Archive for the 'Doors & Windows' Category

02
May
14

5 reasons the window market is mostly vinyl

From the start, I should be clear that I am not saying you should use vinyl windows.  Nor am I saying you should not.  It depends on your needs, wants and the application.  These top 5 reasons are only an observation of what is in our market.

And then I am also not saying that vinyl makes up all of it.  We, as well as others that will go unnamed, sell a good bit of clad windows and still a small amount of wood (meaning the window is made out of wood but not clad as pictured below).  Each have their own merits, some of which I’ll mention below.

picturecutout

All-Temp‘s Vinyl Picture Window

casement-cross-section-a-series-300x300

Andersen Doublehung Window

 

20 years ago, maybe even 10, most of the windows that were sold around here were wood.  Why did that change?  Was there something wrong with wood?  Is vinyl always better?  So without further ado, here are the top 5 reasons (in no particular order) why more than not of the new windows sold in this market are vinyl windows.

1. Vinyl windows are readily available in custom sizes.  Often wood window units have  longer lead times on customs.  I cant say this in all cases but for the most part this is true.  This is a huge factor, especially in replacement windows where expediency is important.

special sizes

2. Vinyl windows have made big improvements in appearances.  It wasn’t always this way. Vinyl windows used to look like… well, vinyl windows.  Now, the appearance is more like that of a traditional wood window.  A little beefier frame and the look of real brick mould surrounding it.  So if you like the look of wood, why not stick with it.  See reason #3.

3. They don’t rot and there’s very little maintenance.  I say little because I don’t like telling people any thing is no maintenance.  Sure, you never have to paint but anything gets dirt on it if it’s outside long enough.  Wood rots, you have to paint it.  In this case, vinyl wins.

4. Vinyl windows are easy to install.  Again, I would rather shy away from generalizations but in general, this is true.  Partly because a lot of the ones sold are ‘single hung’, that’s a window where the top sash is fixed and the bottom sash slides up and down.  For a proper installation, the window has to be square (measure the windows in your home corner to corner and see how many give you the same measurements both directions).

install-a-window-5l

This pic from ‘this old house‘ shows an installer ensuring his window is square.

5. OK fine.  I suppose it doesn’t hurt but the price of vinyl windows is usually less than that of wood.  That does not make it a better or worse window, it just is what it is.  And often this is a driving factor.

See, there’s more to a window than first meets the eye.  Some homeowners may think of it as nothing more than what you look through to see into the yard and check on the kids or pets.  Or those things I cover up by hanging curtains around them to dress up my home’s interior.

The point is, take the time and choose the windows that are right for you.  If these reasons resound with you, our vinyl may be the way to go.  If you’re a little more quality conscious, let us show you some clad options.  Either way, come see us, call us (256-852-7411) or visit our website by clicking here.

15
Apr
14

what kind of window?

Dining Room Features A-Series Double-Hung Windows and Frenchwood Patio Doors With Prairie Pattern Grilles

HomeAdvisor’s cost guide states that on average, people spend $5,308 on replacing windows.  What can we make of that?  It’s hard to say.  Options, applications, installers and qualities all vary so greatly that it’s hard to get anything out of that kind of number.

So how do you come up with a budget for your home?  If you put much stock in the ads promoting new windows for $189 each, you may be in for a surprise.  On the other hand, there’s no reason for most of us to think its going to be closer to $1000 a window either.

The answer is likely somewhere in the middle and you will ALWAYS (especially in the world of windows) get what you pay for.  So lets make a list what may be important to you?

Low maintenance?  Question your salesman carefully here.  Just because something is vinyl or clad does not mean it is no or low maintenance.  I have aluminum clad windows on my home and they get all chalky, drives me nuts. This is definitely not low maintenance.  I should say that not all aluminum clad windows are created equal, remember you get what you pay for.

The All-temp vinyl window is fairly maintenance free for a great price.

Light?  You can usually get a cheaper window if your current window frame is intact.  They call it an insert window.  Now there’s nothing inherently wrong with an insert window.  But you should know your going to be letting a good bit less light in your home because you’re adding more frame to the window (meaning less glass).

