Surviving Allergy Season

allergy-18656_1920Allergy season has been upon us and it most likely has another month to go. Besides taking allergy medicine, what else can you do to help? Below are some tips to help survive the rest of allergy season:

  • Typically workout outdoors? You may want to consider doing your workouts indoors while the pollen is fresh.
  • As soon as you get home from work, take off your shoes and change your clothes. Allergens can be on your clothing without notice.
  • If you have a cat or dog that goes outside, wipe their paws before they come inside to take off pollen.
  • If you wear contacts and your eyes get super itchy during allergy season, you may want to consider wearing your glasses.
  • Vacuum and clean rugs, the couch, and any curtains at least once a month. Wash all sheets and pillowcases as well.
  • Clean out the drum, door, and rubber gasket of your washing machine. Mold and fungi can grow there and detergent is not enough to help. Use wipes with bleach to make it easier and keep the door open in between washes to help it air dry.
  • If your allergies are giving you an extra hard time this season, call your doctor and see if you need a prescription.


Impact and You!

Hurricane Windows or Impact Windows are a product that have become prevalent over the past 25 years. Born in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, municipalities led by Miami-Dade in South Florida, saw the need for stronger window systems. Studies showed that if you were able to keep the exterior envelope intake during the storms (hurricanes), you have a greater chance of keeping the roof on the building in place and lessen the damage that could be created. To do this, the window industry didn’t have to go far to find a solution.

For years, the automotive industry had been using laminated glass for the windows in vehicles. Laminated glass is a type of safety glass that holds together when impacted with an object. In the event of breaking, it is held in place by an interlayer, typically of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), between its two or more layers of glass. The interlayer keeps the layers of glass bonded even when broken, and its high strength prevents the glass from breaking up into large sharp pieces. This produces a characteristic “spider web” cracking pattern when the impact is not enough to completely pierce the glass. Unlike the automotive industry, the window industry is trying reduce the shards of glass from flying, as well keep the window intact and not fail or “blow out” of the building.

Depending on the location, size of the panels, and design pressures, the interlayer used in the laminate may be of different thicknesses or types. For example, a .060-in PVB interlayer is a typical thickness and type of interlayer for small missile glazed areas. Other stiffer, more structural, interlayers, in thicknesses of .090, provide better resistance to tearing when subjected to large missile impacts at higher design pressures. The strength and other properties of laminated glass can be tailored to meet specific needs. The driving force behind the type of protection you are “required” to have is based on the geographic location of your home. These requirements are based on the local municipality building codes.

The State of Florida has been the driving force behind the development and implementation of building codes regarding hurricanes. After Andrew, Miami-Dade led the way with stricter codes for windows. In 2001, the rest of the state adopted the 2001 Florida Building Code standards. Since that time, several versions have come about. Florida is currently under the 2014 FBC standards. Taking Florida’s lead, other states in hurricane-affected areas began looking at their standards. Shortly after Florida rolled out its codes, states like Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana adopted the International Building Code or IBC. States like South Carolina and North Carolina followed as well. Texas developed the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) for its protocols. All of these standards are designed to give a uniform standard to test and grade impact windows for safety and reliability to withstand hurricane-force winds and flying debris. But the term hurricane windows is a little misleading.

The benefits of these windows exceeds just those homes located in areas prone to hurricanes. Impact windows increase safety, noise reduction, and intrusion resistance. Burglars run once they try to smash one of these windows and realize that it is not going anywhere. Parents are not nervous when their small children play around a large picture window. And homeowners marvel just how much of the outside world’s noise no longer enters into the home. Impact windows are a great way to help reduce damage from severe thunderstorms that can have damaging wind. These types of storms can hit anywhere at any time. There is no replacing the peace of mind that a homeowner with impact windows goes to bed with.

As building designs and styles continue to evolve, many new features will come and go in the market place. One product that’s here to stay is impact windows. Their ability to add safety to any home provides you with more than just a return on investment. It provides you with the assurance that you have taken measures to protect your family and property from whatever life throws at you. For these reason, impact windows are an investment that all homeowners should evaluate.

Home Show This Weekend!!

Needing information on a remodel, renovation, or just want something different to do? This weekend at the Florida State Fairgrounds there will be a home show! There are over 900 exhibits that offer new products and services for your home! It begins Friday at 11am and the last day to attend is Sunday, also starting at 11am.

For more information, click the link below:

Florida’s Largest Home Show

Happy Weekend!

Events This Weekend in the Tampa Bay Area

The weekend ahead is packed with events! With all the fun, beautiful weather, and options to choose from- you are set to have a very exciting and full weekend! Below are a list of events happening in the Tampa Bay Area:

  • St. Petersburg is prepping for the annual grand prix. Head downtown for car racing action, good food, and other fun happenings throughout the day St. Pete Grand Prix
  • Plant City continues to host the Strawberry Festival through the 13th Florida Strawberry Festival
  • The Bay Area Renaissance Festival has this weekend and one more after that remaining. Enjoy time eating a turkey leg, dressing up in Renaissance attire, and watch some jousting! Bay Area Renaissance Festival

No matter what you choose, have a fantastic weekend!

Happy Leap Day!

Tomorrow we all get an extra day! Not sure how to spend your extra time? Below are Ten Things to make the most out of the extra day:

  1. Organize your calendar
  2. Clean out your closet
  3. Attend a craft class
  4. Create a time capsule
  5. Throw a leap day party with your friends
  6. Explore your city (Be a tourist in your own hometown)
  7. “Treat Yourself”- Take time to get a pedicure, manicure, buy something new
  8. Start a garden
  9. Try a new local restaurant
  10. Sign up to learn something you’ve always wanted to learn- such as improv

Happy Leap Day!!

