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Getting New Windows and Doors 101: An Interview with Tom Kaufman of Kaufman Carpentry Services

By Tom Kaufman

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

I have been in business 20 years. I do interior and exterior repairs and renovations, along with window and door installations, and decks and new construction such as small- and medium-sized additions. I am also nationally certified as an Installation Master of windows and doors.

What are the usual signs that it's time to have your home windows and/or doors replaced?

The most obvious signs for window replacement are rotted exterior sills and sashes, along with rotted frames and glass that have lost their seal, causing condensation and discoloration between the glass.

The two most common reasons I see that will influence homeowners to change the entry doors to their homes are either rotted frames where it meets the door sill or to update the look and energy performance. Most popular are fiberglass doors with a wood grain look that can be painted or stained. Most door installations typically take one day to complete.

Can you briefly explain the basic steps from start to finish and how long it should take?

First the contractor needs to find out what the homeowner needs or wants. If the exterior of the window is in good shape then maybe a replacement type of window would be the right choice. If not then a new construction window would be recommended and the time of replacement would vary on type of window. You can have many replacement windows that can be installed in one day, however new construction is much more time consuming and costly.

What are some of the main options that homeowners will need to decide on when they're replacing windows and doors in their house?

The options are replacement windows which only replace the sashes or moving part of the window. All interior and exterior trim can remain in place if you have existing storm windows along with single pane glass on your main window, then a replacement type window may be your best choice. For new construction the entire frame of window along with interior and exterior trim is replaced.

Are the certain window styles or features that are popular in Connecticut homes?

The most sought after feature is a window that will tilt out to wash or grills between the glass for easy cleaning. All windows are tested for a few things, one of which is a DP rating or design pressure that tests for air and water leakage, and structural integrity. If you live in a hurricane zone your town will require the DP rating to be 35 or higher. The other is the U factor or heat loss from living space. The lower the number the better, such as 0.21 on some windows. Also some homeowners look for a wood interior window to stain to match existing woodwork along with a vinyl clad exterior.

What advice would you give to someone who needs to get new windows and/or doors but has a limited budget?

The best thing to do if you have the budget for it is to find out what type of window you need. Why spend way more than you have to? A good contractor should be able to guide you and not talk you into a window that you don't need.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you and your company?

I can be easily reached on my cell phone 203-767-1626 or by email at kcs1216@sbcglobal.net.

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