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Placing Spanish Tiles at The Roof

How Does the Sun Damage Your Roof?

As an Arizona homeowner, it comes as no surprise that the sun takes its toll on the exterior of your home. This is especially the case when it comes to your roof, as it endures over 200 days of sunshine per year. Pair this with the damaging effect of the sun’s UV rays, it comes as no surprise that the sun can cause your roof to fade and even underperform.

Although it’s sunny all year long here in Phoenix, summer and scorching temperatures will be here before we know it. Here is how the sun damages your roof over time:

Warping Shingles

One of the most obvious signs of sun damage to your roof is when your shingles begin to warp. Intense Arizona sun can make your shingles curl backward. This is a result of the heat causing the shingles to contract, which will slowly peel them away from your roof.

Wrapped Roof

Intense Cracking

As if warping shingles doesn’t cause enough problems for homeowners, you may also experience intense cracking in your shingles. This is a result of the sun sucking up any remnants of moisture or oils in the shingles and essentially drying them out. Ultimately, you’ll find yourself stuck with brittle pieces of asphalt in place of flexible roofing shingles.

The bad news is that if a brief thunderstorm makes its way through, these brittle shingles can erode even more. If you’ve already passed the point of cracked shingles, roof erosion can present even more issues such as creating holes and causing mold and mildew growth.

Roof Decay

If your roof is particularly old, the sun can eventually make your shingles decay. When you discover decaying shingles, this is one of the biggest signs that your roof performance has failed. Decaying shingles look like they are missing chunks, but they may also appear deformed.

Bad Roof

Roofing Damage Through Your Attic Space

Another way that the sun damages your roof is by way of direct heat through your attic. It’s no secret that it gets incredibly hot here in Phoenix, and your home takes the brunt of sun—and it makes the situation worse is when your attic isn’t properly ventilated. When there is no way for heat to escape, temperatures will rise inside of your attic and damage your shingles.

Dealing with roofing problems in a hot climate like Arizona can be a real headache. However, it’s important that you upgrade with an efficient roof that’s built to protect against the blazing sun. Keep in mind that your windows and entry doors can also experience sun damage. Get in touch with us today to learn how you can improve the performance of your home.

Southwest Home with White Large Garage

The Best Exterior Upgrades to Use with Your Tax Return in 2017

Tax season is officially here, and those who got an early start may have already received their return. If Uncle Sam gave you a significant return this year, you might be wondering about the wisest ways to spend your money. While some may use the money to go on vacation or pay down debt, other Phoenix residents choose to increase the value of their home.

Exterior upgrades are one of the best ways to overhaul the look of your home, increase its efficiency, and even help increase its resale value. Whatever your motivation is behind using your tax return on your exterior, these are the best upgrades to consider:

Energy Efficient Replacement Windows

Do you want the double whammy of keeping more money in your wallet while increasing the value of your home? You’re in luck. Energy efficient windows meet all the marks when it comes to getting the most out of your new exterior investment.

First, replacement windows are proven to keep your utility bills low. If you upgrade from outdated single pane glass to triple pane windows, you may see a savings as great as $465 per year.

Not to mention, energy efficient windows have an excellent return on investment. According to the Cost vs. Value Report from Remodeling Magazine for 2017, high quality vinyl windows offer a return of roughly 75%. This is especially good news for Phoenix homeowners looking to put their homes on the market this upcoming spring.

little girl and her dog looking out the window.

Little girl and her dog looking out the window.

High Quality Vinyl Siding

The next exterior upgrade to consider is with new vinyl siding. If your curb appeal is less than impressive or you’re simply itching for a new look, new vinyl siding is an excellent investment for this year’s tax return. Similarly to new windows, vinyl siding also gives homeowners a healthy return on investment of roughly 65%.

Don’t forget that while new vinyl siding is beautiful, it also serves as a protective barrier for your home. If you’re living with outdated or poor quality siding, you might be exposing your home to risks such as mold and mildew growth—which can be considerably expensive to fix.

southwest-landscape-landscape-southwestern-with-walkway-traditional-outdoor-lounge-sets

Landscaping Overhaul

If there aren’t many major renovations on your home’s exterior to tackle this year, consider overhauling your landscaping. This is a quick way to give your home a fresh look, and you may even have some tax return money left over after this project.

Some of Phoenix’s most popular landscaping plants including Blue Myrtle Cactus. Argentine Hedgehog Cactus, Beavertail Prickly Pear, Banana Yucca, Dawn’s Aloe, Candelilla, and more.

From the look of your landscaping to the tip of your roof, consider using your tax return to make dramatic home improvements this year—resulting in increased home value and potentially lower energy bills.

