When you can’t find the right window shape, there are custom windows available to give your home the perfect finishing touch. Steep slopes, rounded curves, irregular shapes — nothing is off limits. Learn more about what a custom shaped window is, and how you can use it to your advantage.
Double hung or double-sash windows have two sashes that fit into a single frame, and they’re the most popular type of window in residential homes. They work by sliding up the bottom sash into the top sash to open and then sliding down the window sash to close. See if they’re the right choice for you.
Choosing a window today is nothing like what it was just ten years ago. Today there are more window types than ever before, and choosing just the right window to complement a home and to match a homeowner’s pocketbook can be a Herculean task.
How many different choices does a homeowner have when it comes to picking just the perfect window? There are fixed (also called picture); single and double hung; casement and bay; awning and sliders; skylights, and greenhouses.
The most basic window is a fixed, or picture window. This window does not open and can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Its primary advantage is that it provides a relatively large, unobstructed view of the outdoors. Its primary disadvantages are that it does not open to allow for airflow, and the outside of the window can only be cleaned from the outside of the house.
Of the windows which open, the simplest is possibly the single hung window. This is the vanilla ice cream of windows: plain and basic. Two sheets of glass within a single frame, one sheet in the bottom half of the window and the second sheet in the top half of the frame, each sheet framed within the overall frame of the window. The two sheets of glass are offset just enough that the lower portion of the window can be pulled upward, allowing outside air to enter a room. The main advantages of this type of window include its relatively low cost and the fact that it does provide some ventilation. Its disadvantages are that most of its ventilation only takes place if there is wind outside and the crossbar obstructs the view.
The double hung window is similar to the single hung window described above, except that with the double hung window, not only can the lower pane of glass be raised upward, but the top pane of glass can be lowered downward to create a window that can be open at the top as well as at the bottom. It is also possible to partially open the top pane as well as the bottom pane at the same time. One of the primary advantages of this type of window is that when both the top and bottom of the window is open, cool air can come in through the open lower pane, while hot air escapes through the open upper window. The only real disadvantage is the rail in the center of the window which obstructs the view.
A casement window is a single sheet of glass in a frame which is hinged on either the right or the left side and can be opened outward with a hand crank. The advantage of a casement window is that they provide excellent ventilation, and a well-made casement window also seals tightly against outside noise. The disadvantage of a casement window is that, because it opens outward, it cannot be used next to a sidewalk or even a deck. Also, the hand crank can become tiresome.
An awning window is similar to the casement window, except that it is hinged at the top and opens outward with a crank handle. An awning window is often placed near the top of a wall so the window can let hot air escape. Its main advantage is that, because of the way this window opens, it can be left open when it rains. Its primary disadvantage is that, because it is so small and only opens partially, it cannot be easily used to escape in case of an emergency.
A gliding window consists of two panes of glass with a vertical bar between them. The panes are offset just enough that one pane can be slid to either the right or the left. The main advantages of this type of window are that, because it does not open outward, it can be used next to sidewalks, patios, and decks. This type of window also has a large enough opening to use in case of an emergency. The primary disadvantage of this type of window is that you can only open one side at a time.
A skylight also called a ceiling window, is installed in a ceiling. Some skylights do not open, and others open just slightly to allow for ventilation. The primary advantage of a skylight is the amount of light that can be let into otherwise somewhat dark spaces. The primary disadvantage is that the homeowner must climb onto the roof to clean the exterior of the window.
A bay window, also known as a bow window, can create a very dramatic effect. This window extends out from the wall of the house, giving a room the feeling of additional space and providing a great deal of exterior light. Generally, a bay window’s central pane of glass is stationary, but the panes on the extended sides of the window may open.
The primary advantages of a bay window include the dramatic look it gives to the home’s appearance and the extra light it allows in. The primary disadvantages of a bay window are the cost and the difficulty of cleaning all of the various panes of glass.
A greenhouse window is sometimes added in a kitchen. This is in effect a small bay window, designed to hold a few small potted plants, often herbs. The primary advantage of this type of window is that it allows a homeowner to grow fresh herbs virtually all year round. The primary disadvantage is that, when the home is sold, this type of window only adds to the value of a home if the new owner wants a mini greenhouse built into the kitchen.
