A Complete Guide to Energy Efficient Window Treatments

Having your home be energy efficient is one of the top concerns for homeowners. One of the ways you can do this is the addition of window treatments. In fact, window treatments are more than just a way to improve the appearance of your home; they can also save you money on your energy bills. This complete guide to energy efficient window treatments will walk you through the many different options you have to improve the appearance of your home and save you money at the same time.

Awnings

The first window treatment is one most people are familiar with today. Awnings are attached to the exterior of the home over a window. Traditionally they were constructed from either metal or some canvas material. The downside to this type of construction is the metal would start to look rusted, and the canvas material would need to be replaced when it became torn or dingy. Awnings nowadays are made from vinyl or acrylic. These materials stand up well to the weather, specifically water, and last a long time. The installation of awnings on your home can reduce up to 70 percent of the solar heat gain that affects the heating and cooling of your home.

There are two basic options when you select awnings for their energy saving purposes. There is retractable or roll up type and the stationary awnings.

Interior/Exterior Blinds

Blinds can be an inexpensive option to control heat in the summer. Interior shades come in both horizontal and vertical. Exterior blinds are typically roll up horizontal blinds. Both can be made of vinyl, although exterior can be made of some materials including steel or aluminum. Blinds are great for their versatility because they can be adjusted. Vertical blinds can go up and down and rotate in and out. This action will allow for fresh air to enter the home and block the sun at the same time. When exterior blinds are rolled down, the slats will come together. It creates a considerable amount of sun blockage. In turn, will keep the sun and heat off your window and stop from heating up your home. In the winter, they can provide additional warm with being rolled up and allowing the sun rays in.

Interior/Exterior Panels

Panels are mostly plastic inserts that can go either inside or outside of the window. Exterior panels can have a mesh screen attached to allow for airflow into the home without pesky insects coming in. They are easy to install and are relatively inexpensive. Because there are gaps in the plexi glass, plastic, or glass insert to reveal a mesh screen, you can save yourself big time in the spring/fall months by just opening your window. These options typically don’t help much with insulating your home efficiently, but they do provide some amount of energy saving benefits.

Drapes/ Curtains

Drapery is one of the easiest installs on the market as far as window treatments go. They require a bracket above the sides of the window, a rod, and the curtain or drape. Drapes and curtains are made of fabric, and which material was chosen will directly impact how well it reduces heat coming in. Some brands on the market have this specific purpose in mind, they are usually referred to as blackout window drapes or curtains. They are a little more expensive than just your run of the mill drapes, but they work exceptionally well. On one side of these drapes, they are covered with a white reflective fabric and on the other a more substantial material to block any additional heat that isn’t reflected. An effective drape when kept closed during the summer months can block approximately 33% of the sun heat gains. In the winter it can help insulate and keep out the cold by 10%.

Window Films

Window films are very effective at blocking the heat during summer. However, it doesn’t perform very well in the winter. Many factors will play into how well this option will work for saving on energy cost. For instance, window films don’t work well on specific facing windows and aren’t great for climates that have shorter summer weather. They will work better on east and west facing windows. The best type you can buy for its energy saving benefits is the reflective mirror type. However, many people don’t like the obstruction it creates on the visibility of the outside of the home.

Shades

It is praised for being the simplest and most effective energy saving window treatment. Shades are a significant investment. You will just pull down to close and will roll back up when you want them open. When mounted firmly to the window shades will efficiently reduce heat gains by 40% in the summer. Shades come in a variety of options, but the most effective is a roller dual colored shade. On the side, that is the window using a heat reflective white and on the inside using a dark color for heat absorption is the best combination. When shades are closed, they can block a right amount of penetrating sunlight, and when opened can allow for airflow from an open window.

Shutters

Last, but certainly not least, shutters have been used in and out of homes for decades. They’re an efficient way to reduce heat gains but do have additional requirements for installation. For interior installation, you will need to have a window that has a ledge or one that is countersunk into the wall. They are affixed to the sides of the framing wall for the window and can swing open or have their slats open and close. Shutters on the outside of the home is a little trickier to install. They must be integrated into the architecture of the house. So that proper draining or water can be achieved and that they work correctly.

Conclusion

Window treatments are a great addition to any home. They provide some benefits including heat reduction and improved appearance. Window treatments are a cost-effective way to help eliminate the sun heating your home in the summer, and absorbing heat when needed in winter. Which option is right for you? The choice comes down to personal taste and budget. You can certainly use more than one treatment in a home, so check out some of the options for energy saving window treatments and start saving money on your energy bills today!

