looking at the last four days, I have at some point or another I have functioned in each of the following roles: • Bookkeeper • Accounts Receivable Rep • Customer Service Rep • Job Estimator • Job Scheduler • Office Manager • Search Engine Marketer • Copyrightertessie office mess • Project Manager • Office Manager • Graphic Designer

I also managed to work one entire day with my 2 year old in the office with me.

Crazy, right?

Once upon a time, in what seems a lifetime ago, worked for a very large company in Human Resources.   I thought I had variety but mostly what I had was a lot of the same.  A tremendous amount of the same.   I was a machine going through the motions.  I was unable to shake the feeling that I was working in an alternate universe.  Within the 4 walls of that building, nothing (and I mean nothing) was actually as important as what people thought.   The urgency that existed from 8-5 (or 6 or 7) was gone when I got to my car.   It seemed the work didn’t matter.   I knew that life wasn’t for me.

I came away from that alternate universe with tools and systems and processes.   Peggy taught me a mess is fine if you can find what you need.  Heather gave me great time management skills like Covey’s matrix and the pink folder daily system.  And Mark taught me the “touch it once” philosophy and encouraged me to track weekly progress against goals.   I use all of these things.   I know that no matter what my week throws at me I can keep this machine moving forward.

Business ownership still contains long days and it does put us in a constant on call situation.  Our nights and weekends are interrupted more often than not.  But the work matters.  We work with our customers making decisions to improve their homes.  We offer products people can afford.  We help them improve curb appeal.  We repair damage.  We keep their homes safe.  We increase the energy efficiency of their homes and we help them lower their heating and cooling bills.

There is no alternate universe here there is only our universe.

And we wouldn’t trade it for anything.

If you have a home improvement project and are looking for a quote on it, call us.  We'd love to meet you.

Author:  Melissa Brager

Famous Wife of Steve The Window Guy

Steve The Window Guy sells more than just windows in MN!

 

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

 

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?
'

  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!

Sliding Glass Patio Doors: Universal WIndows Direct offers Patio Doors

Read about why our Patio Doors are Awesome!

Universal Windows Direct offers Patio Doors Universal Windows Direct offers Patio Doors

Patio Door Month is here!!

I’m not sure how it happens, but one month a year we realize it has become patio door month.

Maybe it's because we drag that beautiful patio door sample out to the big home shows with us.   Maybe it's because with the the first few inches of snow melted comes the promise of summer nights on the deck or lazy Saturdays by the pool.   Cabin fever slowly transitions into Patio Door Fever.   And Universal Windows Direct is here to help.

Our patio doors are awesome.    Fusion welded frames and sashes mean the door is strong, it is solid on the corners and it is square.   If you’ve ever tried to open or close a patio door that wasn’t square you can really appreciate that statement.

The doors come standard with a 7/8” glass insulating cavity with  argon gas and of course they have the super spacer.   When you have a space that large covered in glass in your home, the last thing you  need is a metal or aluminum spacer pulling all that cold air into your living space.   In addition we offer the stainless steel rollers on the bottom so the operation is smooth and effortless.   (No muscle needed).

Sliding Glass Doors are meant to be open in the summer, right?  So that screen door is included as part of the door.   It is ridiculous to us that it is an add on option with some companies!    Have pets?  No problem.  You can choose to upgrade to the pet screen which is stronger and more resistant to the wear and tear of pets

Do you want your new door to be bright white?   Do you like a softer tan or do you prefer a deep chocolate brown?   None of those?  How about a wood grain?  How about a maintenance free vinyl wood grain in a dark oak, light oak or a cherry?   Are we getting closer?

Finally, lets not be afraid to jazz up that door a bit with grids or an etched glass pattern.  The etched arch in our show sample is always a hit, but I am partial to the etched prairie view grids.  If you've ever found yourself at the cabin stitching red yard stick figures into your screen, you might prefer the etched glass too!

As with all of our UniShield products, our sliding glass patio doors carry a double lifetime warranty.    Let this be the last time you ever replace that patio door.   Contact us today for a free quote.   We’ll send an awesome sales guy right out to you.  =)

Cheers.  Enjoy the spring!  Summer is right around the corner.

