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Tips from your Window Contractor: Choosing Windows for your Home

Consider these 5 things when choosing and placing windows in your home.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Replacing windows is a great way to invest in your home.  It is important to select the right windows.  They need to bring the outside in when you want, but also keep the elements at bay.  The options for style, function, and performance can be intimidating. Consider these things when selecting replacement windows or deciding whether to repair or replace your windows.

Window Lingo:

  • Sash: A moveable frame that holds the window glass; a single-hung window is made up of one sash and one fixed pane, with the bottom sash moving up and down.
  • Mull: A strip that joinstwo or more windows together, like a picture window over a slider.
  • Dividers: Strips of wood that divide the sash into smaller sections of glass, which are called lights.
  • U factor:  A measure of the efficiency of insulation; the lower the value, the more energy efficient.

1. Placement

When placing windows, consider how easy it will be to reach and operate the windows.  For example, it can be difficult to open a sing hung or a double-hung window when leaning over a sink or over cabinets in a kitchen.  A casement or awning window can be a good choice in this location because the entire one-piece sash rotates out by twisting a handle.  Before installing casement or awning windows, consider the exterior implications for walkways. 

2. Ventilation and View  

If you want to preserve your view and don’t need ventilation in the area, a large fixed pane window is a good choice. If some ventilation is needed, a mullion can be used to combine two windows into one, creating a fixed pane above, under, or next to an operable window.  Fixed pane windows are less expensive than windows containing movable sashes.  So, a good way to lower your investment in new windows is to combine picture windows with operable windows. 

Awning-style windows can be used as transoms to provide ventilation above picture windows or doors, and without compromising security.  Your contractor can advise you about whether there is enough room to install and trim out a transom window.

3. Environment and Orientation

Windows facing the water or that face south/southwest can be drenched with sun.  Adding an additional layer of glass and/or adding an additional layer of a heat-reflective coating known as “low-e silver,” can dramatically improve the comfort of water facing and southern facing rooms.  Standard layers of low-e costings reflect heat back toward the interior.  An extra layer reflects solar rays to the outside.  A side benefit is added protection to furniture and flooring from sun bleaching. 

Rain, wind, sun, and temperature can take their toll on how your windows will look over time.  Fiberglass and vinyl windows can withstand these environmental impacts for their lifespan without paint.  If you want wood windows that do not need to be painted often, consider aluminum-clad wood. There are many colors to choose from and the paint job will last much longer than on wood alone. Trim pieces made of the same material are also available, so the entire assembly is low maintenance.

If your budget allows, opt for a wood or fiberglass windows.  They tend to last longer than vinyl windows.  

4. Energy efficiency and Safety 

Some climates are harsher than others.  In general, for a window to be classified as energy efficient, it must have two or three panes of glass with an air space in between. The pillow of air between the panes acts as an insulator. An energy efficient window will also have the oxygen evacuated and replaced with a gas like argon or krypton. An energy efficient window will also have at least two strategically placed layers of lowe-e silver coating.  This coating, or film on the glass, reflects the hot summer sun on the outside and keeps heat in during the winter.  Most homes in the Pacific Northwest don’t need more than two layers of glass, argon gas, and two layers of low-e silver coatings.  This combination will usually result in a U-factor of .3 or less, which is our utility’s benchmark for classifying a window as energy efficient.   

It may not be necessary to remove and replace your existing windows in order to make your home more energy efficient.  Historic single-pane wood windows can be weather stripped and paired with an interior or exterior storm window to achieve an acceptable U-factor.  A custom woodworker and carpenter can repair your old windows and custom build storm windows that fit snugly.     

In the days of old, it was difficult to make large sheets of glass and doing so was expensive.  Larger window sashes were often constructed from many smaller panes of glass divided by wood grids.  To re-create this look but maintain energy efficiency, a simulated divided light window is the best option.  The grids usually overlay the glass on the outside.  To achieve an authentic divided light look, the windows can be ordered with a spacer in between the panes of glass that is the same dimension as the exterior grid. 

Any window that is within 18 inches of the floor, near a bath tub, near stairs, or near a doorway should be made with tempered glass for safety.  At least one window in each bedroom must be large enough to allow for egress in the event of an emergency. 

5. A Professional Installation

A good window won't last if it’s not installed correctly.  Whether your exterior siding is made from wood, vinyl, or brick, it is important to assure that water can’t run down the wall sheathing behind it.  It is important to properly apply a building wrap, flashing tape, metal head flashing, and caulking.  It is also important to make sure that the weight above any window is properly supported with a header. 

While the trim around the windows adds character, doing trim correctly also provides an opportunity to add flashing and keep moisture out of the wall assembly.  Making sure the window is oriented properly, with the weep holes unobstructed and at the bottom, will let any moisture or rain that collects inside of operable windows to dissipate. 

Comments

Choosing Right Windows

Choosing right accessories for our home development is quite beneficial for every homeowner. Therefore, we used to take the help of experts such as a contractor or an interior designer. Windows are the special attraction for every home and we are choosing the right contractor to install right windows in our home. Thanks for this wonderful article, it will definitely give a better look to our home.

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