Tag: window repair

  • Improving Skylight Installation

    Courtesy of BobVila.com

    Courtesy of BobVila.com

    Skylights can be a beautiful way to bring natural light into your home.  However, if not installed properly, they can ended up leaking, increasing your electric bills.

    There have been advancements in skylight design that benefit both your aesthetics and your wallet.

    According to BobVila.com, "These new-and-improved skylights can benefit a home in several eco-friendly ways. For starters, they beam 100% free light into a room, and if vented, they improve air circulation. Additionally, skylights can help regulate a home’s climate. (Rising hot air escapes through them in the summer, and in the winter, they admit warming sun rays.) Not to mention, the natural light admitted by skylights ultimately promotes good health. Sunlight balances your circadian rhythms, wards off Seasonal Affective Disorder, and replenishes vitamin D levels."

    Instead of the "bubble-style skylights" of the past, new skylights are often the same high-quality standard as windows. According to the site, " Many are Energy Star-rated and feature dual-paned, argon-gas-injected low-e glass that not only insulates well, but also blocks UV rays that can bleach furniture and carpets."

    One of the more advanced skylight systems out on the market  is the solar-powered “Fresh Air” Skylight from Velux:

    An operable window-on-your-roof, it features solar cells built into the frame, so there is no need to hook up the skylight to your home’s electrical system. Using the preprogrammed remote control, you can either open and close the skylight at will or program it to lift and lower automatically throughout the day. Conveniently, a built-in rain sensor closes the window in wet weather.

    If your attic takes up a lot of the space under your roof, it may seem impossible to get a skylight.  Thankfully, there are new ways to let the sun shine through.  According to BobVila.com, tubular solar lighting system, "are simple enough to install yourself, consist of a skylight on the roof and a fixed or flexible tube that channels the light to wherever you need it. The resulting installation indoors often looks like a recessed ceiling light fixture."

    Also, according to the site, "In the past few years, one of the brightest advances in skylights has come, not from a research facility, but from the federal government. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 allows homeowners to claim a 10% tax credit—up to $500—on certain components of skylight installation, so if you do install any of these systems, be sure to check with your accountant! That way, you’ll not only save on electric, heating, and cooling costs, but on your taxes as well."

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your skylight installation and skylight repair needs.  Call us today at 215-453-9180 for your FREE estimate!

  • Spring Maintenance Musts

    Courtesy of BobVila.com

    Courtesy of BobVila.com

    It's finally spring! And the better weather can also reveal some home maintenance work that needs to be done. However, spring chores don't have to be miserable.

    Follow this simple routine, courtesy of BobVila.com to check everything off your home maintenance list:


    With binoculars and a keen eye, you can generally spot roof problems. Cracked or missing shingles should be replaced, and if you see any shingle-shift, it may mean you need to install new fasteners. Look also for buildup of pine needles and other debris in those valleys between roof peaks.

    Exterior Walls

    Whether you have wood siding, stucco or brick, look for damaged areas, especially under eaves and near gutter downspouts. Water stains normally indicate that your gutters are not adequately containing roof runoff. With wood, check for any damaged areas or openings that clear the way for carpenter ants, woodpeckers and other critters.


    If you have a masonry chimney, check the joints between bricks or stones. Have any fallen out, or is vegetation growing? Both can be evidence of water infiltration. Efflorescence, a white calcium-like deposit, is another sign of trouble.


    When inspecting poured-concrete foundations, keep your eyes peeled for cracks. If cracks in the foundation exist, routine caulking won’t do the job. You'll want to hire a foundation specialist, who can employ a two-part epoxy injection system that will bond those cracks chemically.


    Leakage around windows will admit warm summer air and let cooled indoor air escape, so be sure to check that any caulking and weather stripping you have in place has remained intact. If you experienced condensation inside the glass on double- or triple-glazed windows during the winter months, that could mean the weather seal has been compromised, in which case either the glass or the window will need to be replaced.

    Spring-clean your windows—inside and out—with a store-bought or homemade window cleaner (one cup rubbing alcohol, one cup water and a tablespoon of white wine vinegar will work just fine). Apply cleaner with either a squeegee or a soft cloth. If screens were on all winter, remove and clean them with mild detergent. Lay them on a dry surface (e.g., a driveway) to air-dry before putting them back on.

    Attend to Leaks

    Spring is a good time to check for leaky faucets, clogged drains and sweaty pipes. Check under kitchen and bathroom sinks to make sure connections on pipes and hoses are secure and sealed. Look for water stains around the dishwasher and check washer machine hoses for cracks, bulges or dampness.

    Air Conditioning

    Just as you readied your furnace for fall, now is the time to make sure that air conditioning units are in good working order for the warmer months ahead. Change the filter, check hose connections for leaks, and make sure the drain pans are draining freely.


