Did you know that you can easily use nature as a way to keep your house much cooler during the summer months? Simply by adding in the right trees, shrubs and vines in strategic locations, you can get a much cooler effect and even cut down on some of your cooling costs.
Smart landscaping is going to be a whole lot more than just having a beautiful yard. It is also about finding the smartest and most efficient ways to make the most out of your landscaping choices to keep your house cool when the temperatures heat up. For example, trees are good for shading your roof from the hot sun in summer, while vines and shrubs are going to be nice for keeping your walls cool. Additionally, making sure that you shade your air conditioner could end up cutting back your energy costs by roughly 50%.
Beat the Build Up of Heat
In order to make the most of your energy efficient landscaping, you have to understand how heat gets exchanged in your home. The windows are going to take in the radiant heat from the sun. A roof, especially a dark one, will absorb the heat. Your windows, walls and any glass doors will bring in the hot temperatures from the outside via conduction, or infiltration. Energy efficient windows that are sealed correctly can have a big impact when it comes to saving you money on your electric bill. When you shade your property strategically using shrubs and trees, you are going to be able to slow down the heat exchange because they will help to cool the outer surfaces. The combination of efficient windows and shading will be a knock out punch to your electric bill.
Take a look at how the elements outdoors, like the shade, wind and sun are working with your home at different times throughout the day and throughout different seasons. The best kind of landscaping options to cool your home during the summer months could play double duty by helping to retain the heat in the winter months.
While you are checking out the parts of your home that are going to take on the hot sun in the afternoon, record the exact angle of the direct sunlight and which faces are receiving the reflected sunlight. Select plants and trees that will allow a cooling breeze at nighttime to enter into any of your open windows.
Plant your shorter trees and any taller shrubs along the west side of your home, as they will be able to deflect late afternoon sun from your walls. Think about adding ivy vines to the west or south wall of any stone or brick house, or try to train it to grow along vertical trellises all along the exterior of your building. You can also work on creating a natural awning by way of a horizontal trellis that is attached to a pair of vertical trellises to foster growth of the ivy or any flowering vines that will grow overhead and upward.
If you are unsure of what to plant and where, you can work with a professional landscape architect in your area that is familiar with energy efficient planting options and the climate that you currently live in. For questions about saving money with energy efficient windows or any window & door repair needs in West Palm Beach or Lake Worth, contact R C Windows & Doors today.
Home maintenance is a must if you want your property to retain or increase its value. A well-maintained home is one that is pleasing to the eye and one that can make the owner proud.
House maintenance does require a homeowner to have some skills and some basic tools like a screwdriver, pliers, hammer, a spanner or plumbing wrench and things like nails, tape, glue, and a tape measure. You also need to follow a proper schedule that allows you to treat each part of your home and give it the attention that it needs. You need not do everything in one day, but spread it out over a couple of weekends and follow a checklist that you scrupulously go through till you have gone through every item in it.
Plumbing is a very vital part of a home and you can start with ensuring that all drains are clear and have no blockages. Use drain cleaners regularly even in drains that do not show any blockage. Check all taps, faucets and all plumbing fittings and tighten them if you find leaks or replace washers where necessary. Make a study of your complete plumbing layout, especially the locations of master valves that can cut off the supply. Check all heaters and their functioning, thermostat settings and any other thing that can point to defects.
The doors and windows are essential parts of any home and do require a constant operation. Pay attend to hinges that are squeaking and can do with a bit of oiling. Make sure that all locks and latches are functioning properly and take special care of rooms that have children or the elderly in them. Properly working front and back doors are essential to your safety and security. Windows should always be kept locked when you’re not at home. If doors or windows don’t open and shut easily and as expected it may mean you need service.
Maintenance of a home is incomplete if you do not take care of the daily cleaning and removing of dust on all surfaces. Follow a strict sequence that ensures that every part of the home is cleaned as it must be. You must also regularly clean carpets, curtains, chair covers, table cloths and the like.
Air Conditioning systems require monthly maintenance. They also often require some maintenance that involves professionals. At the most, on your own, you can clean filters or maintain the required cleanliness of the equipment on your own. If you have a swimming pool its filtration equipment must be maintained by professionals. On your part, make sure the pool is always clean. Never allow algae to form and ensure that any water splashed by enthusiastic children finds its way into drains.
The outside of your home must also be part of any home maintenance schedule, and this is all the more important if you have a garden or other landscaping that is adding to the aesthetics of your home. Clean up the clutter in your garage at regular intervals and get rid of junk. As part of maintenance, make it a point to rid your entire home of all the things that are no more of any use and just taking up space.
