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Minneapolis / St. Paul, Minnesota

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Call Us At 763-316-4270

Aluminum vs. Vinyl siding

Vinyl siding

Vinyl siding (usually composed of PVC resin) is the most common type of siding used in the North American continent today.  In fact, more and more homes are both being built and repaired with this type of siding all over USA. However, it was not always so and the rise in popularity of this type of siding is due to a variety of reasons mentioned below:

· Less expensive than other comparable siding systems

Vinyl siding is markedly less expensive than many other types of siding available in the market today. And that also includes Aluminum siding as well. However, this is more of a generalization since a few top notch companies offer their products at a premium well about the prevailing market rates.

· Insulation properties

Vinyl has been tailor made to offer vastly superior insulation properties than its other natural or alloy counterparts, which is why it is more popular in regions that suffer from extreme climatic conditions.

· Higher energy efficiency

Vinyl siding’s great insulation abilities mean that it is able to retain residual heat in your home a lot longer than other types of wall sidings. This way you don’t have to keep the thermostat high all the time and can even switch it off from time to time, thus increasing not just energy efficiency but also leading to lower fuel bills in the long run.

· Thickness

Vinyl can be made as thick as desired and that is why during storms and other violent weather outbreaks, it is a better protector than many other types of thinner sidings.

· More durable

Vinyl siding is a synthetic product and is therefore far more durable than many natural sidings or even alloys such as Aluminum. It also requires less maintenance than many of its other counterparts.

· Vinyl siding paint colors

A key benefit of Vinyl siding is that it’s coloring system is completely different from other types of sidings.  Unlike conventional sidings, the color is not an ‘add on’ that is sprayed on the surface of the siding once it has been finished, but it is an integral part of the vinyl siding itself  and basically is allowed to seep into the material.  This is why vinyl siding never requires a fresh coat of paint, it would be a pointless exercise since the paint will never bind itself to the surface and would simply drip off in big blotches.

Aluminum siding

However, that does not mean that aluminum siding should be consigned to the dustbin of history just yet. While it is true that it’s synthetic cousin i.e. Vinyl siding has been very popular but nevertheless aluminum siding is also making a steady comeback due to the many advantages associated with it. In fact, back in the thirties when it was first introduced, aluminum had dislodged wood siding as the premier wall siding preference in the country.

· The evolution of technology

Thanks to the steady evolution of siding technology, the aluminum siding available these days is as different from its ancestors as chalk is from cheese. It is considerably more durable as well as being more aesthetically appealing.

· Availability of Premium grades

The purveyors of top end aluminum siding offer aesthetically appealing as well as very durable paint jobs that have been designed to offer great functionality for many years to come.

· Greater heat resistant

This is of great importance in warmer and more temperate regions since aluminum siding’s legendary resistance to heat means your home remains noticeably cooler and as such you don’t have to pay higher electricity bills courtesy prolonged usage of your air conditioner.


Evergreen Double Hung Windows

Double hung windows are as uniquely American as baseball and apple pie. In fact, they are widely considered to be the most common type of windows found all over the USA .

The dividers present on these windows are called ‘Muntins.’  As far as opening this type of window is concerned, there are different modes of operation depending on owner preferences. Some double hung windows are actually a form of ‘sliding windows,’ but unlike most slider windows, they are not operated horizontally, but rather slide up and down on oiled tracks. Alternately, the casement version of these windows is also opened vertically, due to the vertical casements present in these windows. With the passage of time, technology also improved and now many such windows are also available with spring loaded catches so that they can be opened and shut more conveniently.

Some of the advantages of Double Hung Windows include:

· Easily cleaned

Cleaning and maintaining your typical single hung window is not the easiest of prepositions since an opened window makes cleaning its outer pane an awkward operation at best. However, a double hung window is far easier to clean than many other window types, because both its upper and lower panes can be opened for both ease of operation as well as maintenance. The sash (that part of the frame that actually holds the glass pane) is quite conveniently placed on the lower part of the window so as to make opening and shutting the window as easy as it can get.

· Superb ventilation properties

One of the key factors that have served to make these arguably the most popular type of windows available is their unique ability to offer exceptional ventilation in any room they are installed in.  All warm air rises upwards, while cold air due to its greater density tends to be heavier. This is why all that is needed to eliminate stuffiness in a room is to open both the upper and lower portions of the windows simultaneously. This way the colder air from outside would be able to get in while the warmer air would seep out leaving your room cooler than before while being properly ventilated.

· Lower electricity bills

The cooler the room, the lesser the need to switch on your air conditioner, thus lowering the overall energy bills of your household.

