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Window Replacement Options 101

Now’s the time to brighten up your home

By Nikki Luttmann, Seven Bee Interiors

For Sandpoint Furniture, Carpet One and Selkirk Glass and Cabinets

Like so many of you, I’m so ready for a fresh start this year! 2020 was trying on many levels, to say the least, and I’m excited to see what 2021 might bring. Last year gave me a new-found respect for how hardworking our homes are, providing shelter, respite, and on a basic level, protecting us from the elements. Due to much more time at home, I was thankful that we had our windows and exterior doors replaced recently, as our haven was not only more comfortable but more cost-efficient too. If replacing your windows is something that might be on your to-do list this year, then read on! I’ll outline some common issues and give a quick breakdown of products available.

Single-pane windows. For those of you with older homes, you know the unique beauty of old single-pane glass. However, you’re probably also familiar with their lack of insulative properties and the effect this has on your heating bill! When I first moved to the Northwest, I lived in a rental with single-panes, and on really cold days, no matter how much I cranked up the thermostat, I could see my breath inside my living room! New windows are double-paned or “thermal” for a reason. The gas between the sandwiched panes acts as an insulator, keeping cold air out and warm air in. Replacing your old single-paned windows with new double panes is certainly more cost-effective and will pay for itself over time.

Fogged glass. This is perhaps the most common window issue and happens when the seal that separates double-paned windows breaks down. Usually caused by time and temperature, it creates an avenue for moisture to get between the panes and condensate, creating a fogged appearance. This can happen anywhere, but I see it most commonly on south-facing windows, which get the most heat, placing more stress on the seal. These can be repaired to “buy some time” before replacement, but replacing the affected window is a fail-safe option as well.

Cracked pane. On a clear, dry day, this is possible to fix with double-paned glass. The damaged pane can be removed and a new one put in its place and properly sealed, and often is as good as new!

Options for windows nowadays can be overwhelming. There are lots of materials and choices to choose from. Wood windows are still the industry standard but are now temperature-treated and coated outside to avoid warping or splitting. Fiberglass is also a great option and more cost-effective than wood windows. The nature of the material allows for many colors and looks, as it is highly durable and more resistant to warping. Fiberglass has become more popular lately with the rise in popularity of black windows. Aluminum windows are still available and have been popular since the 1960s, when that was the best, most cost-effective option on the market.

Vinyl windows are by far the most popular on the market today, and that is because of their relatively low cost. However, color is limited to lighter shades, as these window frames are more prone to warping and brittleness due to temperature fluctuations. Black or dark-colored frames absorb more sunlight, which does not work well for the less durable nature of vinyl. Vinyl windows are often white, almond or greige in tone and work perfectly well in most homes.

Window manufacturing processes vary greatly, as do warranties for different materials and types. Before purchasing new windows for your home, I recommend speaking with a knowledgeable salesperson. He or she can answer questions about replacement procedures, installation and warranty.

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