[bs_lead]Windows by definition are simple: glass held in a sash that fits into a frame.[/bs_lead]
Second only to your roof system, the windows and doors of your home and their details are critical to providing a proper shield to the outside environment. If you’re interested in replacing your current windows, want to learn tips on how to maintain the ones you have now, or just really love windows, read on!
The Good & the Bad
While windows can be one of the most attractive features of your home, they can also account for 10% to 25% of your heating bill in the winter by letting heat out. In the summer, air conditioners have to work harder to cool air that’s heated by sunny weather pouring through windows. Many people invest in some light-blocking curtains and/or blinds during summer months, in order to combat this.
Windows provide us with a connection to the outside world by allowing sunlight in, providing us with a view, allowing a small amount of heat in from the sun during winter, and affording us the opportunity for fresh air ventilation. New windows enhance the look of your home, make it less drafty (as well as quieter), and are generally easier to clean and maintain than older windows.
Types of Windows
[bs_lead]There are five basic window styles available, and each one provides its own unique look and function.[/bs_lead]
The architecture of a home, the window’s location, and the window’s function are the three main criteria when choosing the style and size of your windows.
Double-hung windows are the most popular. Many of today’s versions have a tilt-in sash for easy cleaning.
Casement windows are hinged at the side and typically swing out.
Sliding windows function like a double-hung turned sideways.
Awning windows are hinged on the top and open out from the bottom.
Fixed glass windows are just that, fixed in place and do not open. Large fixed windows are often called picture windows.
Existing Window Openings
When working with existing window openings you basically have four options…
• Option One [bs_lead]Repair and maintain the existing windows.[/bs_lead]
As with all your routine home inspections and maintenance we advise individuals to sit down with their calendars and pick convenient dates in each of the four seasons to perform their inspections and routine maintenance. Does the window open and close properly? Does the interior trim or wall show signs of water infiltration? Is the paint on the exterior of the window and its trim in good condition? Are the caulk joints where the window meets the window trim in good shape and free of cracks and holes? What about where the window trim meets the exterior finish material of the home? We are consistently amazed at just how many problems could have been avoided with proper routine maintenance – mainly caulking and painting. Typically, if minor wood rot is present, some simple repairs and new caulking and painting will do the trick. If you have storm windows, you will more than likely want to reinstall after making the necessary repairs in order to maintain the same level of energy efficiency.
• Option Two [bs_lead] Install a new sash kit in the existing window frame.[/bs_lead]
A sash kit for a standard double hung window comes with two new tracks (jamb liners), two new sashes and the hardware to install. A sash kit is a good option when one is looking to gain energy efficiency by replacing old single pane windows with today’s energy efficient double pane windows without disrupting the existing window frame, the existing interior trim or the existing exterior trim of the unit. If you had storm windows reinstallation is not necessary with this option.
• Option Three [bs_lead]Install an insert window.[/bs_lead]
Similar to the sash kit but more complete the insert window is a complete window unit minus the interior and exterior trim made to fit within the confines of the existing frame. This unit will be sized so as to be placed in the existing opening without disturbing the existing interior and exterior trim. The unit is finished out with additional trim pieces to bridge the gap between old and new both on the interior and exterior.
• Option Four [bs_lead]Install an entirely new window unit.[/bs_lead]
This is the most invasive, work-intensive method. The existing entire window unit including both interior and exterior window trim must be removed to make room for the new window unit. Once installed, new interior and exterior trim can be installed, caulked, and painted.
Window Weather Tips
[bs_lead]If you’re having problems with your windows, but don’t want to replace them, these tips can help improve their performance.[/bs_lead]
Cold Weather [bs_lead]Tips for turning up the heat.[/bs_lead]
After weatherizing, install insulating window shades on drafty windows. These should be tight-fitting. At night during these colder months, close curtains and shades to protect against cold drafts, and open them during the day to let in warm sunlight.
To reduce drafts, tape clear plastic film to the inside of window frames, or use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a window frame.
If necessary, repair and weatherize current storm windows.
Reduce heat loss through windows by installing exterior or interior storm windows. These windows should have weatherstripping at all movable (as well as interlocking or overlapping) joints, in addition to being made of strong materials.
[bs_lead]How to keep it cool.[/bs_lead]
Install window shades, blinds, and/or drapes to help limit the amount of heat entering the home during the day. Choose a light color, such as white – it reflects heat away from the area.
Apply sun-control or other reflective films on south-facing windows to reduce solar heat gain.
Consider applying a reflective film over windows that face south, in order to reduce heat gain from the sun
During the day, close curtains on the windows facing south and west.
Install awnings on windows facing south and west.
[bs_lead]Windows help revitalize your house.[/bs_lead]
The size, shape, and location of your home will determine the size, shape, and location of your windows . Be mindful about the types of windows available, as well as how easy they’ll be to clean and maintain as the years progress. Whether you’re planning to keep your current windows or invest in some new ones, always do your research!
If you have questions about remodeling projects, or just want some further tips, feel free to give us a call. Did you know that we also offer handyman services? Because of BACK Construction’s reputation of being the highest quality remodeler in Lexington, Kentucky, many people think we only do large projects. We offer the same quality for small projects as with a large project, because we have the same skilled craftsmen on each and every one. In fact, BACK’s handyman service is an Angie’s List Super Service Award winner.
Contact us today, no matter what size project you have, and we will provide our quality workmanship to handle your project with care. Our team of skilled, professional craftsmen will make sure your project is done BACK better!