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 August 6th, 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.

In the meantime, sign up to start receiving email-exclusive offers, for savings all year long.

*Requires rebate card available in the store. Maximum rebate $80. Offer valid on purchases with dated sales receipt between July 23-August 6, 2017. Valid on submissions postmarked on or before September 6, 2017. Complete details available in store.

Shiplap Siding: Unique Interior Decoration

Rustic Interior Accents

What Is Shiplap?

Shiplap is a traditional style of wood siding board—originally intended for external use but now produced for both indoor and outdoor use—where each board contains a groove along one edge that allows overlap with a visible seam. This rustic style of cladding for walls and ceilings has become very popular, fitting well with sliding barn doors, brushed metal fixtures, and natural materials.

Shiplap isn’t quite the same as tongue and groove paneling (where the tongue of one board fits in the groove, or channel, of the next). Shiplap can be installed tightly edge-to-edge, or spaced slightly for a more prominent reveal (commonly referred to as “nickel gap”).

Traditional vs. Modern

Shiplap wood siding features a natural wood grain and smooth or rough finish, so it can be stained for a natural wood look or painted for a more refined finish. It can be set with the seams vertical or horizontal, depending on the style of your room and home. If you’re considering flat panels for your interior, shiplap offers an easier install, and provides a strong, durable finish with a comfortable feel.

Wood shiplap is generally installed over original drywall or wall board, providing an extra insulating layer that is easy to install, creates a distinctive, textured surface, and a high-end design look that interior decorators and do-it-yourselfers have embraced.

Painted vs. Stained Paneling

You can order shiplap in both smooth and rough finishes, though either will take paint or stain in a variety of colors and finishes.  While a growing modernShiplap siding rough or smooth finish trend is to paint the siding white, for a clean, modern cottage look, applying either soft or vibrant colors can introduce a whole new dimension to your room.

Shiplap is usually made from pine or cedar, and the type of wood can make a huge difference if you’re staining. It’s natural finish and look makes staining a popular choice, from light stains to darker tones, depending on your tastes. Ask our experts about wood and stain options, and what combination could best fit the look you’re hoping to achieve.

Shiplap Ceilings

As you can see in our example on this page, shiplap wood paneling can also be used on a ceiling to give your room a coherent, striking feel, adding texture and interest overhead. The option of running the line of the boards in any direction gives you many options for a dynamic or relaxing look.

Doing it Yourself?

As with most home improvements, there are trade-offs with shiplap. As long as you have some basic carpentry skills and tools, shiplap is relatively easy to install, especially compared to other types of wood paneling (most of the work involves measuring and cutting). Though the material isn’t terribly expensive, since shiplap is normally added to existing surfaces, the cost of materials (and labor, if any) will be in addition to conventionally finished walls or ceilings.

Contemporary and Traditional Look

Shiplap is one of the most in-demand materials for giving a home that simultaneously contemporary and traditional look. Install on one or more walls as an accent, on all walls, on the ceiling, or on all your surfaces to create your unique look.

Learn more at our store, or learn more by checking out our vendor, Windsor One, who also supplies our primed pine.

Bedroom Paint Project

Interior Painting Tips

A color change can transform a bedroom completely, and revitalize the room where we spend the most time. Want it to be more intimate? More cheerful? Warm and comforting? We can help.

Paint Colors for Bedrooms

Your color palette will depend on whose bedroom you’re transforming (parents, single professional, kids, in-laws), and other qualities of your bedroom, like layout, light, fabrics, features, and more. While you may start with a new color for the bedroom walls, adding a subtle color change to your ceiling can also bring a whole new dimension to the room. Our paint pros have decades of experience in the paint business, and know how different colors can affect your mood, change with the light, and coordinate with wood, accents, and fabric colors in your bedroom. Stop in and bring samples if you have them—of carpeting, drapes, bedspreads, stained wood—and give us your paint ideas, or ask how we can help transform your inner sanctum with some strategic wall painting ideas from the experts. 

Bedroom Paint Finishes

From flat or matte to satin, eggshell, and semi-gloss, your choice for finish can change any bedroom, from an elegant, softer master suite to a fun child’s room with washable walls, to standout details in trim and railings. Depending on your current paint color, condition, and finish, we may recommend a primer or prep method to make your job easier, provide a better finish, and give you better coverage.

Bedroom Paint Equipment

Depending on how far your makeover will go (walls, ceilings, trim, and more), we’ll make sure you leave with the right equipment and supplies to get your whole job done right—without extra trips to the store. From brushes or rollers to trays, drop cloths, painter’s masking tape, and labor-saving tools, we carry everything you’ll need. Before you come in, measure using to our tips in our Painting Tips Video, download our free Paint Planning Checklist, then bring your samples and pictures of your bedroom with you, and we’ll recommend the best wall paint for your room.

Learn more about our paint department and products, and how you can save time and effort on your bedroom paint project.

Start Your Bedroom Paint Project

Cedar Decking Pros and Cons

Cedar decking and railing looking out over back yard

Choosing the right material

Cedar can be a great choice for your next decking project, but whether you choose cedar vs. pressure-treated lumber, or even composite decking, really depends on your goals and priorities.

Pros of Cedar


Cedar has a long history of use in decking and housing. It’s a durable wood that is naturally resistant to rot, decay and insect attacks, and resists moisture absorption, so it tends to last longer, needs less maintenance, and doesn’t warp or split as easily. A cedar deck can last for 15-20 years or more, depending on maintenance and environment.


Cedar is generally a more attractive wood solution, with strong color tones and consistency that can be sanded, stained, and treated for a beautiful finish.


