Find the answers to your questions here

What should I look for when buying a new entry door?

There are hundreds of options available when it comes to selecting an entrance system. Of course the size of the opening and your budget will be key factors, but there are a large number of options available to help you get exactly what you need and want. These include: configuration (single door, or door with side lite, for example), material, size, shape of decorative panels, type of glass (if any), finish, weatherstripping, cladding, sill type, jamb depth, and hardware. Some choices will be determined by the size of your opening, but your Aluminum Associates sales representative will discuss your options and help you to select the right product for your application, but here are a few points to help you narrow down your choices.

Premium steel doors are energy efficient, maintenance free, and everlasting. Wooden doors are not. They are often drafty, far less secure, require regular maintenance, and are prone to deterioration.

Fiberglass doors are specially engineered to provide maximum protection and durability. They will not dent; and resist splitting, cracking and warping. Available in both a smooth or woodgrain texture, they are also paintable and stainable, providing years of low maintenance satisfaction. The deep wood-grain texture yields a very realistic wood-like appearance in a much more durable material.

Lites (the glass area in a door or sidelite) come in a number of sizes, decorative styles, glass types, and caming options (the divider between glass pieces, as in a leaded glass panel). They let light in, and in some cases, allow ventilation. Glass lites can provide varying degrees of privacy depending on the type of glass used (clear, glue chip, bevelled , etc.) and the complexity of the design. Some lites are also available with shades or blinds that are sealed between the panes of glass where the need for dusting is eliminated.

Door lites consist of two panes of tempered glass (which is 4 to 5 times stronger than standard glass), and if they are of a more decorative nature, often triple panes – breaking through would not be easy so you can feel secure, even with a large door lite. Deadbolt locks are recommended for the best security.

With so many options it`s easy to find the right product for your home. See the Doors page of this website for information about the specific features of the quality doors that Aluminum Associates sells and installs.

What is the difference between replacement and retrofit windows?

Installation of a replacement window involves removal of existing sashes and screens, and fitting the new window inside the existing wood frame or jamb. To make your windows maintenance free any exterior exposed wood is covered using aluminum cladding. This method is used for approximately 95% of all window installations into existing openings.

Retrofit (sometimes called full frame replacement) involves not only the removal of your current sashes and screens, but also removal of the existing wood jamb, going right back to the rough stud opening. This is considered the top of the line installation method. Retrofit does cost a little more, but the benefits make it worth considering.

With a typical replacement window the glass area is reduced. A retrofit installation, however, maximizes your glass area because the existing jamb is removed. Removing the jamb also gives the opportunity to address problems of insufficient insulation and wood rot. At Aluminum Associates, this process is also used when an overall structural change is being made, such as the replacement of a small window with a much larger one.

Aluminum Associates has perfected the retrofit procedure and we use only top quality products and methods. Unlike others who perform retrofit installations without benefit of a new wood jamb, or only a small jamb extension, we always use a one-piece wrap-around wood jamb, thereby enhancing structural integrity. We do not recommend using vinyl, or a combination of wood and vinyl, jamb extensions – when we secure the casing trim around your new window we want to be sure the nail hits wood, not a thin layer of vinyl.

For specific information about installation by a qualified Aluminum Associates installation team see the Services page of this website.

What other factors should I consider before purchasing new windows?

Windows not only impact the appearance of your home, they also provide natural lighting, ventilation, and can be a means of emergency escape. If your windows are more than 15 years old they may be in need of replacement.

WHY : You should consider replacing your windows if you are experiencing water leakage or drafts due to deterioration. Newer high performance windows offer significant improvement in energy efficiency, solar control, and thermal comfort. Vinyl windows also eliminate the regular painting that is required to keep wood windows looking good.

WHEN : Contrary to public perception, window installation can be completed year-round. In most cases, the length of time between removal of the old window and replacement with a new one is a matter of minutes. There is no need to delay installation until spring or summer; waiting will only postpone the added comfort and energy savings that you could be enjoying immediately after your new windows are installed.

WHAT : There are 2 window types: fixed (non-opening) and operable (opening). Among the operable units there are several styles: awning, casement, horizontal slider, vertical slider (single or double hung), single tilt and tilt. Operating features, benefits, cost, and location feasibility, vary according to style.

WHERE : When deciding on the suitability of window types and styles for your window locations there are a number of factors to consider. While fixed windows are less expensive and ensure the highest degree of security and air tightness, their use may be dictated by safety code restrictions. The type of window currently in place also determines, in part, the appropriate window replacement.

WHO : Advancements in window technology make installation somewhat more complex than it was in the past. Expert installation, complete with an installation warranty, is your wisest choice. At Aluminum Associates we guarantee our products, our workmanship, and your satisfaction.

