Why You Should Replace Your Windows

Replacing your windows can be a great opportunity to transform your home AND trim your monthly energy bills. Whether you want a new look, or your windows are worn out, quality windows can add light and fresh air, stabilize the temperature and enhance your home’s style from the inside out. Here are a few reasons why you should consider replacing your windows:

Boost your home’s curb appeal

As a design element of your home, windows say a lot about who you are. Replacing windows that are faded or don’t match the style of your home can enhance both the look and value of your property, especially if you upgrade to energy efficient windows. Upgrading your windows can increase the value of your home by 10% or more. So, if you have plans to sell in the future, good windows are a fantastic investment. 

Needlessly high utility bills

If you’ve recently found an increase in your energy bills, upgrading to energy efficient windows may be your solution. On average, around 40% of your annual heating and cooling costs can be attributed to old, drafty windows. Energy efficient windows are specifically designed to prevent your heating and cooling dollars from flying through them. 

Outdated windows

There are a few obvious giveaways that your windows are outdated, which can help you decide whether or not you should replace them. If you can see fog between the panes, if there’s a draft, or if they don’t open properly, you may want to consider replacement. Fog and air leakage usually means that your windows are not fully sealed which again, could be a reason for higher energy bills. Not only is it frustrating when our windows will barely budge, but windows that don’t function properly are a safety concern and may indicate broken or warped components.

Do it for you

You really don’t need any reason to justify replacing your windows, but new windows come with quite a few health benefits. Research shows that fresh air and natural light help people be more productive, happier, healthier and calmer. Unfortunately, many homeowners do not have access to good natural light, especially in older homes. With more and more people working from home, installing new windows or upgrading current windows is a great way to increase exposure to natural light, sunshine and fresh air. 

If you do decide to replace your windows, it’s never a bad idea to familiarize yourself with the different parts and terminology before starting to shop. Some basic parts to study up on include stiles, sash, muntins, glazing, apron, stool, casings, jambs, rails operator, latch and arms. Knowing the lingo and functions of different window parts will allow you to communicate more effectively and help you find exactly what you want. 

Whatever the reason for deciding to upgrade, reach out to Johnson Brothers in Boise or Idaho Falls for more information on taking the next step.

Unlock Your Door’s True Potential

Pictured: Level Door Lock Set

Feeling secure in your home is one of the most important aspects of being a homeowner. Something as small as the lock on your door can increase the level of security in your home and put your mind at ease. As an essential part of your home, selecting the right locks for your doors has become more important than ever. From traditional locks to smart locks, the options for securing your interiors are vast.  

Exterior Door Locks for Techies

Convenient, durable and elegant, smart locks add a layer of protection to your home without compromising design. As the popularity of smart locks rapidly increase each year, more brands and options become available for homeowners. With producs like Level Lock, you can easily discover the perfect lock for your home. Although the smallest smart lock ever made, Level Lock’s hardware can be controlled by touch, voice, smartphones, watches, key cards or a key and can be accessed from anywhere.

Take into consideration that smart locks are not for everyone, as they are capable of numerous high tech features. Some smart locks can automatically lock and unlock once a bluetooth presence is detected, automatically lock when a door is shut, unlock doors for packages and can be programmed with custom unlock codes for guests. 

If the thought of tearing out your old lock and installing a new one terrifies you, there are even smart locks that can be directly assembled into your existing deadbolt set up. Along with the option of hassle-free installation, imagine a lock that has the ability to automatically turn on any of your interior lights as soon as you unlock your door…that’s pretty cool if you ask us. 

Exterior Door Locks For Traditionalists

There are also great options for manual locks such as mortise locks and deadbolt locks if you prefer more traditional security features. Mortise Locks are designed with powerful cylinders and are great for commercial buildings and apartment doors, while deadbolt locks are most widely used for residential properties. To up your security standard, select mortise locks with more levers or a hybrid deadbolt lock with a lockable thumb-turn.

