Forced_Entry

Secure Your Home Against Forced Entry

As the weather heats up and people begin to enjoy the outdoors again, so do the criminals. Expert criminologists have found a link between hot weather and violent crime. Whether these bad guys are irritable from the heat or just opportunists taking advantage of an empty home, you don’t want them on your property. You can prevent a forced entry before it even happens. These tested crime-prevention strategies increase your home surveillance and restrict the access of criminals.

Get a Steel Entry Door

A few months ago, this woman posted a security tip from her father to replace the door-lock screws that came with her apartment with 4-inch screws. The idea is that if a burglar tries to make a forced entry into her home, the they will make lots of noise trying to kick her door down. The noise will make the intruder nervous about being caught and they will move on to an easier target. We love the concern this father has for his daughter’s safety! If you own your home and don’t have to worry about landlords, you can take this idea one step further and get a steel entry door. Steel entry doors are a significant security improvement over hollow or wooden-core doors. It’s unlikely that the steel entry door will be kicked in, and it’s extremely hard to bend.

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Our Paragon Steel Entry Doors are dipped in 22-gauge steel for exceptional strength and their deadlocks are rated #1 in security by the American National Standards Institute. This steel door also features a steel lock reinforcement plate on single doors with wood jambs for added protection against forced entry. Finally, the ball-bearing hinges are engineered to eliminate door sagging and increase security. The best part about this door is that you don’t have to sacrifice style for security. This steel entry door comes in 8 different woodgrain options and 21 paint finishes.

Invest in Durable Windows

When doors fail, intruders turn to windows for a quick and easy entry. Windows security is often overlooked by homeowners chasing the next high-tech digital security trend. However, upgrading your windows can be just as effective and cheaper than installing an entire security system. When you’re looking for replacement windows, keep an eye out for windows with tempered glass or laminated glass. Both of these glass options are more difficult to crack than traditional glass panes. An obvious window feature to consider is your window locks. Make sure they’re durable and visible from the outside of your home. Don’t forget to sure up security on your top floor windows as well. Burglars know that most homeowners leave these windows vulnerable, and may bring a ladder to make an easy forced entry.

Forced Entry

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Our Preservation Replacement Windows come with heavy-duty locking and operating hardware. There are dual locks on all windows 29″ or wider. If somebody does try to break into your home, we offer a Lifetime Limited Transferable Warranty that includes glass breakage. However, it’s doubtful you’ll ever see broken glass with these windows because Preservation uses double strength glass. You can choose to order your windows with tempered glass as well. Plus, we have sealed double pane and triple pane glass options that tend to make a loud “popping” sound when broken. Noise is never an intruder’s best friend.

Keep Landscaping at a Minimum

Try not to have an abundance of large trees and bushes on your property. Intruders love tall trees and bushes because they are an easy spot to hide in and they conceal the view to your front door as they try to break it down. If you do plant trees, plant them far enough away from the home that nobody can use the tree to gain access to the second floor. For added security, try planting thorny bushes under first-floor windows. Criminals looking for an easy target won’t want to climb through a rose bush to gain access to your home.

Add Fencing to Your Yard

Fencing improves your home security for obvious reasons. If an intruder can’t get through a strong and tall fence, it’ll be pretty difficult for them to rob your home. Even decorative fencing and railing can improve your home’s security. Decorative fencing may be easy to climb over, but it will make a getaway more complicated for a burglar. If an intruder is looking for an easy target, fencing may be enough to discourage them from choosing your home. Don’t forget fencing on the sides of your home and in your backyard too. If you’re building a new deck this summer, consider adding railing to deter a forced entry into your home. We recommend our Fiberon Railing because they have great lighting products. Add post side lights to your deck for extra surveillance of your exterior.

 

storm damage windows

Windows and Doors Storm Damage | Avoid Illinois Storm Damage

With Illinois’ brutal storms, it’s possible for windows to take on storm damage and tornado damage even with protective storm shutters. Damaged windows can be especially hazardous because they often result in broken glass. During a severe storm, keep yourself and your family away from windows and broken glass by taking harbor in an interior room. After a storm, check for these signs of window damage:

  • The most obvious sign will be a shattered window. You’ll probably see a big pile of broken shards of glass on your floor and notice something is wrong.
  • Check for cracks or holes in your window panes. If any glass has become damaged, board up broken windows until they can be fixed.
  • Make sure your window frame hasn’t become damaged during the storm.
  • Many homeowners forget about their glass doors when checking for storm damage. Glass patio doors can take on the storm damage just like your windows.
  • Doors can take on impact from flying debris during a storm. Check exterior doors for scratches, dents, and other signs of a high-velocity impact.