Keep Your Roof In Better Condition with Soffit and Fascia Repairs

Placer Exteriors now offers Soffit and Fascia repair in Sacramento and Placer County. If you have any of problems with Soffit or Fascia of your roof call Placer Exteriors at 916-823-8535 for a quote.

The roof is one of the basic features of a home. It is the first line of defense against the weather and keeps occupants safe. That is why it is important to recognize signs of damage to your roof. What are the Soffit and the Fascia of your roof, and what role do they play? Knowing what these are and what problems can occur that will help to understand the pivotal role they play in a homeowner’s roof.

What is the Fascia?

The Fascia is a wooden board that finishes off the roof line. The fascia is connected to to the trusses or ends of the rafters. If a home is equipped with gutters, they are secured to the fascia. While it doesn’t seem like this is a significant portion of the roof, it does play an active role in protecting the roof from moisture. They are not only functional, but it is the finishing part of your roofline and is meant to look nice.

What is the Soffit?

The Soffit is the underside surface of an overhang of the roof eave. The soffit is exposed and can be seen. It can usually be constructed of vinyl, but in some cases, the soffit can be made of wood. The same potential risk for wear applies to the soffit just like the fascia. The primary function of the soffit is to ventilate the attic space. Ventilation is vital to allow heat to escape and for moisture not to collect.

What Problems Can Occur With Both?

Weather is the number one contributing cause of problems with the soffit and fascia. However, damaged gutters, ice dams, and improper flashing can all play a significant role as to why the soffit and fascia can be destroyed. Since the Fascia is comprised of wood, it is susceptible to wood rot. Any form of rot will only get worse. Wood rotting is not a self-contained incident. Wood rot to the roofline is similar to rust on vehicles, they both spread. The common cause for the rotting to happen is from gutters that are leaking. Over time the water will swell the wood, and make it brittle. Once the wood is at this point, it will start breaking down. It is why it is so important to fix any rot that appears. The other downside to having rot develop is that it creates a large opening for moisture to enter.

The Soffit can develop holes or even become cracked. If holes or cracks occur, it puts the entire roof at risk. Because moisture can run rampant, it quite literally will destroy the roof from underneath if left untreated. Unlike the fascia, the soffit can also be damaged by birds and other rodents in addition to damaged gutters and ice dams.

What Repairs are Done?

When dealing with repairs to the soffit or fascia, there are few options that might take place. Often the course of action is dictated by how severe the damage is. In the case of the fascia rotting, the wood will have to be replaced. It is not something that can be patched because as stated before the rot will just spread. So as soon as you notice a problem, it is time to replace. The best thing a homeowner can do is replace the wood with a better quality wood that is going to last longer. Another replacement part that might come into play is the drip edge. It is much more expensive but is necessary to help keep the fascia from added moisture. If there is damage to the drip edge, it will need to be replaced after the rotten wood has been restored.

Repairs to the soffit are often just replacement of broken parts. There isn’t much that can be done to save a cracked vinyl piece other than replacing it. To replace the soffit, the fascia will have to be removed, and the work is a little more involved.

To prevent damage to your home’s roof, cleaning your gutters can make a huge difference in the longevity of the fascia and soffit. It is advised that you clean the gutters twice a year. Clean gutters will allow for water to flow smoothly. It will also stop the collection of water next to the roof. Now that you understand what each of these essential features of your roof is you can inspect them for trouble areas. It is important to fix any holes or cracks quickly. Placer Exteriors now offers these repairs to their customers and encourages homeowners not to let these problems go unresolved.

Storm Doors for Improving Energy Efficiency

Having your home be energy efficient is a great way to reduce a homeowner’s monthly bill on electric and gas. The question becomes what home improvements or additions you can make to achieve the energy saving goal. A consideration many homeowners come across is if they should add or replace a storm door. The purpose of a storm door is to create more of a seal, drastically reduce drafts, and stop animals or pests from entering the home.

Before you can assess whether a storm door would be beneficial for your home, you must consider what it is protecting. A high energy-saving storm door is only as good as what it is in front of.

How well are your door’s sealing?

Typically homes are outfitted with a front door and a back door. The back door often will be a patio door. Patio doors have many different varieties including sliding glass doors and French doors. These usually don’t have storm doors affixed to them. At most, they are typically equipped with a screen door. Screen doors are a wooden frame with a screen that doesn’t offer much protection and only has a few components. Whereas on front doors you will find the use of a storm door.

