When you begin a construction project on your Des Moines home, every single decision matters, from the contractor you use to the last, seemingly minute, details. However, your windows are one area that requires some extra attention. If you’re embarking on a home repair or renovation project, you’ll want to remain conscious of the following factors when it comes to the windows you choose:
Ability to Open and Close
Before you can assess whether you’re interested in one style of window over another, you must first determine your needs. More specifically, are you looking for a window that can be opened for fresh air or ventilation, or is your window mostly for natural light and a view of the outside world?
Picture windows and specialty windows are designed to remain closed. Many other styles, however, open up to provide fresh air and keep you from needing to use the air conditioner on breezy summer days. You’ll find windows that open in a variety of directions, including vertically, from either side, and many more interesting options.
Window Size and Style
Depending on your planned renovations, the available wall space may either expand or restrict the possible size and style of your new windows. In many of these cases, specialty windows may be the best route to go for a seamless, custom-fit look. Some of the windows that fit smaller sized spaces are:
- Small, specialty shaped windows
- Single casement windows
- Awning and hopper windows
Getting creative can also bring elements of intrigue to smaller spaces. For example, sun tunnels, the tube-shaped cousin of skylights, are also growing in popularity as a way to inject sunlight into smaller, darker spaces.
The material you use in Iowa for your new windows is another huge consideration for your remodel—especially when you live in a Midwestern city with variable weather. If your current windows are causing your rooms to feel drafty or made it exceedingly difficult to get and keep your house warm in the winter, upgrading your windows should be high on your list of priorities.
As spring rounds the corner, there’s a limited amount of time before you’ll start losing your air conditioning through the cracks in their seams. To keep that from happening, you’ll want to make an informed decision on which materials to use for your new windows. Some choices you’ll need to make involve:
Casing. Typically, you can choose from complete, low-profile, and high-profile casing:
- Complete casing surrounds your windows on all sides through layers of molding and trim, typically matching the other moldings in your house.
- Low-profile casing blocks out the elements and provides a smooth, clean look for your exterior and interior design.
- High-profile casing stands out among the other options, as it can surround the window or rest decoratively above the window itself.
Frames. There are many frame material options including:
- Wooden frames. This classic choice has a traditional look and is fairly durable, but they are more vulnerable to the elements and prone to rot in humid, rainy areas.
- Aluminum frames. Aluminum is a strong material which can protect against heavy winds and storm damage, but they are one of the lowest-performing, least energy efficient options.
- Vinyl frames. These frames are an affordable option for those looking to get a traditional wood-like look, and the quality options on the market will offer insulation on par with some more expensive types like fiberglass.
- Fiberglass frames. Fiberglass is a very energy efficient, eco-friendly option, made from a composite of super-thin glass threads molded together into a tough PVC material, providing top notch insulation but at a top tier price range.
Glass – The type of glass you choose is an important part of your window’s construction. All of your options will affect your home’s insulation situation. Some features you’ll be able to select:
- Single, double or triple panes refer to how many panes of glass are in your window to help provide a barrier between you and the cold. Double and triple pane windows can help with energy efficiency, but the more layers, the more light diffusion.
- Impact resistant windows have glass with anti-shatter properties not only protecting it from mother nature, but also any friendly neighborhood baseball accidents.
- Low emissivity (often shortened to “Low-E”) windows are coated in a microscopic film on the glass’s surface, reducing your window’s potential for heat loss.
- UV repellent films can also be used to tint your windows, keeping your house cooler while protecting you, your wall-paint, fabrics, and art pieces from harsh UV rays.
Once you’ve selected your perfect window, the only thing left is to have it installed. Just make sure your plans and your budget don’t get derailed in the installation process. Certain things to look out for in a professional installation include:
- Over-reliance on sealants. A large amount of sealant can be an indication that there is an improper fit with your window and the space your contractor created for it. While issues may not be apparent initially, this can cause significant water damage in the long run.
- Drafty windows. Drafts are a sign that your new windows were not installed properly and most likely have a gap somewhere, leaking energy and costing you money.
- Water damage. Another sign of improperly installed windows is water damage, occurring where an airtight, waterproof seal has either been damaged during installation or was not well established in the first place.
- Crooked windows. This is a sign of a poor installation, as all windows and doors should be carefully installed to remain level with the exterior elevation and interior of your home.
- Improper preparation and clean-up. Proper preparation and cleanup should be a given, with your professional taking care to protect all surfaces near the construction site and returning the site to its previous conditions when installation is complete. Anything less may be a sign your crew was not experienced or focused on quality.
With each of these factors in mind, it’s clear how critical it is to ensure that all your Toledo construction is done by a reputable professional from a company you trust to provide quality products and services. The right window contractor will not only perform their job well, but they will make you feel like you made the right decisions before, during and after the process. In the end, you should feel comfortable and confident with your renovation process, and satisfied with your new windows.