Aesthetics?  Well this is a personal choice but it is important.  As your salesman is filling your head with all kinds of R-values, U-values, warranties and what-not, be sure to stand back and look at the window.  Oh, it may not be a new car or a supermodel, but there are differences in the way they look.  So be sure you like it.

Step-by-Step Window Replacement

There are many options available for how you group windows, lite patterns and more. Use your imagination.

Energy Efficiency?  Ah now here we go.  Do I upgrade to argon filled or Low-E glass?  Which material provides the best insulation?  How much space should be between the glass?  I cant answer categorically.  There was a time when wood was best for insulation, period.  However, technology has made strides that I didn’t think possible and frankly, am still not smart enough to understand completely.

The Andersen 400 Woodwright achieves incredible energy efficiency with very little wood.

Noise?  Remember that $189 window unit.  Not to cast stones but you’d better hope your neighbor doesn’t like mowing his lawn early in the morning.  Because you’re going to hear it.  You may have never thought of this but there really is a big difference in windows when it comes to sound insulation, so ask about it.

Where you buy them?  Now this is EXTREMELY important.  Never never never go anywhere to buy windows but Wilson Lumber.  Yes, yes I know this goes without saying.

I could go on and on but the bottom line is to decide what will work best for you.  And what’s important to someone else may not be to you.  Any of this confusing?  Just come see us at 4818 Meridian St or visit us on the web.

06
Feb
14

Experts?

Several years ago, one of our salesmen was called in to give testimony for a lawsuit (we were not involved).  One of the first things our attorney told us is that when asked if you are an expert, don’t say yes.  Huh?

Well, honestly that was a bit hard to swallow.  I don’t know that I’m and expert in anything but this particular salesmen is as good as they come.  The attorney explained to us that Expert is a legal term, and that you can get into all kinds of trouble if you label yourself as one.  So he instructed the salesman to say something like, “Well, I dont know what you mean by expert, but I know a lot about doors and windows”.  Attorneys, ugh. (No offense, my brother is a great one)

Anyway, it had never dawned on me that the salesmen here are not Experts.  Because in my non-legal book, they are.  Its not easy knowing all there is to know about this:

Micheleafter

And at the same time,  know everything about this:

floor

I wonder what else is a legal term that I could get into trouble for.  Sometimes doing business in America is like walking through a field of land mines, but I digress.

What I do not wonder about is this.  If I am going to do a project like the ones pictured above, I want experts.  I want Wilson Lumber.  Come by the store or see us on the web.

05
Dec
13

know who you are

There are really two sides to Wilson Lumber.  There’s the side that most people know, that is, that we sell building materials to pro’s who are building and remodeling homes (although as frustrating as it is, most people don’t know that we sell a whole lot more than just lumber).

But then there’s the significant side of our business where we sell to homeowners.  Now most of our interactions with homeowners (at least in dollar volume) is with what you might call larger ticket items.  Replacement doors, decks, cabinets, etc.  Hence, our tag line “way more than lumber”.

Trex_transcend-decking-tiki-torch-lava-rock-circular-outdoor-furniture-black   McClel After   newhomeoffice1

Anyway, recently we have discontinued all electrical, plumbing and paint products (well, almost all).  It’s not that we didn’t enjoy selling this stuff, or even that we didn’t make money at it.  The problem was that we were not excellent at it.  And we believe that if you cant be excellent at something, you just shouldn’t do it.  Also, we realized that people don’t need us for that kind of stuff.  And we are perfectly OK with that.  It gives us more resources, energy and space for the stuff we are excellent at.

As if that is not enough, I attended a conference recently where I saw this particular study by the Farnsworth Group that I’ve previously written about.

Major Categories

Basically, professionals depend on us for Lumber, Millwork and Building Materials.  (I must admit, I thought lumber and millwork were building materials.  I guess they meant stuff like siding, brick, gypsum, etc.)  So, as we are excellent at those things, that is where we focus our resources.