For specific information about the window products that we sell and install at Aluminum Associates see the Windows page of this website.

What is Low E and Argon, and how does it reduce energy costs?

Heat naturally flows to areas of low temperature. In fact, during the heating season up to two-thirds of the heat in your home can be lost through standard window glass. This heat transfer can be countered with a micro thin, metallic, low emittance (Low E) coating between the two panes of window glass. Emittance refers to the relative power of a surface to emit heat by radiation. If there is a heat source inside (or outside) your house, the Low E coating on the glass bounces much of the heat that radiates from that object back away from the window.

For example, in the winter months the heat that is generated by your furnace, or is given off by objects that have been warmed (such as walls or furniture), naturally tries to flow toward the cooler air outside via your windows, but much of it can be bounced back into your room by the Low E coating. In the summer, the reverse is true. Outside, the sun heats the air, the driveway, the brick on your neighbours house, etc., and this heat radiates and tries to get into your house through your windows. The Low E glass coating, however, bounces much of it back outside.

Argon gas is a colourless, odorless, non-toxic, non-flammable and non-corrosive gas used to insulate the dead air space normally found between two panes of glass. It resists the transfer of heat through the space and has an insulation value more than 30% greater than air – the overall result is warmer interior glass surfaces of 5 to 6 degrees in winter, with greater resistance to condensation. Warmer interior glass surfaces mean convected downdrafts are reduced, which makes sitting areas near windows or patio doors much more comfortable, allowing you greater use of your floor space.

As glass allows visible light to enter, it also allows ultraviolet (UV) radiation in. This causes fading and deterioration of carpeting, drapery, and upholstery. Low E and Argon Gas have the added advantage of blocking two-thirds of harmful UV rays that cause damage, helping to reduce colour fading and extend the lifetime of valuable furnishings.

If your windows have Low E and Argon your furnace and air-conditioning systems work less – that can add up to significant energy savings on your monthly bills; and your furnishings last longer which will also save money in the long term. Your investment will have value-added benefits when you include Low E and Argon in your window purchase.

What do I need to know about eavestrough?

Eavestroughs may be one of the most overlooked and undervalued features of your home (until they cease to function effectively!). While their impact on appearance is less dramatic than windows, siding, or doors, eavestroughs are essential to extending the life of your home. The lack of eavestroughs, or poorly installed or maintained trough, can promote water seepage into basements, cause damage to foundations, and wash away plants, soil and mulch.

Available in a wide variety of colours, aluminum eavestrough never needs to be painted because the colour is baked right on. Using specially equipped trucks, our team members can fabricate the desired length of seamless eavestrough onsite. Standard seamless eavestrough is 5" in width, and 6" width is also available to handle the large volumes of rainwater on larger homes or commercial buildings.

See the Aluminum products page for specific information about the quality aluminum products that we sell and install.

In the past, the common method of installation was to insert spikes through the trough and into the fascia. Trough expands and contracts over time, however, resulting in the spikes becoming loose and eventually falling out. Today, we install all eavestrough using hidden brackets and screws, which provide a clean look and keep your trough secure. The addition of a leaf screen system (see below) also enhances the strength and stability of trough.

Although it requires extra effort and skill, Aluminum Associates fabricates hand miters at the corners, rather than using standard preformed box miters. This reduces the number of seams from three to one, which helps to reduce the potential for leakage. Gutter Seal is used to seal joints, instead of silicone, because it is more pliable and has better adhesion, resulting in a seal that lasts longer.

The placement and number of downspouts required varies from application to application. A number of factors are taken into consideration, however, including the slope or fall of the land; and the location of walkways, basement windows, and any low lying areas.

Leaf Screen
Eavestrough should be cleaned twice yearly (particularly when overhanging trees are a factor). This can be time consuming, messy, and for homeowners not comfortable with working off of ladders, a potential hazard. The installation of leaf screen eliminates these concerns while adding value to your home. It prevents leaves and other debris from entering your eavestrough and allows the water to be drained away, even when ice and snow lay on top of the leaf screen. It can easily be installed on new or existing eavestrough and is maintenance free – you`ll never have to unclog your eavestrough again! See the Aluminum products page of this website for more information about the leaf screen and eavestrough sold at Aluminum Associates.

If you have a question about any of the products that we sell, if you`d like to receive a free estimate for professional installation, or ask about a project you`re going to install yourself, don`t hesitate to contact us – we`re happy to help. You can speak to a sales representative in our showroom at 1801 Trafalgar St. East, call us at 519-453-6400, or click here to e-mail us.