3 Things You Should Do Before Every Paint Job

A room with walls painted with Benjamin Moore paint

When you do it right, a fresh paint job is one of the most efficient and inexpensive ways to transform the look of a room. Whether you’re a professional or a first time do-it-yourselfer, follow these 3 steps before starting, and your paint job will always turn out great.

1. Pick up all your supplies
Before opening your first can of paint, think about your job needs from start to finish—and ask one of our experts—to make sure you have all the supplies you’ll need so you won’t have to stop everything for an extra run to the store. Your supplies could include primer and paint, painter’s tape, paint brushes and rollers (depending on your project), paint scraper or putty knife, sandpaper, roller trays, caulk or putty, and drop cloths. Remember that one of the biggest differences between a professional-looking paint job and an amateur one is the quality of your brushes and rollers, so don’t skimp on quality when choosing supplies.

2. Pick the right paint
Every project is different, and while many paint cans may look the same, it’s what inside that counts. While most people focus on what color they want, it is equally important to select a paint based on how you need it to perform. Each paint, especially each of our Benjamin Moore® products, is crafted to serve a specific role, making it the most effective in its category. For example, Aura® Bath & Spa breaks the old rules by letting you use a matte finish in humid areas, and Natura® is our greenest paint (lowest VOCs1 and emissions)

3. Prepare your surface properly
The biggest mistake a painter of any skill level can make is skipping the proper prep work. It is a critical step in the process to give you professional-looking results the first time around. First, completely clean the surface of any dirt, dust, grease, soap, wax, or mildew, then dull the glossy areas by sanding them. Prior to painting, make sure that all your surfaces are dry, and use painter’s tape to mask your baseboards, trim, and any other area you don’t want painted, like outlet covers and light switches.

By following these basic tips, you’ll save yourself time, effort, and unnecessary trips back to the store. With some planning and expert advice, you’ll do a great paint job every time.

Learn more on our Interior Paint Department page, then visit our Paint Department for expert advice.

Interior Paint Planning

1Zero VOC according to EPA Method 24.

Shown in photo:
WALLS: Wedding Veil 2125-70, Aura® Bath & Spa, Matte
WINDOW TRIM: Hazy Skies OC-48, Aura® Bath & Spa, Matte
LOWER WALL: Blue Danube 2062-30, Aura® Bath & Spa, Matte

A Paint That Looks Great Morning, Noon, and Night

A room with walls painted with Benjamin Moore paint

There are many factors to consider when deciding on the right color for your space, and lighting is one of the most important. When choosing a color, you want to make sure you consider how paint and light interact. Here are a few tips for finding a color that will look great at any time of day.

1. Assess lighting. Light really can change the way we see a color and the mood it creates. This is why it can be so challenging to find the right paint color for a room. When working with a customer to choose a paint color, I ask questions about lighting in the room. We have to consider lighting on so many levels, from the type of lighting, both natural and artificial, to the direction of the sun, and the time of day. For this reason, I like deep, rich, bold colors, which can feel less changeable in different light, and still convey a strong sense of mood. Their dimension and depth are really brought to life with light.

2. Trial run. The most effective and budget-friendly way to choose your paint is to test out the color before committing. You can stop by JAY-K Lumber and purchase a sample. Testing and enjoying the color in your space over a few days will allow you to see how the color changes and adjusts to lighting throughout the day. Morning light casts blue undertones, while evening light is warmer, more red, so it’s important to look at colors at different times of day, as it can have a significant effect on the undertone of your chosen color.

3. Finish with a lasting impression. Just like choosing paint colors, there are several options when it comes to finishes. The higher the sheen, the more glare there will be from the lighting source. This can be a bonus if you want light to reflect around a room and bring a darker color to life. On the other hand, a flat or matte paint finish will have very little or no reflection, and can appear darker. For more sheen on walls, we recommend a satin or eggshell finish. For less sheen, look for a flat or matte finish in our Premium ben®, Regal® Select, or Aura® lines.

Want to learn more? Start on our Interior Paint Department page, then visit our Paint Department for expert advice.

Interior Paint Planning

Shown in photo:
WALLS: Shadow 2117-30, Aura®, Eggshell
MANTLE: Ebony King 2132-20, ADVANCE®, Matt
TRIM: Chalk White 2126-70, ADVANCE®, Semi-Gloss

Kitchen Cabinet Styles – Design To Fit Your Taste

What kitchen cabinet style should you choose for your kitchen? There are so many unique cabinet styles to be had, but they can all be grouped in four main categories. Choosing a cabinet style is highly personal, but should also be influenced by the style of your house. A modern, high-gloss flat slab cabinet style would look out of place in a Victorian style home, for example. But designers at JAY-K Lumber have the knowledge and experience to help you make an informed decision about what will look great in your home, and reflect your personal style and taste.