How to Compare Replacement Windows

The decision to replace the windows in your home is a big step, but deciding what type of windows to purchase can be even more overwhelming. The choices on the market today are seemingly endless and finding the right windows to work with your budget, home style and comfort needs can feel impossible.

When you’re faced with the avalanche of information that comes while window shopping, keep these basic criteria in mind to get you started in the right direction:

Window Style

There are several window styles to consider when shopping for your replacements. The most common style would be the double hung windows which slide up and down. These windows are ideal if you want to be able to use standard screens and essential if you utilize window air conditioning units.

Most new styles of this type of window tilt in for ease of cleaning and lock in various positions for safety and security. Casement windows are another popular choice; these windows open outward by turning a crank and their simplicity gives an unobstructed view.

Other more stylized options include picture windows (large unobstructed view but no ventilation) and sliding windows (which open by sliding the panes side to side). Consider the style of your home, the climate of your city and your ventilation needs when choosing a style for your windows.

Slider Window Style

Frame Material

The type of material you choose for your windows can have a large impact on the look, convenience and upkeep required. While aluminum windows were popular in the past vinyl and wood framed windows have taken over as the most widely used window materials.

Wood framed windows are highly customizable since they can be painted or stained to match your décor, however the downside to this is that these windows must continue to be scraped and repainted on a regular basis to maintain a fresh look. Vinyl windows are available in a variety of colors, but this makes them far easier to clean and maintain. Vinyl options are also typically easier on the budget.

Metal Frame Window with White Paint

Energy Efficiency

Be sure that any windows you choose are Energy Star certified and compare their NFRC labels to find the most energy efficient models in your price range. Double pane windows with air space in between can provide great insulation, but for superior energy efficiency and savings look for low-e coating and double or triple pane windows that utilize argon or krypton gas. The cost will be greater up front but the energy savings and comfort level will be higher for years to come.

Once you have chosen the ideal windows for your home, consider luxury upgrades such as decorative glass, high quality screens or internal mini blind systems to increase the style and comfort of your purchase. Contact Universal Windows Direct today to learn more.

Woman in the Sunlight Window

How Does Solar Heat Gain Impact Your Home?

Did you know that Phoenix, Arizona is one of the sunniest places in the country? It’s true. If you’ve lived here for any period of time, it comes as no surprise that the great state of Arizona receives more sun than almost any other state.

Although natural sunlight has plenty of benefits such as vitamin D and even offering a natural boost in your mood. While the sunshine might have you smiling here in Phoenix, it might also be causing your energy bills to rise and a feeling of discomfort inside of your home.

What is Solar Heat Gain?

Solar heat gain (SHG) is heat that warms up your home due to the sun’s rays. If you feel that a room in your home is warmer during a specific time of the day, this is an instance of solar heat gain.

Solar heat gain heats your home through radiation. Your windows absorb some of this radiation, which prevents solar heat gain from heating your home up like an oven.

However, the amount of radiation that is absorbed varies from window to window. When you’re shopping for new replacement windows, you’ll need to pay special attention to the solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC). This rating represents how effective your windows are at absorbing solar heat gain. In Arizona, you’ll want to look for a SHGC rating of no less than 0.32 if you have significant energy bills during the summer.

Cat Sunlight

Pretty young grey striped tabby cat sitting on the dining table in the sun in front of a large bright window looking back into the room over its shoulder

How Can You Control Solar Heat Gain in the Home?

In an area like Phoenix, you’ll want to have as much control as possible on solar heat gain. If there is a room in your home that gets very hot in the summer, the issue is typically solar heat gain. Window treatments can help lessen the impact of sun exposure and keep your home cooler during the hottest days in Phoenix.

If you’re living with very old single pane windows, you’re likely to experience a significant amount of SHG. Replacing your windows will make an almost immediate improvement on the comfort level of your home.

Dual pane windows create another barrier to help block out harmful UVs from entering into your home. They also trap heat between the panes. To take things a step further, you can also opt for a single or double coat of low-e glazing. This reflects solar radiation that hits the glass and improves the overall efficiency of your window.

In a sunny state like Arizona, you don’t want to hope for the best in terms of your window’s SHGC. Universal Windows Direct offers top-of-the-line windows that reduce solar heat gain and keep your home more comfortable. Contact us today for more information.

Hand Opening Window Curtain

Improving Energy and Aesthetics in the Home with Natural Sunlight

It’s no secret that Phoenix is a place that’s full of nearly endless sunshine. Phoenix has 211 sunny days per year, and it ranks as the 4th sunniest spot in the country behind Las Vegas, Redding, California, and Yuma, Arizona. As a Phoenix resident, you have a unique opportunity to take full advantage of the sun in terms of aesthetics and energy savings.