The homeowner must keep in mind that each type of window comes in a variety of frames: wood, vinyl, aluminum or steel. Each window also comes with a variety of coatings available on the glass and most come single or double-paned, many with an inert gas (such as argon) between the panes for added insulation.
The choice of windows may seem overwhelming, but homeowners can get great advice from the window specialists at United Home Experts. These design experts have years of experience here in the northeast and can quickly help a homeowner determine the exact window that complements any portion of a home and the exact window that also fits into the homeowner’s pocketbook.
The point is, a homeowner need not feel as if he or she is all alone out there in the window jungle – help is always available. For more information on windows, read our main window page!
Wood windows that were built 100 or more years ago (the double-framed variety) were built to last; however, those that were built 30 or 40 years ago were not. These windows are subject to wood rot and window shrinkage. The energy efficiency of the glass is often under question in windows of this age. For this reason, once these more recently constructed wood windows start showing these signs of aging (wood rot, cracking, mold, etc.) it is time to think about replacing them.
Wood rots when it stays wet for a lengthy period of time. Usually, for wood rot to occur the moisture content of the wood has to stay at more than 20 percent. This moisture level provides the best breeding ground for the fungi that cause wood rot. Other types of mold can also grow to extremely problematic levels in wetter areas, and this can contribute to wood window decay.
Cracks are self-explanatory, and they are not difficult to detect. Wood cracks when it gets old or wet, or when it is exposed to extreme temperature changes and/or severe, harsh weather. Small cracks in the wood usually aren’t problematic, although if left untreated they could become much more of a problem.
Some cases of mold, wood rot, and cracking can be repaired, rather than replaced. This saves the homeowner time and money. But this quick fix may not be able to protect the window and the surrounding structure of the home from experiencing further damage. In this case, it is important to have a better idea of the extent of the wood damage.
How does one know when a wood window needs to be replaced? Basically, a wood window needs to be replaced if the wood rot, mold, and cracks penetrate the surface and cause significant structural damage to the home. Also, there are many homes in the region that still have windows that are over 50 years old and the technology is simply outdated and no longer effective because they can’t maintain the home’s temperature. It will be difficult for most homeowners to fully assess the condition of their wood windows by themselves, as there may be many hidden problem areas they might not see or know to look for. It is recommended that anyone concerned with the condition of the windows consult with the professional at United Home Experts.
These experts will be able to help assess whether the window simply needs to be repaired or whether a total window replacement is in order. They will also be able to help homeowners decide on which type of replacement window is best for the needs of their homes. There are three main types of replacement windows: full-frame units, insert replacements and sash kits. Sash replacement kits are very popular these days because they provide an old window frame with all new, fully movable parts. But the other replacement window types also have their advantages.
It is incredibly difficult for the do-it-yourself homeowner to decide on and to complete a wood window replacement project of this magnitude, and it is not recommended that it be attempted without professional help, due to the complicated installation process and the possibility that warranties will be voided if installation errors occur. The professionals at United Home Experts are more than willing to provide a free consultation to help homeowners understand and take care of all their window replacement needs. For more information about window replacement, click here for our main window page!
Choosing from among all the different types and styles of windows available and cutting through the clutter of conflicting “facts” from each manufacturer is an almost impossible job. And there is no reason for the homeowner to walk this minefield alone. Talk to the experts at United Home Experts. They know everything there is to know about windows, and they install virtually every type of window there is, so their recommendations can be based solely on what is best for the homeowner and not on where their next commission check is coming from.
The Advantages of Vinyl-Framed Windows
Vinyl windows can be ordered to fit the exact size of a home’s window openings. This can be especially advantageous on older homes which may have odd-sized openings. By purchasing windows that are made to fit a home’s current openings exactly, vinyl windows can be installed quickly and easily with little or no damage to the surrounding siding. Naturally, there may be a modest additional charge for custom sizes, but even with the additional charge, vinyl windows can still be less costly than many other alternatives.