Shaker (aka Mission) Style
The Shaker door style is, by far, the most trending style right now. The Shaker door is made up of stiles and rails connected with mortise and tenon joints, and a flat center panel. Because of its simple lines, the Shaker is fairly easy to clean, with minimal grooves for dust and grime to collect.

The Shaker cabinet style is also eclectic. A white painted Shaker could work in a contemporary kitchen with brushed nickel or champagne bronze accents. Or it could be found in a country farmhouse with an apron sink. A high-gloss navy or emerald green Shaker could be found in a loft apartment. A rustic hickory Shaker style would be at home in the Adirondacks, or in a log home.

Depending on what wood species and color you choose, a Shaker door could go with any style home, and be paired with any of a number of interior decors. Because of its wide range of appeal, if you’re looking to flip a house, a white Shaker is a good way to go.

Click on images to enlarge

Slab Style
The slab door style is a completely flat door. It usually has a high gloss finish on solid colors, or a matte or satin finish on wood grain. A slab door is very easy to clean, and is used often in hospitality situations that value function over form.
Many hospitals and schools use slab door cabinetry with antibacterial laminate finishes. But with so many color and stain choices, there is no reason it can’t also be chic and glamorous.

In a contemporary loft setting, white slab is often paired with black, Lucite, stainless steel, or champagne bronze accents. It also looks great with some rich dark wood tones—like walnut—to warm it up.
A stained wood slab can look either funky and retro, or very contemporary, depending on the wood species and color. Right now, dark rich brown stains are more in style. A light- or middle-toned wood would be more of a “mid-century modern” or 60s style kitchen.

If you want to get really bold and personalized, going with a dark Emerald Green or bright Fuschia is a fun way to bring your personality into your home. But beware—do this only if you’re planning to stay where you are for quite a while. A prospective buyer might not have the same taste.

Click on images to enlarge

Raised Panel Style
Raised panel doors are the second most popular cabinet door style in our geographical area. A raised panel door is made up of stiles and rails connected with mortise and tenon joints, and a raised panel in the center.

They are usually stereotyped as being traditional or old-fashioned, especially doors with an arch on top. Most new raised panels now are square on top. But a raised panel door style doesn’t have to be the style of years past. A painted white raised panel style kitchen is very versatile, and can range from eclectic to beachy to farmhouse to traditional, depending on what it’s paired with.

A dark cherry raised panel door is traditional but timeless. Rich brown cherry cabinets never really go out of style. Pair them with a light cream colored countertop, and you’ll be golden!

Click on images to enlarge

Mitered Style
A mitered door style is made of stiles and rails that meet at 45-degree angles in the corners. The center panel can be flat or raised.

The mitered style is usually a more intricate or detailed door, with either applied moldings, more grooves, or the stiles and rails have a “pillowed” effect.

A mitered door can range from mostly simple, with only a little more detail than is found on a Shaker door, to very intricate, with several decorative features.

A simple mitered door isn’t very fussy, and can work anywhere, and in any finish.

A more detailed mitered style door tends to be found in traditional or Tuscan-inspired kitchens. You would not find this style in, say, a loft apartment.

Click on images to enlarge

A Note About Center Panels
The center panel of a cabinet door could be made of several different materials. Generally, a center panel is either solid wood, or a composite of plywood veneer or MDF.

Most would think that a solid center panel is always best. This is actually not always true!

A solid wood center panel will have crisp lines, and will be made of 3-6 different pieces of wood glued together. You can usually see each individual board comprising the center panel. For a wood stain finish, this adds depth and character to the doors. But you might be surprised to learn that a solid center panel is not necessarily best. Because of seasonal heat and humidity changes causing expansion and contraction, a painted solid center panel may develop hairline cracks, especially where the center panel meets the stiles and rails. Plywood and MDF have minimal expansion with the seasons, and a lot of cabinet brands will automatically change the center panel on a painted finish to MDF because of its stability and smooth finish.

While there are a few more obscure styles—such as beaded and louvered doors—we hope this guide helps explain some of the more common terms you will come across when deciding on a kitchen cabinet style. Stop in and see our designers. We carry products from seven different cabinet companies, each with their own door styles and color variations, so we can always find a cabinet to fit your budget.