It’s no secret that Phoenix is a place that’s full of nearly endless sunshine. Phoenix has 211 sunny days per year, and it ranks as the 4th sunniest spot in the country behind Las Vegas, Redding, California, and Yuma, Arizona. As a Phoenix resident, you have a unique opportunity to take full advantage of the sun in terms of aesthetics and energy savings.

Here is how to make the sun work for you—not against you—in our beautiful desert setting.

1. Use Daylight in Place of Traditional Lighting

This is one of the most obvious ways you can use sunlight in the home, but it’s also very effective. By using sunlight during the day in place of traditional lamps, you can cut down on your energy bills and keep more money in your bank account.

However, you’ll also need to think about the floor plan of your home and what time of day natural sunlight will benefit you the most. Sunlight is strongest on the south wall of your home, and north rooms often have the least amount of natural light. Rooms in the interior of your home will receive less light, but you can consider installing skylights to help resolve this issue.

Woman Cleaning her Window

2. Clean Your Windows

This is yet another simple yet positive way to increase the aesthetics of your home. If it’s been a while since you cleaned your windows, you might be surprised to discover how much light is being filtered through dust and dirt. Give your windows a good cleaning and you’ll quickly add more light into your space with sparkling clean windows to boot.

3. Move Your Furniture

If you have furniture in front of your windows, you’re blocking sunlight from entering the room. Consider rearranging your space to keep the windows unobstructed. Knick-knacks and other accessories on your windowsill can also block a surprisingly amount of light.

 

Sheer Curtain Window

4. Choose Sheer Shades

Sometimes the sun in Phoenix can get a bit intense, so it’s understandable that you’d want to close the curtains to get some relief. While this is a great idea and prevents your home from getting too hot when the sun is at its peak, it also restricts the amount of light from entering your home.

One option is to choose sheer shades, or thinner curtains that offer privacy while filtering light into your home. You don’t necessarily want to sacrifice privacy, but lightweight curtains can help give a soft glow to any room with the help of natural sunlight.

If you truly want to maximize the amount of sunlight in your home, choose large windows such as picture windows and slider windows. These options maximize your view of the outdoors while allowing plenty of sunlight to pass through into your home.

Wet Window

4 Signs That Your Old Windows are Beyond Repair

When your home windows are failing, it can be a frustrating experience for most homeowners. From drafts making their way into your home to leaks in your window sill, it’s never a fun time when your windows don’t function properly.

However, sometimes there is a simple approach to fixing your old windows. There are certain circumstances when replacing your windows is a bit overkill, but it’s always smart to have a professional window contractor analyze the situation.

Although sometimes you can simply repair your windows to extend its lifespan, there are other times when it’s a lost cause and window replacement is in order. Here are the top signs of major window failure:

  1. Major Condensation Between the Window Panes

Is your outdoor view looking a little foggy these days? If the view of fog through your windows isn’t a result of a recent rain rainstorm, you’re probably experiencing condensation between the panes.

Window condensation is natural in some cases. It’s the result of warm air meeting the cool glass pane of your window. This condensation typically happens outside, although it may occasionally happen indoors as well.

However, window condensation between the panes is a sign of seal failure. If you have fog inside the glass panes of your windows, you may need to consider replacement.

Window Condesation

  1. Your Window Frames are Warped

Vinyl is a very durable material, but poor quality vinyl is a different story. Bad vinyl windows can warp from heat, especially during the hot summer days in Phoenix. When your window frames are starting to warp, this is one of the biggest signs that it’s time for immediate replacement.

In addition to warping, there are other small indicators that your vinyl windows aren’t in the best shape. Poor quality vinyl may also crack or peel. While this isn’t necessarily a sign that swift action must be taken, it does indicate that you need to keep your eye on your window over the coming months.

Window Frames are Warped

  1. The Window Glass is Bent

Did you know that windows naturally expand and contract when the climate changes? While expansion and contraction can be a normal occurrence with vinyl windows, numerous problems can arise when the window frame can’t handle the strain—and one of those issues is bent glass.

If the glass inside of your window is bending, you’ll need to call a replacement window company as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

  1. 4.Excessive Energy Loss

As the seasons change, it’s normal to experience fluctuations in your utility bills. What isn’t normal is wildly fluctuating utility bills that are double or triple than what you were budgeting for.

If your windows are obviously failing, get in touch with Universal Windows Direct today to learn about your options.