When we talk about how well your doors seal, it will include the sides of the door and how they meet the frame. If your entries have gaps in them, you will be allowing the outside conditions to make their way into your home. It means that in the winter, the cold air will be getting in while you’re valuable heat is escaping. In the summer your air conditioned air will sneak out, and the hot, humid air will find a way in. So before you can figure out if a storm door will be able to assist with energy cost, you will need to figure out if your more massive door is doing its job. It is true though that a storm door will be able to stop some of the elements from getting in; it works best with a properly aligned door that has a good seal. Some entries are outfitted with a vinyl seal at the top and bottom to help with the cracks that allow a door to open and close. If you notice gaps when your doors close, you will need to tend to this first.

Types of Storm Doors

Now that you have figured out if your main door is hung correctly and no large gaps are present, you can decide if a storm door will benefit your home’s energy cost. It means exploring the different types of storm doors that are on the market. They are not all created equal. Let’s focus on which storm doors have the potential for cutting energy cost. One way to shop for a new door is if it is labeled with the energy star symbol. It usually makes it easier to find items that will fit your needs. The best storm door you can buy is an insulating full glass dual pane door. These offer the most benefits and are easily installed. By avoiding storm doors that have a majority of the door filled with a screen, you can assure that you are blocking the outdoor elements.

Can a Storm Door improve energy efficiency?

Storm doors can help to reduce some of your cost, but not as much as other upgrades you could make to your home. New appliances that are energy efficient have been shown to reduce a homeowner’s expense more considerable than the addition of a storm door. However, that doesn’t mean that they don’t help. They can offer some protection from heat and air escaping. A storm door will give your home an extra layer of protection and insulation, and that is not a bad thing to have. Anything you can do to keep the elements out of your home will help in being energy efficient. If you are looking to have a storm door installed, try to give Placer Exteriors a call at 916-823-8535.

Energy Efficiency Showdown: Sliding Glass Doors vs. French Doors

With home energy cost being a constant battle for homeowners, solutions have been cropping up everywhere. Energy efficiency is the goal. Energy efficiency is reducing the amount of energy used to supply services to your home.Being energy efficient is commonly related to the heating and cooling cost. Power can be electric or gas, but one thing is for sure the cost adds up.

The primary way heat and cold air escape a home is through the doors and windows. That is why these essential items are top on the list for replacement. If your home is 20 years or older chances are your windows and doors are not the best option if you are trying to be energy efficient. In this article we are focusing on the door aspect, explicitly sliding glass doors and french doors. Homeowners love the look of both of these entries, and for a good reason. Sliding doors let in more natural light and connect the outside to the inside of your home. French doors are classy and are a timeless favorite for their functionality. So with wanting to save on energy costs which of these heavy hitters is the winner? Let’s check each one of these and get down to the heart of the energy efficient matter.

French Doors

First up is the beautiful French doors. Characteristics of the french door include a framed piece or pieces of glass. They can be ornate and come in a variety of options. Similar to the sliding door, a French door offers excellent ventilation and natural sunlight to shine into your home. They are not limited to one track, like their competitor. This bonus is also a negative for french doors. The most significant downside to french doors is space. French doors open out and have a swinging action. On the other side, you can open one of both doors allowing for more room to go in and out of the home. If you have ever moved large furniture, you know how beautiful this feature is. But what about how it performs in the energy efficiency test. Well, the problem with this style door is that the door pairs have a small gap between where the doors meet and also the frame of the wall. It can create a draft and a place where your cool air-conditioned air can escape. While you can purchase an energy efficient french door, this is mainly focused on the thickness of the glass and its enclosure.

Sliding Doors

Sliding doors in comparison to French doors have a very different functionality. Sliding doors consist of two pieces of glass that are enclosed in a frame that rests on tracks. There is one moveable door, sometimes both depending on style and the doors sit on rollers. It easily allows the door to open and close horizontally on the track. When it comes to flaws, sliding doors aren’t without theirs. They tend to have a few problems with sticking or not closing properly but are quickly repaired. They also tend to have issues when homes shift or settle causing their alignments to become off. Sliding doors offer a considerable amount of natural light when in cold months can help heat your home if you have purchased an energy efficient entry. The reason homeowners love these doors is that they don’t require any more additional space to open and close. It is beneficial for when you want to place furniture. There is no concern that you will disrupt how the door will be able to function. When it comes to energy efficiency, the sliding entrance is at the top of its game. Because of how sliding doors work they allow for better sealing. The doors overlap each other which creates a very nice seal. It doesn’t allow for air to penetrate or escape. It is mostly in part due to the seal that happens between the overlap and also between the doors and the frame. The sliding glass door will use double sided panes in their construction. It means that your home will not be affected by the ambient temperature outside.

