Choosing the best windows for your home requires a little bit of research and some help from qualified professionals. These include architects, window contractors, and suppliers. It is a good idea to get opinions and advice to make an informed decision. Windows are your view to the outside, your access to natural ventilation and sunlight, and your protection from the elements. I like to think of windows as the multi-purpose jewels of home construction.
There are a couple of key design features that must be considered when choosing windows. Naturally, aesthetics are important. You want your windows to be appropriately styled and proportioned to fit in with your house construction. You also need to consider energy efficiency and sound transmission. Windows are being fabricated better every day to meet these requirements.
As home heating and cooling costs continue to rise, choosing an Energy Star rated window system is imperative. I use the word “system” because the energy efficiency of a window depends on the frame construction, the glass configuration and sealants, and how well it is installed within the frame of the building. The window performance doesn’t end with the factory testing. It is highly dependent on how well the contractor installs the window to prevent air infiltration around the window frame assembly. An experienced contractor will ensure that the proper vapor barriers are installed and the sealants and flashings are tight.
It is recommended that windows be double insulated glass with a frame that is well constructed of solid wood, Insulated PVC or vinyl, or a clad wood. When looking for the best energy-efficient windows you will want to check the R-value and the U-factor. The R-value is the measure of how much the window resists heat conduction. The U-factor is the measure of thermal conductance, or how much heat the window allows in. A higher R-value and a lower U-factor are what you want. A knowledgeable window and door contractor can suggest the best values for your area and climate.
When windows are closed you likely want to hear as little noise as possible from outside. One of the most important things to look for in a window is how tightly it fits in the frame when fully closed. This will help to reduce noise infiltration. As with energy considerations, the windows must be well constructed and installed properly, according to Arch Design Window Door Company. Using industry experts should be a high priority.
When picking out your windows look at the Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating. STC measures the extent of sound control the window assembly provides. A higher STC rating will provide better sound control.
There are so many good window options available these days. When choosing windows it is best to consult with an industry professional. I like to look for professionals who are certified by the window manufacturers to install their products. This means that the installer has completed the required training overseen by the manufacturer. No matter how well your window performs in the factory, it will not perform well in your home if improperly installed.
About the author: Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information on choosing the best windows for your home, check outArch Design Window Door Company. Contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.