Guy Can't Sleep

How to Reduce Outdoor Noise with New Replacement Windows

Are you constantly being awakened by the sounds of neighbors, barking dogs, cars, buses, sirens? Hopeless? There are, in fact, a few things you can do to minimize these noises so you can get a better night’s sleep…

Phoenix, Arizona has a population of around 1.5 million people. That’s a lot of hustling and bustling, cars on the road, and general noise. If you live on a busy street or have a lot of neighbors, it can be hard to come by to get any peace and quiet—especially if there are kids out of school or barking dogs nearby.

If you can’t tolerate another second of noise, what is a frazzled homeowner to do? Instead of posting up a for sale sign in your front yard, there is an easier way to get some peace and quiet while keeping your sanity.

Unishield Pane Glass

Investing in Triple Pane Windows

If you haven’t heard of triple pane, this is one of the very best ways to cut down on outdoor noise. Triple pane windows are engineered with an extra pane of glass, which provides an extra sound blocking barrier to block out the noise from outdoors.

When sound waves travel through the air, they must pass through the panes of glass to reach the inside of your home. The third chamber muffles the sound and results in a quieter and more peaceful home.

While triple pane windows won’t completely cancel outside sounds, they can reduce noise levels by up to 50% or more.

master bedroom in luxury home with tray ceiling

master bedroom in luxury home with tray ceiling

How Else Can You Reduce Noise in Your Home?

Triple pane is by far one of the best ways to make your home quieter, but it’s not the only way. By combining the following techniques with your new triple pane windows, you can finally get that peaceful night’s sleep that you’ve been needing:

Hang heavy drapes. Heavy drapes can help muffle outdoor noise even further. Consider investing in drapes with fabric such as velvet.

Add rugs to hardwood floors. Carpeting can help further reduce noise in the home, as the sound is unable to bounce off of carpet as easily as hardwood or tile flooring.

Consider planting hedges. Your landscaping can make an impact on noise levels outside, but talk to a professional landscaper before you make your investment here.

Use a white noise machine when you sleep. White noise can be used to block out background sound and promote healthy sleeping patterns. Some people even use it to meditate.

Extra Advantages of Triple Pane Windows

Now that you know how you can block outdoor noise with triple pane windows, keep in mind that these windows present more benefits than simply blocking sound. Triple pane is a great option for homeowners who need to lower their utility bills, and some may see a savings as high as $465 per year.

Furthermore, triple pane can also help increase home value and keep your home at a consistent temperature—giving you a cozy and silent night to sleep through every day of the week.

Contact Universal Windows Direct to learn more about triple pane.

Palm in Phoenix Arizona

3 Mistakes You’re Making While Shopping for Replacement Windows

We all want to feel like we’re informed, like we’re prepared, like we’re in the know. Why???? Because you don’t want to waste your time, or your money! We’ve compiled some tips to help you guard against misinformation, while protecting your investment.

When you’re making a large investment for your home, it pays to do research and educate yourself on your new upgrade—especially with new home windows. The world of replacement windows can feel complex to the average homeowner, and it doesn’t help that price points and energy saving options are all over the map.

However, as a professional replacement window company in Phoenix, we see a lot of mistakes occur as homeowners shop for replacement windows. To help save you from the hassle and headache, here are the 3 probable mistakes you’re making as you make your new selection:

1. You’re Shopping by Price Point

Everyone loves a bargain, especially a bargain where you can save hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on a home improvement project. While it’s always wise to shop around for a fair price, the trouble comes when homeowners confuse price with value.

There are window companies around Phoenix that offer windows at astronomically low prices. More often than not, this is a bait-and-switch technique that is used to encourage you to respond to advertisements. In the end, you’ll discover that these low-ball prices are too good to be true.

Chances are that you don’t have an unlimited budget. You don’t need to break the bank with new windows, but steer clear of bottom dollar options. Even if you do manage to snag some cheap windows, there is a good possibility that they will only last you around 5 years.

2. You Aren’t Considering Your Home’s Architecture

One of the best benefits of vinyl replacement windows is that they are highly customizable. A company such as, Universal Windows Direct, can engineer specialty shaped windows to get the exact look that you’re after. Always keep your home’s architecture in mind. This will help capture the authentic look and feel of your home while helping you save more energy.

3. You Overlook Energy Saving Options

If you want to make a dent in your high energy bills, you must be willing to explore energy saving options for your new windows. A window without energy saving features will simply fill a hole in the wall and block out elements, but you won’t see much of a change in your monthly utility bills.

When you’re shopping for new home windows, consider energy saving features such as argon and krypton gas. These gases are inserted between the glass window panes and help keep your home cool during the hottest days in Phoenix.