For more information, start on our Kitchen Department page, then stop in to our Kitchen Department for expert advice.

Garage Door Options

Make Your Choice Easier

Buying a Garage Door
Buying a garage door can be one of the more important purchases you make to affect the look and appeal of your home, and we’re here to make your choice easier. In addition to being a big part of your home’s curb appeal, it also provides security and protection from the elements, from a simple vehicle shelter to a heated workspace. There are literally hundreds of styles to choose from, and there are dozens of opening options as well, some even giving the appearance of vintage swinging doors. With all the options, here’s a simple guide to narrowing your choices, and making it easier to choose the right garage door.

Garage Door Sizes and Styles
The size and style of your door will depend on:

  • The style and design of your home
    Your home’s architectural style should be carried though to the garage door, especially if the garage is visible from the road.
  • The ways you plan to use your garage
    Whether you’re only parking in your garage, using it for serious storage, or using it as a regular workspace in both summer and winter, the style and insulation of your garage door makes a big difference.
  • The size of your garage
    Garages can be built for one, two, or more vehicles, with a garage door for each stall, a large door for multiple stalls, or some combination of the two.
  • Whether your garage is attached to the house
    If the area is detached from the house and used only for storage of your vehicles and tools, then a simple, attractive door will work. If the garage is attached to the house or underneath occupied rooms, or if it is used for a workspace or hobbies, then you’ll want a well-sealed and -insulated door.

Garage Door Options
Should you get an extra strong material? Insulate? Include glass or windows? How do you decide?

Glass in the garage door adds some great natural light, but could be a safety concern if your garage is along the street and easily accessible. Glass will also add to the cost, so you’ll have to decide if security is a concern, and how much natural light (if any) you need.

Since we don’t generally experience very high winds in our area, reinforced garage doors are not often recommended. If you live in an exposed area with regular high winds, and your door is larger than a standard one-vehicle opening, you may want to invest in a reinforced door with stronger materials and heavier track hardware.

While JAY-K Lumber does not perform garage door installations, we will work with you or your contractor to include all the hardware you’ll need. We can also recommend installers in the area if you don’t already have one.

Garage Door Openers
Garage door openers come in options with different power drive levels and power trains, options like lighting, advanced remote options, and more. Stop in to see what’s available. If you plan to purchase a garage door opener, we carry a great selection of America’s best brand, Chamberlain. We’ll make sure your opener is properly rated for your garage door size and weight, and get you everything you need for installation.

Garage Door Designs
The panel design will create the style of your door, from traditional to carriage to contemporary.

  • Carriage House Panels may contain several layers of material that appear, when closed, as
    a solid swing door. Carriage style doors are often made of wood or give the appearance of wood.
  • Flush Panels may be flat or textured, and are generally used for modern designs.
  • Raised Panels offer depth to the door and are considered “traditional”—they give the appearance of separate panels without the old wood construction.
  • Glass Panels add natural light and come in a variety of styles, even frosted or art glass. Glass panels will increase the cost of your door, and impact the security of your garage space.

Another option is panel “skins”, coatings made in a variety of materials, thicknesses, and layers. Exterior skins may be made of one type of material, with interior skins from a different material, or one of lesser thickness.

  • Single layer construction consists of an outer skin of panels with or without glass. This style has little to no insulating value.
  • Double layer construction includes the outer skin with an inner layer of polystyrene or polyurethane insulation. The R-value is much better with the insulation included.
  • Triple layer construction includes two skins, with the inner polystyrene or polyurethane sandwiched between the skins. This construction provides the highest R-value (the best insulation).

The frame holding the panels may be built from a variety of materials, or integrated into the construction. The frame may be insulated. Joints may be tongue-and-groove or shiplap to slow airflow or temperature transfer when the door is closed. Weather seals may be used between the sections, and a bottom seal should be installed if it doesn’t come with the door. This stops drafts, can reduce water infiltration, and will deter pests.

Garage Door Materials

Wood garage door panels give you a unique natural beauty. They can be made from a variety of species—Redwood, Cedar, Fir, Hemlock, and more—in a large selection of designs and layers, including multi-layers with insulation. Wood doors can be stained or painted, and will need regular refinishing and maintenance over the years, so keep in mind that this attractive (and more expensive) option will also require an investment of your time. R-values change with the thickness of the wood panels and the insulation.

Composite Wood garage doors are created from wood fibers and resins to make a wood-grained design that is stable and needs little or no maintenance. When stained or painted, it may be nearly indistinguishable from solid wood. R-values depend on the insulation used between the composite layers.