· Low chance of accidents

Unlike casement or bay windows double hung windows do not open outwards or inwards, which means it would not be easy to blunder into an opened window in case of a power outrage in the middle of the night.

· Energy efficient design

Double Hung Windows, by their very nature have been created to let in the maximum amount of sunlight possible. Moreover, their ventilation properties in summer help curb runaway energy bills while a multi-layered double hung window in winter can easily trap residual heat and so help keep the room warmer.

· Aesthetically appealing

Such windows are not merely functional but also aesthetically appealing as well and give an old world traditional look to your home.


Double Pane Windows: Because two Panes are better than one

Double pane windows are a unique window systems. Unlike conventional slider or casement windows, they are equipped with not one but two glass panes.) Both of these glass panes are separated by a small space that has been deliberately created, either as a form of vacuum or it is filled with some sort of non-combustible gas.  This duel glass and vacuum system offers an excellent means of retaining heat in areas with very cold winters. The ‘Storm Window’ is also usually a double pane window system.

Storm windows are typically mounted on the main or primary windows both as a form of protection against the elements such as violent snow storms as well as to provide an additional level of heat insulation in regions where temperatures drop to very low levels.

Benefits of double pane windows:

1. Lower energy bills

A typical double pane window has been created in such a way that it can trap a lot of heat in the room in which it is located. More residual heat means lesser energy bills as the thermostat would not have to be set high all the time. In fact, savings of up to 50% have been recorded with double pane windows.

2. Lesser environmental footprint

A key benefit of installing double pane windows is that they are inherently more environment friendly as compared to their single pane counterparts. This is because their usage is characterized by lesser energy consumption courtesy their excellent insulation properties. Lower consumption of fossil fuel means not just lower fuel bills, but also lesser emissions in the long run since CO2 and other harmful gases and smoke are natural by products of fossil fuel consumption.

3. Helps decrease sound pollution

Double pane glass sheets dampen ambient noise a lot better than single pane windows. This is because the duel layers of glass coupled with the vacuum in between them make the passage of sound waves a lot more difficult, thus succeeding in cutting down overall sound pollution.

 The various components of Double Pane Windows include:

· Glass

This is the single most important component of any double pane window system. The two sheets of glass that constitute such windows are typically at least 6 millimeter thick and are available in full clear options or different hues and tints as per the personal preferences of the home owner.  In areas where sunlight is at a premium both the glasses are completely clear while a degree of opacity might be used to either keep out excess light or protect the privacy of the inhabitants of the house. The glass in double pane windows has been extra hardened so that it does not crack due to extremes of temperature. Moreover, it is also able to withstand violent snow and hailstorms without cracking.

· Spacers

The spacer installed in double pane windows is done so only after it has been determined as to what space is required for optimum utilization of the window’s heat retention properties.

· Frames

Double pane windows are heavy, which is why they require sturdy frames.  While both wood and metal frames may be used, the most common frame material tends to be fiberglass due to its ability to hold up heavy weights without losing structural integrity with the passage of time.


Different types of new windows

So, you are in the market for a set of new windows for your favorite room at home? There is a vast array out there to choose from and you have near endless choices of styles, designs as well as construction materials. Once you have decided as to what material you will require for your new window, you will have to decide what kind of window you want based on its purpose as well as the utility it brings to the room in which it is to be installed.

Various types of new windows

· French windows

They were very popular in the 19th century in Europe and indeed many a romantic novel of that era contained elaborate descriptions of such windows as well as the rooms in which they had been installed. These days they are making a comeback of sorts not just in Europe but the USA as well.  Typically ‘French Windows” are located on the ground floor of a house and open to a garden. They usually open in the middle and extend from floor to ceiling or at least to the floor. They are often used as a means of both egress and ingress from the property

· Picture window

A picture window is different from almost all other kinds of windows in the sense that it is permanently closed and as such cannot be opened at all.  As the term implies, it is used in much the same way as a sort of ‘picture frame’ and indeed, just like a conventional picture, it is installed only to provide a view. Such windows are always installed on external walls and many of them have a layered coating on their glass surface that is used to make them ‘one way’ instead of ‘see though’ so as to protect the privacy of the inhabitants of that house.

· Egress Windows

When it comes to installing new windows, especially in your home than ‘egress windows’ should be part of any long term home renovation plan that you may devise for your property.

This is because egress windows are primarily safety features and serve much the same purpose as conventional fire exits. I.e. they are basically emergency exists that help you and your family leave your property quickly and easily should such a need arise.  In case storm damage has created short circuits leading to the risk of electrocution, such a window would come in very handy indeed.

