Condo Fiberglass Entry Door


Location: Chicago, IL (Bucktown)

Challenge: The entry door to this 6-unit condo building in the Bucktown neighborhood was severely rotten, having failed in less than 10 years. Poor quality materials and workmanship contributed to its quick demise, so the association president turned to us to specify and install a new entry unit.

Solution: We suggested a Jeld-Wen fiberglass door, which has very good insulation properties, thanks to its foam core. And because its fiberglass skin is so tough, it won’t chip, dent, or rust like the steel door it replaced.

ADA Door Installation

ADA Door
Location: Oak Park, IL

Challenge: Convert an existing entrance to an apartment to comply to guidelines within the American with Disabilities Act.

Solution: Install new door with appropriate compliant hardware. Not all of our projects are showy; many are undertaken for utilitarian purposes. Such was the case in this instance, where the Oak Park Housing Authority contracted us to replace a problematic door leading to a unit in one of their buildings. The fix was fairly straightforward, but without it a tenant in a wheelchair would have had a very difficult time accessing the unit.

The Problems with Vinyl Windows (And Why We Don’t Install Them)

Vinyl windows of all kinds have made their way into the market-place over the past 15-20 years, being touted as energy efficient, durable, and a cheaper alternative to wood windows.

I’m here to confess that I installed a few vinyl windows when they first hit the Chicago market in the mid to late 1990’s; that is, until I started questioning the claims being put forth by the different manufacturers regarding the ‘benefits’ of vinyl windows. Once I stepped back and looked at the claims objectively, here’s what I found: [Read more…]

To Cap or Not To Cap?

The term capping, or wrapping, refers to the aluminum or vinyl cladding sometimes applied over the exterior trim around a window or door.

This material is most often pre-finished aluminum in the Chicago area, though vinyl is occasionally used.  It comes in coil form and is known in the industry as ‘coil stock’ or ‘trim coil’.  It’s typically formed, or bent, on site with a portable sheet metal brake. Often sold as an “upgrade” to a building’s exterior, it’s touted by some salesmen as being low or no maintenance.

So why the debate on whether or not to cap?  After all, it sounds good and is commonly done, so there must be some benefit to it, right? [Read more…]

Remember the Tin Men

In recent years, the home improvement industry has unfortunately earned a reputation that is often synonymous with shady characters, shoddy craftsmanship, fly by night operators, & a general lack of respect. How times have changed from when most craftsmen actually took pride in their work & were seen as upstanding members of their community.

Much of the breakdown can be attributed to the fact many formal training programs for the trades have disappeared from the landscape over the last few decades & the barrier point to enter the various fields is disturbingly low. This comes as the number of DIY shows dumbing down the complexity of “menial” construction jobs spike, how-to book & magazine sales surge, & society as a whole grows more cynical of those earning a living with their hands. While unfortunate, it is understandable, as there are many scams perpetrated on unsuspecting consumers by those that abuse the industry, using it as a vehicle for their various methods of deception. [Read more…]

To Replace or Repair Your Windows

TO REPLACE OR REPAIR YOUR WINDOWS?

How do you know whether to repair or replace a particular window?  This is a question not all window companies will offer a straight answer on. The fact is, ripping out and replacing a window is often faster and more profitable for a company than other options, yet can have serious implications if the decision is undertaken lightly or the work performed poorly.

Whether your windows are candidates for repair or replacement depend on a variety of factors, including overall condition of the units (is there any rot, separation of components, etc.), performance, operation, and function.  Contrary to some beliefs, age does not typically enter into the equation. [Read more…]

The Truth Behind the $199 Window Ads

We’ve all seen the ads: “Any Window, Any Size – $199 Installed”. Right. And if you believe that, I know of a bridge in Brooklyn for sale.

Here’s the reality behind those claims:

To start with, I can’t recall the last time our company purchased a window that cost less than $200 – never mind the installation labor or other materials necessary for a quality install. In fact, the typical window we install costs several times that. [Read more…]