Fiberglass garage doors can look like wood with graining and coloring. Available in several layers, with insulation that can increase the R-value of the door, fiberglass won’t require maintenance and won’t warp, twist, or expand and contract with moisture and humidity changes. Fiberglass is a great choice for double- or triple-layer construction. R-values depend on the type and amount of insulation.

Steel garage doors are made in a variety of thicknesses, with or without insulation. Steel is one of the most popular garage door materials. A steel outer skin with insulation may have an inner skin of another material to reduce the cost. Steel doors come in a wide variety of colors, styles, R-values, and prices.

Aluminum garage doors are rust- and corrosion-resistant, and can be painted or powder-coated in a huge range of colors. The aluminum panels can be flat or wood-grained. R-values are based on the thickness of the aluminum and the thickness of the insulation.

Vinyl garage doors are built in several layers (with or without insulation) to keep the cost down. Vinyl will resist dings and won’t show scratches, since the color is infused throughout the material. It also won’t rot or fall prey to insects, and is virtually maintenance-free. R-values depend on the type and thickness of the insulating layer.

Cost Considerations
The biggest cost factors are the size and material of your door, as well as insulation, and options like glass and skin choices.

The physical size of the door is a major cost factor, and two single doors will cost more than one double door. Let us know the size you need, and we can show you the costs for different materials and styles.

The material used for the skins will be a major part of the budget:

  • Wood is expensive, depending upon the species. You’ll need to maintain it on a regular basis; that should be factored into your cost over time.
  • Composite Wood costs less than solid wood and more than the least expensive steel, and won’t need maintenance.
  • Steel doors with top-of-the-line insulation may cost as much as wood, but lower-quality steel with lower R-values will be more affordable.
  • Fiberglass may cost as much as wood (depending upon the amount of insulation), but will not require maintenance over the years.
  • Aluminum is in the mid-range of pricing.
  • Vinyl is in the lower- to mid-range of cost, and will need little-to-no maintenance.
  • Glass will add to the cost of any door. The more decorative, the higher the cost.

Adding insulation to any door will raise the price, but will also increase your energy savings. The best approach is to get the right insulation for how you plan to use your garage, as we don’t recommend saving money to sacrifice the type of garage you need!

You can combine materials to reduce the cost; say, by purchasing an expensive exterior skin, but a lower-cost interior skin. Ask us about your options.

Installation hardware and labor are also considerations. We can price out installation hardware for you. As mentioned earlier, ask our advice about DIY installation, or recommended contractors for installation.

Get the Garage You Want and Need
When you’re getting started, take some measurements and pictures of your current garage, then stop in to our Door Department for free expert advice.



Lighting Department

It’s Time to See the Light

Dana Baker is a relatively new face in the JAY-K Lumber Lighting Department, and in his time there, he has made positive changes you can see in lights on display, and on the shelves. The professional lighting designer brings more than a decade of experience designing, configuring, and sourcing lighting for homes, businesses, museums, theaters, and other installations, and brings a creative eye to every project, no matter how large or small. He has revamped and upgraded the lighting displays, brought in new brands and designs, and significantly expanded the department’s LED (light emitting diode) lighting section, from fixtures to bulbs.

“I want people in our community to know they have a lighting showroom right here in-house at JAY-K Lumber,” Dana says. “We have a wide variety of lighting solutions for both residential and commercial applications.” Dana can provide professional consultation for any size project, from a simple bathroom renovation to a lighting plan for new home construction.

Lighting Department Changes
Among the first changes visitors will see are “freshened displays”, with new light fixtures, new configurations, “families” of lights for making easier choices, more variety, and more popular lighting fixtures and lines. Both interior and exterior lighting is on display, and new vendors are featured, though Kichler and Seagull are still strongly represented.

You’ll also see changes in the bulbs represented in everything from designer and outdoor fixtures to recessed lighting and lamps: there are many more LED choices. More on that later.

Seasonal Surges
“Fall is one of our busiest times,” Dana says. “With the time change and shorter days, we’re all using our lights much more. That makes us more aware of the lighting we want and need in our homes, and how that affects our quality of life. It’s a great time to think about how we want to light our spaces, especially through the darker months. New lighting can change our living and working environments for the better, reduce energy consumption, and improve our quality of life.” Dana has years of experience he can put to use helping configure new or improved lighting in your home or business.

