One of the more interesting projects we did last week was to replace an existing window with a PlyGem Pro patio door. This might seem like a straight-forward job, but they often present interesting challenges-- mostly because we can never be 100% sure of what's going on inside the walls. For instance, older homes that have already been remodeled a time or two sometimes have rogue electrical wiring or plumbing that was not properly removed. No one wants to cut into an (illegally) hidden junction box or live wire! The challenge in this particular case was with the existing header. It was attached to the old soffit system, so we had to cut it into sections to remove it before installing the new patio door.

First we removed the existing window, and then marked on the outside where the new door was going to go. We carefully cut away the siding, and then used a variety of tools (sawsall, saws, oscillating tools) to create a precise opening.
The goal is to enlarge the opening without causing unnecessary damage to the block or drywall, so there's little to no patching and fixing to do later on.

On the inside, we took down the drywall and removed studs as necessary. After the opening was created, we insulated it properly and installed studs a new header. The header's job is to disperse the weight from the roof system. Since we've removed structure (studs and block) there's now a lot of weight with nothing to bear it.

Next we installed our PlyGem Pro patio door, ensuring that everything was plumb, level, and square. We insulated any gaps between the door frame and the walls. We trimmed it out on the inside, added a threshold, and tied it into the flooring. On the outside we put the siding back together and trimmed around the door there as well.

The final product works perfectly and looks fantastic!
Hello everyone! Things sure have been busy for us since the Minneapolis Home and Garden show wrapped up. Of course it's good to be busy, but one of our goals for 2014 is to establish a successful blog. So what are we trying to accomplish, and what defines success? Well, first off, we want to make sure that you know what we're up to. Our hope is if you see the work we're doing on a week-to-week basis, you'll feel more comfortable with us and more confident in our ability to get your project done right.

We also want this blog to be a resource for people who are researching home improvement projects. Do you have questions? Concerns? Do you want to know how why an egress doesn't fill with water, or what type of window to choose? Maybe you're trying to decide if you should go with a metal roof instead of asphalt? Siding instead of stucco? What's the difference between a three-season and a four-season porch? Whatever questions you might have, we encourage you to ask us, even if you're planning to do the work yourself or use a different contractor.

With those two goals in mind, I think if we look at this blog a year from now and see at least 52 entries and a growing number of participants, we'll feel successful. And even though I haven't run this by Damian yet, I also plan to offer some Easter eggs in the form of gift cards, discounts on work, and other goodies for those of you who are paying attention.

Below are some pictures from our very first booth at the Minneapolis Home and Garden Show, which took place in early March. We had a fantastic time meeting so many people over the 5 days. Hopefully you were able to swing by! If not, don't worry, we'll be back next year.