Vinyl is not affected by salt spray or most air-born contaminants. Homes near the ocean, which are subject to almost continual salt spray, have discovered that vinyl does not rust, absorb moisture and swell or cause any of the other problems which other window frames are subject to under similar conditions. Vinyl is also unaffected by air pollution, even in heavily industrialized areas, which is something many other frames cannot boast of.
The Disadvantages of Vinyl-Framed Windows
Vinyl windows cannot be painted. While the fact that vinyl windows come with the color imbued into the vinyl itself can be an advantage, if the color is not quite right or if the homeowner wants to change the color of the house in the future, the vinyl window frames do not accept paint well, and this may detract from the overall appearance of a home.
If the vinyl frame is not held together by screws then it is welded. Unfortunately, welding can cause as many problems as using screws. Poor welding can result in drainage problems which are not readily apparent and welds can also allow for air leakage, which negates most of the window’s insulating properties.
Choosing the type and style of window that is right for a particular home and fits into the homeowner’s pocketbook can be a real challenge. After all, a homeowner has several different window frames to choose from and each manufacturer is making confusing and competing claims to grab the homeowner’s cash. Hopefully, the information in this article will equip the homeowner with at least some ammunition in the hunt for the perfect window.
Energy-efficient windows save the homeowner money on utility costs each and every month. On the surface that sounds like a wonderful thing and in many cases, it is. But everything comes at a price, so what exactly are the pros and cons of energy efficient windows?
Windows have changed a great deal in just the past ten years. Today’s energy windows are almost invisibly sprayed with a metallic coating that reflects more than half of the sun’s harmful UV rays back into the outdoors while allowing almost 100% of the sun’s natural light to shine through. A room supplied with UV-protected windows is not the gloomy place it was just a few years ago.
Advantages of Energy-Saving Windows
Windows used to be energy sinkholes, robbing a room of its warmth and causing utility bills to soar. Fortunately, that is not true any longer. An energy efficient window consists of two or more panes of specially treated glass with a layer of an inert gas, such as argon, trapped between the panes. Argon does not transfer heat well and so acts as an energy “blanket” between the sheets of glass, preventing the room’s warmth from escaping through the window.
But there is a lot more to an efficient window than simply an argon heat barrier. As previously alluded to, energy-efficient window glass is specially treated with a thin film of metallic particles which are designed to reflect away the sun’s UV rays while at the same time trapping the heat that is in a room and reflecting it back into the home. The result is an immediate saving on utility bills for the homeowner, but more than that, the view through an energy efficient double-paned window is virtually as clear and unobstructed as the view through an untreated single-pane window.
The National Fenestration Rating Council (the NFRC) rates windows for their insulating properties, their visual transmittance (how easily they can be seen through), their solar gain coefficient (how well they protect a room from the sun’s heat and UV rays) and air leakage around the edges of the windows. Homeowners should pay special attention to NFRC ratings and should look for the Energy Star ratings that are based on the homeowner’s region of the country.
If windows are 20 years old or older, if the windows have begun to leak, or if the homeowner is simply tired of paying utility bills that seem too high, the homeowner should look into replacing them with new energy efficient windows.
The new energy-efficient glass is more expensive than old-fashioned standard windows. However, the initial cost should not be the only factor when deciding on new windows. The window experts at United Home Experts, for example, can help a homeowner calculate the energy savings that can be expected with new windows. By calculating the energy saved each month, these experts can help the homeowner determine how much money will be saved each month on utility costs. In this way, the homeowner can see exactly how long it will take for the new windows to pay for themselves and how much extra money the homeowner can enjoy each month. The homeowner should also keep in mind that as energy prices rise in the future, their savings will also increase with time.
One final advantage to double-paned windows is outside noise reduction. Homeowners who replace single pane windows with double paned windows, especially windows with a high Energy Star rating, report that street noise is reduced considerably, making for an overall more comfortable living environment.
Disadvantages of Energy-Saving Windows
Probably the biggest drawback to energy windows is the initial cost. Many homeowners, especially if they are planning to replace a number of windows, might see costs of 10% to 15% more for double-paned energy windows as opposed to double paned non-energy efficient windows. For a home with several windows, the added cost can increase the bottom line quite a lot.