Lighting the Future: LEDs
LED bulbs are quickly changing nearly every aspect of our lives. From auto lights to street and environmental lighting, to flashlights, headlamps, and, of course, home and commercial lighting, LEDs are quickly replacing the compact fluorescent (CFL), halogen, and incandescent bulbs in our lives. The advantages of LED lights are clear:

  • Lower power consumption (up to 80% more efficient than incandescent bulbs)
  • Will last 10-20 times as long as standard bulbs
  • Environmentally safer (they contain no mercury like CFI bulbs)
  • Many are dimmable
  • Warm white, cool white, and daylight color temperatures available
  • Smartlight products now available (bulbs and outlets controlled through WiFi)

Not long ago, the adoption of LEDs was hampered by higher prices, but that has quickly changed. The prices for bulbs of every size and shape have come down drastically. LED bulbs can now be less expensive to purchase than comparable incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. When you take into account the long life and reduced power consumption, LED bulbs will save you money in the long term as well.

The latest innovation in LED lighting is the introduction of “smart” lighting. LED bulbs and accessories such as outlets, switches, and motion sensors, all controllable via Wifi and an app on your phone or tablet, are now available. The smart bulbs are able to change from cool white to daylight, or as a full color-changing bulb capable of any color.

The selection of LED bulbs in the Lighting Department has increased from a few select bulb sizes and brightness ratings to the better part of one side of the lighting aisle. Almost any fixture can be changed over to LED to save you energy, money, and replacements over the long life of these bulbs.

The Voice of Experience
A visit with Dana Baker in the improved Lighting Department helps you quickly understand how experience can make a big difference in your lighting plans. Whether you’re lighting a new home or commercial building, or renovating/redesigning a room, after a brief discussion of your wants, needs, and lifestyle, Dana can quickly narrow your choices from thousands of fixtures to just a few makes and models that will meet your needs.

He will work with your builder and/or decorator, and even make a site visit to help you find the right configuration for your residential or commercial spaces.

Seeing the Light
When you’re looking to light a new space and aren’t sure where to start, a large selection and friendly, free expert advice is a great place to start. You can visit the Lighting Department just inside the JAY-K Lumber main entrance.

Beautiful Bathrooms

Sleek gray and white bathroom design with walk-in shower

Start your renovation with visualization

Creating a new bathroom design can be fun, rewarding, and fulfilling. You’ll enjoy many hours in a bathroom that reflects your tastes and preferences. You’ll also be adding to the value of your home, if and when you decide to sell. And bathrooms are among the most profitable rooms to renovate, giving you great return on your investment.

Bathroom design with built-in vanity and stained wood cabinets, vintage tub and recessed lightingWhen deciding which bathroom ideas are worth the investment, you can make some trade-offs. From new vanity or cabinets to enclosures, showers, fixtures, basins, sinks, tile, and color choices, every element contributes to the overall design, and each gives you a chance to consider the cost vs. the value, to achieve a beautiful, functional bathroom for your budget.

There are many areas where our experts can help you decide where to save a little, and where to spend a little more, to give you the look you want without breaking the bank. We’ve found the best way to get inspired is to see some great examples. Check out some options here, then visit our showroom and let us know what your goals and budget are, and we’ll turn your bathroom ideas into reality.

Spare, Scandinavian bathroom idea with white tile and glass shower doorsVanities, Sinks, Cabinets, and Countertops
From pedestal sinks to hardwood vanities, granite to quartz countertops, and simple to elegant sinks and faucets, your choices can turn a drab bathroom into a stunning showpiece.

Toilet Tips
Today’s toilets run from simple and inexpensive to include a host of new features: low-volume or dual-flush for the environmentally conscious, automatic lids, built-in bidets, and more. Choose your convenience level.

Enclosures, Showers and Bathtubs
While a one-piece molded insert can be a great budget-friendly choice, you can easily up your game with custom tiling, porcelain soaking tub, walk-in tub for the less mobile, glass standalone enclosure, or detachable shower head, to start.

White-painted wood stand-alone bathroom storage cabinet with drawers and open shelvesStorage and Accessories
Choose from contemporary floating shelves or space-saving cabinets to accents like framed artwork, decorative baskets, and toiletry trays.

Lighting and Ventilation
Lighting and ventilation are essentials. The right choices can make your bathroom relaxing and pleasing, and the wrong choices can leave you feeling uncomfortable at best, and unhealthy at worst. A high-quality, quiet ventilation fan will keep mold and mildew down, keep finishes safe, and help you stay relaxed. Both functional task lighting and soothing ambient lighting will make your space versatile and pleasing to the eye.