    Search for signs that insects and critters have colonized. Also, search aggressively for mold, which often takes the form of gray or black blotches. Proper insulation and good ventilation will deter mold growth in the attic, so take action now to prevent the problem from developing in the warmer months ahead.


    Dampness in a basement suggests higher-than-normal relative humidity, inadequate ventilation and the need for a dehumidifier. Check the base of poured-concrete walls for cracks and evidence of water penetration. And use a flashlight to examine exposed framing. If you see what looks like tunneling on the wood, call a pest control company.

    Decks and Patios

    Look for warped, loose or splintered boards, and do a good sweep to remove any leaves and debris that might have accumulated between boards. If the finish on your wood deck is faded or worn, now is the time to clean, stain, and reseal it. If you have composite decking, follow manufacturer's recommendations on seasonal care.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of you exterior wall maintenance, roof maintenance, roof repair, window repair and window maintenance needs. Call us today at 215-453-9180 for your FREE estimate!


  • Interior Storm Windows Boost Home Efficiency

    Courtesy of BobVila.com

    Courtesy of BobVila.com

    One of the primary ways to improve your home's energy efficiency is to repair or replace your windows, however, it can be costly and it may not even aesthetically be what you want.

    Well, there is now a new option for homeowners to consider.  An alternative to double-hung replacement windows is now interior storm windows.  According to BobVila.com, Indow Windows, a Portland, OR -based company began manufacturing them in 2010.  The windows "are constructed from sheets of light, strong acrylic glazing, which is edged with the company’s patent-pending compression tubing. The products press into place on the inside of a window frame and provide a tight seal against cold window drafts without the use of nails, screws, or adhesives."

    According to an independent test study by Portland State University, these windows "almost double the R-value of a single-pane window."

    In addition, they'll also save you on installation.

    Typical double-hung replacements cost between $500 a $900; a comparable insert from Indow Windows costs about $250.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your Pennsylvania window installation, window repair, window inspection and window replacement needs.  Call us today at 215-453-9180 for your FREE estimate!



  • Where to Use Casement Windows


    courtesy of BobVila.com

    Casement windows are windows that are hinged on one side and crank open so that the entire window area opens.  These types of windows are great for certain areas of your home.

    According to BobVila.com, "It’s an especially good choice over a kitchen sink, where it’s easier to turn a crank at the windowsill level than to stretch to push up a double-hung."

    It's also a good choice for small windows because it can make the best out of the limited opening that is there.

    However, these windows aren't the best for everything.  For example:

    ...a double-hung is usually better in a bathroom, where it can be opened from the top to maintain privacy. Casements are not suitable next to patios or porches, or for any place where they’d create a hazard for someone walking by outside. But if you want maximum open space, and you have the clearance outside, a casement just might be the way to go.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your casement windows, window repair, window replacement and window installation needs.  Call us today at (215) 453-9180 for your FREE estimate.

  • Prevent Your Pennsylvania Windows From Frosting


    Courtesy of HuffingtonPost.com

    On cold days frost can form on your glass doors and windows.  Here is a way, courtesy of HuffingtonPost, to keep the frost away.

    To keep your windows or sliding glass door from frosting over on the coldest days of winter, wash them with a mixture of one quart warm water and half a cup of rubbing alcohol. Now you'll be able to see clearly, even if it's too cold to actually venture outside.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your Pennsylvania windows, window replacement, window repair, window installation and window inspection needs.  Call us today at (215) 453-9180 for your FREE estimate.

  • Energy-Efficient Window Replacement Options


    Choosing the right window replacement is a very important decision, as it will greatly impact your energy costs for years to come.  Relatively new window technologies such as low-e glass, smart windows and electrochromic glazing, can provide you with options that didn't exist 5-10 years ago.  They target the two largest energy uses in commercial buildings — lighting and space conditioning.

    Here is some information about Low-E glass and Electrochromic Glazing, courtesy of FacilitiesNet:

    Oldest of the "new" technologies, low-e glass uses an ultra-thin metal oxide coating to maximize performance. Although the coating itself is not visible, it limits solar heat gain while transmitting light. Depending on a facility's location, facility managers can choose low-e glass that admits more solar heat gain (in heating-dominated climates or for passive-solar use) or limits solar gain (for cooling-dominated climates). According to DOE, low-e windows generally cost 10 to 15 percent more than regular windows but can reduce energy loss by as much as 30 to 50 percent.

    "Low-e technology provides a good and reliable means for improving insulating glass performance," says Michael Louis, a senior principal at the engineering firm Simpson Gumpertz & Heger.

    A newer option is known as dynamic glazing. What it does is simple but dramatic: It changes color to control the amount of sunlight that enters a space.

    In the most common type of dynamic glazing — electrochromic glazing — the presence or absence of electric current in the coating renders the window opacified or clear.

