Bay windows can be a beautiful feature on almost any home. They protrude from the house and allow lots of natural light to illuminate your room. Some act as more of a picture window, while others open the room more by creating a bit more floor space. These bay windows are often used as traditional breakfast or reading nooks. However, the construction of bay windows by its very nature is often prone to allowing drafts and cold air to enter a house. If you have bay windows, especially if they are older windows with single-pane glass, you may be experiencing this issue. Consider these reasons your Raleigh bay windows may be making your home uncomfortable and the options you have to keep your beautiful windows and solve your problem.
How Can I Prevent Drafts From My Bay Windows?
There are many reasons you may be getting cold drafts through your bay windows in the winter. Like regular windows, the window frame and weather stripping may be showing signs of wear and need to be repaired or replaced. It is also possible that the insulation around the windows needs to be replaced, or there may be no insulation at all. If your windows are older, chances are they are single-pane windows that are not energy efficient. There are a few options to remedy these issues if a replacement is not in your current budget.
Draperies and Heat-Shrink Kits
One way North Carolina homeowners choose to prevent drafts from windows like these is to hang a set of heavy weighted drapes. Although this will help keep your home warmer, it also blocks your view of the outside and prevents the sun from illuminating your interior.
If drapes are not an option you want to consider, you can try sealing out the cold with a heat-shrink window insulation kit. This will still allow you to see through the window while preventing cold drafts. If staying warm is your primary concern, you can also opt to use both the insulating kit and drapes to block the cold air.
A more permanent solution than the temporary heat-shrink kits is to install window panels to solidify your shield against cold weather. These panels typically are constructed as an aluminum frame with two clear plasticized panels with an air gap between them. You simply mount these panels to the interior of your winter frames to help keep your home more energy efficient all year long.
Seal the Window’s Edges
If your Raleigh windows show signs of wear, you may need to seal the edges around the frame. Begin outside the house by removing old, cracked caulk, and then caulking around the window’s entire perimeter. You will also want to check the glazing around the window pane, where it meets the frame. If the glazing is broken and not creating a tight seal, you can reglaze the window to prevent drafts. After you finish outside, move inside and replace any deteriorated caulk between the wall and window trim.
When you are caulking around your window frames, keep these general rules of thumb in mind. Silicone caulk is a good choice for gaps that are less than a half inch wide. If your gaps are up to ¾ inch, you should opt for a polyurethane caulk. If you have areas with gaps that are larger than ¾ inch, it is often best to use a spray foam sealant. Once the foam is sprayed into the gap, you can sand and paint it.
Taking on a Bigger Project
If you are an experienced DIYer when it comes to home improvement projects, you may consider installing new, energy-efficient bay windows. Of course, you should always turn this job over to an experienced professional if you are not the handy type, or you may end up in a worse situation than you were in with the drafty windows. If you choose to do the work yourself, these are the basic steps you will follow:
- Once you have removed the old window, the sheathing and shingles over the top, and any old insulation, begin by replacing rotten or worn out framing and woodwork. Then, if your new window requires them, attach cable brackets. These brackets provide the necessary support for your window.
- Adjust the mounting hardware and ensure that it is level. You will want to ensure that the outside of the unit is raised slightly above level, as an allowance for settling.
- Fill the framing of your window with fiberglass insulation by cutting a piece that will fit over the top of the window and a slightly smaller piece to sit on top of the first piece. Be sure to insulate the cavity above the window with loose fiberglass.
- Attach your new sheathing pieces to the roof frame over the window, then add the drip edge and flashing. Once this is complete, you can move to the roofing felt and shingles.
- Your window has a skirt at the bottom that will need replacement if the wood is damaged or rotten.
- The final step is to install the window itself. Cut a piece of insulation to fit the underside of the frame and a piece of plywood with holes for access to the cable nuts. Attach this framework to the window with screws, and then set the window in the frame and screw it into place. Finish by caulking around the window frame both outside and inside the house.
Ask a Professional for Advice on Your Bay Window
When you enjoy the beauty of a lovely bay window in your Raleigh home, the last thing you want is for it to cost you money on your utility bills. Taking some of these measures to keep the windows insulated will help ensure your comfort in the home, but getting the window replaced with a new energy-efficient one is always the best fix.
Bay windows are beautiful, but some need a little extra care. Call a professional to help ensure your bay windows are draft-free as possible.