Window Wars: Comparing Vinyl And Aluminum Windows

Vinyl and aluminum windows are two of the most common types of window frames available, and offer a number of different types of advantages over each other. Knowing the differences between the two types of windows can allow you to figure out which one best fits your needs.

Vinyl Windows

Vinyl windows are much less expensive than aluminum windows, but are not necessarily of lower quality. Vinyl windows are made out of PVC, which is simply a less expensive material than aluminum. Vinyl windows do not need to be painted, and can be easily cleaned with just soap and water. Vinyl cannot be painted, but can be made to be a certain color, so it can still match with the aesthetic of your house without having to worry about repainting every few years. Vinyl is very durable, and will resist scratches, dents, cuts, and corrosion when exposed to weather conditions. They are also very energy efficient and are great for reducing your energy bills.

However, vinyl windows are not as environmentally efficient, as they cannot be recycled very easily. Additionally, vinyl windows will not add as much resale value to your home due to their lower cost. They are also poor at reducing noise, which can be a problem if you live in an area with a lot of traffic. Finally, vinyl windows can also discolor very easily if exposed to extreme heat, which means that they have to replaced, as they cannot be painted. This makes vinyl windows less than ideal for hot climates.

Aluminum Windows

Aluminum windows are very environmentally efficient, and can be easily and efficiently recycled. Additionally, they are extremely durable, and will withstand weather exposure for a very long period of time. This means that in intense winds, they will hold up much better than vinyl windows. They are also lightweight, making them much easier to install than vinyl windows. Aluminum windows can be painted, which makes it easy to exactly match the aesthetic of your house. They also provide a much better sound barrier than vinyl windows do.

However, aluminum windows are more expensive than vinyl windows, and will need to be repainted over time due to weather exposure. Also, they are still susceptible to dents, which vinyl windows are not. Furthermore, as they are made out of metal, they can corrode over time, which means that they will insulate your home less efficiently and will need to be replaced. They are also not as efficient as vinyl windows at insulating your home, as they conduct temperature very easily, bringing in the weather outside.

For more help making your decision, contact a local window installation company. 

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How To Prevent And Fix Cracked Landscape Pavers

Pavers, whether made of concrete, stone or brick, provide an attractive alternative to concrete or asphalt paving. They are often used for patios and sidewalks, but you can also use them for driveways. Pavers can last a lifetime when installed correctly. If you have issues with cracked pavers, you must first determine the reason before you fix the problem.

Main Reasons for Cracking

There are three main reasons pavers crack:

  • They aren’t laid on a level surface or tamped firmly in place.
  • Poor drainage has caused the ground to settle, resulting in cracking.
  • Frost heave, which is typically caused by poor drainage or inadequate base preparation, lifts the soil and the pavers.

Wear and tear can also lead to chips, usually around the edges of a paved walkway or patio, but this is less common than the above causes. In rare cases, weeds may grow between the pavers and result in a crack, but usually the weeds take root first in a small crack resulting from one of the main three causes. The weed doesn’t cause the crack, it just widens it.

Prevention Tips

The easiest way to ensure your pavers don’t crack is to make sure the base is prepared properly. For most paver projects, the base consists of a level of crushed gravel topped with 1 or 2 inches of sand. The depth of the gravel base depends on the historical frost line in your area. It should extend a couple inches below the depth of the frost line to prevent frost heave. This also provides better drainage.

The gravel must be firmly tamped down and leveled before the sand is placed on top. The sand also requires tamping and leveling. Finally, the pavers are placed. Once the pavers are completely level, they are tamped into the sand layer and additional sand is swept into the joints to fill them.

If drainage or a high water table is a concern in the area, you may need to install French drains around the perimeter of the paved area to route moisture away from the pavers. You will also need to sweep fresh sand into the paver joints once or twice yearly to keep the pavers from shifting.

Replacement Method

One of the best things about pavers is you don’t have to replace an entire sidewalk or patio slab if a crack does occur. A single crack doesn’t mean you have a problem with the base, so you usually don’t have to worry about full replacement. Instead, you can simply lift out the broken paver, level and tamp the base, and install a new paver.

If there is a problem with the base, you can remove all the pavers and reinstall the base. Any pavers that aren’t cracked can be reused in the new paving, which saves money. If you need an entirely new base installed, it can be worthwhile to bring in a professional paver or landscaper to ensure it’s done correctly.

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5 Great Ways To Improve The Look Of Your Home

Most people want to improve the value of their home. However, when it comes to doing so, many often think about costly renovations. Changing kitchen or bathroom fixtures and performing other massive renovations can be expensive. However, there are still little things you can do that do not cost a lot which can help boost the value of your home and give it a fresh look. Here are five easy and affordable ways you can give your home an instant facelift.