You might notice on the study that only 3% of pro’s made their last paint purchase at a place like Wilson’s.  And only 15% for electrical and 4% for paint.  I guess I’m now wondering why we kept that stuff around as long as we did.  O well, hindsight is 20/20.

If you need any lumber, millwork or building materials, give us a call (256-852-7411) or visit our website.  And if you need electrical, plumbing or paint, we can refer you to someone excellent:)

13
Nov
13

5 Steps to a New Iron Entryway

I think that replacing your front door with an iron entryway could sound a bit intimidating.  I’ve had plenty of people ask me if they could do it, as if they’re asking for permission.  And I can tell you that even though it’s not a traditional material that doors are made out of, any door can be replaced with an iron door.  Here’s how:

New awesome iron door

Step 1: Walk outside to your front yard, turn around and look at your door and think, ‘hm, I think an iron door would be better’.  Any questions there?  I didn’t think so, moving on to step 2.

Step 2: Give us a call (or I suppose you could come see us).  Why would you go anywhere else with something this important?  Seriously, the reason it’s important to start here is so that we can get the right information to move on to the next step.  I should add here, we have a few guys here that have sold a bunch of these and know just what to look out for.

Step 3: We come to your house and measure.  Here is the thing with iron doors; there are certainly things that can go wrong with them.  Iron doors can come in special sizes (most we sell are made to order), with special styles, patterns and so forth.  And it’s our goal to make sure that if anything goes wrong, its our fault and not yours.  Now this very rarely happens but with something this big, it’s just best if we do the measuring.

Step 4: Pick out a door and order it.  OK, so this is sort of two steps but 5 sounds so much better than 6.  Anyway, I already mentioned that they are made to order.  But don’t worry if you’re afraid of too many choices, its easier than you think.  And if you do have a particular pattern in mind, we can probably make it happen.

Step 5:  We come and install it.  The time it takes to get these doors in is a matter of a few weeks, not days.  But as they say, you cant rush perfection, right?  Again, I say, it’s important that we do the work here.  This is not like installing any other doors.  Our highly trained staff that has already installed many of them, who is also the same staff that measures for them, are the right people for the job.

McClelland Before


From This…

McClel After

To this!

 

The pics above aren’t great photos (we do doors, not photography:)) but it is an actual before and after we did recently.  And that’s it.  All we ask is that you give us a shot.  Call us at 256-852-7411 and press 1 for sales, or see us on the web.  Thanks for reading.

05
Nov
13

3 Points About 3 Point Locks

As technology improves, doors are getting better.  For example, for years, maybe forever, the locking mechanism on a door looked something like this Callan lock.

_sdead15Now I’m not saying Adam and Eve had one of these.  If they did, I guess they could have hidden behind it and not had to wear those awful fig leaves.  But I’d wager that from the beginning of doors, there was something on the door, be it a metal stick or whatever, that connected to the wall somehow and kept the door closed.

The basic deadbolt pictured above is simple and genius.  It only opens if you have a key, its not easy to reach the strike to pry it open (without a good deal of trouble).  And it doesn’t really get in the way of anything.  So, most doors have one of these or something very similar.

Now meet the technological advancement:

trilennium2I really am a poor photographer, sorry.  This is a three point locking system.  There are different manufacturers but this one you can get here at Wilson Lumber is from Endura, its called Trilennium.  Don’t google it, its not in the dictionary, but it probably means super fancy snazy secure locking system.

There are three reasons why this is a good idea (they’re sales pitch is more than three but in my opinion some are redundnant):

1. Strength – Both the Trilennium locks and the locks on the Andersen doors we carry are made of a one piece I-beam that runs along the edge of the door.  This is not only stronger to prevent break-ins, but actually helps maintain the stability of the door slab itself over time.  (Boy I hope my Andersen rep doesn’t read this and see me comparing the two, he’ll spend a day in my office telling me why his is better, and it may be.)

2. User Friendly – A single quarter turn of the knob locks all three deadbolts simultaneously.  And its just as smooth and easy to unlock… IF, you’re inside the home.

