It’s always good to shop around when it comes to finding the perfect window to replace those in your home. What I would add to it is, a few points to consider when you go see what your alternatives are:
A windows product showroom lets you see the most common options
If you were to visit a single windows showroom that contained just one edition of each window, glass and frame choices available, that showroom would be big enough to fit two Boeing 747 jets. There are simply so many to choose from today, it’s not possible to see all of the variations possible. What you can do, however, is visit a showroom that has the most common combinations available, as well as several cutaways that allow you to see exactly what is inside the most common, typical windows on the market. Cutaways are one of the most interesting things to examine. They show you all of the layers and internal structure of a window, and you will learn – as I did – just how much more sophisticated a modern window can be.
A windows installation vendor will likely focus on two or three window manufacturers
It takes a bit of experience and training to fully master a given window manufacturer’s products. Cascade Window, for example, might have their own engineering bias, and ‘way of doing things’. Once you learn that, you can install their very broad selections fairly easily, as they have a consistent structure across a lot of their products, even when they look quite different. What’s more, any one window manufacturer will cover almost all of the solutions a homeowner might want. Just as car manufacturers tend to have a complete line of products, with individual styles matching up with other vendors. Think of Toyota and Honda. Although they each have a style of their own, each automobile model matches one in the other manufacturer’s line up. Camry and Accord, Corolla and Civic, Odyssey and Sienna, and so on. This is a common trend in established markets where there are established players of similar size. A window installation company, with two or three manufacturers’ product under their belt, will be able to cover virtually every conceivable option you might have in mind.
Visit the showroom, then look at a real example fully installed
It’s always good to see a product in a showroom, but installed in a house is the real test. It’s also an opportunity to see the finished work of an installation vendor you have in mind. Still, the showroom will allow you to browse cross sections of the best examples of their latest windows products, and browse through catalogs. You’ll see, once you open the first windows product catalogs, just how many options there are. It’s a good idea to schedule time to work with your windows installation vendor to narrow down the choices to a short list, if not the exact one you want. He or she will know of the benefits and challenges – as well as prices – of what is available.
Everlast Window and Door has a showroom in Columbia City
Everlast Window and Door has a significant set of windows and window cutaways you can examine. You can try the opening and closing actions of complete, window frames, as well as the internals of other samples, where you can see exactly what you are getting.
It’s not just about light
I grew up in a town and a house where we did not have central heating. There was one coal fire burning most cold evenings for the three or four coldest months of the year, but the rest of the time, there was no heating. In the winter, we were either huddled close to the fire or we were really feeling the cold. Since that time, we all have gotten used to a much more comfortable life. Trying asking the average teenager to spend a week in January sans central heating and you might have Child Protection Services knocking on your door.
Well, window technology clearly has come a long way. Before central heating, it would have been considered somewhat of a waste to install multiple-glazed windows. Why insulate a room that had no heating! Today, though, it’s a must to have at least double-glazing. In some situations, triple-glazing is worth it, and it’s not always about the heat or the light. It’s about sound.
The first time I ever got new windows installed in my house, I cam home to the entire job being finished. I walked into the living room – a room that faced the street – and the first thing that hit me was just how quiet the room was. The house was in the suburbs, but it was on a cul de sac. I did not realize just how much ambient noise was coming through the old windows. The window installation guy was wrapping up and explained it to me. Most older windows were not designed specifically for noise insulation, but what’s more, they were old and consequently were full of leaks. Not big leaks where the rain would gush in, but minor leaks that let the sound in, especially around the window frames themselves, where over time, my wooden house flexed, expanded and shrank as the seasons came and went, causing the integrity of the now decades-old windows installation to become compromised.
Compare aluminum to composites and vinyl
The aluminum window frames of earlier generations served their purpose but they had one big drawback when they were the only element of the window frame. Aluminum conducts heat incredibly fast. Even when windows were double-glazed, the rapid conduction of warmth from inside your home to outside your home was courtesy of your aluminum window frames. You might remember, in the dead of winter, the aluminum in the window frame collected a lot of condensation whereas the window panes themselves appeared to be keeping the warmth in and the cold out. That is because the very cold frame met the warm air of the room, and the greater moisture in the interior air condensed when it came in contact with that cold aluminum.
Vinyl, on the other hand, insulated heat inside your house. So too do several of the hybrid window frames which are made of a combination of vinyl and wood.
Be sure to ask about the heat, light and sound insulation properties of each window type and product.
See you next week!