Prepare for the next storm:

Some very practical people may tell you to simply replace all of your windows and doors with storm windows and doors. While this idea is functional, it won’t look very pretty on your home. Our Paragon entry doors come with the Guardian Weather Barrier System, which protects your door from air and water leakage. Together, the door jamb, threshold and astragal (the seal between doors) discourages rot and insects as well as increases the structural load your home can withstand. Our Preservation Windows are tested to withstand a driving water spray of 5 gallons per hour per square foot at simulated wind speeds over 57 mph. They can also withstand structural load conditions with wind speed over 190 mph- the equivalent of a EF4 Tornado. Illinois has already experienced an F3 tornado in Ottowa this year.


After you’ve checked for storm damage, your next step is to call your insurance agency. Depending on your homeowners insurance policy, replacement siding may be covered. Cramer Siding and Window will work directly with your insurance company to review and negotiate the details of your claim to make this process as easy and simple for you as possible. We will serve as your advocate when dealing with your insurance carrier. This is a task we take seriously to help ensure you are getting the best possible products, workmanship, and overall outcome for your project.

When Should I Replace My Siding?

 Damaged Siding

Replacement_Siding_Damage

Storms, baseballs, and bugs are all bad news for your siding. Those in Central Illinois who took the brunt of last week’s storms know this all too well. Damaged siding doesn’t just look bad- it can also create cracks, gaps and holes in your home. These imperfections are the perfect spot for moisture to enter your house and cause your framework to rot. Siding defects can also be a good way for creepy crawlies to gain entry to your home. Some bugs (like termites) are infamous for devastating a home’s structural integrity.

If you want replacement siding that can stand up to daily wear and tear, vinyl siding is your best choice. But our Preservation Vinyl Siding protects against impact up to five times more than ordinary vinyl siding. This replacement siding has super-tough, acrylic DuraShield modifiers that protects your exterior against everyday bumps and dings. In independent tests, Preservation Siding held its own against winds equivalent to a category 5 hurricane! In addition to all this, Preservation Integra Siding with ClimaShield will protect against termites.

Too Much Maintenance

Replacement_Siding_Maintenance

If you’re already spending tons of time exterior maintenance, I have bad news for you. It will only get worse. Homeowners with traditional wood siding may need to repaint their house as often as every three years! Older siding often has so many problems that it’s not worth the upkeep to maintain it. That’s why you see so many houses with older siding falling into disrepair.

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance exterior, vinyl is the way to go. Vinyl is easier to maintain and keeps its color longer. Our vinyl Preservation Siding takes that one step farther by providing a truly maintenance-free siding experience. Our replacement siding can be covered in a variety of in ColorThru pigments. These pigments produce uniform colors that go clear through the siding panels. Extreme heat and nasty storms won’t wash your colors away because our replacement siding is made with ingredients that protect it from ultraviolet degradation, heat degradation and humidity. All you have to do to clean your exterior is spray it occasionally with a garden hose.

High Utility Bills

It can be frustrating to lose money on heat that’s escaping right through your walls. If you don’t see major damage areas on your siding and attic, your loss of energy is likely due to poor insulation. There’s a number of old DIY tricks you can try to fix this. But sooner or later you’ll be tired of spending even more money on complicated DIY projects you’re not cut out for, and you’ll start looking at replacement siding options.

When that happens, we want you to give us a call. Our Preservation Integra Siding comes with ClimaShield Thermal Support System. This system molds perfectly to your replacement siding to ensure superior insulation and a high-density, waterproof skin. The system’s ship-lap profile creates a complete weather seal all the way around each panel so that no heat will escape. Finally, ClimaShield has a diamond-groove drainage plane that directs moisture away from interior walls.

Outdated Design

There’s nothing wrong with replacing your siding simply because you don’t like it. Curb appeal is one of the most important factors for selling your home. Plus, if you replace your outdated siding, your neighbors might stop directing people to “turn left at the ugly parfait pink house on the corner.” It can be fun to imagine reinventing your home into a Pinterest-worthy country farmhouse or sleek mid-century modern. If you need some inspiration, you can find us on Houzz! The most important thing about your new home is that it’s practical and makes you happy.

Growth on Siding

I used to love the classic look of ivy crawling up the side of a home. But any kind of growth on your exterior is bad business. Plant-life or algea around the seams of your siding may indicate that moisture is entering your home. This can cause rot and mold in areas that are hard to access. Plus, humidity-loving insects won’t be able to resist a damp, warm interior with 24/7 food access.

Vinyl siding is best to reduce insects and rot because water cannot penetrate vinyl the same way it gets into wood. Integra Preservation Siding comes with ClimaShield Thermal Support System. Not only does this support system insulate your home, it has a waterproof skin to discourage growth. If water does happen to get under your replacement siding, ClimaShield has a diamond-groove drainage plane that directs moisture away from interior walls.


Whatever your reason for a new exterior, installing replacement siding is guaranteed to spruce up a tired-looking home. We have the best vinyl siding on the market and it comes in traditional, board & batten, scallop, and shake siding. We can even install siding on your soffit and fascia! For a free project estimate, fill out our form or call 217-655-4496.

