Windows and doors are often an area over looked by home owners. With windows, the quality is hard to see. Often, people simply want new ones, due to the fact that the original ones were builder grade and have started failing. Builder grade windows are purchased in bulk at the lowest price possible, in order to lower the overall cost.
Windows and Doors Materials
Doors and windows are sold in many different styles and materials. The most common materials are vinyl, fiberglass, and wood.
Vinyl windows and doors:
The most cost effective material. The benefits of vinyl framed windows and doors are that they don’t easily peel, crack, warp, or fade. They are lower maintenance then painted or stained grade windows and doors. They last for many years or even decades, and when it’s time to replace them they can also be recycled.
Fiberglass framed windows and doors:
They can be ordered in many colors and styles, such as a smooth finish or a more wood looking finish. They have more strength then vinyl. Being made of mostly glass, they have a low environmental impact.
Wood framed windows and doors:
These are often favored, the reason being you can stain and paint them. The can match your house décor, while offering more insulation value then fiberglass or vinyl windows and doors. Wood requires the most matiness and is usually used for the overall appearance.
Window and Door styles
Windows and doors come in many styles and can be ordered in almost any shape when needed. The most common residential window is
Single hung or single slider windows:
These are the most affordable window style. One of the windows will open up and down or side to side. While the other window remains stationary, this increases the energy efficiency.
Double hung or double slider windows
Double hung or double slider windows are often preferred for cleaning reasons. This is because both windows can move and each window can fold in, meaning the outer and inner sides of the window can be reached. This makes for an easy clean, truly benefiting the cleaner when the windows are on the second story, or in hard to reach areas.
These windows commonly use a crank to open. This allows the window to catch the wind and help bring fresh air in naturally. They often seal better then hung windows.
When working with window and doors, the quality will be shown in how well they operate and seal. This often will not be noticed at the time of installalation. But the more moving parts, the more areas for failure. Windows and doors will cost more with the more moving parts.
Often, over time window seals will fail. This will allow the insulating gas out and allow moist humid air to slowly work its way in. This humid air is what will fog the window. Many people will call a company to take the fog out. This process is usually done by drilling a small hole in the window and sucking the humid air out. In some cases, the company will pump argon gas in, and then will fill the small hole. This is at best a temporary repair, because they have not fixed the window seal. In time the gas will leak out again and the humid air will fog the window. Some companies will suggest replacing the entire window. This works but might be unnecessary if the widow installation is done correctly. It is more cost effective to remove the glass only and replace it; this causes a lower cost and much less mess in the repair.
Door and window installation
Doors and windows should be installed so that they operate with an air tight seal and lock easily. It’s best to spray foam around them for the most effective insulation and an exterior caulk around the outside to seal the frame.
Windows and doors often have small leaks that might not be seen until the damage is extreme. In some cases, the window or door is removed so that the installer can assess the damage. The bottom is often the most damaged area, if a small leak starts anywhere around the door or window it will work its way down stopping at the bottom. The installer should then advise how to go about the repair, and if there’s an additional cost it should be discussed..