The question is, should I use an unlicensed contractor for repair and installation of windows and doors at my home? The smart answer to this question is a resounding No. But why not, you may ask? There are many reasons why not to use unlicensed contractors. First, let's talk about insurance. What happens, if the contractor breaks something and is not insured? Who is going to pay? You. What happens, if he or one of his employees gets hurt? Can the employee sue you? Probably, yes. Best case scenario is that your Homeowner's Policy would cover it, but then what happens to your payments? They go up. That pretty much takes care of the question of insurance right there. Usually, when a company is licensed, they are also bonded. That means they are insured with a bond. You are protected and they are protected as well. A company such as R C Windows and Doors is both bonded and insured by the way.
Second, let's talk about possible damages while the work is being done, or potential damage that was done to something else, say for example, electrical wiring or interior water damage. Either of which could be expensive and even dangerous. This is just one more reason to go with the professionals that are licensed and bonded. Your home is your largest investment and it must be protected. Thirdly, for the most part a reputable contractor that is licensed and bonded will probably be more likely to be on time and perform the work to the specifications that were originally agreed upon. This can be very important, because what happens, if you go on vacation and an unlicensed contractor doesn't install exactly what you wanted and you come back to all new windows and doors that were definitely not what you chose before you left? No good answer there. No one wants to come back to a situation like that.
Lastly, let's talk about quality of work, a quality guarantee and future service of the products installed. Quality of work done by an insured and bonded company such as R C Windows & Doors is much higher than as if you were going to hire a retiree, or a friend who has extra time on his hands. There is going to be trained employees and you would be able to view some of their past work, or at least get some positive feedback from neighbors and friends that have used this company in the past. A guarantee of quality work done is far more likely to be backed up by a company with means than a single guy with a truck and a ladder. It's logical to assume that a company that installs your windows and doors is going to have a knowledge base, or history of your installation that could enable them to fix a future problem much easier, or to make a recommendation on something else that was viewed while they were present doing the work on your home. I'm confident that we have shown that using a licensed contractor is in the best interest of the homeowner.
Are you thinking of selling your home? Don't forget to consider the condition of your windows. Buyers can often be put off by things like squeaky doors or windows that don't move smoothly. There are other things about your windows and doors that you should consider when thinking about selling.
Building inspectors in many localities will give detailed reports about the condition of the home and highlight areas that require attention, or will need some expenditure to be incurred by the new purchaser. While it is standard procedure to examine foundations, walls, roofs, plumbing and electrical systems it is also necessary that these reports elaborate on the condition of the windows and doors in a home.
Windows are a must for every room to ensure proper light and ventilation. They are also the areas in a home that are vulnerable to the weather, as the shutters can lead to leaks if they do not close properly, or the glass itself can let in heat or let out heat. One sure sign that your windows need attention can come from high energy bills that point to a leak of conditioned air, hot or cold, from the windows. Building inspectors will note this when they compare utility bills with other standards that they are aware of. The leakage can come from ill-fitting seals when windows are closed and are easy to attend to by replacing them with new ones before you proceed to finalize the sale of your home.
Windows can also have glass that is cracked or letting in air through gaskets that have given up. A sure sign of this is cracks in the gaskets and wind whistling through the gaps that result from the defects. The gaskets can be easily replaced, and such action can indicate to the buyer of your home, the care that you have taken while living in it. Glass of windows that are cracked must be replaced. A single pane of glass is also a poor insulator and can be one reason for high energy bills. Windows can be made double glazed and this can not only increase its insulation but also help to make the room soundproof. Double glazing of all windows in your home before putting it up for sale, can make for a strong selling point, that can result in your being able to get a better price from the sale.
All buildings are subject to normal wear and tear caused by wind, rain, snow and other similar factors. This is why houses that aren't cared for sooner or later age and need repairs. Homeowners have to make sure they perform regular inspections of exposed areas, in order to detect all damages in their early stages, when fixing them is fairly inexpensive. This can save the homeowner a lot of money in the long run, and also help them avoid the hassle of major repairs and renovations.
The walls, for instance, have to be repainted every few years. A layer of fresh paint is very easy to apply. On the contrary, if you wait until the old paint flakes off your walls, you may need to pressure wash it, and then apply several coats of fresh paint. This is surely more expensive than a basic paint layer.
