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Window Info - Choosing A Window

Choosing Your Window: This is a big decision, as there are countless types and brands of windows. Don’t go cheap. Paying a little more for a quality window will make up in years of use. Before you begin, you will have to decide what style of window you want. Casement windows crank out and allow the air to enter your home from the entire span of the window. Awning windows open only on the bottom pane and open out from the lower part of the window. The advantage of awning windows is you can leave your windows open in the rain and still get a good air flow into your home. Sliders are self-descriptive, and slide to one side to open. Double hung windows slide up to open.

Many double hung and awning windows provide tilt wash options, which allow you to tilt your window in any direction to wash the outside. This is a good option, especially if your windows will need a ladder to access them.

Window Insulation Value: Standard single pane windows are inexpensive, but they have very little insulating value. Double or triple pane windows have 2 or 3 panes of glass with air or gas filled spaces between the panes. It is important to check on the width of the air spaces between the panes. Spaces too wide or too narrow will have lower R values, allowing heat to transfer in or out. One half inch is the proper air space allowed between pain. Even as little as 1/8” more or less can make a big difference in your R value.

Window Materials
Window frames come in a variety of material including:

Wood: Wood is flexible in size and shape, but is not as efficient as vinyl and fiberglass. You may choose wood for its natural look, but keep in mind, upkeep on wood windows can be daunting, as they are exposed to sun and rain constantly; and will need painting or staining at least every few years.

Aluminum: Aluminum windows has low maintenance, but is also not very efficient.

Vinyl: Vinyl windows will cost more, but there is virtually no maintenance involved and they are energy efficient.

Choosing A Window Size: When choosing the size of your window, you will be picking the rough opening of your window frame. Keep in mind you will be losing 1 ½ to 2” of window space to allow for shims, casing, and insulation; so your window will actually be smaller than the rough opening space. Keep your rough opening spaces in even numbers, such as 2x3 feet or 3x4 feet. Odd sizes will make it hard for you to find blinds or curtains in stock. For example, a standard window blind is 32 ¾” wide, which will fit a window with a 3 foot rough opening space.

Another thing to consider is cost of the window. You can choose 3 four foot wide windows and install them with a 4 inch space between them for less cost than a 12 foot window. Your view is relatively the same.


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