How To Select Windows For Your Home
Fenestration is a term primarily used by architects and other home building industry professionals when referring to the design and position of elements in the home that yield natural light and fresh air. Most of us prefer to use a simpler term — window. Unfortunately, fenestration can become a real frustration when it comes to shopping for windows.
When our grandfather was building homes in the early 1900’s, there was only one type of window material from which to choose — wood. Today, in sharp contrast to yesteryear, there are not only more material options, but also numerous feature choices available.
For better or worse, selecting a window is much more involved with all of the options now available. Fully-extruded vinyl, aluminum, anodized aluminum, powder-coated aluminum, and combinations of wood and aluminum are among today’s most popular material choices. However, to select the best residential windows for your home, you’ll need to consider material, construction, maintenance, and energy efficiency, in addition to your own standards of appearance and cost.
Window frame choice should depend a great deal on the style of your home. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie School style of architecture can stand the inclusion of mental frame windows because of the contemporary look. Yet, a Queen Ann-style home might lose flair (and some value) if wood windows aren’t used.
Aluminum windows are attractive and virtually maintenance free. However, since aluminum is a great conductor of energy, aluminum-framed windows are not among the most energy efficient. On the positive side, some manufacturers offer sash construction which employs a superior thermal break that improves the energy efficiency of such window.
Relatively speaking, fully-extruded vinyl windows are the new kids on the block. They are attractive and quite functional, but not without flaw. The color you get (most often white), is the color you are stuck with. While a vinyl frame is not designed to be painted, you can paint the trim around the window. There are concerns about the lasting quality of the vinyl finish because over time it can oxidize and become dull. This can be managed by periodic cleaning, but is a factor that should be considered. Why not look at this Houston vinyl window replacement by Maverick Windows for your preference? Maverick Windows also strives to offer premium window replacement at a fair price!
Finally, there are vinyl-clad and aluminum-clad wood. These have traditionally been our favorites for many reasons. You can enjoy the natural beauty of stained or painted wood inside the home and delight in the fact that the exterior finish is virtually maintenance free. Plus, a wood window of any type is one of the most energy-efficient choices.
Construction and maintenance have the greatest impact on the lasting quality of a window and how you’ll spend a good part of your time on weekends — with the kids playing ball or cleaning and repairing your windows with the help of a team like maverick windows austin.
We had to overcome any fear of heights at an early age as we traveled up what seemed like the never-ending wood extension ladder to the second floor to wash double-hung windows. It was that or risk life and limb by hanging over the window sill in an effort to reach every square inch of window.
Thanks to innovations in window construction, today’s generation doesn’t have to be wary of heights when it comes to window washing. Many manufacturers of double-hung windows have solved this problem by creating a window that can be easily cleaned from the interior. The operable section of the window can be snapped out of its track, allowing it to be tilted inward, exposing the exterior of the window. This is a must for anyone with more than one floor.
And there is no shortage of window styles to conform to practically any design challenge. Fixed glass in an array of shapes and sizes, double-hung, single-hung, casement, hopper, awning and jalousie are some of the most popular styles. There are also egress windows that may be useful in basements and other parts of the house.
A window can consist of one piece of glass (single lite) or many pieces (multiple lites) of glass. Although this is more a function of design, it can also impact cost. In days gone by, multiple lites meant that the window was actually constructed of two or more pieces of glass. This is called true divided lite construction. Today, you can purchase a six lite window that consists of one piece of glass. The multiple lite look is achieved with a grid that is surface mounted over the glass or sandwiched in between layers of glass. This can be more affordable, reduce maintenance and make window washing a whole lot easier.
We discussed energy efficiency earlier with window frame construction. The other element of window construction that has a significant impact on energy efficiency is the glass. With respect to glass, energy efficiency can be improved in various ways. Insulted glass (multiple layers of glass), tinted glass and inert gasses between layers are the most pervasive energy enhancers. While dual pane construction is the leader, triple pane construction is becoming more widely used in harsh climates.
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