The windows are perhaps the most exposed elements of a house. They have to withstand strong winds, heavy rains and successive openings and closings. There's no wonder that they are the first to get damaged. Besides, when they aren't new anymore, they may not insulate that well, thus making homeowners take more money out of their pocket for heating or cooling the house. By performing regular maintenance works, you can secure the insulating properties of your windows. This thing alone can help you make important savings, as your energy bills are going to be much smaller.
If you have modern, impact windows, you have to check their gaskets every year, preferably before the hot weather comes. These rubber seals are very effective when they are new, but rubber gets old and becomes fragile, mostly due to the very hot south Florida sun and severe rains that can cause dry rot. By replacing these seals every few years, you can avoid further damage. Moreover, your home is always going to be well insulated, so your energy bills are going to be lower.
Preventative home and window maintenance isn't rocket science. Some of it can even be done without help from the experts. You need to check your roof, to see whether there are any leaks that might cause you trouble. You need to inspect the plumbing systems and fix any problem you can find, no matter how small. A small crack in a pipe today may turn into a huge disaster within a few months. It's much cheaper to replace a tiny pipe than to change the entire system. Moreover, if you also need water damage restoration services, you may end up with some huge bills which are going to be very difficult to pay.
Preventative actions are always inexpensive and fairly easy to do. Even old homeowners or those who are too ill to check their home by themselves could benefit from having such preventative measures in place. It's often much cheaper to pay an expert to take a look at your home once a year than to repair major damage caused by faulty windows, leaky roofs or worn out plumbing systems or home appliances, than to deal with repairing things after waiting until things have gotten out of hand.
Sliding Glass Doors Bring The Outside In
What was the first thing you thought the last time you were in a house with sliding glass doors that opened up the back of the house to the outside? Besides the amount of light shining into that area of the house it almost felt like the window brought the outside in; didn't it? That can be especially lush if one has a lot of flowers, grass, trees, or even a pond in the backyard.
How about a birdbath that's positioned in full view where you get to see birds landing and taking off all day long? From another perspective a parent can keep an eye on the children while being able to clean, cook, or just plain relax in an adjoining room.
What other choices might there be for these types of doors? Well, you may want to open up two rooms that are connected by a traditional door. By installing a sliding glass door you are in effect opening up both rooms and your house will feel much bigger.
More Benefits To Installing Sliding Glass Doors
An additional benefit to installing sliding glass doors in your home is that you will be able to move large items such as furniture much easier from room to room for parties, get togethers and the holidays when added space becomes more important than at other times of the year. Again, sliding doors not only insulate the inside of your home from the weather outside, but they can insulate you from any noise caused by children playing. You will still be able to monitor how things are going, but there will be at least some sound barrier between you and the kids, so you can enjoy a quiet moment or two.
If your sliding glass door opens up to a patio you will also be able to keep in touch with the rest of your guests while they're hanging out by the barbecue - even if you’re inside doing something else.
Who Maintains Your Sliding Glass Doors?
The easy answer would be yourself; right? Well, unless you’re trained in maintaining sliding glass doors, like the professionals at R C Windows & Doors, the answer may not be so obvious. Even improper glass cleaning can result in cuts to the rubber insulating strips, scratch the glass, or possibly damage the door guides. So when the time comes for some serious maintenance it’s probably best to call a professional.
For your sliding glass doors to effectively keep out the elements, close smoothly every time, and provide you with a clear view of the outside, or into the adjoining room it's best to allow R C Windows & Doors to periodically maintain your sliding glass doors. While we’re at your home we can also take care of any other door or window related problems or questions you may have.
There are some “green” benefits to the addition of sliding glass doors - whether it's a portal to the outside, or as a way to open up the space between rooms. By providing an abundance of natural light to the inside of your home a sliding glass door can make any room appear larger than before. The presence of natural light in a room where previously there was none, may help with your energy bills and affect the resale value of your home.
We thought it would be interesting to the readers of this blog, if we talked a little about some famous doors and windows throughout history. Certainly there are more then the few we have written about, but we thought these here stand out above most.
While not an actual physical door, but a painting, the first on our list is Christ at Heart's Door. This painting was done by Warner Sallman and his second most requested image by the readers of religious magazines. The painting/door depicts Christ knocking on a door which of course is supposed to be each person's heart. There are many nuances to the painting, if noticed will certainly inspire. A particular minister noticed that there is no doorknob which signifies that one must open the door to Christ from the inside. He will not force his way in.