Western red cedar, used the most, is pitch- and resin-free, making it better for accepting and holding many different stains, bleaches, colors, and translucent finishes. Cedar is also available in many different dimensions, textures, and grades.

Environmentally Friendly

Many people are surprised to find out that cedar (and other natural woods) are actually more environmentally superior to synthetic products. It has a net negative greenhouse gas effect (it removes these gasses from the atmosphere), and is renewable and biodegradable. It’s also produced from sustainably managed forests, so it doesn’t degrade our natural forests.


Although cedar decking isn’t the least expensive material, it is an affordable wood, given its many advantages.

Cons of Cedar


As a softer wood, cedar decking can be more easily scratched or dented by furniture and pet claws.

Requires Maintenance

Cedar needs to remain well stained or sealed. You always have the option of an unstained, rustic look, but you still need to seal it every few years.

Deterioration Concerns

Although cedar lasts a long time under ideal conditions and treatment, it tends to degrade more quickly when it’s used for ground-level decks, and if it’s shaded, it will slowly dry out. Again, simple maintenance and re-sealing solves these problems.

Choices, Choices

Cedar decking has a great weathered look (and smell), it can be less expensive than composite, and requires less work than pressure-treated lumber. We can help you consider all your priorities when choosing the decking material that’s best for you.

Start Your Deck Design

Marvin Truckload Sale

Save 10% Off by ordering now

Order Marvin or Integrity windows or doors before June 5th, 2017—and take delivery 2-3 weeks later—and you’ll get 10% Off your order! It’s all part of our Marvin Truckload Sale, going on now. Not sure what a Truckload Sale is? Learn more here.


Truckload Sales

Saving money by planning ahead

What is a truckload sale? If you need windows, doors, cabinets, or other supplies for an upcoming home improvement project, it could be your path to big savings. By including your items with other orders we receive, we can take advantage of volume pricing at the manufacturer. We get a discount, and pass that savings on to you!

The only catch? You need to plan ahead. Once you order, you’ll have to wait generally 2-4 weeks for the truck to arrive.

Even for experienced contractors, a project requires planning, measuring, designing, and generating a parts list, all of which our professionals can help you with. Before you can order on a Truckload Sale, know your measurements for quantities, volume, and supplies. Start with the helpful tips and planning videos on our department pages, then call the store and ask for the department you need, and one of our experts can give you a quick checklist and schedule an appointment with a designer. We’ll help you plan out and design your project, create a parts list, place your order right from our computer system, and let you know how much money you’re saving with the Truckload Sale! We offer delivery if you need it, or you can plan to pick up your order at the store.

Have any questions? Just ask! Start planning your project now, and take advantage of Truckload Sale pricing.

80 Years Young


Celebrating 80 Years of Serving Central New York

2017 marks our 80th year in business. 80 Years of serving the Central New York community we call home. 80 years of helping homeowners and contractors build this warm and welcoming community, one building at a time. 80 years of changing economics, changing technology, changing environmental issues, and changing needs. Through it all, we have adapted, changed, grown, and met the changing needs of our customers.

Through eight decades, there are just a few things that haven’t changed: our local ownership, and our focus on providing friendly, experienced, informed service to those who trust us with their needs.

Caption here
Delivery truck circa 1975

The world was a very different place in 1937, when Joseph T. Kelly and Thomas Jones (the “J” and “K” that inspired our name) founded JAY-K Lumber. Since 1938, we’ve maintained the same location for our headquarters on Seneca Turnpike, growing along with the amazing economic development of the area. In 1941, Mr. Jones sold his interest in the business to the Kellys, and ownership has remained in the Kelly family ever since.

Over the years, we’ve made many changes, including one of the first “drive-through” lumber yards, drive-through buildings, a drive-up window, specialized showrooms, and much more. We’ve also earned your respect and appreciation, receiving accolades that included “Business of the Year” and “Retailer of the Year”.

Caption here
Dean Kelly

Our current owners, cousins Dean and Jonas Kelly, became the third generation to oversee JAY-K Lumber. Under their leadership, personal and professional service, along with top quality products, continue to be our mainstays. Contractors and retail customers alike depend on us for great products and exemplary customer service. Dean and Jonas have also continued our tradition of saying “thank you” by giving back to the community that has given so much to us, with regular donations to numerous local charitable organizations.

As we celebrate 80 years of community service, we extend our sincerest appreciation for the tireless dedication of our exceptional employees, and for something we never take for granted: your continued support. Thank you.

5th Annual Shred Day: January 16, 2017

Shredded paperJoin us for our 5th Annual Shred Day, featuring our partners Confidata and Deb Cabral, the DeClutter Coach. We’ll have the Confidata truck in our parking lot to shred up to 5 banker boxes of your confidential paper waste, and on-location advice for organizing your life this year. The event runs from 9:00am to 11:00am on Monday, January 16th, and is free!

Confidata’s mobile shredding truck will be with us to shred your confidential documents while you watch from a monitor outside the truck. You have the security of knowing that it’s shredded, and you help protect the environment by recycling your unwanted paper.

confidatatruckDeb Cabral, the DeClutter Coach, will also be on hand to help with your organization plans for 2017. She’ll help with organizing tools, advice for decluttering your home, and tips for keeping your year stress-free.

We’ll also have great deals on home improvement products in the store, so stop in after your shredding is done.

Put it on your calendar now!

In the meantime, sign up to start receiving email-exclusive offers, for savings all year long.

Have any questions? Ask one of our experts!


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