It was the first time in a matter of years that the homeowner could stand in front of her sliding glass door and not smell cigarette smoke.
Ted Rajewski with Loveland-based Nex-Gen Windows and Doors, recalled how big of a difference a new, effective seal on a set of windows and doors made for one homeowner who’d suffered for years with the fallout from close neighbors who regularly smoked on their patio. The smoke would drift across the property line and inevitably make its way through weak seals. Rajewski recalled how the homeowner was at her wit’s end, how she was considering selling the home and cutting her losses.
New windows and doors made all the difference, he said.
“We put doors and windows in the house. The owner was in tears. She gave me a hug and said, ‘Ted, this is the first time in 12 years I can stand in front of my doors and not smell those people smoke. They’re smoking and I do not smell anything,’” Rajewski recalled. “Replacing windows and doors can create a more comfortable environment in a lot of different ways.”
Along with his son Brent Rajewski, who’s the owner and general manager Nex-Gen Windows and Doors, Ted has spent years working with customers to replace windows and doors in the most efficient way possible. Nex-Gen Windows and Doors reflects decades of combined expertise in the industry – Ted has been at it for more than 30 years, and Brent for more than 20.
When it comes to offering customers the most critical and effective tips about installing new doors and windows in older homes, father and son point to the importance of materials. In homes that don’t feature an existing Tyvek wrap under the door or window frame, for example, the right kind of materials are critical. Those include the proper kind of caulk, an adhesive that will properly keep out dust, dirt, drafts and bugs. It can also include the installation of heavy-duty construction tape and pans.
“We custom-build the product, the window or door, exactly to the specifications of the site,” Ted Rajewski said. “We use non-expandable foam – it’s mold and mildew inhibited, bugs won’t eat it. It creates the best dead air space known to man, around the window and doors.”
Rajewski added that the foam is only one weapon in an arsenal against breaks in the seal. Nex-Gen Windows and Doors also utilizes polyurethane tape, patented caulk that’s also used in swimming pool liners and plastic material for the bottom of doors. The combined effect of all of these tools keeps out elements that can have a detrimental effect.
In addition to saving money on monthly energy bills, Rajewski said a solid seal can keep out dirt, insects, smells, condensation and even noise. Indeed, he said noisy and drafty windows and doors are often the most obvious sign of compromised seals.
“It’s about protecting the investment of your home,” he said. “Our high-performance glass keeps out the cold in the winter; it also creates a cave effect in the summer that stops about 95 percent of the infrared rays from coming in.
“It’s about creating a more comfortable environment,” he added.
Even the most high-tech caulk, plastic pans and foam can only be effective in the right circumstances. Eric Heiser, an independent contractor with more than a decade of experience in Boulder County, pointed out that a common mistake in replacing windows and doors is improper installation. Even the most advanced materials only work when they’re set in the proper fashion, he said.
“It’s not so much the caulking itself, for example. It’s the quality of the caulking; it’s making sure that a new window or door was caulked properly,” he said. “The quality and the installation really make the difference. You can use all the right materials, but hiring a contractor with an attention to detail is the biggest thing.”
That’s why training is such an important part of the approach at NexGen, Ted Rajewski said. The company’s installers attend regular training sessions outside of Colorado to keep up on the latest trends in the industry and to stay literate in the most up-to-date materials and installation techniques.
“Our guys are all certified master technicians,” he said. “Our installers go back to Warroad, Minnesota or Chicago to keep up their certifications through Marvin Windows and Doors. It’s important to keep on top of the latest trends.”
That fluency and currency can make the critical difference when it comes to properly installing windows and doors in a home that’s more than 30 years old. Retrofitting an older structure with the latest materials isn’t a haphazard endeavor – it requires a combination of materials, know-how and individualized attention.
For the Rajewskis and the rest of the crew at Loveland’s NexGen, it also necessitates a connection with the community. The fact that Brent Rajewski, the owner or the business, still draws advice and expertise from his father, who boasts a fluency built up over more than 30 years, speaks to the business’s emphasis on community, family and consistency.
“We look at our customers as our neighbors,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if we have 10 or 150; we have a connection to them.”
Service locations include: Loveland, Fort Collins, Greeley, Louisville, Longmont, Lafayette, Cheyenne
By Adam Goldstein for At Home Colorado.