The door at 221B Baker Street is another such door that in reality does not exist. It is the address of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. Much has been made about this door by the now defunct Abbey National Building Society and the Sherlock Holmes museum, just down the street. It has even been mentioned in films such as Star Trek The Next Generation and other movies about Sherlock Holmes.
10 Downing Street is probably the most recognizable door of our time. It is of course the the residence of the executive branch of the UK and it's Prime Minister. Originally, three houses #10 Downing Street was a gift to Sir Robert Walpole by George II in 1732 who accepted it on the condition that it be gifted to the First Lord Of The Treasury. The door or residence has taken on far more significance from the 20th century going forward. Another famous door, but on the other side of the Atlantic is the door to the Rotunda in Washington DC called the Columbus Door. There are actually two of them, made of bronze by sculptor Randolph Rogers in 1860-1861, but due to the American Civil War did not make it to the US until 1863 and were hung in 1871. They are almost 17 feet tall and 10 feet wide and weigh about 20 tons. The theme of the doors is basically about the journey of Columbus to the New World.
When it comes to windows it's difficult to opine on any type of famous window without concentrating on stained glass windows. Many of the world's most famous stained glass windows reside in Churches in the UK and France. Choosing the Coventry Cathedral for this article was an easy choice to make. This Church was bombed by the Germans during World War 2 and before the rebuilding took place it was decided that part of the ruins would remain as a reminder to the world of what war can do. One of the stained glass windows inside were made by John Piper and called the Baptistry Window. It's a unique design with 195 panes. There are other stained glass windows in the Cathedral placed in the Nave by Lawrence Lee, Keith New and Geoffrey Clarke that face away from the congregation in opposite pairs representing human growth from the beginning to the end. All the windows in Coventry were conceived by Basil Spence and the Arup Group. It was Spence's idea to merge the ruins of the old with the new.
Your doors and windows may never be as famous as the doors and windows in our article, but when it comes time to upgrade or service them we hope you’ll give us a call. We repair and replace all kinds of doors, and windows. We also replace or repair sliding glass doors in Lake Worth and West Palm Beach.
The History of the Glass Window
The History of the Glass Window goes all the way back to sometime between the 1st and 4th century AD. The art of “glass blowing” was invented around the 1st century BC and that enable the glass industry to thrive, then recede, then thrive, then recede again before the very late 1600s when “cast glass” began to allow glass to be made in larger sizes. Previously, windows had to be made of many small pieces and shapes of glass. Cathedral stained glass windows are an example of that.
Just a quick timeline: Man made glass first appeared in Mesopotamia, possibly ancient Egypt some time around 3500BC. While, naturally occurring glass (obsidian) may have been used for knives, arrowheads and even money about 1500 years before that. However, until glass blowing was invented around the 1st century, glass existed in very small sizes and was not very clear.
The art of blowing glass in larger sizes in the late 1600s enabled one single piece of glass to cover an entire opening in a wall. This was of course for the rich only and was not really commercially available until after “float glass” was patented in 1848 by Henry Bessemer in England. Float glass was made by pouring glass on to liquid tin. By 1960 float glass windows were finally mass produced. Windows today are made up of float glass.
What Is Glass?
In order to understand the history of glass windows we need to understand what glass is. Glass is made by combining sand, soda, lime and other materials from time to time by heating, then cooling. The most important aspects of glass are production methods. Once the discoveries were made over the centuries that allowed glass to be made in larger sizes and to mass produce it, glass finally became available to everyone. It was the refinements over time that made glass such an ordinary item today. The processes that made glass large enough to cover an opening in a wall, or to be an actual wall are the real hero in this story. Rolling glass on large, clear smooth sheets was developed in 1847 to make very large windows. Basically pouring hot glass onto rollers and allowing them to be pressed by their own weight resulted in uniform thicknesses and transparency. Bessemer found that this was further enhanced by pouring the glass onto hot tin. All these gains in the 1800s and 1900s regarding mass production are directly responsible for modern glass windows and even walls.
Glass Windows Today
Again, all the improvements made by men like Bessemer have allowed the use of glass as architectural components in our world today. We now have glass that's used as insulation, not just to see in and out of. Yes, glass is now part of a building's structure not just an aesthetic. Tempered glass is recommended in solar panel construction because it's very strong, and that will add immensely to the longevity of your solar panels. Few realize that's an important fact you need to know when buying solar panels. Glass has truly integrated itself into our cultures and has made them better for it.