· Bay windows

Like their French brethren, these are a very English design dating back to the reign of Queen Victoria and the British Empire, back in the 1800s.  They are arguably one of the most elegant designs ever invented since people commenced building houses.  They not only offer a panoramic view of the outside world but do it with flair to boot. These windows are typically structured around a main pane that has two other panes on both its sides.  The other two panes are located at a forty-five-degree angle from the main window pane.


The Key advantages of Vinly Siding

Vinyl siding walls were introduced in the United States some 60 years ago. The initial period of their invention were a relatively lean period for the industry as a whole, due to the fact that the technology required to sustain them had quite simply not caught up with the new product per se. Anything from harsh sunlight to prolonged exposure to storms and winds had a negative effect on such sidings.  After a period of time of being exposed to the external environment, these sidings ‘gave up the ghost’ so to speak and started sagging or developed cracks, which is why Aluminum sidings continued to rule the roost. But the manufacturers of vinyl sidings continued till they eventually persevered and their products became increasingly popular not just all over the country, but the entire continent.

Following are a few advantages that vinyl siding gives to home owners:

· Extensive availability

Modern vinyl is essentially a synthetic product that has been manufactured with various commonly available chemicals which in turn, are essentially derivatives of chlorine salts and ethylene and as such there is no dearth of raw materials where vinyl siding is concerned. So there is neither any shortage nor black marketing of these chemicals and that is one of they key reasons why vinyl siding is commonly available nation wide.

· Recyclable properties

The different types of vinyl sidings can be recycled and put to different uses even after they have been disposed off, this decreases their overall ecological footprint and makes them more environmentally friendly than many of their counterparts.

· Greater resistance from elemental outrages

One of the best things about vinyl siding is that it has been created keeping in mind strong resistance from any furies that nature may unleash on the unwary home owner. From hailstorms to heavy rainfall to snow, from high winds to harsh sunlight, vinyl Siding has chalked up a justifiable reputation in combating the vagrancies of the weather. In other words it is far superior to other sidings when it comes to violent weather patterns and does not require as much of extensive repair after storm damage as many other kinds of sidings.

So much so, that it is the number one choice for many residents of rural locales in areas where violent storms are the norm rather than the exception.

· Greater safety from fire hazards

When it comes to choosing a wall siding option that is more resistant to fire than any other type around, vinyl siding is the winner. They have high fire safety ratings and indeed many a vinyl siding company has been in compliance with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) regulations regarding fire safety.

· A bewildering array of textures and designs

Vinyl siding unlike many of its counterparts is available in a huge variety of textures, designs as well as color options. In fact, vinyl colors do not require fresh coats at periodic intervals since the paint is part of the manufacturing process, thus enabling them to last  far longer that many other type of sidings.


Casement Windows and their many uses

A casement window is quite different from other windows in the sense that it has the capability of swinging outwards on a side hinge that is firmly anchored into the wall. Many casement windows being constructed these days however have more than one hinges.

A typical casement window is usually equipped with a certain type of sash that almost always opens in a ‘horizontal’ rather than ‘vertical direction.’ This type of sash is placed directly across to the hinged section of the window rather than on top of it.

This is done to help ensure that there is a constant stream of air into your home, office or any other personal space where you may have installed the casement window.

These types of windows can be installed as individual units, however they are far more common as a paired set, or in case they cover a full wall as a set of four windows with each pair facing each other.  A full set of wall to wall casement windows helps ensure that the airflow is maximized.

Moreover, such a set also allows maximum sunlight in your room thereby helping you utilize natural rather than artificial light in your home. In the long run, it helps save you money on not only air conditioning but also light fixture usage as well. This effectively means smaller electricity bills as well as electronic items replacement and service costs.

However, for a casement window to remain open without crashing closed at periodic intervals during a storm, (or a stiff breeze for that matter) it is necessary that some sort of locking mechanism firmly secures it in its open position.  Such mechanisms do exist and they are called “Casement Stays.”

Various Types of Casement Window Stays

Adjustable casement stays

The vast majority of casement stays simply consist of a slab of iron or steel that is fixed to the frame of the window.  This slab of metal has multiple perforations drilled into it. As the window is opened, the   desired angle at which it is to be secured is achieved by the simple expedient of dropping the latch on to the protruding bar of metal fixed on to the wall on which the window has been placed, as long as there is a corresponding perforation on the stay.

Fixed casement stays

These stays are mounted on the wall itself rather than the frame of the window. They are in the form of a hook that latches on to a hole placed in the window frame. These types of stays are designed to keep the window open only at a specific angle and as such are not adjustable.