Author:  Melissa Brager

Related Posts

Exterior Options for your Window or Door Project

Patio Door Options

Steve the Window Guy

 

 

 

 

Nobody wants to call a Window Guy: Why Universal Windows Direct is different.

Steve the Window Guy isn't your normal window guy.

 

Steve The Window Guy sells more than just windows in MN! Steve The Window Guy sells more than just windows in MN!

I know what you’re thinking.  

“Hmmmpf.   I need new windows.  But I will do anything possible to avoid having a window guy come into my home to give a quote.   Those guys give me the creeps.”

You’re right, actually.  “Window guys” ,  in fact contractors in general,  don’t have the reputation for being stand up guys.   They don’t typically exude cleanliness, professionalism or service.   It is a rough reputation that the good guys work to overcome every single day.

You can have a good experience with a window guy.

Selling windows (siding, doors and roofing) is a wild life.   It takes me away from my family most evenings and many weekends.   My time is important to me.  I love my family.  I wouldn’t risk being away from them only to waste your time and your family time.  

When you invite me into your home, my goal is simple.  I want you to be as excited about my company and products as I am.   I will Share stories with you about my company and why it means so much to me.   I do this because I know you need to feel comfortable with Twin CIties Homeowners replace windows, siding and roofing with Steve the WIndow Guythe company before anything else happens.   

Next, I’ll show you our products and why I have dedicated my life to stand behind them.  I didn’t make the decision lightly and I don’t expect you to either.   

Did you know that most guys won’t even bring a sample into your home?  

After that comes the fun part.  We discuss your project.  What is your dream scenario?   Is it all the windows or just a few?     Do you have a patio door that is worthless?  Have you been secretly hoping you could afford the front door?  Are you wishing the siding could be next?  How is that roof holding up?    Are we talking need or want?  Are we driven by curb appeal, energy savings or are we strictly working with a budget?   Do you like to do all cash or is financing appealing to you?   What colors are we talking about?  What options?    As you can see there is a lot of information that needs to be covered, and that is why I like both homeowners, or both decision makers to be available at the appointment. 

Did you know that lots of sales people s don’t even ask what you’re thinking about?

With the information you have given me, I will price out your project.  And I will ask for your business.  After all, this is how I make my living.  I’m not going to spend the evening talking to you without asking for your business.    But guess what?  I’m also not going to bully you into doing business with me.   We’re going to be friends by the time we leave. You’re going to want me doing the work. 

You’ve heard the horror stories of the 4 hour sales pitch. 

My job is to help you make your decision.  Not to convince you to accept mine.     To get started today with a free, no obligation estimate on windows, siding, doors or roofing, contact us today or call us at (612)866-2888

 

 Author:  Steve Brager

 

 

 

Roofing & Siding Contractor: Universal Windows Direct Replaces Siding and Roofing in MN

Steve the Window Guy replaces Siding and Roofing Too! Check out our TV Commercial!

Steve the Window Guy replaces roofs and siding, too!

This morning our TV Commercials started to air on WCCO!    If you are one of those "turn on the TV and catch the news while you get ready for work and eat breakfast" kind of people, then you'll see the ads.   Are you one of those people?

Some people have been surprised that our ad focuses on Roofing and Siding, instead of just windows.   Steve the Window Guy is passionate working with homeowners to replace Twin CIties Homeowners replace windows, siding and roofing with Steve the WIndow Guyold, drafty, moldy, replacement windows.   After all, windows are an extremely common home improvement.  Especially with our viciously cold winters.  But guess what?   After winter is over it very quickly turns into storm season in MN.    Hail and high winds can cause havoc on your existing shingles and siding.   We can help.  No matter what you need, Steve the Window Guy can help.

We've transformed some amazing homes in the Twin Cities with steel siding, Fiber Cement Siding, and of course, Vinyl Siding.   The insulated backed vinyl siding in extended lengths simply cannot be beat in terms of rigidity, ease of install, strength and reduction of seams.   Honestly,  You have to see it to believe it.