Illinois Weather

Best Window Styles for Illinois Weather

Champaign, Illinois is known for its erratic weather, gusty winds and fierce storms. That’s why windows in Illinois have to be durable enough to stand up to a beating. If you’re shopping for new windows, consider these options:

Best Window Styles for Illinois:

Casement windows are best-suited for Illinois homes. These windows are hinged at the side and open outward. Experts recommend casement windows for windy environments because they stand up well to blustery conditions. Casement windows can also help you use the wind to cool your home in the summer. During hot days, they can be opened outward to catch a breeze and draw moving air indoors to provide extra ventilation.

If you live in Illinois, it’s likely you live near farmland. Nearly 75% of Illinois’ total land area is used for agriculture. Illinoisans that live near farmland understand how common farming practices can spread dust, making easy-to-clean windows a necessity. Our Preservation Casement Windows have tilt-in top and bottom sashes so that you can clean both sides of the window pane from inside your home. Now, cleaning your windows will be a breeze (pun intended).

Best Window Glass for Illinois:

Replacement Windows Illinois

When it comes to glass, make insulation a top priority. The best-insulating windows are double or triple-paned and feature low-E glass. Windows with more than one window pane have air space between the multiple panes of glass that prevents the glass from touching and conducting thermal energy. These great features can reduce your home’s heat loss by 30-50% during cold winters.

Gas-filled windows will greatly increase your home’s energy efficiency. Gas-filled windows are often filled with Argon or Krypton gas, which are non-harmful and occur naturally in the earth’s atmosphere. These gases are denser than air and conduct less thermal energy than air. One advantage of gas-filled windows is that they don’t cause drafts like traditional windows do, and their interior glass isn’t cold to the touch. This can make living in Illinois during the winter a lot more comfortable.

Cramer Siding & Window has a variety of high-performing glass packages, including a Low-E, double-paned, Argon-filled glass package or a triple-paned, Krypton-filled glass package.

Best Window Materials for Illinois:

The best window material for Illinois is vinyl because it is energy efficient and affordable. The worst window materials for Illinois are wood and aluminum. Wood windows tend to warp in humid environments and rapid temperature changes. Aluminum is not recommended because it conducts too much thermal energy, making it a bad insulator. 

Cramer Siding & Window offers Energy Star-certified Preservation Vinyl windows. Most vinyl windows only come in white or tan. However, our Preservation Vinyl windows come in 9 different color and wood grain options.

If you’re thinking of replacing your old windows but don’t know where to start, fill out this form for a free, no-obligation project estimate.

Home Siding

5 Renovation Projects to Make Your Small Home Feel Bigger

  1. Install More Windows

    Cramer Siding & Window - Free Estimates

    This one you might already know. More windows means more light and the illusion of more space, which will make your small home feel bigger. For added functionality, try a Bay or Bow window. The seat boards can provide extra space to display plants, books, and other decor.

    Cramer Siding & Window’s Preservation Replacement Windows are beautiful, energy efficient and come in an array of interior finishes and exterior colors, glass options, styles and designs.

  2. Transition to Blind-In Doors

    Dark drapes over your patio doors add bulk to your home and block natural light. To make it look like your home has more depth, ditch those drapes! Instead, try patio doors with blinds built right into them! You’ll save space, your home will feel bigger, and you’ll avoid finding your pets tangled up in your blinds for the hundredth time.

    Cramer Siding & Window’s Paragon Mini Blinds Collection has blinds sealed between two glass panels and no dangling cords. Our doors are Energy Star certified and customized for an exact fit.

  3. Swap to Sliding Doors

    Paragon Door

    Sliding doors are more functional for a small home because they maximize the amount of space you have for furniture placement. If your doors swing inward, you have to make sure that nothing stands in the way of their movement which limits the amount of usable space in your home.

    Our Illuminations™ Patio Doors by Preservation are designed to provide full, unobstructed views of the outside. A weathertight fit and powerful build provide energy savings.

  4. Opt for a White Kitchen

    There’s a reason white kitchens are trending in interior design for 2017. White makes a small home look bigger by reflecting light and the color’s simple elegance never goes out of style. Lucky for you, white is a standard color for most kitchen appliances and cabinetry. But if you’re looking for a little more flair for your counters, some say quartz is having a moment, too.

    Our sister company, Woodfront Kitchen can reface your kitchen cabinets with beautiful, Amish-made Kiln Dried Wood in hundreds of wood, stain, frame and center panel options. There are countless quartz options for your countertops, but my favorite white quartz styles are Dovedale and Torquay.

  5. Convert Your Tub to a Glass-Walled Shower

    It’s tricky to find space in your bathroom because you can’t exactly remove your tub or your toilet. What you can do is convert your traditional bathtub to a glass-walled shower. A shower has a lower threshold than a bathtub, and won’t visually divide space the same way. Glass walls in your shower will make your small bathroom look bigger by adding depth.

    Our sister company, Custom Bath Solutions specializes in tub-to-shower conversions and we can customize your new shower in a variety of finishes. We can even install a seat in your shower if you’re worried you’ll miss the luxury of lounging in a tub.