Saturday, December 27, 2014

Getting a Model Home Discount on your home improvements.

The Model Home Discount in Home Improvements

Lot's of people like to do their research on the internet.  That's a given.  Most of my customers find me while looking me up on Google.  My site is on page one of most of the relevant search terms I like to have.

Dallas Windows, Vinyl Windows Dallas, Replacement Windows Dallas and various other phrases including Wood or Aluminum.   Long story short, I have pretty low overhead.  No shop.  Just a service that I provide.  Installation of residential replacement windows and pre-hung doors with an occasional patio door here and there.

I worked for a big multi-million dollar window and door company that sold replacement windows for a thousand dollars a piece in the 90's.  In many ways they were worth it.  Today it's not the best choice but for millions of homeowners it was.

The reason I am revisiting my window installation past at this juncture is that I just read a post from a notable site with reviews and such on it that I sorta disagree with.

This is an opportunity to see a real simple contrast in overviews from two different seasoned window guys.

I have a friend in Richmond Virginia.  A new friend but not a competitor.  Very down to earth.  You can tell in his writings.   He put up a post on the Model Home Sales Pitch you sometimes hear about.  As he so aptly points out.  It was hilarious in Tin Men with Danny DeVito.

The premise is that a contractor or company comes to you with a deal for being a model home.

His post is here and you can give it a look :

Now here's why I think it's sorta cynical.   If a contractor has nothing going for himself, his products and craftsmanship besides a "model home discount" of course you should never do business with them.  Thats just good common sense.

That said, I'll sometimes bid a job a bit lower to get my foot into a good neighborhood.  I know my work is beautiful and neighbors who see it will be tempted to want some.  I don't see that as unreasonable or as he seems to implicate "a scam".  Bottom line is that you should get a few estimates and always look for someone you can trust with your money, your home and your project, because they will end up being responsible for all three.

Often that's not a cheap guy.  I don't even try to be the cheap guy.  That leads to the budget being too tight and product or quality of labor diminish.  The trade off isn't worth it.

No one needs the cheapest car at the Carmax.  Most of us need something dependable in the middle of the cost spectrum.  None of us expect a good car for a thousand bucks.  None of us like spending Thirty to Fifty Grand on one either.   There are reasonable choices in the middle of the two extremes.

Back to the model home discount.  If that's the only thing they have to offer you to win your business you should probably keep looking.   If someone offers you something like that it's probably not a scam, but it is certainly a gimmick.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sound Rating Information on Windows

Sound Ratings for Vinyl Replacement Window Glass Packages.

I've been doing some research for a customer by Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

Noise is a big reason to buy new replacement windows.  Some of the widely accepted and published sound information shows that a typical single glazed window will allow you to hear any noises louder than 21 decibels.  Moving to a double paned glass package will cause a move to 24 decibels.  To add Argon Gas filled insulated glass will raise that noise threshold to 32 decibels.

This is a significant change and effectively makes the window twice as quiet.  From a personal experience standpoint I know that most of my customers say the house is significantly quieter at that point.  It's a huge difference.

Some of the industry articles seem to make mention of the STC or OITC.  These are actually testing terminology and will be direct indicators of lowered sound levels.  This chart from my website was originally put out by Cardinal Glass when Argon Gas first hit the replacement window scene.

Alside is one of my suppliers that does extensive testing on STC and OITC data.  They show their Mezzo Vinyl Replacement Windows, Ultra Max and other models have the following performance increases from varied glass packages.

The actual testing information is attainable for all their products at this link:

These options change the thickness and configuration of the window glass to provide varied results.  Overall consensus is that moving to a thicker pane of glass in a double paned application will change the wave patterns of sound as they pass through the glass package.

Typically double paned builders grade windows use single strength glass.  Modern mid range cost vinyl windows will utilize double strength glass and have a 1/2" dead air space that is optimal for Argon Gas.  Krypton Gas is best served with a smaller dead air space and is the upgrade used in a typical triple paned glass package.

From here the next step up is going to be triple glazed with Krypton Gas filled insulated glass.  This is a considerably better glass package from a thermal standpoint as it can lower the U Value from .30 or .29 down to the .16 or .18 area depending on the manufacturer, but it doesn't offer a huge jump in sound reduction.  It does make it a bit better, but not a significant noise difference.

