In addition to the frame and sash materials, in choosing a window, you will want to consider the type of glass.
- Low-emissivity (or low-e) glass - Low-e glazing has a film applied to one of the glass surfaces or suspended between the panes. A low-e coating can help keep your home cool on a hot day, and warm on cold day by preventing interior heat from escaping through the glass. Low-e coatings also block ultraviolet rays, and reduce the fading of carpets and upholstery.
- Tinted glass - Tinted glass reduces glare and limits the amount of light and heat from the sun that enters in your home.
- Safety glass - Safety glass is always a good choice if there's any risk of a person walking through a large picture window or sliding glass door.
Most of us take doors for granted - we open them, close them, walk through them and lock them every day. They can range from ornately carved, decorative entry doors and beautiful French doors or to protective storm doors and simple, functional interior doors.
You'll need to specify a left or right-hand swing as well as an outswing or inswing door. To determine which version to order, picture yourself standing inside the doorway with the door opening toward you. In that position, a left-hand door would have the knob on your left and a right-hand door would have the knob on your right. Here's what to consider before you buy.
Entry doors don't have to be imposing. You can include glass accents to add style, provide security and light to the front of your house. Here are some of the most common glass accents:
- Glass - All types of entry doors can be enhanced with beveled, silk-screened or stained glass.
- Sidelites - Sidelites are available for all types of doors, usually with one on each side of the door.
- Transoms - Transoms come in distinct shapes: arch, ellipse and box.
Choosing the right window doesn't have to be a headache. Many window contractors have spacious showrooms where you can compare materials and styles and try the windows out for yourself.
Windows protect you from the elements, affect the light, ventilation and temperature of your house, and add to your home's architectural style and curb value. In 2007, Remodeling Online estimated that the average wood window replacement project returned approximately 81% resale value, with vinyl window replacements returning 79% of investment.
Since windows come in many shapes, sizes and types and are made from a variety of materials, your options are endless. How do you select the windows that are right for your home?
First, consider your budget, your home's style and the window's function. Will you be opening it to let the cool spring air in or is it merely decorative? Don't forget to think about security and ease of maintenance.
Here are the pros and cons of a range of windows. Generally, windows that offer better weather protection cost more, but they pay off in low maintenance and energy savings.
- Vinyl -- Vinyl windows are made from rigid, impact-resistant polyvinyl chloride (PVC), with hollow spaces inside to make them resistant to heat loss and condensation.
- Wood -- Wood will shrink and swell in response to heat and cold, so over time it will warp and rot unless it is protected. Wood windows typically come unfinished. Save extra work by purchasing wood windows already primed on the exterior and interior surfaces of the frame and sash. Certain manufacturers may also offer pre-painted windows.
- Clad-wood - Many windows are wood inside and clad on the outside with extruded aluminum or vinyl. The cladding keeps windows maintenance-free for years. Aluminum cladding, while more durable, will scratch; with vinyl, the color permeates the material, so scratches don't show. Neither type of cladding will rust or rot.
- Aluminum - These windows are more durable, thinner, lighter and easier to handle than bare wood. Because they are insulated, they reduce heat loss and condensation.
A sure way to brighten up any room is with a skylight. Skylights provide up to 30% more natural light than traditional vertical windows, and can make a room feel bigger. Skylights are available for any ceiling or roof style.
There are many brands and several styles to choose from. They include:
- Ventilating skylights work well in the bath or kitchen. In addition to providing extra light, the overhead ventilation creates an updraft. Ventilated skylights can be operated by:
- Controlled by temperature sensor
- Remote control
- Electric on/off wall switch
- Manual or motorized hand crank
- Fixed skylights only provide additional light to a room. They work well in attics, bonus rooms or anywhere you want extra illumination or to enjoy the view. Styles and sizes range from domes to rectangles.
- Tubular skylights are small 10-inch or 14-inch diameter lights that can be used in spaces where full-sized skylights cannot. Hallways, bathrooms, even closets can accommodate a tubular skylight. Despite their small size, tubular skylights provide a significant amount of light.
- Insulated thermal glass - to prevent loss of heat in the winter and help cool the house in the summer.
- Tinting - to filters out ultra violet rays and additional heat.
- Shades or blinds - to screen out the rays of the full sun.
- Screens - to keep insects outdoors where they belong.
Roof Skylights are available in sizes that fit standard 16- or 24-inch framing. Adding a large skylight means that the installer will cut one or more rafters. If the roof is conventionally framed with doubled up rafters on the sides of the rough opening and headers at the top and bottom of the opening, this should be an easy task. However a truss roof presents a challenge since trusses are carefully engineered to carry roof loads, and modifying them in the field is a bad idea. If your home has trusses, ensure you use skylights made to fit between roof members, or gangs several smaller skylights together to create a larger window.
Additionally, your roof's thickness will determine the type of mounting and flashing required. Thinner roofs such as asphalt or fiberglass use self-flashing or curb mount. Thicker, higher-profile roofs such as wood shakes, slate or clay tile require built-up curb and flashing.
The type of ceiling you have will determine whether or not you need a shaft to direct light into the room.
- A cathedral ceiling skylight will mount directly in the roof.
- A regular ceiling needs either a straight or flared shaft.
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