Interior & Alternative Door Locks

Lastly, knob locks and padlocks are also very well known, but are commonly used outside the realm of exterior doors. As the most popular type of door lock for interiors, knob locks should be avoided for external use as they provide only a limited level of security if not paired with Deadbolt locks. Padlocks are one of the most simple lock designs and come in a variety of models with a choice between keyed padlocks or combination padlocks.

Having a basic understanding of the options available when it comes to selecting locks is important as exterior doors are your home’s main access points. Before you spend too much time contemplating budget, remember that it’s never a bad idea to increase the security features in your home. At Johnson Brothers we’ll help you select the right lockset for your home, plus you can reach out to our Boise or Idaho Falls offices for a free consultation.

Bad Weather Booster

Bad weather is right around the corner, which means it’s time to make sure your home is well prepared. One of the easiest ways for a nasty draft to get into your home is right through the front door. Investing in storm doors for all of your exterior doors is a surefire way of creating an extra layer of security for your home. 

A storm door is a secondary outer door used for protection from bad weather and ventilation in warmer weather. Like any other door, storm doors are available in many colors, sizes and materials, so you’ll have no problem finding something to match your home’s style. 

Storm doors are commonly available in vinyl, aluminum, fiberglass, and wood. There are many extras you can add to your storm door to make it more functional and attractive. Be sure to select handles and hinges that match the color of the exterior door.  

Weatherization products are great for homeowners who live in harsh climates as they protect exterior doors from rain, ice and snow. With proper installation, storm doors add an extra layer of insulation that keeps warm air in and cold air out. 

With great insulation and quality storm doors, you can easily boost the energy efficiency of your home. Much like energy efficient windows, well designed storm doors are composed of three layers that are designed to block air and UV rays, which reduces the need for heating and cooling. 

Besides protection from the elements, storm doors also provide your home with increased security. You can choose storm doors that come equipped with protective grilles, heavy duty security glass and extra locking systems. All homeowners know that an additional layer of security is never a bad idea.

If you want to take an extra step in weather-proofing your home, you may even consider installing storm windows. Like storm doors, storm windows help save energy and provide extra protection and insulation to your home. 

Storm windows can be installed on the inside or outside of your home’s existing windows and can be manufactured out of glass, rigid plastic or flexible plastic sheets. They also come in different shapes, sizes and styles. 

Storm doors and windows are a great addition to your home, especially in cycling weather conditions, but are useless if not installed properly. Reach out to Johnson Brothers in Boise or Idaho Falls for a free consultation, or more information about storm-proof products and installation.

Benefits of Energy-efficient Windows

Did you know that 40% of your annual heating and cooling costs can be attributed to outdated, drafty windows? If you find your heating and cooling bills are through the roof, it may be time to upgrade to newer, energy efficient windows.

Energy efficient windows, or energy saving windows are specifically designed to prevent heat or cool air from escaping your home. Investing in these highly insulated windows warrants long term benefits for your home and your wallet. It’s basic math, your home + good insulation = lower bills.

The Department of Energy estimates that you can save $125 to $465 dollars a year, by simply installing energy efficient windows. If that doesn’t convince you, installing a set of new vinyl windows could potentially add as much as $12,000 to your home’s selling price. Although pricey, energy efficient windows pay off in the long run.

So, what exactly makes a window energy efficient? A window becomes energy efficient when it has multiple glass panes, windowpane spaders, low-e glass coatings, contains argon or krypton gas between the panes, and lastly, high quality window frames. The quickest way to break it down is by looking for windows with Energy Star Ratings.

On average, Energy Star products use 20 to 30 percent less energy than their counterparts, but do keep in mind that some Energy Star windows are more efficient than others. Whatever your needs, Johnson Brothers can help you select the best windows for your home, plus we have customizable options and a variety brands to choose from.

