December 29th, 2010
An Efficient Home Remodeling Project: New
One of the best ways to improve the appearance and increase the value of your home is by replacing the windows & doors – and you’ll also have the benefit of seeing savings reflected on your energy bills. Replacing your windows and doors is often surprisingly reasonable, and is certainly a project worth enjoying while you’re living in your home as opposed to waiting until you sell to make the upgrades.
The Best of Today's Window Products
If you have an older home with wood-frame windows, you are likely losing significant hot (or cold) air through the glass and air leaks around the frame itself. You could replace the windows with new wood sashes, but you may want to instead consider an insulated aluminum-clad window, or today’s most popular replacement window, the vinyl-framed window. Vinyl replacement windows are also the least expensive ones, and are water proof, never need painting, and unless they’re subjected to intense, extreme direct sun, won’t fade or discolor. Regardless of which type of material you choose, the products and accompanying hardware can be ordered in almost any color and are virtually maintenance-free once they have been installed. The most familiar brands of windows are probably Pella and Anderson, but there are hundreds of window manufacturers across the country that are well worth taking a closer look at if you’re considering replacement. Whether you buy for the name or look for a bargain, you'll want to be sure you end up with a product that has an Energy Star rating with double or triple glazing and argon or krypton gas between the layers. You’ll also want to choose a window with glass that has a Low-E coating to reflect summer sun out and winter heat in – and you WILL notice the difference. Lastly, if you’ve ever cleaned windows before you’ll likely jump at the tilt-in option, which will make cleaning your windows from the inside both safer and simpler.
Windows Don’t Have To Be Square
Another 21st Century advantage of modern-day windows include the variety of shapes and sizes windows can be produced in. They no longer need to be flat and square or rectangular in shape, and many homeowners find that with some minor alterations they are easily able to put a bow or bay window into their existing openings. If you are fortunate enough to already have a large window space, you might consider palladium windows or windows with sidelights to add visual interest and architectural detail. Ask your remodeler for details about the potential of your specific space, as well as options that include patterns of frosted or stained glass for even more interest. Today’s windows are as versatile and interesting as the folks who invent them, and modern technology that makes virtually everything possible.
How Do You Know What To Choose? Ask your Home Remodeler!
With almost as big a variety of replacement windows as there are houses these days, you may be quickly overwhelmed by all the choices, options, features and upgrades. When you start looking you’ll probably find that most major building supply stores carry recognizable name brands, but also offer products you may never have heard of and don’t know much about. The solution? Talk to a home remodeler or renovation general contractor who specializes in this type of work and will not only bring a wealth of knowledge to your project, but will likely be able to offer discounted pricing and additional home remodeling services that will make the overall experience easier and more enjoyable. These specialists will be able to look at your home and tell you what will and won’t work, as well as give you ideas based on their experience, recent trends, and tips that will make the job easier. Especially if you’re considering changing the shape or redesigning the original window opening, a home remodeler or renovation expert is strongly recommended from the get-go. Professionals have access to computer simulation and design software specifically configured to demonstrate options and illustrate potential layouts, and will likely be able to show you some options you may not have otherwise considered.
When you get to the stage of window installation, don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions about the product, project and the home remodeler’s service overall. Know—before the work starts—how long your project will take, what the cost will be, if there are warranties associated or available with the products, and who will show up to repair any problems should they arise. Don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations or certifications either; worthy home remodelers will have a list of satisfied clients and earned certifications offered by manufacturers for installing their products.
Third Party Certification of Home Remodeling Products
The best windows and doors are certified by The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). This association was created solely to assist consumers with determining how a given window will perform and help them easily compare the feature of specific products. The ratings offer a straightforward and precise outline of products, which details the manufacturing company, delineates the window’s features and provides other valuable information like energy performance characteristics.
Consumers should look for information on these key ratings when considering a product to install in their homes:
|Solar Heat Gain Coefficient|
Consumers should also look for AAMA Certification, which indicates a high performance standard on residential windows and doors. This certification program is the only program in the window and door industry that requires that components used in the finished window and door assembly pass a gauntlet of performance tests. The program also requires the use of AAMA-accredited labs to ensure tests are performed by qualified, experienced professionals using properly calibrated equipment. Additionally, two unannounced inspection visits to manufacturing plants each year provide added quality assurance that ultimately translates into peace of mind for consumers.
Although a big reason to consider installing new windows may be aesthetics, you’ll also benefit by saving on energy costs, the time spent on cleaning and worry-free maintenance of the products. You’ll quickly discover that modern windows are both safer and more convenient to clean, and the bright, sparkling glass will sharpen the outer appearance of your home while adding more light inside.
Have a question or want to schedule a free in-home consultation?
Fill out the quick contact form on the left and a greyHouse expert will contact you as soon as possible.