Are newer windows more efficient than older ones and why is it important?

Windows are a weak area in your homes insulation and can be responsible for 25-50% of a home’s energy loss.


CAL-1105-0002x-mod2Yes newer windows are more efficient. It’s important because, according to the US Department of Energy, heating and cooling a home represents 54% of your energy bill. Windows are a weak area in your homes insulation and can be responsible for 25-50% of a home’s energy loss. Over time that can add up to a substantial amount. Consumers have demanded better windows and manufacturers have made them.

Unlike older windows, new energy efficient windows have multiple panes of glass with a pocket of air or gas trapped in between the panes. Argon is the most frequently used gas. It, like all the gasses used in windows, is non-toxic, colorless, and odorless. A gas layer is important because it slows down the transfer of energy through the window just like a layer of insulation does to your walls. Double pane windows have become the standard but if you want even better performance you can get triple pane windows. The more panes and more dense the gas used the better your performance. A side benefit to this gas layer is it tends to reduce sound transfer as well.

Another element to a better energy performing window is using specially formulated coatings on the glass. Low E glass has a layer of transparent metallic oxide applied during it’s manufacture. This layer reflects infrared and ultraviolet (UV) light. This helps to keep heat in in the winter and out in the summer. A side benefit to keeping the UV light out is it protects your home from these damaging rays.

If you are looking to replace your windows give K-Designers a call 800-728-3902 or visit us online We’ll help you to make the best decision for your needs.

Blinds and Shades are the same aren’t they?

Many people use the two words interchangeably. But they really do refer to two different forms of window coverings.

Vinyl faux wood blinds
Vinyl faux wood blinds

Window Blinds
Windows blinds are generally considered a “hard” window covering. Blinds are made up of individual slats of stiff material that stack when raised or when retracted to either side of your opening. Blinds allow for no coverage when completely open or the slats can be rotated, while the blind is partially or fully closed, to allow for variable coverage. They are most commonly made of vinyl, wood, or metal.

Honeycomb Window Blinds
Honeycomb Window Blinds

Window Shades
Window shades are a “soft” window covering. They are made of a continuous sheet of flexible material. They can be raised or lowered causing the shade to gather or roll up onto itself to adjust light/privacy. In some types they can even be retracted from the top down and the bottom up simultaneously. They are most commonly made of fabric or vinyl. Soft not only applies to the material being flexible in form it also applies to it’s visual appearance. Shades are very often made of somewhat translucent materials giving the treatment a more softened appearance compared to blinds.

Knowing the difference can help in your search to find just exactly what you are looking for. If you have any more question in regards to blinds or shades or some other remodeling project contact K-Designers at 800-728-3902 or visit us online

Curb Appeal is about first impressions does your home make a good one?

Curb Appeal

When visitors come by your home you want them to have a positive impression. This is especially true if you are selling your home. That first impression of your home happens long before they step foot inside. First impressions can be misleading and are hard to change for good or ill. In fact 90% of home buyers decide if they are interested in a home before seeing the inside. It’s no surprise that the home industry emphasizes curb appeal as a very important component to your home’s value. (Curb appeal is the impression your home gives viewers from the curb.) If you are looking to improve your homes curb appeal there are some areas you can look into:

The single largest component of your home is its exterior. Faded and peeling paint aren’t exactly a good. You can of course paint every few years but vinyl siding is virtually maintenance free. With the occasional hose down vinyl siding can maintain its look for decades. In addition it comes in a variety of styles and colors. With vinyl your home looks its best day after day.

Windows from a style perspective can set the tone of your homes appearance. Replacing your old windows can truly revitalize the look. Windows have a variety of options: style, shape, color and decorative elements like grids. Make your windows stand out and be dramatic or just have them shed that dated look. In addition to a punch of style updating older windows can save you money on your energy bill and protect your belongings from sun damage.

Design Elements
Think of design elements as that little something extra added to features of your home to enhance them. Many of these elements have to do with your windows or doors as they are locations that stand out. They add interest and style to your window or door openings. They can be one element like shutters, or an entire grouping of elements like wraps, headers, footers, pilasters etc.

Entry Door
Changing out your front door can be a dramatic change. Your entry area greets your guests. Is it inviting? Does it have character? Is it impressive? All these things can be achieved. There are many styles, colors and features to consider to suit your new updated entry area. You can even expand your entryway with a matching side lite, extra sized door or double doors to make an even more dramatic change.