    Electrochromic coatings are a nanometer-thick, multi-layer film, says Stephen Selkowitz, department head, building technologies, environmental energies technology division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories. "Transparent conductors form the outer layers of the stack, an active electrochromic and passive counter-electrode layer form the middle layers, and an ion-conducting electrolyte layer forms the center portion of the stack," he says. The glazings can be manually or automatically controlled. The technology does have a small delay in most uses, from several seconds to several minutes.

    Electrochromic technology relies on a network of wiring and controls that runs into and out of the glazing pockets of window (or curtain wall) assemblies. The installed system has to accommodate that network while maintaining weather-tightness for exterior applications. The network also has to be maintained once the building is in operation.

    "[Electrochromic glazings] are new to the market and finding niche applications," says Ray McGowan, senior manager at the National Fenestration Rating Council. "This technology may realize market gains in the near future." Currently, many applications are for interior spaces.

    One reason McGowan says he believes in the promise of dynamic glazing is because of its potential for solar heat control. "Dynamic glazing enables precise solar heat gain coefficient control to limit heat gain during high cooling periods and increase heat gain during heating periods," he says.

    Another dynamic glazing option — thermochromic — relies not on electricity to determine opacity or translucence, but on solar radiation. This technology uses a tinted thermochromic layer that warms up and darkens in direct sunlight.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your window replacement,  window installation and window repair needs. Call us today for your FREE estimate at (215) 453-9180.



  • New Year's Resolutions for Your Home


    Now that 2013 is almost here, discussion about New Year's resolutions and top-10 lists are right around the corner.  While you probably have more personal resolutions,  you can make the same type of resolutions for your home.

    Here is a list of New Year's resolutions, courtesy of House Logic, that are based on the top 10 resolutions gathered by Time magazine.


    1. Lose weight (cut energy use)
    2. Quit smoking (purify indoor air)
    3. Get out of debt (budget for improvements)
    4. Learn something new (educate yourself on home finances)
    5. Get organized (de-clutter)
    6. Volunteer (support your community)
    7. Drink less (curb home water use)
    8. Spend more time with the family (share home improvement projects)
    9. Get fit (exercise your DIY skills)
    10. Be less stressed (use maintenance-free materials)

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your pennsylvania roofing, siding, gutter repair and window needs. Call us today at 215-453-9180 for your FREE estimate.


  • Get Window Privacy Without Losing Light

    Courtesy of House Logic

    It's nice to have a lot of natural light in your home, but if you live close to your neighbors,  it may feel like any one can look into your home.  Here are some tips, courtesy of House Logic, on how to get some moe privacy without sacrificing the natural light in your home:

    Spray-on window frosting

    Available in aerosol cans at hardware stores and home improvement centers, spray-on frosted finishes ($4 to $10 for a 12-ounce can) coat window glass with a translucent or opaque frosting that blocks views but allows light in.

    One can of spray coats about 35 sq. ft. of glass — enough to coat 2 average-size windows. White is popular, but other translucent colors also are available.

    Be sure to clean the interior surface of your window before applying the spray. Work in a well-ventilated area and apply as several thin, even coats to avoid drips. Spray-on frosts can be removed by scraping the window with a blade.

    For windows and glass doors where total privacy isn’t necessary, such as the glass surrounding an exterior entry door, use the spray with stencils to create designs that look like they’re etched onto the glass.

    Window films

    Opaque and translucent vinyl films ($25 to $125 for a 3-by-5-ft. window) cling to the interior glass surfaces of your windows. You cut them to fit with a utility knife.

    Window films come in a variety of opacities, patterns, colors, and even “stained glass” looks. Some frosted films contain glass dust that shimmers for a look that mimics real frosted glass. Other energy-efficient window films provide benefits in addition to privacy, such as reducing UV rays and preventing energy loss or solar gain.

    Peel-and-stick window films cling to window glass with static electricity — a surprisingly dependable method. Properly applied, these films will remain in place for years, yet they’re easy to remove. You can even reapply them to other windows.

    Adhesive-based films are a permanent privacy solution and can’t be removed. Installing them requires a special kit; once in place, they must be carefully cured for up to 8 days. Adhesive-based films ($20 to $40 for a 2-by-3-ft. piece) have better energy-saving properties than static-cling films, and they last for the life of the glass.

    Before installing any film, you’ll want to make sure the window glass is clean and free of dust or smudges. That way, you won’t get bubbles and other imperfections.

    Replacement windows

    For window privacy, especially inside a shower or above a bathtub, a glass or acrylic block window is another option. The texture of the blocks obscures the view while allowing in an optimum amount of light.

    Because of their weight, glass block windows usually are fixed in place and inoperable. However, they’re typically less expensive than an acrylic block window of the same size. Glass blocks are also available in colors, and with etched- and frosted-glass finishes.