Make Small Changes to Your Kitchen

Even if your kitchen will eventually need a complete renovation, you can do small things to make it more attractive until you can completely remodel it. Try resurfacing your counter tops or painting your cupboard. These are easy inexpensive ways to spruce up your kitchen quickly.

Use Semi-Gloss Paint

Repaint your walls with some semi-gloss paint. Semi-gloss paint allows you to add a minor sheen to your walls that is not overwhelming. This can make a room that was previously bland come to life. Semi-gloss paint is also easy to clean should any markings occur on the walls or in case dirt begins to settle.

New Cover Outlets

Cracked, stained and discolored cover outlets for your light switches can cause your home to look shabby. One of the best things you can do to immediately make your home look more pristine is to change these. Changing cover outlets is an easy do-it-yourself job. You can purchase cover outlets at the hardware store. If you want to add even more spice to your walls, you can choose cover outlets with decorative designs.

Power Wash

Sometimes the only reason that an area in your home looks shabby is because it needs a good thorough cleaning. A good cleaning can often make surfaces that seem grimy and in need of expensive renovations appear as good as new. Good places to power wash are your decks and exterior sidings. If you do not own a power washer, you can purchase one at your local hardware store or hire a professional power washer to get deeply entrenched oil and dirt off your decks and exterior sidings.

Spruce Up or Change Your Doors

Doors are prominent fixtures in your home, and if they are not in pristine condition they can make your home look run down. Changing the doors, varnishing or painting them is a great way to instantly upgrade the look of your home.

Giving your home a fresh look need not be expensive, if you focus on improving small details that will make your home look brighter.

If you need to do a more involved renovation, contact Suburban Construction Inc. or a similar contractor.

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Knowing What To Expect When Using Lockout Services

People often find themselves a bit hesitant to contact a local locksmith when dealing with a lockout simply because they are unsure of what to expect once the locksmith arrives at their home. This uncertainty often leads to the fear of unexpected costs and possible property damage. As a result, far too many individuals will fail to seek out the professional lockout services that they truly need. Thankfully, by taking a moment to learn more about the lockout services that a professional locksmith provides, you can help to ensure that you never make this same mistake.

Lock Picking

The first thing that any reputable locksmith will do when responding to a lockout is to try and pick your lock. This can be done using manual lock picking tools or through the use of an electronic picker.

While lock picking is often a very effective method of gaining access to your home, this approach will not work with all types of locks. More specifically, lock picking will often fail to be effective when dealing with high security locks. Consequently, most locksmiths will only try this approach for a few minutes before moving on to a new method.


The next method that many locksmiths will try is known as impressioning. This method requires the locksmith to try and make an impression of the inside of your lock using a blank key. Once the impression is captured, the locksmith is able to cut a key that will work to open your door.

Impressioning can be a very complex and time consuming process. Therefore, some locksmiths will choose to skip this method altogether if they believe it cannot be successful with your specific type of lock. This is not only to the benefit of the locksmith who may have multiple calls to respond to, but it is also to your benefit since many locksmiths will charge by the hour for their services.


As a last resort, a locksmith may need to drill your lock cylinder in order to gain access to your home. This method is reserved for last because it will result in the need to replace your current locks.

While a locksmith will certainly offer to replace your locks if this destructive method must be used, you should know that this service does come with additional fees. Therefore, if there is a family member or friend who can pick up a few new locks for your home and help you install them, you may find that completing this part of the task on your own is a more cost effective option. However, professional locksmiths, such as the experts at Pop A Lock, would be more than happy to take care of the job for you. 

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Spice Up Your Love Life With Glass Shower Doors

Home improvement and romance do not necessarily go hand in hand. In fact, home improvement can be tedious and taxing and generally time consuming, which is not conducive to romance at all. No matter how simple the renovations are, there can be so many options and little details to consider that a one-day project can take up weeks of your time. However, getting glass shower doors could be one of the home improvement options that see benefits in your love life for years to come.

No mess, no stress

Installing glass shower doors in your bathroom can help to alleviate the stress associated with having to keep track of bathroom cleaning. The division of labor for household chores is said to be the third highest ranking issue that causes marital problems. In fact, women spend up to 22 percent of their time and men spend about 18 percent of theirs on household chores with two of the most demanding areas being the kitchen and the bathroom. This does not make for the best situation or time for romance. 

Glass shower doors are easy to clean and help to keep the rest of the bathroom clean and dry. They can be easily wiped with a clean piece of cloth and an effective glass cleaner. This ease of cleaning would help to reduce the amount of time spent doing household chores and scrubbing the bathroom. In addition to this, glass shower doors offer the more infinitely satisfying benefit of preventing splashes into the rest of the bathroom. This leaves more time for you to spend together; not cleaning or fussing about cleaning.

Peek-a-boo! I see you!

