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Windows Shell Replacement
Selecting Replacement Windows by Bobby Carlten
Windows are the eyes of a home. From inside, you see the outside
world through them. It has been said that the eyes are the windows
to the soul. For a home, you can gain a sense of its character
by examining its windows.
Windows are the primary source of natural light for a room, but
they are so much more. They give a home beauty and personality.
The decision to replace them is an important one. Replacements
can affect the feel of the home for inhabitants and provide the
opportunity for significant energy savings. They can dramatically
change the value of the property when it comes time to sell the
Types of replacement windows
There are many types of replacement windows to fit the varied
styles of home architecture. Some of the more popular styles include
- Casements have one or two panes. They are hinged on one side
and open by rotating a crank. Casement windows generally open
only 15 – 30 degrees, enough to let in light, but little
- Sliders are generally two offset sashes, one which will slide
behind the other, much like a sliding glass door.
- Double hung have two sashes which move vertically, allowing
ventilation through a space at the top and/or at the bottom.
- Bay windows are three-sided arrangements that project from
the exterior wall of the house, usually in living rooms or formal
sitting rooms. They give the room a larger feel while offering
additional space for a seat or arrangements of potted plants.
- Bow windows are set in a series with each sash set at an angle.
Bows are similar to bays in that they protrude from the exterior
face of the house. They are different in that each sash or in
the series is set at a slight angle so that the entire series
forms a graceful curve or bow, rather than the sharp three-sided
appearance of bay windows. There can be any number of sashes
in the bow window series.
- Garden windows are frequently installed in kitchens, often
replacing the sash behind the kitchen sink. These also extend
beyond the exterior wall of the house. They are much smaller
than bay or bow styles and are often used for holding potted
plants, creating an interior garden, while giving an improved
view of the outside lawn or garden.
- Skylights are installed into the roof of the house to provide
direct lighting. These are generally not designed to be opened
in order to provide the best weather seal.
Not so long ago, windows were simple panes of glass glazed into
a sash. Efforts to become more energy efficient have turned them
into highly engineered systems.
Single pane models have little insulating value and are still
used in warmer climates.
Double pane or double glazed styles are built with an air space
between the two panes of glass. This glass-air-glass sandwich
permits much less energy radiation through the glass. Better insulating
value is offered by designs with clear argon gas in place of air.
Yet another system combines the double glazed models with panes
of glass coated with a low emissivity (low-e) film. This coating
reduces energy transfer even further.
Frames for sashes may be constructed from wood, wood clad in
aluminium or vinyl, vinyl or fibreglass. Wood is an excellent
choice in that it can be cut or trimmed to provide an excellent
fit. Wood clad with aluminium or vinyl is an excellent choice
in regions with periods of high humidity or damp weather. Vinyl
is a great choice for homes in high moisture regions such as on
lakes or the seashore. Wood clad and vinyl replacement windows
are also low maintenance after the installation.
There are also several options in the glass you will want to
consider for your replacement project. You can choose clear or
tinted glass. You may even choose leaded and bevelled edge glass
or tempered safety glass. In addition to the types of glass, there
are a number of films that can be applied to the glass to restrict
light and energy radiation as well as to provide greater privacy.
Double pane sashes have the added advantage of cutting down the
amount of sound coming from outside the home. This helps reduce
traffic noise in high traffic areas.
Planning your replacement installation
When you begin planning your replacement project, spend some
time brainstorming the options and the specific benefits you are
seeking. How do you want to control light? Ventilation? Is security
an issue? How about privacy? Do you want to make the room seem
You will also want to coordinate your windows with the other
architectural features of the house. This is called curb appeal.
You can dramatically change the appearance of the house as well
as its value with the replacement styles you choose.
Finally, be sure to check city building codes to maintain compliance.
Installing replacements or even new installation projects not
difficult tasks for a diy. There are numerous books and websites
offering step-by-step instructions for just about every window
application you can imagine.
Tips on selecting replacement styles
Here are some commonsensical tips to help you select your replacement
- Choose high quality products with a reliable warranty. Your
new windows can be expected to last 40 or more years.
- Choose models with low-e glass.
- In cooler climates, choose either double glazed styles or
gas-filled double glazed models for greater energy efficiency.
- Check the magazine and website reviews about the various kinds
of windows. The top brand names come at a price. You may find
excellent engineering and craftsmanship in lesser-known brands
that will provide you with excellent service for much less money.
The beauty and comfort of your home can be tremendously affected
by the replacement windows you choose. Offers to sell discount
products by door-to-door or telemarketing salespeople should be
considered extremely carefully. Most of these offers end up with
the installation of inferior quality replacements at inflated
prices. The cost and effect of replacement windows is too great
to take unnecessary chances. Take time to consider your needs
for lighting, room access, ventilation and appearance. Consult
a professional if necessary. The time and effort will be well
worth it in selecting the appropriate replacements for your home.
About the Author
Bobby Carlten is author and designer of http://www.replacement-windows-tips.com.
The publisher also publishes on issues like hurricane protection
and window clips.
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