Choosing the right windows for their projects is ... well, a window of opportunity for remodelers. According to remodeling executive Walt Harwood, the following features are what people want in new windows:
Maintenance-free frames. While vinyl windows, available in white, beige and tan, remain popular, Harwood says that many clients prefer windows with a fiberglass exterior surface and a wood interior. "The fiberglass can be painted any color and won't expand and contract like vinyl," he explains. "You can get frames with a combination of fiberglass and wood for almost the same price as an all-wood window. Milgard and Integrity offer such windows."
Security. Clients are very concerned with home security, he says. They may request windows with tempered glass, which is impact-resistant. But no matter what kind of window they choose, he recommends good locks that are easy to operate and make it easy for the client to ensure that they are locked. "Self-activating locks, which automatically secure the window when it is closed, are great because you don't have to go around checking the status of each window," he says.
Sound control. Acoustic windows are particularly popular in urban areas. "Sometimes replacing a single pane of glass with double panes provides enough sound control," he says. "We often recommend laminated glass, with polybuteral film between two panes of glass. Triple glazing is another solution."
Energy efficiency. Although his company is in the temperate Pacific Northwest, he recommends offering high-performance windows to clients in areas with more extreme weather. "Clients may be much more concerned with windows that reduce the sun's heat and glare." And no matter where you live, low-E laminated glass helps reduce heat transfer and UV rays that can fade furnishings.
Weather resistance. Clients living in areas prone to hurricanes, tornadoes or wind storms may want windows and doors offering storm protection. In recent years, window manufacturers have provided some good solutions and now offer windows that meet stringent regional building codes and are capable of weathering violent wind and driving rain with high performance and impact resistance.
No matter what kind of windows the clients want, though, the remodeler's responsibility is to make sure they are installed right. "Proper installation is not emphasized enough," Harwood says. "We have developed a policy of guaranteeing our installations. Window manufacturers offer warranties for their products, but their warranties do no good if windows are not installed properly to keep moisture out, thus preventing dry rot and mold."
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