Visit our Bath Department page to find inspiration, and when you’re ready, make and appointment to meet with one of our designers to begin your new bathroom.

Get Started

5 Steps to Remodel Your Kitchen

Beautiful kitchen remodel with glass-fronted wood cabinets

Make your dream kitchen a reality

Remodeling your kitchen may seem like an intimidating job, but we have just the thing to make approaching your project easier. Follow these steps, and you’ll avoid the pitfalls of many do-it-yourselfers. Review these basics, then make an appointment to sit down with one of our professional designers.

1. Plan Your Flow

Pay attention to how you move around your kitchen, and you’ll find you can save time and energy with some logical placements. Like cabinets: storing breakfast foods and utensils near your breakfast table, storing wraps and containers in one spot near your work surface for when you wrap leftovers, and storing dishes and silverware near the dishwasher to make unloading easier. Also consider your workflow when preparing meals, to include placement of your refrigerator, counters, sink, stove, and plating area.

Flow also includes the spaces between your work areas, with enough room around cooking surfaces and islands or peninsulas. Keep the cooking area out of high-traffic lanes so children aren’t in danger when moving through the room. Also consider where you want your microwave, storage, and countertops to be.

Keep your open doors clear of each other, and avoid putting appliances in tight corners.

2. Match Form to Function

If you’re planning an island or peninsula, decide if you want to cook there, eat there, wash there, or only use for serving and food preparation. These will determine how close you place them to the cooking areas, and what features they’ll have.

In addition to the work flow, make sure you have enough countertop on either side of your cooking space and refrigerator, as well as leaving some space near the microwave for pre- and post-cooking.

Do you cook a lot, or only occasionally? That will determine how much counter space you need.

Do you want to make some of your kitchen spaces multiple-use? Having spaces for kids to do homework, or guests to serve themselves, makes everyone happier.

3. Don’t Rule Out Conveniences

While we can’t all have everything we want, it’s smart to consider a few conveniences that fit your budget.

Plan for a place to put utensils, spices, cooking oils, pans, pots, and other commonly used cooking aids near the range. Cutlery dividers, spice pullouts, rollout trays, and other options are available. 

Want to save the effort of carrying pots filled with water to the stove? Consider a pot filler, a swing-out water tap to fill posts directly next to the cooktop.

In addition to a pull-out trash pedestal, consider a separate eco-cabinet to hold containers for each type of material you recycle (glass, plastic, metal, paper).

Are you a budding wine connoisseur? How about splurging on a wine cooler or built-in bottle holders? Like staying organized? Ask us about features and options to help you and family members of all ages. Also consider adding multiple outlets along the backsplash, island, or peninsula for all your power and charging needs.

4. Materials Matter

Choosing the right materials and surfaces can save you time, effort, and stress later. Glass refrigerator shelves are easier to clean; flush-set or under-mount sinks avoid crumb accumulating edges; and matte finishes on countertops hide the dirt. Glass doors and shelves can lighten your space and allow for more design options. Lighter colors can also make a smaller space feel larger and more welcoming. We can also suggest lighting schemes to match your space, requirements, and budget.

5. Design Around Your Room’s True Personality

We can help you work to design your kitchen to match your tastes, aesthetics, and personality. All your elements, from cabinets and countertops to appliances, lighting, and patterns, should complement and complete your space. We help you create a kitchen that is more than a collection of features; it will work as a whole, and make your life easier and more fulfilling.

Start with a Checklist

Organizing your effort from the start will make your entire remodeling project smoother, easier, and faster. That’s why we’ve created a Kitchen Planning Checklist to help you get started. Visit our Kitchen Department page to sign up for your free checklist, and when you have your information together, make an appointment to meet with one of our designers to start creating your new kitchen.

 Get Started

How to Choose a Front Door

Make a Great First Impression

Choosing the right front door is important to the strength, security, and style of your entire home. It’s the first and most prominent impression visitors receive before they come inside, and the entranceway tells them something about your home and your family.

Choosing the Right Front Door
Your front entry door has to be resistant to wind, rain, and sun, and protect you frompotential intruders, and still make a great impression. Older doors are primarily made of wood or veneer, which can eventually warp, crack, and delaminate. Even metal doors can weather and peel.

There are many options available in today’s materials and construction, including those with glass panels, decorative features, and all the strength and security you need. Today’s best materials include metal and fiberglass, and can cost less than older models did.

Out With the Old
Sometimes replacing a door involves simply installing the new door into the opening left by removing the old door. If not, choosing a new door may involve evaluating the amount of work required if the new door will require construction work (reframing the opening). If you’re not sure, check with your contractor, or we can help: take measurements and photos and bring them to the store.

