A home with poorly installed or performing doors and windows allows heat to escape in the winter and heat to build up in the summer. Cold drafts in winter close to your windows and doors and excessive heat buildup inside your home in the summer is a good indicator that it is time to consider replacing them.
When you have reached the decision to replace your old windows or doors, there are a number of factors to consider before you begin your project to make sure you make the best possible choices that will leave you happy, safe and warm for years to come.
Choosing the Right Type of Window
Before you begin any sort of window renovations project in Central Alberta(Red Deer, Sylvan Lake, Lacombe or Ponoka) it helps to know what your goals and priorities are. If your aim is to have an unobstructed view from the inside, you’re first choice would be a fixed or picture window, which allow for expansive views framed beautifully by the window.
If you are looking for better air ventilation in your home, casement windows, which open fully to let air in, are probably the best solution for you. Sliding windows, which have a less effective sealing system than casement and awning windows, also only allow you to open half the window area and remain flush with the rest of the window.
It’s also important to think about how much time you’re willing to invest in maintaining and caring for your windows. Wooden frames and jambs look beautiful, but they need to be sanded and repainted or re-stained from time to time. Vinyl, while less attractive to some, provides one of the lowest maintenance windows available today.
Understanding the Materials
Window frames generally come in four main types of materials. These are wood, clad windows, aluminum, fiberglass and vinyl. Wood for many people is the most beautiful, but it’s prone to warping, rot, and damage caused by insects. Aluminum windows have a slim profile, are very durable and strong and offer very low maintenance, however, they are quite high in cost and conduct heat and cold far more than any other window. Clad windows are wood frames covered in fiberglass, vinyl, or aluminum, to protect them from the elements as well as pests.Metal clad windows offer a range of colours to compliment your homes special accent colours. The last and most popular is vinyl, which is prized for its durability, resistance to moisture and humidity, and relative ease of care – and it is the most affordable too. However, it can’t be painted and customization options are more limited. White and wicker are the only PVC extrusion colours available. A new product option available from All Weather Windows is called Renolit. The Renolit EXOFOL FX option offers bold, durable colour by using a high-performance, acrylic-based exterior film that is permanently bonded to the exterior PVC window frame.
Bear in mind that when it comes to windows in bedrooms and basements, building and fire codes recommend having at least one window large enough for a person to escape through. Installation can also be a tricky affair, so be sure to have a licensed contractor to do the job the properly.
Maintenance and energy efficiencyaremost people’s key consideration when choosing a door type. Wood doors are not recommended for the dry, cold climate in the Canadian prairie provinces. Steel doors are the most common door in almost every region of the country due to the relatively low cost. Steel doors usually have a wooden stile and rail (internal frame) with high density foam for a core material. These can have a number of different cutouts to accommodate many different glass inserts. These are strong doors but over time tend to start showing small dents and dings and deeper scratches usually show up dark as they expose the steel underneath.
Another material is fiberglass, which offers the look of wood, minus the challenge of high maintenance. They do not shrink, warp, split, crack or delaminate as wood doors may do over time. They are very low maintenance and do not dent and ding as steel doors do. They offer the look of a wooden door while standing up very well to the cold dry climate of the prairie winters, as well as the heat of summer.
If energy efficiency is you primary concern,select a new insulated door with no glass inserts. On average a new insulated foam core door has an insulating value of about R11. An average dual pane, glass door insert runs at about R3, so the larger the glass insert, the lower the insulating value the door has.
Another critical factor to consider is the location of your door. If it’s facing south or west it is highly recommended to replace a steel door with a fiberglass door, as steel builds up and retains heat far more than fiberglass. In these locations it is also not recommended to install a storm door in front of the newdoor, as it can cause high heat build-up, leaving you with a warped door and a voided warranty. A new and properly sealing well insulated door should not require a storm door installed in front of it. Venting inserts with built-in screens are a more desirable way to allow air ventilation in a door area.
Doors and windows are important to the look and comfort of your home. Discuss the many options available today with a window and door professional so that your hard earned dollars are spent wisely.