Roofing Contractor in Twin CitiesLast fall we were proud to be named an Owens Corning Preferred Contractor for Roofing.   It wasn't easy.  They checked our BBB profile for complaints  (there aren't any).  They checked our Angie's List reviews  (Super Service Award Winners again in 2013!), they checked our bank, our creditors, our customers and our suppliers for references.   They even checked our current license, insurance coverage and number of years doing business under the same name to make sure we were the kind of company they felt putting their stamp of approval behind.

We are a local roofing company.   We are a family business.   We work with the Owens Corning System of Roofing Components to give you the strongest roof for the best protection for your family..   And Owens Corning backs it up with a 50 year warranty.  50 years.  You heard that right.

So Steve the Window Guy can also be your Siding Guy or your Roofing Guy.   It doesn't matter what your home improvement project is, we can help you out.   And, for a limited time, we'll give you $1000 off your roofing or siding job.   Contact us Today!

Author:  Melissa Brager

 

 

Steve the WIndow Guy films TV Commercial

Join us for a behind the scenes look at the filming of Steve's TV Commercial

 Steve the  Window Guy will soon be on TV!

Imagine this.   It’s 5:00 in the morning.   You wake up, shower, and then wander into the kitchen for your morning coffee.    You turn  on WCCO to get the morning news and some insight into the weather.    You slowly sip your coffee and zone out at the TV.  Then,   all of a sudden, BAM!!   Steve the Window Guy.  He is there on screen, in your face, and exuding WAY MORE enthusiasm than any human should really have at that hour of the morning.  

  Steve The Window Guy

 Sounds great, doesn’t it?

 The decision to go on TV wasn’t an easy one.    We wanted to make sure when we did it, we did it right.   We are results people.    We will be on TV for a year.   We will change our messages, but Steve the Window Guy will be a constant visitor in the homes of people throughout the Twin Cities during their morning routine.   Get used to it.  Make him your friend.  You’re going to love him.

Our whole team is amazing.   From our marketing agency to the camera guy, to our WCCO account rep to our producer…. Everyone was awesome and positive, and super professional.    Here is how the day went:

Our studio time was at 10:00am.   Steve and I met ALO (our agency rep) at WCCO studios downtown.  We scored some on street parking in our window-mobile and were buzzed in to the reception area.    We were then treated to WCCO visitor badges and ushered into the cozy waiting room.   We spent the next 10 minutes tightening up our ad copy and running through the storyboard.   

When the filming space was ready we got the quick tour on the way up there.   First we saw the Newsroom  (SO COOL), then the actual News set (WAY COOLER) and then our space (THE COOLEST).   We met our camera guy and producer, and then I stepped to the side to powder Steve’s nose. 

 Steve the Window Guy talks about RoofingWe taped on the green screen so luckily we didn’t wear green.  (HA HA)

Steve stepped in front of the camera and was a total natural.   I know it was nerveracking.  He just stood there and delivered his lines and smiled that big goofy smile that he is known for.  It was awesome!

Steve the Window Guy talks about Siding

 

 

We had multiple takes that were so good they could be used.  It felt so good to know that we’d end up with a great commercial that represented him so well.  After all, if Steve the Window Guy is coming out to your house, you really want to know what to expect, right?

 

Feeling much more calm on our second pass through the TV set we hopped up on the anchor’s chairs for a photo op.  I’m not ashamed to say that I needed help getting up on my chair.  It was super high and the wheels looked serious.  I was afraid the chair was going to roll away and leave me in a crumpled mess on the floor!   Here we are.  Hamming it up.

at desk

Our last stop in the magical TV tour was the Rooftop Space.  AMAZING.   We live in the most beautiful city.  

WCCO Rooftopmpls view

Our commercial will start airing on Monday, May 12 in the 4:30am – 9am time slot.   We can’t wait for you to see it.  When you do, drop us a line and let us know what you think!

Author:  Melissa Brager

Contact us for more information at 612-866-2888

 

 

 

 

Radio!: Steve the Window Guy records radio spots!

Steve the Window Guy recorded his first radio spots this morning. Read this blog for a behind the scenes look!

Steve The Window Guy

 

Radio.   Radio!  RADIO!!!   (So many ways you can say it!)   We are taking the plunge into radio advertising!  After talking and planning and writing ad copy for the last few weeks today was the big day and we recorded our spots!

