Bellevue has changed a lot. House prices have skyrocketed in the past half decade in particular, and people are living in homes they never would have been able to afford if they had to purchase the home they live in today. Mostly, that doesn’t matter. In many ways, the theoretical price of a house is not important until you want to sell it, or if there is a property tax adjustment. That latter point is a big topic, so I won’t dig into it here, but suffice it to say, you’re now living inside your most valuable asset – at least for many people – so you want to take good care of it. Perhaps you are planning to sell up and retire to sunnier climes ten years from now, replying on what you sell your house for at the future point, to live on in retirement. That means, how well you keep the house now will affect the potential price of the house later. Many say that certain types of improvements don’t significantly influence the price you can get for a house later, but a house that is in good condition, and generally fitted with good quality materials, is more likely to sell quickly than one that has obviously cheaper materials built into it. The quality of the window fixtures will be obvious to many who come to buy your house, and if they are showing signs of wear, they may be presented as a item for which the would-be buyer will ask for a discount during the post-offer, pre-close phase when the house is being inspected.
What window brand and product best matches the house itself?
There are a few window manufacturer brand names that are almost household names in the Pacific Northwest region. If you’ve even had to replace a window in a house, you’ve probably heard the names Milgard and Cascade. They are locally very successful companies that have earned a solid reputation among contractors, owners and property owners in general, but there are several more that offer variations on the standard that may be of interest to you to explore. Windsor Window and Door, Ply Gem and Codel and a few more that also have an established reputation and may fit your house style and plans better. It might also be that a mix of windows from more than a single vendor will do the trick better than all windows coming from a single manufacturer.
If you’ve ever seen the latest catalog from a windows manufacturer, you’ll notice that they are thick enough to use to stop a car rolling down a hill! Looking through it is, well, a bit of a challenge to say the least. Visiting a window installer’s showroom is a great way to both examine first hand some actual windows, and to also pore over options with the installation expert in order to choose a good fit.
Weather conditions are a big consideration when it comes to window choice
If you were replacing the windows on a home in New Mexico, your options would be completely different. There, you’d have to consider baking heat, high levels of UV light (because they are at a high altitude) and drier than dry conditions. It’s also freezing cold there, too, sometimes, so you have to consider that. But here in Puget Sound, the challenge is to stop the window from being destroyed by moisture. There’s the beating rain that everyone talks about, and the high humidity for a lot of the year that eat through anything made with untreated wood and some metal products, as well as the invasive nature of lichen, moss, and fungi of many types. Each such flora wants to eat your house, and you, if you stand still long enough, and a window frame is no exception. On the inside, the window frame must tolerate warmer, indoor levels of moisture. On the outside, the cold, damp weather, perhaps dozens of degrees warmer than the inside of the house, the same window frame must withstand the elements there. At the same time, the integrity of the window structure must remain intact while allowing windows to be opened and closed as expected. The modern window frame is a completely different animal to what was on the market a generation ago.
Wood frame windows are, as you’d expect, a bit challenging. They do take a little more maintenance because weather is naturally more impactful on wood than it is on, say, aluminum or vinyl. Vinyl may last a thousand years, although within a window frame structure, not that long. Still vinyl is almost impervious to the weather. When it was first introduced as a common material for window frames, it was a bit of a disaster. The New Age way of making windows – a boon for windows manufacturers – produced weak, inferior products at first. Windows manufacturers stepped up quickly and came out with a second generation of vinyl windows which were far, far better. Finally, vinyl had earned its place in the market for window frames, and you can now get the best quality product made of vinyl for a price that beats wood based products.
Thinking about the future value of your Bellevue home
Bellevue is set to remain an expensive place to buy a house for some time, and perhaps for a lifetime. That means that the quality of house will need to remain high. It just comes with the territory. If you live in an expensive neighborhood, you don’t want to look like the pauper on the block. That means keeping your house in good shape, and everything from windows, roof and doors all need to keep up.
Before you jump into the selection of any particular window brand, it’s a very good idea to talk directly with your favorite window installation company. Big home supply companies can offer window installation services, but a specialized window installation company will ensure you get the right product installed the right way. They will have the experience to do it right the first time.
More next week.