Aside from financial benefits, energy efficient windows also provide your home with noise reduction and protection for your interior. The thick panes and extra layers in these windows diminish noises of traffic (or your neighbor’s dog), plus block UV rays from the sun, in turn keeping your carpet, paint, and furniture protected from fading.

One last obvious benefit of investing in energy efficient windows is that you’re doing your part in helping protect the environment. The HVAC system is a known contributor to air and water pollution, so with energy-saving windows reliance on the system is reduced.

Johnson Brothers is proud to exclusively carry Energy Star brands such as Andersen Windows and Marvin Windows. Visit Johnson Brothers’ showroom in Idaho Falls or Boise today for your home improvement inquiries as well as information on energy efficient windows for your home.

Cabinet Hardware: Jewelry of the Home

image

It’s easy to get caught up in decisions when building a new home or renovating your existing home, however your project isn’t truly complete until you’ve selected cabinet hardware, or what Johnson Brothers affectionately refers to as ‘jewelry for your home or cabinets.’ As the final decorative touch, cabinet jewelry is what pulls your project together; it’s essentially, the cherry on top of an ice cream sundae.

Think about it, we wear jewelry to enhance our appearance, which is just what cabinet jewelry does for your home. And like jewelry, cabinet hardware comes in all different shapes, sizes, styles, materials and finishes. Here, we’ll help you find the perfect match for your home while creating a flawless balance between form and function.

 

What is Cabinet Jewelry 

Cabinet jewelry are the knobs, pulls and hinges attached to the cabinets and drawers inside a home. Typically, knobs are used for doors, while pulls are used for drawers. Before there was a variety of hardware available, knobs were dominant in older homes, but are becoming popular in newer homes. Pulls tend to have a more contemporary look and are big in modern homes. Really there are no rules set in stone, so never hesitate to mix and match where you like. 

 

Materials and Finishes 

You can choose from a variety of materials for your hardware, ranging from brass, bronze, stainless steel, nickel or even crystal or ceramic. Depending on the material you select, cabinet hardware looks best when finish is applied, which quickly adds contrast to a room. A few popular finishes include polished, brushed, satin, matte, burnished, oil-rubbed, antique, weathered or painted. 

 

Style

Along with material and finish, cabinet hardware comes in any style you could possibly imagine. If your home is on the traditional side, go with more decorative hardware. If it’s contemporary make sure to choose hardware with long simple lines. Transitional homes look great with simple hardware and bright colors. Lastly, rustic homes look fantastic with dark finishes and materials like copper, black or bronze. The material, finish and style you select should reflect your personality, like the necklace you wear around your neck or the bracelet around your wrist. 

 

Choose the Right Size

You wouldn’t think about it, but the size of your cabinet hardware is also important in establishing your space’s aesthetic. For smaller drawers, anything around 12” or less work well with pulls between 3” to 4” long or a knob 1” in diameter. Medium drawers around 12” to 30” work with pulls between 4” to 8” or a knob between 1” to 1.5” in diameter. Larger drawers around 30” to 48” usually require a pull longer than 8” or a knob 1” in diameter or longer. 

 

In the end, the best way to decide on cabinet hardware is to experiment with different styles, sizes and finishes, just as if you were trying on pieces of jewelry.  Before you buy, do your research, order samples and see how your look changes with each unique design. 

 

At Johnson Brothers we carry cabinet hardware from suppliers including Top Knobs, Amerock, and Emtek. Visit our Idaho Falls or Boise Showroom today for information on your home improvement inquiries.

Pros And Cons Of Different Countertop Materials

 

Custom or not, choosing the right material for your home’s countertops is an essential part of the style and functionality of your interiors. In this article we’ll discuss the most common types of countertop material and why or why not they would be the right fit for your home:

Plastic Laminate
Plastic laminate is a fantastic option for homeowners on a budget or interested in DIY projects. Pros of plastic laminate are that it is inexpensive, ready/easy to install, low-maintenance, lightweight, and has an abundance of design possibilities. On the other hand, some cons are that plastic laminate is prone to chipping and peeling, difficult to repair, and it is not heat-resistant. You are able to have an undermount sink with laminate, which is a popular option.

