When you are doing an interior or exterior remodeling project, the
number one goal from the onset of the project should be the discussion with the
homeowner about the style of the home’s design or future home’s architectural
style. This obvious but important bullet point is not always followed by
contractors and homeowners when planning and executing a project. In the
scenario when function is paramount and style and budget is either lacking or
not available, this blog does not apply.
The money and time spent on a remodeling project is not refundable and
cannot be changed. Therefore, when you are planning on a project, take time to
develop a narrative for your project. This design narrative will translate into
cohesion, which then translates into a well-executed project.
Vinyl windows have a large market share of all windows being used on
the market, however there can be drawbacks to using this type of window.
- Vinyl windows can expand and contract depending on the
region of the country and the sun exposure, which can
compromise a variety of functions of the window, such as
weather-stripping effectiveness, and warping frames.
- Vinyl as a product can degrade rapidly from ultra-violet rays
from the sun.
- Vinyl becomes brittle in cold temperatures and is susceptible
to damage from contact.
- The vinyl sash’s expansion and contraction tend to lose their
gas pack sooner than wood or aluminum competitors.
Not all vinyl windows are necessarily a substandard window, however
sun exposure, quality of construction by the manufacture, and installation are
extremely important when using a vinyl window.
When I am designing a house, addition, or remodeling project, how do I
know when I have developed a reasonable option for a residential design
solution? This can be a difficult question to answer when you’re faced with
time restraints, the momentum of a project beginning, and high benchmarks on
a design which solves all issues for a customer.
Like anything, sometimes, a residential design just comes together
quickly and most times it is a process of elimination. However, there is one question that usually solves this anxiety packed question for me; Do the
floor plans and elevations look like an obvious answer to the customer’s
problems? More simplified, if the design looks like an obvious solution, then
you know your conclusion is a viable design option.
What I love about residential design is that you are working on a
narrative, assumptions, budgets, and preference. It can be a challenging
endeavor to accomplish, but I generally find the entire process rewarding.
An area of design that I ponder; could this design have a phase two or a
relabeling of the floor plan for a different person? Many times, the designs I
have worked on are so compact that the above mentioned is not capable of
being achieved. In my opinion, if the answer is yes, you may have developed
an exceptional design.
In conclusion, my recommendation to anyone hiring or doing their own
residential design is enjoy the process, take your time, educate yourself on
products, architectural history, methods of construction, and evidentially you
will land your ideal design.
I absolutely love building custom cabinetry and please understand that
perspective when reading this blog. Custom cabinetry is not always a cost-
effective avenue to travel when designing your future kitchen, but it can be
viable option when you have a kitchen that is larger or atypical in dimensions.
If your kitchen is large in scale, it can be a cost-effective manner to
explore the costs of having a local cabinet shop quote your project because
manufactured price point is geared on smaller to mid-sized kitchens. My shop
can be streamed lined for assembly which improves my price point when
quoting your large-custom-kitchen.
The second area where my shop can be competitive on price points
regarding a manufactured kitchen is on the custom features. For example, I can
make your base cabinets less in depth for the same cost, as opposed to a
manufacture. I also only build multi-bay cabinetry, which is a custom feature
and speeds up the installation. These equations make my shop more
competitive with a manufacturer.
As an authorized dealer of TSG cabinetry, I have found that the largest
price jumps are in the hardware and specialty items, such as molding, pullouts,
and open shelving which subject to large price jumps. These challenges from
my shop are not challenges but they are instead embraced, which is another
avenue the consumer can save.
The last issue that a customer should consider when deciding on a cabinet
shop vs. a manufacturer is the quality of construction. The cabinetry that I
construct is designed to withstand heavy use, however not all manufactures
construct their cabinetry for long lasting usage.
Through the years I have installed many types and brands of “New Construction”
windows, which have varied in sizes and complexity. I have developed a preference for
certain window manufacturers over others. However, the purpose of this blog is not to
highlight brand preference, but to educate a consumer on three factors that a skilled
carpenter must battle when installing a window unit that operates flawlessly.
The first issue is the manufacture connection of the L-Finn to the frame of the
window system. If the L-Finn is molded to the frame this will be one less headache for
your carpenter to install, along with guaranteeing a water and airtight connection to the
wall system. Many manufacturers have a frame and then attached the L-Finn to the frame
through a spline. What I dislike about this approach from the manufacture is that the L-
Finn is not always attached as well as it could be. Generally, two problems that arise from
this is the L-Finn can detach from the frame and secondly, the jamb is not always on an
even plane with the drywall, because the L-Finn is not as ridged, which can lead to interior
The second notable bullet point to highlight is the window balance hardware. The
window balance hardware is the trolley for the window sash to travel up and down on a
double hung window. The window balance hardware and track are critical in having a
long-lasting window. Unfortunately, this critical detail is not highlighted by window
manufacturers. If the window balance hardware fails, can the hardware be replaced, and
are replacements available for purchase?
The third issue that I would consider if I were purchasing windows is if the
windowsill is sloped. Some manufacturers build windows that are not sloped. If water
enters the wall cavity, serious issues can result.
The final issue that I would highlight to a consumer is the “Meeting Rail” on a
double-hung window system. The “Meeting Rail” is how the window system is engaged to
lock and unlock. It is critical that the movement on this hardware functions flawlessly
because the window will be opened and closed countless times. Although this is a simple
concept, I have installed windows which were level, square, and plumb and still struggle in
locking and unlocking the sash, which may result in a fine tune adjustment of the
hardware. Sometimes it is a matter of the hardware being broken in, but generally I have
found that this is not always the case.