Every marital relationship requires intimacy and a glass shower enclosure presents plenty of opportunities to be intimate. Glass shower doors can help to make it easier to create a romantic setting in your bathroom for intimate baths and showers. In fact lighting (usually candles), which plays a huge role in romantic settings, can be enhanced by the reflection on the glass doors, giving your bathroom the look of spaciousness with the feel of intimacy. Frame-less glass doors are especially appealing and can cost about $800 to $1300.

It is estimated that up to 29 percent of people like to share their baths and more than 25 percent of them like to be intimate in the bathroom. A glass shower door is safer than a shower curtain as it presents a more solid surface for secure movement. Glass shower doors, from places like Mitchell Window & Door, are also less likely to billow around and spoil the mood by being the unwelcome intruder sticking to wet skin. 

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5 Helpful Tips For Preventing Drain Clogs

A clogged drain is a very common plumbing issue and can really put a damper on your day. It can occur at the most inconvenient time and be expensive to fix. That is why it is very important to take good care of your drains. Here are five helpful tips for preventing drain clogs.

Place Mesh Screens Over Your Sink and Bathtub Drains

Hair can easily get washed down your bathtub and sink drains and cause clogs. If you put mesh screens over your sink and bathtub drains, you can prevent hair from clogging the drains. Just remember to clean these mesh screens every couple of days with a piece of tissue paper.

Do not Pour Grease Down Your Kitchen Sink

Pouring grease down your kitchen sink might not seem like a big deal, but it can actually lead to drain clogs. Grease can harden in your pipes and cause a major clog in your kitchen sink. Instead of pouring grease down your sink, you should throw it away in the garbage can.

Avoid Flushing Items Down Your Toilet

If you want to avoid drain clogs, you should avoid flushing items down your toilet. Bathroom wipes, dental floss, diapers, and even paper towels can lead to clogs and damage your pipes. The only items that should go down your toilet are human waste and toilet paper.

Run Hot Water Down Your Kitchen Sink

Another way you can minimize the risk of drain clogs is to run hot water down your kitchen sink after each use. It will help food particles get down the drain faster instead of accumulating in your pipes and causing blockages.

Get Your Sewer Lines Professionally Cleaned

Even if you clean your drains regularly and avoid throwing random items down your kitchen and toilet, you can still experience drain clogs. If tree roots start growing in your sewer lines, they can eventually lead to drain clogs. That is why you should hire a professional plumber, such as Mike’s Drain & Plumbing, to clean out your sewer lines every few years. It will cost you a little extra money, but you can avoid a big mess in the future. 

Following these helpful tips can help you avoid drain clogs in the future. However, if you still experience a clog, you should definitely contact an experienced plumber right away. A trained plumber can come to your home and clear out that clog in no time.

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4 Benefits Of Having Your Concrete Floors Stained

If you have been considered having your concrete floors acid-stained, you might be interested to learn about the many benefits that will come from such a decision. Once you learn all you can about the various benefits, you will surely find yourself ready to get the project started.

Less Wear And Tear

A concrete floor that is acid-stained will be resistant to the everyday wear and tear a floor would normally get. This just so happens to be one of those benefits that can be the main reason some people seek out acid-staining services. They want their floors to last for as long as possible. This also means that it is very unlikely that you are ever going to have to worry about the stain flaking, chipping, or rubbing thin any time in the near future. This type of stain is meant to last.

Increased Energy Savings

You might think that having concrete floors will make it harder to heat and cool, which in turn will mean more money spent on the energy bills. However, this is not the case with the acid-stained concrete. The heat or cool air that you introduce into the building will be absorbed into the acid-stained concrete floors and will only be slowly released back into the open environment. This means you are not going to have to worry about waling on uncomfortable feeling floors.

Easy To Maintain

An acid-stained concrete floor will not require as much care as other types of flooring will require. You do not have to worry about shampooing, as you would with carpets. You do not have to worry about sanding and staining, as you would have to do with wood floors. All you need to do is perform a few quick sweeps and a light mopping over the course of a week and it will not only be clean, but will continue to look amazing. The time you save by not having to spend hours maintaining your concrete floors makes the staining of them all that much more worth it.

Better Air Quality

With the acid-stained floors, you will not have to worry about dirt, dust, dander, or anything else getting wedged into the groves of the floor. Since such things could cause someone with allergies to be very uncomfortable, it is important to see the value in adding stain to your concrete floor. Sure, regular old concrete floors may be better than carpet when it comes to allergies. However, the stained concrete floors are even better as the cracks and crevices are tightly sealed, making the removal of allergens a breeze.

With the previously mentioned benefits in mind, you should have no trouble seeing why it is time to go ahead and schedule with a contractor, like one at Southwest Coating Solutions, for the staining of your concrete.

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