The right windows can dramatically change the environment of your home. Not only can windows enhance your views, but they can help control your interior temperature through ventilation and insulation. Windows can be a pricey investment, so be sure to do your research before you make any financial commitments.
What types of windows should I consider?
Consider function, your home’s style and maintenance to make this choice. First, decide whether you want the window to act as a source of ventilation by choosing between operable windows (slide up, down or sideways) or fixed windows (stay permanently shut, primarily accent windows). From there, determine the style you’d like. Perhaps you’ll want to outfit your bathroom with a horizontal slider window for a window that offers a fresh breeze by easily pushing open the glass panels. Awning windows are great for below ground basements: they are horizontal and tilt out at the bottom, adding just enough sunlight and air. If you want take in a beautiful view, install bay windows which project from the wall and let you make the most of your scenery.
Where should I place my windows?
If you have the choice, choose wisely. Consider the amount of sunlight you want to infuse in each space with your window placement. Windows that face the east and west will capture the sunrise and sunset, which may result in an of natural sunlight for your space. North-facing windows will illuminate your room with soft, diffused light, while a south-facing window is often the most desirable, as it lets in the most light without being overly intense.
What materials should I consider for my windows?
In general, windows are made from wood, aluminum, steel, vinyl or fiberglass. Read below to find out the benefits and disadvantages of each material.
• Wood: A common choice for windows, wood is durable and prevents the cold and condensation from coming inside. Make sure you’ve treated it, otherwise it may warp and rot over time.
• Clad wood: This type of material is basically wood covered in an exterior jacket made of aluminum of vinyl which eases maintenance issues like preventing rust and rot.
• Vinyl: Resistant to heat loss and condensation, vinyl windows are inexpensive but may become distorted if exposed to extreme heat or cold.
• Steel: One of the pricier options, steel windows are attractive, easy to maintain and long lasting.
• Aluminum: Lightweight and durable, aluminum windows are insulated with vinyl and foam to help reduce heat loss and condensation. Moist, salty air may deteriorate aluminum windows if they are not properly treated.
How can I measure the efficiency of my windows?
Windows are generally measured by an U-factor and an R-factor. The U-factor measures a window’s ability to conduct heat, while the R-factor measures the window’s ability to insulate. Windows of the best efficiency will have a low U-factor and a high R-factor.
What features might I consider for my windows?
For an added layer of insulation, you may want to think about double-glazing your windows by creating a sealed space between two panes of glass. Fill the space with gas, such as argon or krypton, to create even better insulation than air provides. Or, perhaps you want a low-emissivity coating applied to your windows to better control heat gain and loss, depending on the season.