3. Its great looking – For a couple of reasons.  The back plate and sleek design make for a beautiful appearance, but its also a deterrent to a would be criminal.  It will take quite a bit more than a credit card or a pocket knife to get into one of these, and you can tell it by looking at it.

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the single deadbolt, we sell a ton of them.  But if security is just a little more important to you, I’d recommend checking these out.  We have them on display.  Come by or visit us on the web.

29
Apr
13

Top 5 things you need to know about door replacement

I’d love to say we never make mistakes…  What I can say is we’re committed to making things right when we do.  I recently went to a customer’s home where we made a boo boo when building their door.  While there, it occurred to me that replacing a door is a much more complicated process than most people realize.  I guess since we do it every day its grown familiar to us.

So I thought I’d throw a few things out that one should know when thinking of replacing a door.  Here is my top 5 list gathered over 30 years in the business.  Others may have a different list but this is what I’ve seen.

1. Handing – Oh me.  We draw pictures, we show, we explain, we’d use smoke signals if it would help.  Still, on occasion, we’ll deliver someone’s door and they’ll say “it swings the wrong way”.  Now this is a real bummer, and I’m not blaming the customer really.  When you don’t live it, it’s an honest mistake.  Simply put, here’s how doors are “handed”.

swing

Click on the following for a more complete chart Door Handing Chart-HR

2. Size – I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve asked someone what size their door is and they’ve said, “Oh, it’s just a standard size door”.  The thing is, there’s no such thing.  A 3′ wide door has changed over the years in actual width and changes from manufacturer to manufacturer.  Same with height.  Now don’t fret, because we can handle just about any size you can throw at us, sometimes it just takes a little more time.

For the record, our sizes in stock now are nominal.  That is, a 3′ wide by 6’8″ tall door slab will actually be 35-3/4″ wide and 79-1/4″ tall.

3. What’s not included – The great majority of anyone’s doors do not come finished (painted or stained).  The biggest reason is shipping.  It’s too easy to scratch or scuff it.  This is actually a good thing.  Once you’ve installed the door and are ready to finish it, you’ll know you’ve got the color you want.  If it’s purchased already finished, too late.

Paint Display

Hardware (door knob) is also not included.  Two reasons.  First, there are so many different kinds it’s easiest simply to make sure we know what kind you’re getting, and then make sure the door will accept it.  Second, shipping a door with the hardware on it is a bad idea.  You’ll be too tempted to use the knob to pick the door up, and knobs were not made for that.  I guess there’s one more reason, that is that you might not need it at all.  In many cases, people simply remove the hardware from the old door and install it on the new door.

callan

4. Inswing/Outswing – Now it’s true that we don’t sell all that many outswing doors (the door swings open to the outside instead of to the inside) except in commercial applications.  But this has tripped some people up before.  This may seem like a softball, but if you grew up in a house that happened to have an outswing door, you might think that everyone has them.  But it’s not very common and if you get an inswing, you’re not happy.

A couple of things to consider here.  In my experience, you probably should not get an outswing if you don’t have much overhang above it.  On the other hand, if you need a little extra space in the room it leads in to, it might be a great option.

inout swing

5. Paint or Stain? – Yes, I did say that painting and staining is not included.  But we have to know which one you’re doing.  Why?  Because if you’re staining, you’ll need clear jambs and we’ll need to know what species.  If painting, you’re better off with paint-grade primed jambs.  And of course we have the best.  Our framesaver jambs come standard on any units we build.  The bottom few inches of the jamb are a composite that wont rot, rust or warp, definitely worth it.

Mulls

Well, I should be quick to say that what I mean here generally is exterior doors that are wood, fiberglass, metal, etc.  But some of the above does NOT apply for others.  Sliding doors from most manufacturers do include hardware.  Some wood and fiberglass doors will come pre-finished.  And on and on the exceptions go.

It’s best you just come by and see us, but you can also visit us on the web or give us a call at 256-852-7411.




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