We were both nervous but the kind of nervous where you don’t talk about it – you just both know it is there.    The morning was busy as we got our peanut dropped off at Primrose, we got the installers going, met a contractor who was placing an order, sent in payroll and generally tried to get our desks in order.   By 9:15 we were on our way!

radio recording 2We recorded at Clear Channel Studios in St Louis Park.   From the minute the elevator doors opened we knew we were in a creative space!  Shiny stainless steel looking floors, bright colors and lots of pictures were everywhere!   We got there early, of course, so we were treated to a wonderful conversation with a studio exec who was so warm and positive and genuine that all of our nerves melted away on the spot.

He gave us the quick tour of the offices where we went into the very very cool Studio C and we were able to catch a glimpse of KDWB, KFAN and K102 recording their shows.   We popped in quick to meet Lee Valsvick and we ran into Keri Noble and Adam West in the hallways.     If radio personalities you hear all the time can be normal people in jeans and a cozy hoodie then what could we possibly be worried about, right?Steve The Window GUy

By the time we entered our studio to record we were ready!   Both our marketing guru Loni and the sound genius Dave  made it really easy to get a finished product we are excited about.   Doesn't Steve look professional?

 

Steve might say it wasn’t really easy, but no one gets it perfect the first time.  We recorded the same words and the same phrases about one hundred times.  We edited copy on the spot, we swapped our phrases, we re-ordered things, and we recorded until it was perfect.

Do you wish you were a fly on the wall?  Click here for a  quick taste:  Steve the Window Guy Recording In Action

Literally one hour later we walked out with 2 completed 15 second spots.  It felt incredibly productive and wonderful.

Our spots will be running on KFAN and on MYTALK 107.1 starting next week in the 6-9am slots.  Tune in on your way to work and when you hear our ads tell us.   Write on our Facebook Page and tell us what you think.  WE hope you love them as much as we do!

Meanwhile, if you or someone you know is in the market for windows, siding, doors or roofing, contact us for a free quote!   I’ll send Steve The Window Guy out to your home and you’ll have a blast!

 

Author: Melissa Brager

Operations Manager, Universal Windows Direct

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home Shows: Steve the Window Guy Closes out Spring Home Shows

This blog gives a behind the scenes look at our life working home shows!

We survived.

The spring home show season for 2014 is officially over for us.

show staff Some companies hire a staff of people who do nothing but work shows.   We chose not to do that.   Steve, Zach and I work most of them.   We prefer to have people in our booth who know the product and can have an intelligent conversation with you.    Zach, Dave, Joe, Sarah and Mike are all people we adore both personally and professionally.    They are smart.  They are helpful.  They are knowledgeable.  They are good people and we trusted them to represent our company.   Having that level of trust made those big huge long shows very successful for us.   More importantly, their help meant we didn't have to be there every minute.

Home shows are a lot of hours.  Still, they are the best way to get our name out to the local communities.      Are they the only way for us to personally connect with homeowners and potential customers?  YES!   Are they hands down the best way for a prospective customer to see the quality of our replacement windows and doors while comparing to the competition?  ABSOLUTELY!

But is working a home show every weekend easy?  NO!

While everyone else is winding down their Friday and calculating how much longer they have to pretend to work before Happy Hour , we are just getting started.  We are loading the truck.  We are printing our move-in instructions.  We are gambling with rush hour traffic; trying to get a bit more done in the office before we go set up.

sarah showHave you ever seen a home show get set up?  It’s like one of those little Chinese puzzles we used to get as kids at birthday parties.  Everyone is jockeying for a spot by the door.  Everyone is frantically unloading their stuff and dumping it into their booth so they can move the truck and the next guy can get in.  It isn’t a calm process.

Then, once all of our displays are inside we arrange the booth.   Do you think the booth would be easy to arrange every time?  It isn’t!   We have different set ups every single time based on the location and size of the booth, the number of corners the booth has, whether or not we’re on the end, and even what show it is.     This means once everything is unloaded we do the whole scratching our head thing and start moving stuff until it feels right.    (Not unlike when we moved into our home trying to decide the best spot for the sofa!)