Garage Door
Many homes start out with a rather generic garage door. So this area is perfect area to update. Garage doors take up a lot of surface area so changes here will definitely get noticed. Change your standard door to a faux carriage style or simulated wood, keeping all the ease and functionality of a standard door while gaining the bump in curb appeal with the enhanced appearance.

The first rule of landscaping is keeping it maintained. If your yard looks like a jungle it won’t reflect well on your home. The second would be to not let it overpower or hide your home. Overgrown or incorrectly sized plants detract from your home. Your home is your castle. Show it off.

If any of these projects is appealing to you don’t hesitate to contact K-Designers at 800-728-3902 or visit us online and we’ll walk you through all of these options to make your remodeling project a success.

Reduce Your Energy Bill

Heating and cooling costs can represent 54% of your energy bill. The older your home the more money you spend to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home. Why, because older homes were built with less energy efficient methods and materials. Homes built between 2000 and 2005 used 14% less energy per square foot than homes built in the 1980s and 40% less energy per square foot than homes built before 1950.

Energy Consumption

Improvements in the products that go in your home and how your home is built have kept energy consumption per square foot about even for the last 30 years. Inflation and increases in the average size of homes means the average home owner is spending more on energy every year. It’s easy to see why upgrading areas of your home to more modern and efficient products can save you money.

When your home was built it probably only included standard insulation. If this is true consider adding a radiant energy reflection insulation like Esheild 11000 to your home. It reflects back 97% of radiant heat hitting it. Radiant heat accounts for 93% of the heat energy coming into your home via the attic during summer and 50% of the heat loss via your ceiling in the winter time. It is installed on the underside of your roof to keep the heat out and on the floor of your attic to keep heat in.

Older less well made windows are another area your home allows outside weather to affect your home. Window technology has come a long way. Glass can be coated with filter films to protect your home from sun damage while reflecting other spectrum’s of light that heat up your home. Multiple panes of glass with inert gas sandwiched between the panes increase the insulation value drastically over just a single pane of glass. In addition to more energy efficient windows consider adding storm windows. Storm windows are added to the exterior or interior of your existing windows. Storm windows aren’t normally left up year round. When not needed they are removed and put in storage.

Storm Doors
Any entrance/exit to your home is a location for heat loss or gain. Doors don’t have the same insulation value that a wall has and it has seems that can allow air in or out. Adding a storm door to the exterior or your door will boost the insulation and provide a better air seal. In addition you gain the added ventilation or light options a storm door brings.

Insulated Siding
If you are considering changing your siding then it’s time to consider spending more and getting insulated siding. What’s in your homes walls can’t be easily changed without a lot of effort so it’s an ideal opportunity to increase your homes overall energy efficiency while increasing your homes beauty.

Give K-Designers a call 800-728-3902 or visit us online and we’ll walk you through all of these options and more.

Don’t Let The Weather Win

It’s that time of year where rain or snow will start to move you indoors for the winter. But maybe you don’t need to move indoors just yet.

K-Designers America's Dream Koolshade Solid patio covers like America’s Dream Kookshade can truly extend the length of time you can enjoy your outdoor spaces. Koolshade is a coated aluminum product that comes in a lattice (or beam) variety and in solid sheets. This means you can mix the two coverage types giving you 100% shade and weather protection in one area and use the lattice in another area to provide shade or in the case of an attached patio cover still allow light in through covered windows or doors.

America's Dream Ultimate Underdeck

Another way to make those outdoor spaces usable for longer is an underdeck system. Underdeck systems like Ultimate Underdeck are installed under an existing raised deck. They create a water barrier that channels water from rain and snow away from the area under the deck. Now light fixtures and less weather resistant materials and products can be used without worrying about a sudden rain storm.

Of course the temperature is also a factor in staying outside so adding a heat source of some sort will fully enable extending your use of that outdoor space.

If you are interested in America’s Dream Kookshade or Ultimate Underdeck or any other remodeling project contact K-Designers 800-728-3902 or We can help make your home more enjoyable.

Is Your Sliding glass door a security risk?

Sliding Glass Door

Unfortunately the security aspects of your home have had to become as important if not more important than energy efficiency, looks, durability etc. Sliding glass doors are especially vulnerable. When you think about it seems like a simple conclusion. Just break the glass and in an intruder comes. But thieves are looking for the easy and quite entrance to a home. Breaking a sheet of glass is noisy and attracts attention. Still using your sliding glass door as a point of entry is one of the most frequent methods of unlawfully entering a home.