Soft-Lite: What is a casement or awning window?

This week’s post is brought to us by our friends at


When deciding what style of window to put in your home, let the existing dimensional shape of the old window opening guide you to the best style available for you. In the 80s and 90s, many casement and awning windows were installed by builders; unfortunately, casement windows usually have to be replaced with casements.

There can be some drawbacks with older casements, however most of those drawbacks have been fixed by innovation. Premium vinyl casements windows and awning windows, such as those manufactured by Soft-Lite, are superior for several reasons:

First, it maximizes air flow and visibility because it swings outward to grab air passing by and brings it into the home.

Second, the casement dimensionally meets egress with the smallest size available by law. When egress is a must and you are limited by size, casements are your best option.

Third, unlike all the other window styles, casement and awning windows have their screens on the inside, which makes for easier removal.

Fourth, these are the only style windows that actually have a lever to tighten or compress the moving sash with Q-lon weather stripping – making it tighter than any other window. Consequently, the casement/awning is the most airtight of all styles of operating windows, which maximizes the warmth in the rooms to keep you comfortable year round.

One thing to be aware if is that most casements and awnings have ugly clips to hold their screen in place – but Soft-Lite is unique. With Soft-lite casement and awning windows, the unique pressure screen fits snuggly in the frame and stays in place. The rugged extruded screen frame is durable, plus color coordinated to match all six interior color options.

Five Quick Home Projects to Tackle This Weekend!

Owning a home is wonderful, but also comes with the hard work of maintenance. There is always some project to tackle and something to update! Below are five quick home projects to tackle this weekend:

  1. Remove old caulk and caulk around the bathtub, toilet, and sink areas.
  2. Clean the oven. There are some great products that help to make it a smooth and mostly easy process.
  3. Do a walk-around of your home’s exterior- take notes on anything that needs to be repaired. Such as trim or an old gutter (save those for another weekend, unless you feel very motivated!).
  4. Clean the windows. If you have a two story home, clean the first floor this weekend and the second floor next weekend!
  5. Order take-out  and relax knowing that you are caring for your home one day at a time!

Valentine’s Date Ideas!

Valentine’s is this Sunday and what a great weekend to celebrate with friends and/or your significant other! If you are thinking of doing something not involving a dinner reservation, below are some fun alternative ideas:

  • Whether with friends or a significant other, order some take-out, get some beverages and dessert from the store, and watch a movie for a relaxing night in!
  • Call some local places and book a couple’s massage.
  • Make an appointment for some pedicures. Afterwards, go to lunch at a new local restaurant that you haven’t had the chance to try yet!
  • Watch the sunrise and bring some hot cocoa or if it happens to be warm out- ice cream.
  • Go on a gift mission. Head to a mall, then split it up and try to find one thing the other person would really enjoy- then meet back up for some coffee and gift opening.
  • Check out some local museums, vintage stores, and other local shops for something different
  • If you are wanting some more fun ideas, check out TBO Things to Do

Happy Valentine’s Day!

An Early Spring Has Been Forecasted!

Yesterday was Groundhog’s Day, a well-celebrated day when Punxsutanwy Phil comes out and either sees his shadow or not. The dear ground hog did not see his shadow and so an early spring has been predicted! Whether you believe this to be accurate or not, here are some fun facts about Groundhog’s Day:

  • The tradition has been celebrated for over 100 years
  • According to “The Groundhog Club,” it is the same Phil and he drinks a special remedy every summer that gives him a magical seven years of life.
  • Before being called Phil, he was called Br’er Groundhog
  • The big events begin at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania and it is an all day celebration from there!
  • The movie Groundhog’s Day was actually filmed in Woodstock, Illinois- a charming town 50miles northwest of Chicago.

For more information on Groundhog’s Day and possibly an event to add to the bucket list- visit the official website The Groundhog Club:Groundhog Day


Why Vinyl Windows are Considered the Best

This weeks blog post is brought to you by our friends at Soft-Lite!

When considering new windows for your home, there are many things to consider. How important is cost to you? Is more energy efficiency important? Do you currently have leaky/drafty windows that you want replaced? Are you looking to have added beauty/looks? Will they be easy to maintain and clean? What type of warranty are you being offered? Is safety and security a concern? Are you concerned about health and mold, rot, and creating a healthier living environment?

For the purposes of this blog, I will be focusing on consumers who would consider vinyl their best option. Consumers who would consider a high-end vinyl window would be the consumers who are looking for more energy efficiency and to drastically lower drafts into the home, and for products that are easy to maintain and last a lifetime. Premium vinyl windows offer all this, as well as creating healthier living environments and adding security to your home. With newer machinery and technology, higher-end vinyl windows now offer stunning new looks and beauty that were never before possible. Vinyl windows are commonly white in color, but with woodgrain interior color options and many companies offering a PVC exterior bond (painted) option, more colors have become available to satisfy any consumer.

Wood windows offer great beauty and natural looks, but are many times very expensive in cost, not as energy efficient as high-end vinyl, leak more air, and are not maintenance free. Wood windows can rot and mold over time as well. Fiberglass windows offer some impressive thermal ratings and are often portrayed as being stronger than vinyl. Fiberglass windows have strength linearly, but are generally weak in the corners where they cannot be welded. Many fiberglass windows are not as strong structurally as higher-end vinyl windows, in fact, and can cost significantly more.

When choosing new windows, it’s also important to consider whether you are looking for your NEXT window purchase or LAST window purchase for that home. Many windows offer 10, 20, or even 30 year warranties; many of the higher-end vinyl windows offer a 50 year to lifetime warranty.

When investing in your home, it’s important to research and understand what option is best for you and your family. If many of the questions above relate to you, consider high-end vinyl windows as the best option for you, your family and your home.