In fact, as I read the data and research, it appears as though double paned glass with thicker (3/16") glass is a better sound barrier than is triple glazing with typical thickness single strength or double strength glass.

Moving up the sound barrier ladder we'd see a double strength glass over 3/16" annealed glass in a double paned glass package with Argon Gas.

The best performance comes from Hurricane rated windows as they are constructed with Laminated Glass in the insulated glass package.  Laminated glass is glass like in the windshield of a car.  It is effectively two panes of glass with a clear plastic between the two panes of glass.  When this is used as the outside pane of a double paned insulated unit you effectively have three panes of glass and a plastic laminate to block the sound.

Here's what data I could get from Archetectural Testing, an independent testing firm that works with glass manufacturers and curtain wall fabricators.  Many of these glass packages are commercial and not available in residential replacement windows but the data is interesting none the less.

There are two different types of Laminated Glass.  One has a plastic film that is .030 inches thick, the other has a plastic film that is .090 inches thick.  The cost difference is significant between the two.

Upcharges tend to run like this.  Double paned with Argon Gas filled insulated glass in a standard sized window will be around 450 to 550 per window installed from a good reputable manufacturer.  Going to a double paned with 3/16" glass in the package will add about 100 per window to that cost.

To upgrade to Triple Glazing with Krypton Gas will add about 200 per window.  Moving up to a Laminated Glass package will add $200 to $250 to the double paned pricing and the thicker laminated glass package will add about $430 per window to the cost of the double paned unit.

Mid range windows and high end windows use the same frame but the glass packages are generally the big variable as are simulated divided lite grids, two toned color configurations and woodgrain interior appearance.  Those all run the cost of a quality mid range product up to the high end range.

I tell people to budget at $500 to $550 for a double paned Low E with Argon that has a lifetime warranty from a reputable manufacturer.  As you can see this window can easily end up in the $1000 a window range when you put the top of the line glass package in it.  It can get even more costly when you utlilize the other upgrades mentioned.

FYI:  Simulated divided lite grids are grids that protrude from the surface of the glass.  This is in contrast to grids that are between the two panes.  A simulated divided lite grid is a grid system designed to emulate true divided lites in a window.  SDL's are somewhat costly at around $20 per lite as opposed to grids between the glass which add about $30 to$35 total to the cost of a window.  In a fifteen lite three foot by six foot tall window there are generally 15 lites and the upcharge is $300 to $350 per window for the cooler grids.

Also, custom exterior colors generally add $100 to $150 to the cost of a window.  This creates a two toned window with a painted or laminated exterior color and a vinyl interior color in beige or white.

While I've researched this on several occasions, I find the data to be somewhat incomplete as a whole.  For the purpose of today's post I'll include what I've found to be relevant links.

New information!   My customer came up with these links as well.

Perhaps it would make more sense to solve the sound barrier requirement with an insert: 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Alside Mezzo Vinyl Replacement Windows

Alside Mezzo Replacement Windows will be our first new window line released in 2014.  

This should be one of the best updates to come out in years.  It will have a narrow frame for more glass and the option of custom exterior colors.

Many of these aren't able to boast of a narrow profile frame and still be a lifetime warranty, energy star approved replacement window.

I scanned the first brochure I got in.  This product was released on 2-15-2014 to replace the Excalibur Series.Alside was the Energy Star Partner of the Year 2000, 2001 and 2002.  

They've been Better Homes a Gardens Best Buy and produced several proven lines over it's history.  We use their casement windows, Ultra-Max vinyl replacement windows and were pleased with the quality and durability of their product.

The upgrades on this window are:Interior trim groove for factory trim as needed.New Exterior Color choices beyond the typical white and beige to include the following:Architectural Bronze, English Red, Desert Clay, Hudson Khaki, Forrest Green, American Terra, Castle Grey and of course, Beige and White.

Optional interior upgrades include 

White wood grain, Soft Maple wood grain, Rich Maple wood grain, Light Oak wood grain, Dark Oak Wood grain, Foxwood wood grain, Cherry Wood grain and again beige or white interiors as extruded.

Solid white or beige are always less costly, This product is Energy Star Rated and Approved in all climates.

Composite horizontal reinforcement bars instead of steel to be less conductive of heat and cold.It has the factory preferred 3 1/4" jamb thickness while keeping the profile under 2 3/4" of frame in the single hung model.  This is a great new option for us in Texas and will be a great new addition to our available lines.