    If you prefer an operable window, select acrylic glass block, which is 75% lighter in weight than glass block.

    Glass and acrylic block windows are available pre-assembled and set into a frame for installation like a standard window. A 2-by-2-foot acrylic block operable casement window sells for about $450, uninstalled.

    If you prefer a more traditional look, an energy-efficient window with decorative, translucent glass (similar to a leaded glass window), costs $400 to $600 for a 3-by-5-ft. double-hung window.

    Chemical etching

    Although etching cream is a good option for frosting small amounts of glass, such as on glassware or a mirror, etching an entire window with cream isn’t recommended since it’s nearly impossible to achieve consistent opacity over a large area of glass.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your window installation, window repair, window maintenance and window replacement needs.  Call us today at  (215) 453-9180 for your FREE Estimate!

  • Is Your Home a Candidate for Skylights?

    Skylights can be a fun way to bring some more light into your living space.  However, they can cost big bucks to install.

    Here are some questions you should ask yourself, courtesy of House Logic, before you decide if skylights are right for you:

    • Is your roof framed with trusses? Truss framing is typically 24-inch on-center, which accommodates a 2-foot-wide skylight (they’re actually 22.5 inches wide). However, if you need to cut into a truss for a wider skylight (they can range up to 4 feet wide and 6 feet long), you’ll have to hire a structural engineer to spec alternative framing. Costs for engineering run from $300 to $500.
    • Is the attic space clear? Once you have an idea where you’d like to add a skylight, check the attic for any HVAC, wiring, or plumbing in the way.
    • Will you need a chase? A chase is a framed tunnel that channels light from the skylight through your attic space to the ceiling below. Typically it’s finished with drywall and painted. Because it’s complex to build, it adds about $1,500 to a professional installation. Note: If you have a cathedral ceiling, you won’t need a chase.
    • Will a skylight suit the architectural style of your home? In many ways, a skylight is a neutral element that blends with most styles, but it may affect the curb appeal of an older home.
    • Can a solar light tube do the job as well? At less than 20% of the installed cost of a skylight, a solar light tube can illuminate an area of 200 to 600 sq. ft.

    Costs of adding a skylight

    Unless you’re a highly skilled DIYer, leave this job to the pros. You’ll want an experienced installer to ensure your skylight doesn’t leak. Installation cost for a 2-by-4-foot skylight runs from $2,000 to $3,000. Here’s how the costs break out:

    • Cut a hole in the roof and alter the rafter framing: About $500.
    • Install and flash the skylight: With asphalt shingles, expect this stage to cost about $500 — figure 20% to 30% more for metal or tile roofing.
    • Build a chase from the skylight to the interior ceiling: Estimate $1,000 to $1,500.
    • Repaint the entire ceiling beneath the skylight: Plan a minimum of $250 if you hire a pro. If you have an open-plan home, budget for more.

    Skylight features

    Even the least expensive skylights come with insulated glass and UV protection. A fixed skylight costs $150 to $500. However, manufacturers offer many options for controlling the amount of light and enhancing ventilation:

    • A venting skylight that opens manually using a hand crank runs $300 to $600.
    • An electronically controlled venting skylight that opens and closes with a remote control costs $600 to $1,000; including a rain sensor that automatically closes the skylight adds $200 to $300.
    • Built-in mini blinds let you fine tune the amount of light. They operate by means of a stick crank or remote control. Blinds cost $200 to $400.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of you window installation, window maintenance and window repair needs. Call us today at (215) 773-9181 for your FREE estimate!

  • Criteria When Getting New Windows

    Windows are extremely important for both the aesthetics and efficiency of a home. However, there are so many criteria for choosing windows that it is easy to forget the end goal.  Some of the most important aspects to consider when selecting a window, according to FacilitiesNet, are:

    • Resistance to wind loads
    • Resistance to water infiltration
    • Air tightness to prevent drafts
    • Resistance to condensation on the interior of the windows
    • Security and emergency egress
    • Light and ventilation
    • Appearance that enhances the overall design
    It is important to not get caught up in the latest designs and trends because many times, these trends haven't stood the test of time yet.
    New state-of-the-art products or components can fail, go out of style or simply go out of production because of poor sales or poor function. Products or components that have not experienced the test of time under field conditions may result in failures that were not demonstrated in laboratory tests. The simplest window design that meets all of the established criteria is usually best. To obtain a more objective opinion, temper the advice and sales pitches of product representatives with recommendations from designers and users of the product.
    While it's easier said than done, price should not be the primary factor in selecting windows.  According to FacilitiesNet, "Settling on the cheapest window product can lead to low durability, poor performance, water leakage and increased or difficult maintenance. This also holds true for the associated materials and work to provide the proper interface between the window and the wall."
    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your window repair, window replacement and window installation needs.  Call us today at (215) 773-9181 for your FREE estimate!