Fixing a broken house is not a task that many people may relish. However, it is a necessary part of owning a home. Home repairs should be done with a little more thought behind them than is the norm. This is due to the fact that strategic repairs in the house and garden can do wonders to raise the value of the property. This increase in value can then be used to secure financing for other projects aimed at improving your financial situation, or it can be used to fetch a better price in the real estate market when you decide to list your home for sale.
The following are some of the tips and suggestions that would go a long way in making your do it yourself home repairs worth the time and effort that you will expend on them:
1) Focus on the repairs that will bring you the most value
Your first task will be to create a list of all the repairs that need to be done, and then group them according to priority and ability to increase the value of the home. For instance, renovating and improving the attic bedroom and installing a backup generator will do more for you than simply repainting the living room walls. Having an extra room that is habitable and a backup power generator in case there are no lights will significantly improve and increase the value of your home. The same cannot be said for simply replacing your entry door made of wood with another made of fiberglass.
2) Tackle the projects that can be done quickly first
If you are a vocal proponent for do it yourself home repairs, then you should know and understand the value of tackling the projects that can be completed quickly first, leaving the more complicated projects for later. This also means that you should devote your time and energy to repairs that need to be completed urgently, for instance before winter comes. This will save you a lot of worry and also save you money that would have been spent dealing with a winter related repair during winter (costs will naturally be hiked).
3) Know whether you will do it yourself or hire contractors
It is also very important to decide early on which approach you will take to fix your house and garden. While some may decide to do the repairs alone without professional help, you might not fare so well on your own. It is therefore prudent to take stock of your strengths and weaknesses, instead of simply following the crowd. Some home repairs may be very complicated and require expensive materials, making it a foregone conclusion that a contractor will be needed to fix the mess.
4) Due diligence will be helpful
You should also value conducting your own due diligence and research before moving forward with fixing your home. This will prevent you from being fleeced of your hard earned money as you purchase repair materials. It will also help you find the best-suited persons for the job of repairs such as window repairs and door repairsrepairs, if you decide to involve outside help.
Homes as well as offices are now opting to modernize their space by choosing to install sliding glass doors. Although, traditional doors are still and always will be an option, sliding doors offer a number of benefits that no traditional door ever could. However, it is wise for anyone looking to invest in sliding glass doors to also understand the negative side to installing one. To help you gauge whether investing in such a modern door is right for you, here is our top list of pros and cons.
The Pros of Sliding Glass Doors
If you have a large gaping doorway in your home or office, sliding doors are practical and efficient. They make great use of space and if you ever need to move big items or furniture around, there is no reason to try and squeeze the item through the small door jam or a window. There are no swinging parts to the door and the installation mechanism doesn't require a lot of space, therefore, you're essentially getting a much better door in many circumstances, and you can use more of your floor space.
Glass sliding doors can be the perfect accessory in any room. At the same time they avoid the feeling of making things cramped. Since the glass is transparent, you can easily separate different areas of your home without having to feel like a certain area was completely walled off. Any home can look luxurious with such a door installed.
If ample lighting in your home or office was ever a real problem, sliding glass doors are perfect exits to your patio or just a way to separate your dining and living room areas. Additionally, sliding doors are an eco-friendly choice as they're manufactured from metal, glass, and other recyclable materials.
The Cons of Glass Sliding Doors
If sliding glass doors appeal to you, it's important to understand that they're not always the least expensive option. They they can be significantly more expensive than traditional doors, unless you’re going with very decorative or ornate doors made from expensive materials. And of course, there's the installation costs that you need to consider as well. You can get sometimes get away with installing your own traditional doors, but when it comes to sliding doors, it can be a nightmare to try! You’ll need a window and door expert for sure.
Glass doors are not able to withstand extreme weather conditions. It's worth keeping in mind that extreme cold, frost, and storms are really not kind on these doors and cause them to deteriorate quite quickly. The reverse is also true. Extreme heat is the enemy of sliding glass doors and can certainly impact their durability. Luckily in South Florida we have the perfect conditions for sliding glass doors. That’s why you see so many of them.
There is also glass door maintenance costs to take into consideration. You can't just spray some window cleaner and hope for the best. Sliding glass doors may require a little more effort as far as maintenance goes. But they really aren’t that difficult to maintain or keep clean; so nothing to really worry about.
As you can see, there are certainly quite a few things to take into consideration when it comes to selecting the right doors for your home. Many people opt to purchase sliding glass doors over traditional doors, because of all the benefits. But it’s always best to make an informed decision based on your own needs.