Framing the Problem
Most new doors are considered “pre-hung”, which means the door is already mounted on hinges in a new frame. This can be ideal if your old frame is rotted or otherwise damaged, or you want to expand the opening. If you’re simply planning to work within the existing frame and replace only the door itself, measure carefully and let us know. We’ll give you options for replacements.

Once you have the practical details down (framing, size, etc.), your preferences come into play. Your choices for level of security, style, windows, and more will help determine the material from which your door is made, the style of the door panels and full entryway, and options for items like windows and storm doors.

Solid Choices
Most doors are made of one predominant material, with other materials potentially used in the frames, interiors, and sidelights (e.g. a steel door may have a wood frame). The primary material—the visible surface of the door—will make the biggest difference in appearance, security, durability, and price.

Wood doors are traditionally the most common, and they give you a wide range of styles and types. A wood door can be beautiful, with a natural finish, strong if made from solid, harder wood, and stylish. Common woods include oak, cherry, walnut, mahogany, maple, fir, hemlock, and pine.

While traditional doors were primarily solid wood, today most are sandwiched wood veneer over an engineered wood core. The advantage is less warping from expanding and contracting wood, and generally lower cost than solid wood. They can be stained or painted, and allow for more detailed carvings and moldings. Ask about the many options available.

Steel doors are generally more secure and durable, and give you more options for decorative glass accents. Most dents or minor damage can be repaired easily. Steel doors also cost less, depending on options like sidelights and hardware. Steel doors normally have an inner wood or steel frame, depending on the grade. The cavities can be filled with insulation, and are available with a baked-on polyester finish.

Fiberglass-Composite doors are very durable and virtually maintenance-free, a good option for environments that are more extreme or humid. They can be styled with a wood-grain look, and even be stained. Generally they contain wooden framing, into which insulation is injected, and they are surprisingly affordable.  

Stylish Entrance
Once you’ve settled on a material—normally trading off the durability, finish, and security with cost—you’ll have a wide range of style options. Panels, accents, colors, textures and more are all options.

Windows, whether they’re integral to the door or only in the sidelights, give you more light, better visibility from both sides of your doorway, and a more welcoming look to your home. They can also give your entranceway the beauty and elegance of a higher-end home. The compromise: they make your entry less secure, and less well-insulated. Though panes with thicker glass, lead, or brass caning will cost more and can reduce these compromises, you’ll have to make a decision on if (and how much) glass works for you.

Once you choose your door, you have great options for hardware, locksets, and finishes.

The Right Front Door
Choosing the right front door will mean smoother operation, lower maintenance, and savings on your energy bills. You’ll also have a beautiful entryway—for a great first impression—for many years to come.

Ready to start your new door project? Check out our Doors page, look through our door and window showroom for inspiration, then ask our staff for more information.

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Fiberglass vs. Vinyl Windows: Which is better?

Similarities, differences, and the bottom line

Both fiberglass and vinyl windows have been around for quite some time, though recent developments in fiberglass windows have given them greater strength, durability, and efficiency. Though fiberglass is generally more expensive, these durable windows are taking market share away from high-end vinyl. Vinyl windows are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), with an inner structure that can include metal. Fiberglass windows are made from polyester resins that are activated by a catalyst, and then pulled through a heated die, after which glass mats or strands are combined with resins. The result is a light, strong material that has been used to create products like skis and furniture.

Which raises the question: why are more people choosing fiberglass? We compare fiberglass and vinyl in the crucial factors you want to consider:

  1. Strength & Durability
  2. Performance
  3. The Look: Finish/Color/Paintability
  4. Maintenance
  5. “Green” Score
  6. Cost
  7. Resale Value


Fiberglass windows are stronger and more durable than vinyl windows, so if your plans are for a long-term solution—or you’re concerned about resale, which we discuss below—fiberglass is a better choice. Because it is stronger, fiberglass is less likely to warp, twist, or soften. This is especially true for Integrity windows from Marvin—the model we carry—which are made from a particularly durable “pultruded” fiberglass. It’s eight times stronger than vinyl (and three times stronger than vinyl/wood composite). Fiberglass windows can last nearly 40% longer than vinyl. Over time, vinyl windows tend to sag more, since they’re also not as rigid as fiberglass.

While strength is important, if your windows are framed properly, vinyl can do well in this regard, as the windows won’t need to support any structural weight.

