Drapes won’t have any effect on your new window frames. Still, there are considerations to bear in mind when installing drapes which will likely be exposed to strong sunlight. Most ordinary drape cloth will, in time, bleach out if exposed to direct sunlight, and if they are not protected from ultraviolet light. This is where the correct selection of window glass type is important.
Location of house will influence choice of glass type in your new windows
Most folks don’t worry about sunburn, skin damage or eye damage here in Puget Sound. We should, but we don’t. But paradoxically, we have one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the country! That’s because we have so much cloud cover for a lot of the year, we think there is little or no danger. The reality is, ultraviolet light is always reaching us through the atmosphere. Even at night time, some is arriving from far away places. No much, but some. In places like southern California, people know to use sunblock, sunglasses, straw hats, or whatever they can to protect themselves. Some skin care products sold as sunblock also contain helpful moisturizers. Little by little, those in sunny parts of the country can actually improve their skin over time, while we ignore the risks and lose the advantage of living in such a mild climate.
If your house is facing the south, and is situated in the Puget Sound, you might be surprised at the levels of ultraviolet light that enters your home on that south facing side. And if you’ve ever installed cheap curtains to cover those windows, and use them to block the incoming light during the day, you’ll remember how fast the curtains faded. This is where they type of glass you choose becomes important; both the type and the number of panes.
The numerous joys of triple glazed windows
There is not a huge difference in price between double glazed windows and triple glazed windows, but there is, to my mind, a big difference in functionality. In a house I lived in many years ago, we were about to replace all the windows of the house, and the window installation guy suggested to me strongly that we should upgrade the order to triple glazed windows, up from the double glazed we were about to order. His argument was, on the street-facing side of the house, there was some traffic at both rush hours, and at the back of the house, we face the south west, and because we lived on a hill, we would get a lot of sun, that is, relative to the average house in the area. What’s more, he said, you know the noise levels are only going to get worse. Well, I did opt for triple glazing, and the first thing I noticed was the super quiet interior of my home the night I returned after the whole project was completed. It was during the evening’s rush hour that I arrived home, and you could hear a pin drop in the house, it was so quiet!
The window installer’s pointed out that it was only going to become more noisy, and the Eastside got more and more residents, more cars, and more airlines flying in and out. Triple glazed windows would mitigate that hugely. I was impressed.
The next advantage, he reminded me, was in relation to privacy. During daytime hours, triple glazing will make the average home interior virtually invisible to any stranger walking past outside. You’ve probably noticed a subtle ‘green’ shading in many glass panes, which is also very obvious when many panes are stacked together. That is the natural tint of regular glass. With three panes together, as is the case with triple glazing, the tint is obvious, and works as a privacy barrier, reducing the amount of light going through it.
Today’s glass products tend to block almost all ultraviolet light from getting through. Even at a perpendicular angle to the glass, well over 90% of all UV light will be blocked. What does that mean? Well, in full spectrum midday sunlight, the damaging frequency is the UV light, one of the frequencies of light you cannot see with the human eye (but can be detected and measured with instruments, of course). UV light will bleach cheap drapes material, and it will damage furniture given enough time. Vast sums of money have gone into technologies and products designed to protect motor vehicles from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation. Triple glazing, however, with glass that uses these extra UV-blocking additives, will protect everything in your home from UV light. It’s worth it.
Choosing windows also depends on how long you plan to live in your home
Not all home improvements increase the value of your house even to match the price of the work done. If you were, for example, planning to sell your home in the near future, significant investment in new windows might not be worth it. When potential buyers look at your home, they may have no idea how much the new windows cost, or even notice them at all. So, a $30,000 investment in new windows might not have any effect at all in the potential price of the house. However, it can certainly clear an potential obstacle to a sale when the time comes.
If you plan to stay in your home for a long time, installing windows at a sufficient level of quality means both never having to visit the issue of windows again, and enjoying the benefits of the investment as long as you live there.
Triple glazed windows, therefore, offer you privacy, noise reduction, and UV protection of your property. Another benefits is in heat insulation. The more panes of glass you have, the more heat your windows will keep inside the house, and the more cool it will keep the interior in hot weather. That is, of course, if your house is generally well insulated.
More next week!