Dead bolts

A dead bolt is fixed either to the top or the bottom of the window and once its slides home in its slot on the wall, the window is securely fastened and cannot be opened regardless of how inclement the weather outside may be.

Conclusion

Casement windows tend to offer far better ventilation than most other types of windows. This is why they enjoy widespread popularity not just in the USA but also other countries all over the world thanks to the inherent advantages they bring to any room where they are installed.


The Advantages of Slider Windows

Slider windows are a relatively new invention when compared to the usual run of the mill windows used in occidental countries since the medieval times.  Unlike French windows or bay windows that require hinges and casements to open, Slider windows remain on their axis and move only horizontally on well-oiled tracks or ‘cantilevers.’ This ability makes them unique from most other types of windows and also allows them to be highly efficient when it comes to offering external light as well as improving overall ventilation in a room.  They have a many advantages over their more conventional counter parts, these include:

· Less requirement for repainting

Unlike windows that swing outward when they are opened a slider window simply remains in the same place and is thereby not exposed to the rigors of a harsh environment. This way it is able to retain its finishing a lot longer then outward swinging windows such as casement windows, bay windows or French windows.

· Low maintenance requirements

The Slider windows’ ability to remain unexposed to the external environment means that the remain safe from the  usual issues with conventional windows such as rust, fading of polish and paint as well as corrosion from the elements (for metal frames) and rotting and warping ( in the case of wooden frames)  because  Slider windows do not swing outwards. All that Slider windows ask for in terms of maintenance is a few drops of lubricant in their cantilever system or their tracks for them to give optimal performance year in year out.

· Slider window equipped homes exude a more modernistic feel

Sliders, unlike their comparatively more archaic counterparts, exude a sense of modernity. This is because apart from oriental Japan, such windows were not very common in the west, where buildings and structures had been dominated by regular outwards swinging windows since time immemorial.

· Highly energy efficient design

Slider windows are usually far more energy efficient than many other types and designs available in the country today.  This is because if they have been set correctly and insulated properly than they can easily outshine most other categories of windows available. They also provide excellent external noise dampening qualities.

· Sliders make ventilation easier

Buying a slider window is a good idea if you live in an area where the prevailing climate is quite hot. This is because in the case of vertical sliders, once both the panes are opened, hot air escapes the room while cold air seeps in from outside. So that circulation and airflow remain constant irrespective of ambient temperature.

· They provide a better outside view

Sliding windows tend to be larger than most of their counterparts, such as Barring bay windows. Moreover, they do not provide any obstruction to the view and as such offer panoramic views that may be comparable only to dedicated ‘picture windows.’


Double Hung Windows

There is something quintessentially American about double hung windows. Perhaps that is why they are the most popular type of windows in the United States.  They have dividers that are often referred to as ‘Muntins’. Some of them slide up and down while others may be opened via vertical casements. These days, many of double hung windows are available with spring loaded catches for ease of operation.

Some of the advantages of Double Hung Windows include

Ease of maintenance

Cleaning the inside and outside portions of a single hung window is an arduous task at best. On the other hand, double hung windows are considerably easier to clean than their single pane counterparts since both upper and lower sections can easily be opened for ease of maintenance.  The sash (the frame part that actually holds the glass) is located at the bottom which further simplifies the maintenance of the window.

Excellent ventilation properties

This is the primary reason behind their surging popularity.  Warm air rises, while cold air is denser.  To create natural air conditioning, you may simply open the upper portion, thus allowing the warm air to escape while also opening the lower portion simultaneously to ensure cold air gets in. This would ensure that your room is not only well ventilated but also noticeably cooler as well thus leading to great savings on air conditioning expenses.

Ease of operation

Unlike their casement and awning counterparts, they don’t protrude outwards nor do they swing inwards, so there is very little likelihood of someone crashing into one in the dark. Moreover, they are also excellent anti-burglary devices since any would be intruder would have a really hard time breaking in.

Energy efficient design

Double Hung Windows are designed to maximize the amount of sunlight in a room.  Couple a double hung window with a gas-filled layer of glass and it would be able to trap in residual heat and thus save on heating energy costs.

Aesthetic appeal

These windows are very pretty to look at and give a traditional look to every house in which they have been installed. A double hung window equipped house would be sure to stand out amongst is neighbors from both outside as well as inside.

Versatility

Such windows are extremely adaptable to their surrounding furniture and décor and as such are routinely available in a wide range of colors, sizes, styles, and materials, effectively making them an excellent choice for any house, office or any other type of personal space.