We do our best.  We make a list of what we forgot, and we head home.  Do we stop for ice cream?  Yes.  Most days.

If we are both working, the “show prep” continues with prepping the babysitter for the next day.   We try to clean the house so we don’t look like total slobs.   We try to make sure there is food for the sitter and for the baby… and we usually do an okay job at it.      Just like that our Friday night is shot.

Saturday Mornings are crazy.  We are busy getting up and ready to go.  We need a big breakfast.  We need to pack a lunch.  We spend what time we can with our daughter.   We greet the babysitter and give her last minute instructions, then we race off to buy the caffeine we’ll need for the day and then race to the show.    Often we stop at the office to grab something.   More often then I’d like to admit, we stop at the grocery store to buy food for lunch.   And a doughnut.   (our nutrition suffers). Doughnut

By the time the show opens we are ready to go and we work.   We talk to hundreds of people every day.  We demo our replacement windows.  We show the quality of our steel and fiberglass entry doors.    We talk about the benefit of being a preferred contractor with Owens Corning for our roofing.   We talk until we cannot talk any more.  Then we ride home in silence.   Exhausted.

The next day we repeat the whole routine..  with the added bonus of tear down.    At the end of the show we tear it all down, pack it all up, re-load the truck, jockey for loading space in the back of the show space and then take it all home.  And unload it all back in to the warehouse.   Sunday night is usually a late night.

Then on Monday morning the week starts all over again.   The phone keeps ringing, orders keep getting placed, jobs keep getting installed, and our sales guys keep running appointments.   We look ahead to the next weekend and what we need to do to get ready.

For us, home show season starts at the end of January and goes until mid-April.   We have a few weekends off, but for the most part we are working every weekend.  It is necessary.  It is beneficial.  It is tiring.  It is exhausting.

weides at the home showIf you talked to us at a show this year, thank you very much.     We appreciate your time and consideration.    We love our company.   We believe in our products and we strive to do the best possible job for you and your family.

Next weekend we have a weekend.   This is going to feel new to us.  And it is going to feel so very  GOOD.   I can’t wait.

Meanwhile, if you or someone you know is in the market for replacement windows,  doors, siding or roofing, please contact us for a free quote.

Steve The Window Guy sells more than just windows in MN! Steve The Window Guy sells more than just windows in MN!

Author:  Melissa Brager

Related Articles:

Why you should go to a Home Show

Tips for Visiting Companies at a Home Shows

Finding a Contractor you can trust

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now Hiring: Universal WIndows Direct is Hiring!

Job Fair participants will be interviewed for positions that interest them. So if you are motivated, excited to work and eager for a new opportunity... tell us. Where do you want to work?

universal windows direct mnUniversal Windows Direct is excited to announce a hiring job fair this Tuesday, February 4, 2014.   Job Fair participants will be interviewed for positions that interest them.   So if you are motivated, excited to work and eager for a new opportunity... tell us.    Where do you want to work?

Inside homes:  Selling products.  Running in home sales appointments to educate homeowners on our products, talk to them about their home improvement needs and sell them what they are looking for.   Must be able to learn and execute a proven selling system.

In the public:  Starting conversations with strangers.   Approaching people you don’t know.   Asking them questions.  Listening.   Talking to them about our company and our products.   Asking them to schedule an in home estimate.  Must be willing and ready to take rejection.

On the phone:  Contacting our customers on the phone to schedule appointments.  Confirming appointments.   Rescheduling appointments.  Reaching out to share new products with them.   May include calling to set appointments with people who have given us their information online or in our booth at home shows.

Outside homes: Installing products.   Talking with homeowners at the beginning of the install, or as surprises emerge during the install.  Focusing your time on removing and replacing their windows, doors, patio doors, siding or roofing.   Must be skilled at problem solving and be someone who is truly proud of a job well done.

Reserve your interview time today by calling Melissa at 612-866-2888  or contact us through our website.   Walk in attendees are welcome.

Tour our new office and meet Steve the Window Guy!

Steve The Window Guy sells more than just windows in MN! Steve The Window Guy sells more than just windows in MN!