Butcher Block
Butcher Block countertops are made of wood, thus making them especially ideal for kitchens with heavier meal preparations that may require chopping, slicing, and grinding. There are plenty of pros that come with butcher block countertops, including that they are inexpensive, long-lasting, easy to install, provide a great work surface, and damages are easy to repair. A few cons of a butcher block countertops include sensitivity to liquid and temperature changes along with vulnerability to scratching and denting.  Butcher Block countertops need constant maintenance.

Solid Surface
Solid surface countertops are great for homeowners who prefer mid-range options or those who plan on integrating more into their kitchens, bathrooms, or even mudrooms, such as sinks. The pros of solid surface countertops are quite extensive including that they are inexpensive, low-maintenance, easy to clean, stain resistant, easily repairable, and offer a huge selection of colors and patterns to choose from. The biggest con is that solid surface countertops are very sensitive to heat and can be quickly damaged from too much heat.

Quartz
Quartz countertops are great for high-traffic areas and are commonly rated for healthcare facilities and commercial kitchens. Some of the pros of choosing a quartz countertop is that quartz is low maintenance, durable, stain and scratch proof, and has lots of colors/patterns to choose from. A couple cons of quartz countertops are that they are expensive and can be very sensitive to heat.

Granite
Granite is a great choice for homeowners who want a natural, yet luxurious looking countertop. Some pros of granite are that it is heat and scratch resistant, durable, and unique due to its large variety of colors and patterns available to choose from. A few cons of granite is that it must be sealed regularly to maintain longevity, it can be expensive, and it is extremely heavy.

Marble
Marble countertops on the other hand are best for areas with minimal traffic. If you enjoy baking, this countertop is especially great for your kitchen. A couple pros of marble countertops are that the material is heat resistant and has beautiful natural patterns. Some cons of marble countertops are that they are very expensive, high-maintenance, easily damageable (scratches and acidic liquids), and marble is prone to staining.

Aside from style, the material you’ll want to go with ultimately depends on your everyday lifestyle along with the room you incorporate it in. If you’re unsure where to start, Johnson Brothers works with any budget and offers free consultations from experienced professionals.

We offer Plastic Laminate, Butcher Block, and Solid Surface, and are proud to work with countertop manufacturers such as Wilsonart, Formica, Pionite, Nevamar and other exotic laminates. We are a stocking dealer for John Boos Butcher Block and top name solid surface manufacturers including Wilsonart, Corian, LG Himacs, and Samsung Staron. Visit our Idaho Falls or Boise Showroom today for information on your home improvement inquiries.

Make The Grade With Custom Millwork

Custom millwork and mouldingChoosing defined millwork can set the tone for your entire interior design project. It can add architectural personality, charm and aesthetic value to your home. Wood trim and moulding whether paint or stain grade helps finalize a design theme and defines your home’s style and era — which in turn adds value to your investment. So, how do you incorporate the right grade and style of millwork to suit your home?

Paint-grade Millwork
One trend to consider as you’re selecting millwork that’s captured the attention of many homeowners is the sleek white-on-white look. Simple, yet effective, white painted millwork, i.e. door and window casing or trim, crowns, baseboards and moulding, can brighten up a room by adding an architectural element also making it feel fresh and modern. Well-painted trim work can also help achieve that popular farmhouse look, or accent most any style due to its versatility. 

Paint grade millwork has a smooth and modern look which is a great option for out of reach areas such as windows and crown moulding, which creates a sense of depth in a room. Due to the lightweight and soft qualities, paint grade material is very flexible around corners and curves.

Although popular and stylish in modern homes, paint grade millwork surprisingly falls a bit on the expensive side. Supplies for paint can cost around $200, and labor can cost between $2,000 to $5,000 depending on the size of the project. 