You’ll also want to consider low-e glazing to help filter harmful UV rays that enter through your windows.

If you need direction on choosing the right windows for your home, contact Universal Windows Direct today.

Phoenix House

The Style Guide for Replacement Windows in Phoenix, Arizona

Does your home fit in with the landscape around you? Windows affect the interior, as well as, the exterior of the home. Use this guide to help utilize the environment around you, while distinguishing your home from the rest.

Phoenix, Arizona is full of homes from varying time periods. No matter what type of home that you live in here in Phoenix, windows influence the personal flair of your curb appeal while enhancing the performance of your home.

One of the best things about windows is that they are highly customizable. They are engineered to fit the exact specifications of your home, and you can truly give your home an entirely new glow with new windows.

However, homeowners also need to keep in mind that there are nearly a dozen window styles available on the market today. Some window styles are great for maintaining a traditional appearance, while others can make your home much more modern.

Here is a quick guide for replacement window styles for your Phoenix, Arizona Home:

Double Hung Windows

Double hung windows are one of the oldest styles of windows in America. These windows are identified as taller than they are wide, and both top and bottom sashes can open. Modern double hung windows also tilt in for easy cleaning.

These windows are found in various home architectures around the city, including ranch style homes and colonial homes. If you’re replacing your windows, this is a safe window style to choose from for almost any homeowners.

Picture Windows

Picture windows are another staple in many Arizona homes. A picture window is fixed—meaning it doesn’t open or close. However, the advantage to a picture window is that it provides large and interrupted views of the outdoors. When you’re essentially trying to make the desert landscape a focal point in your home, a picture window creates the perfect frame.

Special Windows in Arizona Home

Casement Windows

Casement windows are similar to double hung windows in terms of style and size. However, the big difference is that they open on a hinge with a crank out handle. These are very elegant looking windows that can bring new life to a traditional style home.

Slider Windows

Similarly to picture windows, slider windows also provide great views of the outdoors. The difference is that slider windows glide open on a rolling track to allow in fresh air. Slider windows are one of the more contemporary options, so consider this look if that’s your taste.

Bay Windows

Bay windows are large windows that create a focal point both inside and outside of the home. These windows are engineered with three separate windows that are fused together: one picture window in the center with two operable windows on each side.

These windows can be pricey, starting around $1500. However, they make your home look beautiful and even provide a bit of extra seating and storage space.

To learn more about window styles for your home, be sure to explore our replacement windows page for more option

Home Improvement Trends in Phoenix

Top Home Renovation Trends in 2017

Believe it or not, the New Year is right around the corner. That means we’ll be returning to our everyday lives after the hustle and bustle of the holidays, and many of us will be left to clean up our homes and prepare for the rest of winter. Once the New Year settles in, you may be thinking about improving your home to make it a more comfortable and beautiful place to live.

If home improvement is on your agenda in 2017, there are several popular trends that will make your home both modern and stylish. These are some of the top forecasted home renovation trends for 2017:

Fads Begin to Fade Out

While there is no denying that granite countertops are beautiful, this trend will slowly begin to make its way out in 2017. This is due to the rising availability of alternative options on the market becoming more popular, such as quartz and marble. Quartz countertops are a great alternative to granite. This option is just as strong as granite but they are easier to work with during installation due to increased flexibility.

Marble is another popular option for countertops, but this is an expensive alternative that will run homeowners around $100 per square foot.

Open Spaces

In today’s home buying market, many buyers are looking for open spaces where the kitchen connects to the living area. This is a great way to maximize the space of your home while connecting with family.

Furthermore, this layout makes your home feel lighter and airier. To brighten up your home even more, consider installing large picture windows to allow light to filter through the living space.

Blending of Natural and Artificial Light

Speaking of lighting up your home, lighting will create a big impact in homes in 2017. This is especially the case for those who are looking for unique design solutions and want a brighter and cheerier place to live. This involves adding more windows to homes while adding small doses of artificial light for an extra touch.

Energy Efficiency is Always in Style

Energy EfficiencyNo matter how many years that go by, you’ll find that saving energy is always in style. Energy conservation is important to both home buyers and homeowners alike, and there are several ways that you can help lower your utility bills in 2017 and beyond.

One of the most effective ways to save energy 2017 is upgrading with new replacement windows. The best windows for the New Year include energy saving features such as argon or krypton gas, dual or triple pane glass, and low-e glazing. This helps to maximize your energy savings and get the most for your return on investment.

If you’re ready to enhance your home’s exterior in 2017, get in touch with Universal Windows Direct today.