Sheltering at home has become a lifestyle for many in the Loveland community over the past three months.
Facing the fallout of a global pandemic, many have started spending much more time in the confines of their own homes. Residences have morphed into workplaces, offices and schools; they’ve become the center of every aspect of families’ lives in ways they weren’t when 2020 began.
According to Brent Rajewski with Loveland-based Nex-Gen Windows & Doors, the shift has made many realize the importance of keeping these all-important spaces livable. With more and more people staying home all day as the summer temperatures rise, he’s hearing from many customers about how changeable their house’s climate can be throughout the day. Many are realizing just how much power their pumping into the AC unit for an unreliable effect; many are asking how they can keep their homes reliably cool in an efficient and cost-effective way.
New windows and doors made all the difference, he said.
“With the COVID crisis, people are spending more time in their homes and working more hours in their homes. One thing they didn’t notice throughout the day was the fluctuation of the temperature. Something like higher technology in the glass throughout the house can sustain a much greater barrier to keep the extreme temperatures out,” Rajewski said. “This has been a hot topic with our customers. Replacing windows and doors can create a more comfortable environment in a lot of different ways.”
Brent Rajewski’s expertise in this field goes much deeper than the current crisis. As the owner and general manager Nex-Gen Exteriors Inc., Rajewski has spent years working with customers to replace windows and doors in the most efficient way possible, and his hard work represents a family tradition. His father, Ted Rajewski, spent years in the same field and currently helps out with the Loveland-based business. Nex-Gen Exteriors reflects decades of combined expertise in the industry – Ted has been at it for more than 30 years, and Brent has been in the business 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, Brent Rajewski points 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 use premium polyurethane sealants that don’t crack. We use materials that are properly adhered, and we specialize in the most effective and modern installation techniques. We’re constantly doing the up-to-date training on industry methods,” Rajewski said. “Surface temperatures on a home in our area can reach upwards of 120 degrees with enough sunlight during these hot summer months. That can be detrimental to caulkings and flashings, so it’s essential to use the installation methods and materials that are designed to withstand that abuse.”
Top-of-the-line foam is only one weapon in an arsenal against breaks in the seal. Nex-Gen Exteriors 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 the most obvious benefit of 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. He added that the company specializes in following up with customers after the initial install, a commitment that ensures the materials last through the harshest stretches of all seasons.
“We don’t just walk away after the job is done. One thing that we really employ is that extended service approach. We do annual check-ins to make sure everything is right,” he said. “We’re that voice in your ear, making sure everything is good. It reminds customers that if they do see something amiss, we honor a lifetime installation warranty.”
That investment in follow-up and proper installation is key in creating a home environment that’s comfortable, energy efficient and reliable. 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, Brent Rajewski said. The company’s corps of 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, adding that employees attend regular trainings in Warroad, Minnesota or Chicago to keep up their certifications through Marvin Windows and Doors. “We’re constantly doing training. It just keeps everybody fresh. It’s a constant reminder that we’re maintaining our standards at a high level.”
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 or adding the latest materials to a new home isn’t a haphazard endeavor – it requires a combination of materials, know-how and individualized attention. That attention to detail has become even more critical as more and more homeowners find their work life and personal life combined in the same space.
“We can handle every level of home style, from historic to 5 to 10 years old,” Rajewski said. “We have a standard method of excellence, but we cater it to the home itself.”
For the Rajewskis, who boast 30 years of ties in the local community, and the rest of the crew at Loveland’s NexGen, this commitment stems in part from strong local connections. The business has always placed an emphasis on community, family and consistency, and Brent Rajewski said that long tradition of service is paying dividends in tough times.
“We’ve become a referral-based business. We’ve always been invested in the quality of the workmanship, and we’ve always worn that mission on our sleeve,” Rajewski said. “One thing that we noticed when the COVID crisis hit, is that we had so many customers reaching out saying, ‘I want to do my part to support the local community. It’s going to be with someone that’s local.’
“We’ve ingrained ourselves into this community, and we’re going to get through this together,” he added.
By Adam Goldstein, At Home Northern Colorado