Your budget may ultimately come down to how long you expect your millwork to last and how much maintenance you’re willing to do. Paint lasts a little over 10 years as it is prone to cracking and chipping due to the fact that it doesn’t move with the natural expansion and contraction of wood.

Stain-Grade Millwork
If you have an older home, there’s a high chance you probably have some high-quality stained woodwork. The ability to match trim work around an older house is important in achieving a sense of warmth and rustic charm, especially during any remodeling phases. Classic homes such as Victorian style commonly have gorgeous woods that can be difficult to match without the help of a professional.

In general, stain grade millwork will result in sturdier higher-quality wood, therefore it’s a great option for high traffic areas like homes with kids or pets, plus it’s gorgeous and very low maintenance. Stained wood also has a more natural appearance, which pairs beautifully with traditional homes.

The average cost for stain is a bit less than paint and falls around $100 to $150 for the supplies and between $1,500 to $4,000 for professional labor. Staining wood is also generally easier than painting, which in turn could save you a lot of money by doing it yourself.

In addition to a lower cost, stained millwork also lasts an average of around 20 to 30 years as it is less prone to cracking, flaking, and chipping. Stained wood is also washable due to its waterproof base, which means it is very hassle-free to clean. 

Custom millwork is created locally at Johnson Brothers and has been since the turn of the 20th century. Whether remodeling one room, updating a historic structure, or building all new from the ground up — the choices and selection at Johnson Brothers are practically endless — just check out the below catalog link and you’ll get the idea! Choose from oak, poplar, Alder (clear or knotty), ash, birch, cherry, hickory, walnut or white oak. Ask your contractor, or visit our Idaho Falls or Boise showrooms today to inquire about special order designs and custom millwork. View our Custom Wood Moulding and Millwork Catalog.

Choosing The Right Windows For Your Home

You won’t believe the amount of styles and materials to choose from when it comes to picking out the right windows for your home. Whether you’re looking forawning, bay & bow, casement, gliding, pass-through, single or double hung, or specialty; Johnson Brothers can help with any of your window needs.

One thing to consider before choosing the style of your window is to take into consideration the climate you live in. As a homeowner, you never want to overlook the importance of proper installation. Choosing energy-efficient windows can help minimize the costs of heating and cooling depending on where you live.

Energy efficient windows can substantially reduce the amount of energy and costs associated with heating and cooling. You’ll save more money on heat in the winter, and more on cooling in the summer. Along with saving energy, you’ll notice improved comfort, reduced condensation, and even reduced fading on furniture.

Next, it’s extremely important that you pick the right frame material for your windows not only to suit the style of your home but to maximize performance and efficiency. Selecting the right frames can result in long-lasting, durable windows that are low-maintenance. Here are some materials you may want to consider:

Wood
Classy, traditional, and beautiful, wood is a fantastic framing material to go with if you’re looking for strength and rigidity. All wood at Johnson Brothers has cladding that resists harsh elements and provides you with a low-maintenance exterior.

Vinyl Clad
Modern and sleek, vinyl is basically time-proof. Our vinyl windows are wood at the core, with an exterior layer of vinyl material for protective cladding. This combination is far stronger and weather resistant than frames solely made of vinyl.

Composite (Fibrex Material)
A unique blend of 40 percent wood fiber by weight and 60 percent thermoplastic polymer by weight is 2X stronger than vinyl. Fibrex Material resists rot, decay, and fungal growth. With this material you won’t have to worry about flaking, blistering, peeling, or corroding.

Aluminum Clad
Versatile and maintenance-free, Aluminum material can almost entirely resist the elements. Aluminum framing gives you the option to get creative with different colors and shapes for your window frame. With aluminum, your cladding will be thicker and stronger than most.

Fiberglass
Tough and weather resistant, fiberglass frames provide you with protection and durability. With beautiful strong wood interiors, fiberglass frames keep your exteriors sturdy and maintenance-free. The combinations of wood and fiberglass make windows rigid but lightweight at the same time.