Different types of construction materials

These windows may be constructed of fiberglass, wood, and different types of metal such as iron and aluminum and can be painted or polished to virtually any style that you may desire.


The Evergreen Double Hung Windows

Double hung windows are as uniquely American as baseball and apple pie. In fact, they are widely considered to be the most common type of windows found all over the USA .

The dividers present on these windows are called ‘Muntins.’  As far as opening this type of window is concerned, there are different modes of operation depending on owner preferences. Some double hung windows are actually a form of ‘sliding windows,’ but unlike most slider windows, they are not operated horizontally, but rather slide up and down on oiled tracks. Alternately, the casement version of these windows is also opened vertically, due to the vertical casements present in these windows. With the passage of time, technology also improved and now many such windows are also available with spring loaded catches so that they can be opened and shut more conveniently.

Some of the advantages of Double Hung Windows include:

· Easily cleaned

Cleaning and maintaining your typical single hung window is not the easiest of prepositions since an opened window makes cleaning its outer pane an awkward operation at best. However, a double hung window is far easier to clean than many other window types, because both its upper and lower panes can be opened for both ease of operation as well as maintenance. The sash (that part of the frame that actually holds the glass pane) is quite conveniently placed on the lower part of the window so as to make opening and shutting the window as easy as it can get.

· Superb ventilation properties

One of the key factors that have served to make these arguably the most popular type of windows available is their unique ability to offer exceptional ventilation in any room they are installed in.  All warm air rises upwards, while cold air due to its greater density tends to be heavier. This is why all that is needed to eliminate stuffiness in a room is to open both the upper and lower portions of the windows simultaneously. This way the colder air from outside would be able to get in while the warmer air would seep out leaving your room cooler than before while being properly ventilated.

· Lower electricity bills

The cooler the room, the lesser the need to switch on your air conditioner, thus lowering the overall energy bills of your household.

· Low chance of accidents

Unlike casement or bay windows double hung windows do not open outwards or inwards, which means it would not be easy to blunder into an opened window in case of a power outage in the middle of the night.

· Energy efficient design

Double Hung Windows, by their very nature have been created to let in the maximum amount of sunlight possible. Moreover, their ventilation properties in summer help curb runaway energy bills while a multi-layered double hung window in winter can easily trap residual heat and so help keep the room warmer.

· Aesthetically appealing

Such windows are not merely functional but also aesthetically appealing as well and give an old world traditional look to your home.


The Different Types of Patio Doors Available Today

When it comes to of patio doors, one is automatically reminded of elegant homes in old-fashioned Hollywood movies.  In fact, such doors have always been portrayed as an endemic element of the ‘lifestyles of the rich and famous’.  However, that is not the case anymore since an increasing number people are now installing the same in their homes so as to acquire that distinctive touch of both elegance and class.

· Pivot Doors

This is the most common type of patio doors around. It is also colloquially referred to as a ‘pivot door.’ The name actually describes its central property.  I.e. it pivots back and forth. In terms of functionality, it is roughly analogous to the ‘hinged’ type of door since it too, is a ‘swinger’ rather than a slider.   However, unlike a hinged door the pivot door does not have any hinges located on the walls but a pivot box mechanism on which the door moves back and forth.  Actually, the full weight of the door is located directly on the pivot which in turn is located in the ground directly below the center of the door.   In this way, even very large doors can be opened and shut with the simple push of the hand.  However, it is difficult to incorporate a separate screen door with the main pivot door.

· Sliding Patio Doors

A typical sliding patio door usually has two separate panels. One is locked into place while the other slides back and forth on either oiled rails or cantilevers. It is a handy set up for cramped spaces since it does not require extra space for swinging either in or out.  Moreover, they will not break or bang even if they are left opened and unattended unlike their swinging counterparts.

· Hinged Patio Doors

These kinds of Patio doors are different from pivot doors though like the later they too are essentially swinging doors. They are mounted on walls though a set of hinges capable of swinging the door back and forth as the case may be. These doors are composed of two or more panes that are connected to hinges, which are in turn placed inside the walls next to the doors.

· French Doors

French doors are considerably more common in larger homes than in smaller ones.  They are designed to swing inwards in the room itself rather than out wards. This is why they are not suitable for a room that has a lot of furniture, since they require plenty of room to be opened and closed. Most French doors are equipped with multiple glass panes and tend to be bigger than many other types of patio doors out there.

· Bi-Fold Patio Doors

These types of patio doors are in a class of their very own. A bi-fold patio door is roughly analogous to an accordion and the panels can slide into a tight roll when it is closed.   As such it does not require a lot of space and is the least intrusive type of patio door around.