Here's the link to the full scan of our first brochure on our Google Plus Page!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

I just figured out why Google Plus is going to be so much better than Facebook ever dreamed of being. 

For every user who learns it.* This is how they can feel:

Filtering into circles will put everyone in their place for my world.

Car guys will be in the garage with hot rods and Lams and Bugattis. 

Wack jobs will be gone or in a closet where I can glance in on them every now and again.

Beautiful Digital pictures will be ever flowing through my life with inspiring editing and detail like never before in history

All my political stuff will be in a nice folder for review on occasion.

My passion for music ~ not people ~ will be in a folder on my Youtube just a click away.

Here's what I won't have:

I won't have the constant DJ hammering out what club has a drink special or who's taco's are on sale, or what kind of a white sale is at Mervyn's.  

Who's coming to town or What's to do if I want to go someplace packed or someplace to drink too much, until I need those pieces of information. I well may need those pieces of information too, make no mistake.  But that constant advertising oriented format just has to die...  man it just has to.  This is the future man and I got no hoverboard.

Not that I don't love the pictures of the Friday night dance club and the DJ rockin' and the band is whaling.  But not all the time for sure and most definitely not during my work day or my quality time of life.

Or advertisements.  Wow that's a thought.......

My Work will be better and easier

My business research and associates will be sharing the latest cutting edge ideas and breakthroughs at all my productive times in one folder.  Not to mention my e-mail, documents, calendar, reminders and other conveniences that are a click away.

I will have a forum where I can share my accomplishments with my coworkers, customers and prospects.  (insert shameless plug here for whatever it is you do). 

I will have folders upon folders, upon folders of pictures of my work just a click away and I'll share them so my friends will remember and tell their friends, and we'll all be better off.  I'll earn a living hopefully and they'll help someone or I will.  

The universal principle here being that people can communicate better, get along better, understand better, disagree better and be productive more than ever before with the help of this format.

My website has to do better I'm sure - Maybe SEO is dead!**

I know that my website digs it because I really am an authority on (insert my subject of choice).  And Google search engines like that because they know who I am.  They're tired of you not liking search results too.  That's why they change that around to keep the results top notch.  They really want to know I'm not some robot kicking out crap to make a fast dollar and screw someone, not a little, and not a lot.  I'm really there, really doing that thing and showing it off. 
Oh and did I mention that my blog..  yea that little work tool is just a click away too.  Back to being productive.

Think for a moment about sharing your work and your progress with the world. 

It's so much easier to share my work in photos with a G+ click than a website revision.  Not that I can't do it because I have for 15 years now.  Way back in Frontpage days to be honest. 

Nothing is more important than your family and your friends.

Google Plus is a place to reach my kids or grandkids on hangouts or through a facetime hangout on my google glass.  Holy cow that may be the how you fire the reto-rockets on the space time continum right there.  Especially if we all spin counter clockwise at our respective locations.  (Danger - Don't try this at home).

Remind me to warn you, that I think this might be addictive if you get good at it and you may need to be careful and get away from the box sometimes to be with afforementioned family and friends....  anyway back to the article (end ADD spell here)

There is such a world of possibilty in every persons home feed that everyone will find their nitch when they learn the preferences, settings, circles, sharing techniques and workability of Google Plus.

As the world progresses further into a technology that is literally the new frontier for mankinds learning and advancement.  It is easy to see why Facebook will become a thing for the kids, but not anyplace for anyone with depth or maturity to spend too much time.

I always knew the grown ups would be in charge someday and maybe I'll live long enough to see that happen.
I'm almost sure this will eventually assimilate us all like the Borg want to do to Captain Picard and the entire Federation. As a Google Glass Explorer with a University of Texas orange camera stuck to my head like a weirdo or a nerd.  (old nerd at that)

Fortunately they are University of Texas orange.  I suppose that's a plus.

I am diving in head first because I'm hopeful.  I think we can grow closer, learn faster, be more productive as mankind has always been We, "good" (I use that one pretty loosely) people  can be better at helping the not-so-good folks see more clearly and have a better chance of making it.  This is a universal principle of kindness and I think it can happen better and faster because of great technology.  See.....Do unto others, Karma, Ying-Yang....etc.

Sidenote:  I really am able to see the people on the other side of the screen better because the format is clearer.  Even those whom I disagree with are closer and our dialogue can be kinder and more intelligent, more solution oriented.  It is a good thing.

