By Gates Dearen
Congratulations! You’ve made the wise decision to purchase vinyl windows. Vinyl frames are superior to wood and metal in many ways: They won’t pit, chip, rot, flake, or crack; they don’t require constant painting; they are more energy-efficient, keeping cold and heat out (or, alternately, in); and they are attractive. Just an occasional washing keeps them looking like new. But with so many options out there, how do you know what to look for?
If you plan to install your own windows, keep in mind that it can be tricky. Unless you are experienced in installation, you will likely find that it’s a rather unwieldy task. With large windows in particular, the risk of dropping and breaking a window is substantial. If you leave it to the experts, not only will they get the job finished much more quickly and efficiently, but if a window is broken in the process, they will replace it at no cost to you. Whether you choose to install your own windows or leave it to the experts, here are some tips that can make it as “pane-less” as possible.
· Measure – twice. Determine your window needs based on the size and location of the windows. For example, let’s say that most of the windows in your house face west. Since the sun comes in from that direction most of the day, the windows on that side need to be especially efficient to keep the house from getting too hot in the summer.
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After you know the sizes of the windows you need to purchase, decide what your total budget is for the project. In addition to the variety of window sizes, there are also many other options. Generally the higher priced windows are going to be more energy efficient. Keep in mind that this is an investment that will pay off in energy savings and peace of mind. If you’re on a tight budget, you might consider
replacing only some of your windows now and some later, making it possible to buy higher-quality windows, rather than buying cheaper windows for your entire home all at once.
Shop and Compare
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new roofing materials (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Once you’ve established your budget, and you know the sizes of the windows you need, it’s time to find the right windows. Now you want to compare energy ratings, wind and rain resistance, warranties, and window features. The ratings can be hard to understand. Do your homework and make sure you understand the differences before you shop. Get a sense of what the ratings mean and why they are important.
· Energy efficiency: The Energy Star label is one indicator. Also compare the U-value of the windows. The lower the U-value, the more energy efficient the window. A U-value of 0.35 or below is typically considered a good level. Also look at the R-factor of each window option, which indicates how insulated it is. More insulation translates into more energy efficiency for your home. Look for a high R-factor; the higher the number, the more energy efficient the window. For best insulation, choose multi-paned windows with argon gas between the panes, and with an E-coating. These features ensure maximum weather protection and comfort. In
and other southern states, it’s also important to look at the solar
coefficient, a measure of how well the window keeps out heat while letting in
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Gates Dearen is the co-owner of HomeRite Windows and Doors in Jacksonville, Florida. Owners Gates Dearen and Richard Walden have been serving the building products industry in Florida for over 25 years. We know the products, the industry, the market and what adds great value to a home. Our approach is a little different. We strive to match the homeowner with the right windows for their home and budget. Home improvements can be a hassle. We’re here to make life easier with first-rate, energy efficient products; affordable prices; strong warranties and expert, award-winning installers that provide excellent service while respecting your home as if it were their own.