Features of Windows
Are your windows leaking air, showing signs of dry rot or refusing to shut properly? If so, it might be time to replace them with safe, secure, energy-efficient models. Get ready for spring with beautiful new windows, professionally installed by Last Call Exteriors.
What should your new windows be made of? Take your pick, depending on your budget and how you'd like your house to look.
Vinyl. Most windows being installed in the U.S. are made of vinyl, for good reason. It's lightweight, quick to install and requires almost no maintenance. Vinyl resists insects, rot, and most weather. A good vinyl window will last for 15 years or more before you have to replace it. On the downside, some people dislike the look of vinyl and the fact that you can't paint it.
Fiberglass. As durable and low-maintenance as vinyl, fiberglass is much less popular because it costs almost twice as much. The advantage to a fiberglass window is that you can paint it to match any color scheme. Fiberglass windows also come in a wide variety of styles, including some that mimic the look of wood or stone.
Wood. Wooden windows look beautiful, but they require a lot of upkeep. If you live in an area with frequent rain or snow, you'll spend a lot of time maintaining the wood. If you're renovating a home according to local historical codes or you just love the way they look, ask for wood that has an aluminum coating. Painted, aluminum-coated wood will last up to 20 years without needing a touch-up.
If you're spending money on new windows, find some that will save you money in the long term. New windows are a large financial investment in your home, but it's one that will pay off in time when you stop wasting energy, lower your bills and enjoy the satisfaction of living greener. You could also enjoy a generous tax credit courtesy of the federal or local government.
Is it Energy Star rated? If so, that window meets the guidelines established by the U.S. government for energy efficiency. If the window has an "Energy Star" label, you'll know it's going to save you money over the long haul.
The U-factor. A rating set by the National Fenestration Rating Council, this measures how well the window insulates. A second factor, the solar heat gain coefficient, tells you how much of the sun's heat the window is able to block. Windows that rate well on these two factors are considered energy-efficient enough to qualify for the government's energy tax rebate.
Glazing and coating. When looking for new windows, don't get swayed by the low cost of single-glazed panes or even the older double-glazed ones. To really reduce your energy costs, you need low-emissivity (or low-e) glazing. Low-e glazing minimizes the amount of ultraviolet light that your windows let in. This allows you to keep your home cool or warm while slashing your energy use.
Argon gas. Modern windows feature argon gas between the panes instead of regular oxygen. Argon is a great insulator that will keep cold or hot outside air from penetrating your windows. Argon insulation keeps your home at a stable temperature all year long.
Titanium dioxide coating. Windows with this coating will resist forming streaks when it rains. That may not save you money on your energy bill, but it will help make the dreaded chore of window washing a lot easier.
Expert Installation is Key
While some homeowners feel ready to tackle a big project like hanging windows, it's a job best left to professionals. Installing windows is a time-consuming task that requires perfect measuring, specialized tools, and considerable experience.
Improper installation is the number-one reason that windows leak, crack and don't insulate. Doing it yourself could also void your warranty, depending on the manufacturer. Save your sanity by making sure your new windows are safely and professionally installed.
At Last Call Exteriors, we know that buying new windows is a major investment in your home. We can advise you on the most durable, energy-efficient window choices that will fit your style and your budget. Call us today and get a whole new outlook from your brand-new windows.