I've gone way long on this article.  I'm new at this.  I could use your support and encouragement, shares or +1's or whatever the case may be.  I'm grateful you read this far for sure.

Here's the link   ~    BEEEEP

Dave Traynor

**I'm almost positive I've plagiarized this phrase from someone.  The other views are my own.  Thank you, thank you, thank you very much.  I'll be here all week.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Fogged Up Windows on the Real Estate Inspection

A call that I field a great deal comes from the home seller and has to do with fogged up windows on the inspection report.  This creates a few options for the seller that should be balanced and it also is a good read for a home buyer as the options effect your new home and it's longevity.

For the sake of discussion we have a 2400 square foot house that is listed at $265,000 here in Dallas Texas.  Most homes built from the 80's forward have had builders grade aluminum double paned windows.  They often came with a 5 to 10 year seal failure warranty but they seldom have anything more than this.  The end of our warranty hopes just came upon us.

This home would have on average 18 to 24 windows and probably about 8 to 10 panes of glass that might be showing condensation between the panes or white calcium build up between the panes.

The home inspector will not be able to see all the windows with seal failure as many times the actual tell tale signs are years away for some of the windows.  Back to the example home.  Twenty four windows will have 40 or so lites of glass and if 8 get flagged (tagged, dotted, whatever the inspector did to them) that's probably a win as there are 8 more just about to go out.

Cost to replace fogged windows.  On average the small ones are $125.00 and the big ones above them are $175.00.  Big circle tops and arch-top shaped glass replacement is considerably more and can be $600 to $1000 depending on the size.  This means the big beautiful one in the foyer.

As this problem is usually noted at the time of sale, here's another option.  If 8 flagged units can be settled with the new buyer at $800 to $1000.  That's always a win for the seller.  No scheduling, no issues.

For the buyer that can be a win too.  A thousand towards a better solution than glass replacement might be a good thing.  You can both haggle over the other $500 in labor and variables that could come into play.

Glass replacement will fix the clarity of the glass but not the energy efficiency of the window.  Most 80's to 90's era homes have that builders grade frame and installation that just won't seal well after a period of time.  New glass in a builders grade window is much like new tires on your 1972 Pinto.  You'll be stuck to the road better, but you're still driving a 1972 Pinto.

A long term solution is a good vinyl replacement window with a lifetime warranty that can offer better U Value and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient.  The builders grade clear insulated window allows 87% of the heat through the glass whereas a quality replacement window will only allow about 21% of the heat to pass through it.  That's furnace heat staying in and sunlight heat staying out, all year long!

Now I admit that I am partial to replacement windows as I've had a lifelong career in Dallas and surrounding areas as a window guy, but the reality of how happy folks are when their house is suddenly airtight is so very motivating to me.  It makes me want the job to be perfect so the results are notable.  Enough about me though this is about foggy windows isn't it?

So now you know the options.  Google Glass Replacement if glass only is what the inspector came up with.  I also recommend you enter the zip code and look for a glass shop closest to your home.  That is the guy who can do it cheapest in most cases.  If you're a house flipper replacement windows may be a better option to put a fresh face on the property.  In your case you'd search for Replacement Windows or Vinyl Windows.  If you're in Dallas and surrounding areas I hope you'll let us weigh in on your project as well.  ~  Dave Traynor

Sunday, January 19, 2014

My first week with Google Glass

Well I'm sure that I could start in a hundred different places from the easily critical, like ugly, to the drastically boring stuff like the web interface, peoples reactions to it or maybe my wife's total determination to not participate in any way, but the first week with Google Glass was indeed interesting. The future of wearable technology is going to be fun.

I was pleased to see my websites new HTML 5 works well with glass while many sites just don't. I was pleased to see some pretty high quality pictures but not so high quality that you say, wow am I glad I spent $1500 on this camera. Yes the take away on week one is .. expensive toy there ground breaker. I did several job site pictures and a video or two on site as well. The kids never do time their humor for the red light so I still miss all the best comments and pictures even with a camera stuck to my head. Maybe I'll get better at it as time goes on.