Double-paned windows are heavier than single paned windows, and for some homeowners that might be a drawback.
Also, in order to see any significant energy savings each month, a homeowner must replace all older windows with the new, higher-priced energy windows at the same time. No appreciable savings will result from simply replacing one old, leaky window with a new high-efficiency window while leaving all the others in place. However, replacing all the windows at the same time can be a large job and can also be expensive.
It is also necessary for homeowners to be quality-conscious when buying high-efficiency windows. Off brands or cut-rate windows may not be properly sealed and can cause more problems than they solve. Poorly insulated double-paned windows can allow condensation to form between the windowpanes, indicating that the windows are not doing their job properly. Saving money up-front by buying lower-priced windows may not result in the energy savings that the homeowner had planned on. This situation can be eliminated by only dealing with reputable companies such as United Home Experts, who have years of experience installing high-efficiency windows in the Northeast, and who only sell quality windows.
To sum up, the advantage of high-efficiency windows is a reduction in harmful UV radiation entering the home from the outside while at the same time reflecting the heat inside the home back into the home. This results in substantially lower monthly utility bills. Modern high-efficiency windows are also virtually clear, affording almost perfect views, as opposed to the film-coated windows of only a few years ago.
The disadvantages are a higher initial cost (although high-efficiency windows generally pay for themselves within three to four years through lower monthly utility bills) and the fact that in order to get any real monthly savings all the windows in a home must be replaced at the same time.
The experts at United Home Experts have helped out many families pick and choose the right window for their homes while saving them on the utility bills. The team at United are certified window installers by major brand manufacturers and our members have over 20 years of experience of installing windows, so you can count on us.
A casement window, or casement, is affixed to a frame at the side by one hinge or multiple hinges. They differ from awning windows, which have top hinges, and from hoppers, which have bottom hinges. This type of window can either be used by itself or as part of a pair within the same frame. What are the casement window pros and cons? Read on to find out.
These windows offer the best ventilation of any other window type. Since they open outward, they can catch fresh air, side breezes, and light more easily than other window types. While open, the standard casement window is 100% open to the outside, except in the case of a pair of casement flanking windows on either side of a fixed picture window.
When these windows are closed, they are the most energy-efficient of all window types. Because the casement window sash is movable, it is able to fasten very securely to the weather-stripping when in a locked position; thus, very little outside air can get in. This type of window is especially good to have in a very windy climate.
Ease of Washing
Because of its design, this type of window is usually a very good choice for hard to reach places. This is why it is so often found over kitchen sinks. Because they are cranked open instead of being slid up and down, casement windows are easier to open and close, and this also makes it easier to wash them.
Most of today’s better-constructed casements pivot on their hinges as they open, moving the entire sash away from the hinge side of the window frame. This provides a space to reach through to wash the outside of the window while still being able to stand inside the house.
There are major power players in this industry, including Marvin, Simonton, Pella, and Andersen. There are many quality window manufacturers, but our caution is to evaluate each brand because quality varies with pricing and brand. We can walk through the best recommendations with tailored estimates with different window brands and pricing.
Easier to Break Into
Casement hardware and hinges should be checked thoroughly before installation, and they should be checked periodically to make sure they are maintaining their stability. This type of window is usually very difficult to break into even if they are locked, but as they age and their hardware becomes rusty or faulty, they become an easy target for burglars. Consult with the professionals at United Home Experts, and they will send a contractor out to inspect older casements and make recommendations as needed.
This type of window is can be more expensive than other types of windows. If casement windows are desired, a quality window is a must. Because of the weight added by multiple glazed sashes, both the hardware and structure of the casement window selected need to be top-notch.
There is a reason for never seeing large casements. There are limitations, when it comes to size, even given the best hardware and construction techniques. The consultants at United Home Experts can give customers a much better idea of the maximum sizes available.
There are many reasons to invest in casement windows for the home, but there are also some major disadvantages to using them. Discussing these and other issues with a qualified professional like the ones at United Home Experts will help savvy homeowners made an informed decision.
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