Windows are a major component of a home architecturally and functionally. Not only will the exterior style of the house be affected by the size, shape and style of windows, but these factors will also determine the overall look and feel of the home once inside. There are several details which need to be considered before selecting windows for a remodel or new construction.
The type of windows installed will directly affect the comfort level of the home owner and the amount of the monthly utility bills. The majority of windows available on the market are energy star compliant, but this does not necessarily mean a much leaner heating and cooling bill or electric bill. Other factors which will increase the overall efficiency of a window are whether it is double-paned or triple-paned, has a low-e glazing or from what type of material it is constructed.
When selecting new windows, the home owner should not necessarily base their decision strictly on the cost of each window. Of course monetary constraints will play a large part when determining the type of windows, but the total expense may be much higher than the home owner realizes.
Larger windows and bay windows will increase the amount of light admitted into the home. A house with darker hard wood flooring, tile or carpet would require larger windows to offset the expense of turning on lamps for artificial light. Bay windows will also “open up” the overall feel of the room making it seem larger than actual size.
No matter the size of the window, it is important for the window to be double-paned with an inert gas, such as argon, sandwiched between each pane. The gap between each pane of glass will help to insulate the interior from the extreme temperatures of summer and winter. In northern climates, such as Minneapolis, Minnesota, the home owner may opt for triple-paned windows. The additional gap and layer of glass will further increase the insulative qualities of the window.
The other major attribute of a window which will directly affect the energy efficiency is whether it is aluminum, vinyl or wood clad window. Aluminum is excellent at transferring hot or cold temperatures so it is not the best choice for minimizing heat loss. One of the most efficient constructions will actually be a wood clad in vinyl. Straight wooden frames will be more economical; however will require the most maintenance. The maintenance free external vinyl combined with an interior wood frame will provide a beautiful look on the exterior and the interior.
Because there are hundreds of standard and custom-sized dimensioned windows, it is recommended to rely on the experience of the remodeling company. Particular brands and series of windows will be better than others. Again it is important to rely on the contractor’s experience and knowledge. It is also advisable for the home owner to conduct their own independent research.