The Navigation is a fail so far. I'll see about that but don't tell it to navigate to Dave's House or it will send you to New Hampshire, 1730 miles - One Day away. The tilt head for on sometimes doesn't work and it seems to work better with a full charge, early in the day and it seems to fade in performance as the day goes on. The restart with a tap doesn't work all the time. When it locks up the camera will still snap with the top button but it seems to be the only function. I had hoped for a bit more of an interface with the phone. It seems like it should be controlled by the phone for usability but that would make it an Apple product not a Google product now wouldn't it? The tilt head to kill video was a killer to body language and movement for the animated wearer so that could be a factor if you we're filming and trying to be yourself instead of watching the viewfinder. Many sites don't navigate well that you would think should be amazing. Google Plus is one of them. I notice share buttons are useless so if you like a site and want to hit the social button you will be limited to finding a login page, even for G+. That one surprised me as we all know I'm certainly logged into Google at that point. Once at a login page, it's not really possible to enter your email and password, hence, sharing isn't going to happen. I was pleased to see my rankings are high and that is important as a web search will only yield about 5 to 8 results and they have links but no page two or three so those top ones better be the solution. I still can't make a call on them.

I guess I'll have to use my icloud to download contacts to gmail to insert into G+ as that's the format it wants to use to call people. Yea that ones pretty tough to explain. Lets say that although week one netted a gig of pictures and videos, i couldn't really send them to anyone except through G+. That part really made me wonder because they don't seem to care about me adding or being friends with my current Facebook friends or my phone book associates, they want me to befriend an Audi dealer in Bangladesh or a software development guy in Mogadishu. Someone in management would have to explain that one to us. All that aside, no easy integration to the phones contacts. Incidently the phone is consistently asking you to add contacts but it can't seem to store them or display them anywhere. The interface for adding contacts was in fact, bad on the glasses, bad on the iphone app, and bad on the internet. That's a pretty deadly trifecta for any tech gadget. Lets hope the contacts integration team is on that one. It's pretty important. "Glass call my wife" is a no brainer and this toy doesn't seem to do that. The wink to take a picture hasn't been too great either. It seems a lot like the tilt your head to wake it up feature.... very hit and miss. Actually the wink thing has been all misses.

That, along with many of my complaints are probably user error. Let's be very clear on that. I'm not a tech guy I'm a home improvement contractor in Dallas and this is not my job. I'm more like an interested consumer and bystander. I just wanted to see if I could make instructional videos easier with them. That may still work out. Time will tell. So that's my first accessment of the Glass. I have to confess to no reading of instructions, one quick support call about the contacts and two short videos as my training so again, maybe all user error at this point.

You can find the pictures in a post from today 1-19-2014 on my G+ profile at

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A New Blog for a New Year!

A New Blog for a New Year

By Dave Traynor

Well the SEO world says that it's not enough to have a Facebook Page, and a Twitter Profile, and a Google Maps Listing, or a Google Places listing.  Now the thing to have is a blog.  I personally even hate the word much less the concept.

What's a blog?  It sounds like a contraption created by a bad log.  It's not an article.  Not a webpage.  It just sounds useless already.  So much for optimism in the New Year.

No really I do have good things to say and add to society I just haven't figured them out yet.  Well that's not true either, I do know what to say.  Say something nice or don't say anything at all.  Thanks Grandma.

I have a great list of 13 things mentally strong people don't do.  I can't remember where I put them.  Google Plus profile I think.

Google Plus!  That's what it was I needed to blog about!  The single most important thing for a New Year and a small business is not really a blog in most cases.  It's a Google Plus Business Page.

A G+ profile for yourself will work much like a facebook page but more importantly, serves as a base author for your business profile, which over time will become the "publisher" of your website.  This Publisher and Authorship association with your web page will serve to bring higher organic web rankings to your website.

You can't underestimate the importance of getting in early.  For my company the two words Dallas and Windows are important.  How awesome was it to get my Google Plus Business Page up and acknowledged with a new cool page id like this one:  

Now maybe it will never be important for you to promote yourself in any way.  That is doubtful if you desire to be an expert in your field.  Most small business owners have 20+ years in their trade or industry and are experts but the internet has to be able to see that expertise and see it benefit the reader or the web searcher.

This is why I have to get a small business blog that talks about my small home improvement company.  And this is why you have to get a Google Plus Business page as soon as possible.

I'm looking forward to sharing on this blog.  My years of web development just hit 15 and I've made a great life with a small replacement window company and a great web presence.  Let me share it with you and come back to visit us often!  ~  Dave  And don't miss our other outreaches for the cool pictures!