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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.


All-Temp‘s Vinyl Picture Window


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).


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.


Why do some drills have two speed settings?

Most of you probably already know the answer to this question, but this is one of those things that suppliers probably assume and therefore never explain.  Especially when you go to their website and the feature is, “High speed transmission delivers 2-speed settings (0-600/0-2,000 RPM) improving speed and torque control across a range fastening and drilling applications”.  Well, we’re happy it improves whatever, but why?

Well first, all of them don’t have two speeds.  Many less expensive drills wont and many times, electric drills (not cordless) wont.


Most drills that do have two speeds have a slide switch right on top.  And here is why.  Simply put, the slow speed is for driving screws and the faster speed is for drilling holes… Except, the slower speed works best if you are drilling holes into metal.

Why?  Well, there are different theories but the main reason is so that you dont rush the bit and let it do its work to make a truer hole. 

You must understand of course, that this information is coming from a guy that sells tools to contractors, not woodworkers.  For a drill press that a woodworker or mechanic would use, forget everything you just read.  Some of those guys will drill as slow as 300rpm or maybe even slower depending on the application.

If you need any more information (or particularly if you need to buy any tools:)), come by and see us.  You can always see us on the web by clicking here.


business conference…

I am currently at a business conference.  Now don’t get me wrong, I actually like conferences and this one is the best there is for our business.  Great minds come together and I get benefit from learning from them.

The problem with this conference is, it’s hard to stay focused:


I mean, for crying out loud.  This is the view from the conference room.  How I am supposed to learn anything in these conditions is completely beyond me.  And it was actually cloudy when this picture was taken.

Anyway, the conference is the Executive Council on Construction Supply and you’ve never heard of it.  It’s an invitation only deal for folks like me.  Well, I say like me but its really like I wrote before, it’s a bunch of people smarter than me.  They are where I want to be in business.

One of the tenets of our Mission Statement is that we want to inspire people to grow.  Hence, I’m here getting inspired to grow.  What do you do for growth?  A hobby?  Some sort of training?  Conferences?

Let me encourage you to never stop.  The old saying is true, you’re either growing or you’re dying.  As for Wilson Lumber’s part, we choose growth.  Growth in the face of poor economic conditions, growth in the face of the view of a lake you’d rather be out on than in a conference.

Keep growing and if there’s anything we can help you with give us a call (256-852-7411) or click here to see us on the web.


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”.


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.


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.


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.


Successful New Years Resolutions

Am I too early to blog about New Years Resolutions?  I don’t think so.  I went to Wikipedia and looked them up and here is what I found:


I even found this image:


That’s all well and good, but then I read this:

A 2007 study by Richard Wisemen from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail

Ouch.  If I may, I’ll suggest that it’s because most of those “resolutions”, stink.  Improve finances?  Become more organized?  What does that mean?  A better goal would be to have x dollars in y account by z date.  Or as for organization, learn x about Microsoft Outlook and connect my phone calendar to my home calendar by a certain date.

Or better yet, meet with one of the organization specialists at Wilson Lumber by the end of January 🙂  “What’s that?” you say, “organization specialist at Wilson Lumber?”  Yes, I say.  Have you considered what you could do with your closets past simple wire shelving or a wood shelf with a rod?  How about something like one of these?

freedomRail Closet   Classica Laundry

Or have you looked in your garage lately?  Does it need help?

freedomRail Garage   freedomRail Garage

These pictures only show a couple of options.  To see what we can do in Laundry Rooms, Pantries, Home Offices and a whole lot more, you can go to or  (Schulte is changing their name to Organized Living so I’m not sure how long the website will be named that.)

So, this years resolution is to meet with one of our designers, come up with a budget for the project, and get it done.  Easy, right?

Seriously, if you’re interested come by and see Amy or Linda.  Call us at 256-852-7411 or see us on the web.


what to blog about on december 21st

So, what do you blog about on December 21st?  There are a good many possibilities.

It would be easy to mention late Christmas gifts:


I could talk about cold weather preparation:


Or how about potential 2013 projects?


But really, it’s 4 days until Christmas.  And I may not get another opportunity to blog before then.  So in that light, is there anything else to blog about but Jesus?

Here it is simply.  God saw that we people had a need.  Our need is that we are sinful and therefore, separated from Him.  And though we are sinful, He still loved us enough to send His son, Jesus, to be a sacrifice for our sin.  So that if only we will make Him Lord of our lives, our sin is forgiven, and we have a home forever in heaven.

It’s really not more complicated than that.  Simple, not easy.  Would you consider trusting in Him this Christmas season?  I hope so.  If there’s anything we can do for you, let us know.


5 for fall

How about a top five list for fall projects.  I promise I’ll go easy on you, none of this stuff costs more than 13 bucks each (actually, the rake is $13.11 but I could probably be talked in to waiving the 11 cents:)).

#1. A rake, of course

Oh, I know its not fun and quite honestly, if you’re like me you need a pair of gloves to avoid blisters if you have a big yard.  However, I have recently been able to make use of another resource along with the rake, my teenage boys.  Oh, they come with a certain amount of moaning, but its worth it.

#2. Trash Bags

Well, I guess this isn’t exactly exciting either but let me tell you, it does matter what kind you choose.  You can get a lot of bags really cheap, but you don’t want that.  For serious yard bagging, be sure to look for at least 2 mil thickness.

3. Weatherizing caulk

We’ve been Dap fans around here for quite some time.  They make good product, and a wide range of it.  Going into the winter, you’ll want to check around doors and windows to make sure the seal is still good between the brick/siding and the frame of the door or window.  Also check windows to be sure the glazing is still good that holds the glass in.  It’s pretty easy work replacing it.  However, to maintain proper neatness, you might want to avoid using teenage boys on this one.

4. Door Weatherstrip

I suppose we should dress up this drab looking display of this weatherstrip but we fly through it so fast there’s no point.  Everybody needs this.  Go to your doors, open them and run your fingers along the weatherstrip around it to make sure it’s in good shape.  If it’s not, cold air is coming.

5. Foam tape

Why, yes there is a them developing here.  I hate to be redundant but cold weather is indeed coming.  Check to make sure your windows are installed square (mine are not).  If they’re installed racked, you could see daylight in the corners and once again, that’s a recipe for cold air getting in.

OK, so its not the most exciting list in the world.  In fact, it almost looks a little like work.  But hey, we’re nothing if not practical, right?  And these are easy jobs.

If you’re like me, you have two options.  1. Get out there and get some work done or 2. Make you teenage boys do it.

I can’t let you have my teenage boys…  But if we can help with anything else see us on the web or give us a call (256-852-7411).

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