New windows are an important investment; knowing how to choose the right style & materials gives you the reward of better lighting, comfort, security, and efficiency. You can do it all with the help from Johnson Brothers without having to do a whole home remodel. We offer brands such as AndersenMarvinCoeur d’ Alene & more. Visit our Idaho Falls or Boise showroom for information on your window inquiries.

Choosing The Right Door Hardware For Your Home

Finding the door hardware that brings your vision to life and suits your home’s style is not  deceptively complex. Even the smallest change can make a big impression, so choosing hardware that not only looks great, but also increases your home’s security and functionality is vital. 

Whether you’re selecting doorknobs, locks, handles, levers or latches, the details all work together to create a signature style. And the best part is that you don’t need to undertake a full-on demo or remodel project to realize a huge transformation.

The new look shouldn’t just enhance the appearance of the door itself, but should also compliment the rest of the home’s exterior, including light fixtures, windows, or even patio furniture. Consider every aspect of your home’s exterior to create a lasting first impression. 

No matter your preferences – door knobs, or levers, sleek and modern, or rustic and hand-crafted, Johnson Brothers has an array of top-quality hardware that’ll look and work like new for years to come.  

As the key transition-piece between the interior and exterior of your home, it’s important to select door hardware that also provides the proper level of security to suit your needs. And if you haven’t looked lately, the door lock game has changed substantially in the past few years. Along with conventional keyed locks, smart locks and retrofit smart locks are now options that can bolster the security or nearly any home. 

Conventional and electronic locks don’t have the most advanced features, but they provide a substantial, efficient barrier between your home’s interior and what lies outside.

Consider every aspect of your home’s exterior to create a lasting first impression.

To add convenience to security, smart locks can feature remote control, voice control, access logs, and more. Many of these innovations have become the norm in new-construction homes.

Retrofit smart locks provide a system to add the features of smart locks to an existing key-and-deadbolt lock. The strength of these locks is dependent on the original deadbolt, so it’s important to have strong existing deadbolt hardware to build on.

Before choosing your door lock hardware, be sure to consider your home’s overall accessibility, neighborhood, lock grades, and the level convenience you prefer. A quality deadbolt system is an expense you’ll never regret.

And if the selection process seems overwhelming, you’re in luck! We’ve got a friendly, professional staff that can help you navigate the options. We’re proud to offer hardware brands from Schlage, Emtek, and Sure-Loc. Visit our Idaho Falls or Boise showroom today to view our vast selection of hardware or to inquire about special orders.

How To Incorporate A Stylish Exterior Door Into Your Home

Every home needs exterior doors. As the entryway to your home and one of the first impressions made on guests, finding a door that compliments your home’s design and personality takes some consideration, but is truly a fun way to set your home apart and boost your style factor. 

If natural light is something you thrive on, you’ll want to consider an exterior door with a window. This provides a modern look while naturally brightening up your home. If a contemporary look is more your style, choosing an exterior door with several windows is another factor to consider. An exterior door with several windows also nicely complements homes painted with light colors. 

If you really want to match your exterior doors with the design of your home, you can easily purchase your doors custom-made at Johnson Brothers. Customizing your doors is a great way to make your home more unique and appealing. Some customizable options to consider for your exterior door may include: color, material (wood, metal, fiberglass, etc.) and decorative or access panels.

Depending on the style of your home, you might also want to choose specific features for your exterior door. For a home with a  modern look, you may want to go with an exterior door that is sleek in appearance. If your home has a country look, choosing an exterior door with wood or metal features may be the right way to go. Homes with industrial themes look great with steel elements on an exterior door. 

At Johnson Brother’s we offer a wide range of quality door suppliers that you can trust for any small or large project. We’re proud to work with brands such as Marvin, Andersen/Eagle, Coeur d’ Alene and Western vinyl windows and doors.

Remember, your door is one of the first things people see as soon as they approach your home. Choosing the right style for your exterior door will help make your home more distinguishable and unique.