Neither vinyl nor fiberglass window frames will rot, or be threatened by insects, so they are of comparable durability in that comparison, and both are superior to wood.

Winner: Fiberglass.


Window performance comes down to two major factors: the glass, and the window frame. Since the frame is less important in this regard, the superior insulating properties of fiberglass (think insulation) are less of a factor. While both materials insulate well, construction can make a difference; vinyl windows often contain air chambers in their frames interior, which can be filled with insulating foam, giving many vinyl window frames an advantage overall. All other factors being equal (glass type, glass layers, glass fill, etc.), well-made vinyl frames can insulate a bit better. Check the specifications for overall R-value of individual window models for this comparison.

A secondary factor which can grow in importance over time: expansion and contraction of the frame. Since fiberglass tends to expand and contract at almost the same rate as glass, there are generally fewer seal failures in windows made with it. Over time, vinyl, which expands and contracts at a rate of more like eight times the glass, creates more seal failures, frame gaps, and leakage.

Winner: Roughly equal, with slight advantage to fiberglass over the long run.


If you’re looking to get a non-wood window with the look of wood, fiberglass is the clear winner, with a convincing wood look. Fiberglass can also be painted. Vinyl cannot. Both vinyl and fiberglass window frames can be created in different colors, so they are comparable there. One big advantage for fiberglass: unlike vinyl, it can be painted.

Fiberglass windows have more glass showing than vinyl window frames. Since fiberglass is a stronger material, less is needed to support the glass, so fiberglass frames are thinner and take up less of the window’s area than vinyl, resulting in more glass, and more light.

Winner: Fiberglass.


This is a virtual dead heat. Unlike wood, both vinyl and fiberglass require very little maintenance and upkeep. You’ll get many care-free years from both, though as stated earlier, fiberglass will tend to last longer before failure.

Winner: Tie.


Fiberglass windows are considered more eco-friendly than vinyl, since  they are made up of roughly 60% glass, which can be recycled. Vinyl is a synthetic, and is much more difficult to repurpose. Fiberglass also requires nearly 40% less energy to produce than vinyl.

Winner: Fiberglass.


Under current production methods, fiberglass is more expensive to produce than vinyl—roughly 15%-30% more—so fiberglass windows cost more than vinyl windows (roughly one-and-a-half times the cost). New construction fiberglass windows are also not considered an “off-the-shelf” product, so they are not generally recommended for a do-it-yourself (DIY) project. If you’re a DIY-er, vinyl windows are almost always available off the shelf, so you can save on installation of vinyl windows. This price difference is what brings vinyl windows back into regular competition with the otherwise superior fiberglass windows.

Winner: Vinyl.


If you’re thinking about eventual resale value for your home, fiberglass is considered a better investment than vinyl, with a larger return on your investment. Buyers will pay more for a home with more durable fiberglass windows.

Winner: Fiberglass.


Let’s look at the factors in our evaluation…

  • Fiberglass windows are stronger and more durable
  • Both are evenly matched in insulating performance, with Fiberglass doing better over the longer run
  • Fiberglass lasts much longer, with a nearly 40% longer useful life expectancy
  • Vinyl is definitely cheaper, though fiberglass can compare favorably to high-end vinyl windows
  • Design flexibility (colors, wood grain option, paintability) gives fiberglass an advantage

Vinyl performs well and is less expensive. Fiberglass is the fastest-growing material in windows, and holds advantages in nearly every other category. If you consider all the above factors in your evaluation, fiberglass is worth the investment.

Want to know what goes into choosing windows for your home, or starting your own window project?

Learn more

We’re here to help. Call us with any questions at 315-735-4475.

Great Rebate on Cabot Exterior Stains

Ready to start that exterior stain project? Perfect timing! Right now, get a rebate on one- or five-gallon containers of world-class Cabot Exterior Stains, Australian Timber Oil®, and Gold.

Whether you’re staining your deck, outdoor furniture, shed, or any other outdoor wood, Cabot provides the color, grade, and finish you need.

Now through October 15th, get $10 back per gallon, or $40 back per five-gallon special order container*.

Visit our Paint Department for your Cabot stain, and we’ll help you assemble the right tools and supplies for the job. Need advice on the best way to get your project done? Just ask one of our paint professionals.

We’ll also have great deals on other home improvement products in the store, so make your list and plan ahead.

*Requires rebate card available in the store. Maximum rebate $80. Offer valid on purchases with dated sales receipt between October 1-October 15, 2017. Valid on submissions postmarked on or before November 15, 2017. Complete details available in store.

Have any questions? Ask one of our experts!


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