Older doors are especially vulnerable. There was a point when sliding glass doors were installed with the sliding portion on the exterior of a home. This turned out to be a very bad idea. Doors could be lifted or pried out of the track with relatively little effort. In some cases just lifting and twisting the door would be enough to make the locking mechanism break. This exterior sliding door type assembly would also allow the prowler to force the sashes apart enough to access the doors lock. That’s why doors are no longer installed this way.

Door locks on sliding doors aren’t the best, although they have improved. It’s not that manufacturers want to put in poor locks on these doors it’s simply the area in which a lock can be placed, and the sliding motion of the door, lead to a weaker lock than say a deadbolt. But they have improved. Multipoint locking mechanisms have multiple alternate facing hooks that fit into the striker plate or “keeper” mounted on the frame. This gives the lock greater strength and resistance to jiggling.

If you have an older door you might consider replacing it. But if you truly can’t replace that door right now there are some things you can do to increase your old (or new) sliding glass door’s security.

Jimmy Plate
Jimmy plates are wood or metal strips installed in the track above a door. They are used to eliminate vertical movement thus not allowing the door to be lifted up out of its track while still allowing normal everyday use.

Safety Bars
Safety bars are made of metal or wood and are installed in such a way as to prevent any horizontal movement of the door. A simple and inexpensive version would be a cut down wooden broom handle laid down in the track. More expensive models are mounted in the frame directly across from the lock and can be folded away when not in use.

Auxiliary locks
There are a great many manufacturer provided and aftermarket locks that can be added to your door. The main purpose of these locks is to prevent the sliding sash from moving. A hardened steel retractable bolt is attached to your door and when shut can be extended into the frame preventing any movement of the door. These are usually keyless spring and button operated locks. This is for safety as in the middle of a fire you really don’t want to be rushing around looking for a key. In many areas it’s against building code to install a keyed lock for this purpose.

One additional advantage to adding an auxiliary lock is the ability to add in a second locking position to keep your door locked in the open position. This is sometimes referred to as a night lock. It allows you to keep the door open for ventilation but not allow entrance (burglars or the neighbor’s cat) or exit (pets and small children)

Whenever you make changes always keep in mind that poorly or incorrectly installed measures won’t increase your safety. Security features that people don’t understand can become a safety hazard. Everyone needs to know how to operate security features. And most importantly security features that aren’t used are basically a waste of money. Many a home has been entered by doors that weren’t even locked.

If you are ready to replace and old and ailing sliding glass door, entry door or window K-Designers can help guide you through all your options. Give us a call at 800-728-3902 or visit us online at

I’ve chosen Vinyl as my siding, now what?

K-Designers Vinyl Siding InstalWhen building a new home, or remodeling an existing one, vinyl siding is now the most popular choice for siding. Not surprising with its affordability and versatility. But with it being so popular how do you make your home stand out compared to your neighbors?

Vinyl siding is a very versatile siding material all by itself with a variety of options built in. Board type, installation method, color, and designer elements are all choices you can make to create a unique look to your home.

Board Type
Vinyl siding is made to imitate a real wood siding installation. The most common styles appear to be strips of overlapping boards installed running horizontally in rows, bottom to top. Because styles have varied over the years there are a variety of standard board widths (4” to 8” ) to choose from.

Shakes and Scallops
Shakes like standard vinyl siding has a wooden counterpart. If you aren’t familiar think of old style wooden shingles except they are installed as a siding material instead of on your roof. There are a few different styles of shake from a little more uniform to more rustic and random. Scallops are a little different in that the exposed end is rounded into a half circle. You can use either of these styles to cover your entire home or just as an accent to your primary siding choice.

Installation Method
As I mentioned board style siding is primarily installed horizontally on your home. But some styles, like Board and Batten, are meant to be installed vertically. Any horizontal style siding can be installed on a slant to add visual interest to your home. If installed this way the angle usually matches the pitch of your roof or it’s done at 45 degrees.

It used to be that your color options were limited to maybe three, now you have over a dozen standard colors with several designer options to choose from.

Designer Elements
Vinyl accent pieces give your install a custom and stylish appearance. Some like trim or wraps can match, contrast or harmonize with your main siding color. Other designer elements like headers, keystones, shutters, pilasters, sunbursts etc. come in a reduced color pallet since they are meant to make a statement by contrasting.

As you can see plenty of options to make your house truly custom with just vinyl, but if that just isn’t enough you can mix your siding materials. Accenting your foundation or breaking from one material to another based on the architecture can certainly add style to your home’s exterior. The most common pairing is probably brick or stone, but any siding material can be mixed if done with a little planning.

If you are looking to bring new life to your home let K-Designers guide you through the choices. Call 800-728-3902 or visit