So Which is the Victor?

Based solely on how well sliding doors perform for energy saving benefits, they are the winner. Their almost air tight seal between each entry and walls lessen airflow to come and go from your home and makes them a clear choice. It’s true that they are not as “fancy” as French Doors, but they do offer many significant benefits. It’s hard to overlook that each month the energy bill will be significantly lower due to having an energy efficient sliding door installed.

What Should You Look For When Purchasing a New Energy Efficient Patio Door?

So, you’ve decided on purchasing a sliding glass door for your new construction or replacement for your old patio door option. Where should you buy your new door, and what should you look for in a new door? The first feature to check if your new door has is a UV coating filtration on the glass. It can significantly help with heating and cooling cost and block harmful rays from entering your home. The second is the energy efficiency of the lens. Many manufacturers will have products labelled with Energy Star, Energy Efficient or Low-E glass. You can purchase sliding doors that have frames made of vinyl or wood. Vinyl and Wood frames both offer their own sets of pros and cons, but as far as energy efficient goes they are about equal. This decision is solely a personal one, and what a homeowner would prefer style-wise.

Conclusion

As you can see from these comparisons, sliding glass doors are victorious against French doors when it comes to being energy efficient. It doesn’t mean there aren’t some great brands on the market for French doors. There are some fantastic options for French Doors, but they’re efficiency just doesn’t stack up against that of the sliding glass doors. If you are interested in having sliding glass patio doors added to your home, give Placer Exteriors a call at 916-823-8535.

A Look at Anderson French Doors (And Alternatives)

There, of course, is more than one type of door for your home. Depending on your local environment, your home’s style, and your budget, there are various types of doors for your backyard or patio area. The aspect that most affects which type of entry you install will be the design of the room to which you are attaching the set of doors. The two most common are sliding and patio doors, which have key differences.

French Doors

There are various types of patio doors. One of the most popular is the French door. French patio doors are formal and often added to room additions built onto the home. French doors have swinging doors that come inward, and take up a lot of space in the room when opened. They are said to be a sophisticated choice, and it will add a soft, natural light to your home. The beauty and strength of patio doors will also add value to your home. French doors are a classic addition to many homes.

French sliding doors are most often used for decks and outdoor spaces. For those looking for a door solution that saves space, sliding doors are usually the best option as they still provide a hinged door with such benefits as those produced from French patio doors. Sliding doors encourage air flow into the home. While less formal, they give the house a more modern look that frees floor space for furniture and another décor. Some types of sliding doors are contemporary.

Alternatives to the French Door

Center swing patio doors are closely related to French doors, but only one entry opens with this option. They are less expensive than French doors, and are an excellent option for those who cannot afford French doors but would like some of their benefits and aesthetic. They are, for some homeowners, like a giant window in their home as they fold back against the wall to save space. Center swing doors also give homeowners control over traffic in and out of their home.

Accordion doors are also called bifold or concertina doors. Each panel, with a full sheet of glass, folds over the other and is a much more flexible option. While they provide the same ease of access, they do not take up near as much room as French doors. They do stay in place once folded, so they are safer for children who may pinch their fingers in a patio door. Commonly used for closets, they are great options for controlling traffic from the patio into the home. They are made from durable glass and vinyl seal, and this allows each panel to move smoothly, making it well for ease of use.

How much space you have in the room can help dictate your choice as much as the fact that sliding doors can never open completely. You will also look at the overall décor of your home, and this may help you choose whether sliding or patio doors are right for your family.

Anderson Doors

Renewal by Andersen offers three types of French doors. These are Hinged French Patio doors, Sliding French Patio doors, and Contemporary Sliding doors. They come in various interior colors, grille designs, and hardware to meet the style of your home.

Patio doors from Andersen all come with the same incredible features that reflect the high quality of all Andersen products. They give a climate-neutral performance, working against the elements in the toughest of environments. They have an energy-efficient design, stemming from premiere weather stripping and interlocking design features – keep the warm breath in and the bad air out.

Andersen’s sliding door also comes in a contemporary design. While it also comes in a variety of colors and grilles, it has a sleek, modern look with a door that is made of wood with a vinyl cladding for a low-maintenance feature. Unlike with wood doors, this contemporary sliding door does not require as much routine maintenance. It has both the strength of wood and the modern look of vinyl. If you need a natural sunlight, this is a great option.

Every Andersen product has a sturdy, robust design that is backed by a limited warranty. As well, like all Andersen products, a free home consultation is offered from one of Andersen’s professional installation experts. With this discussion, regardless of how much of an idea that you have about what you need, these experts will help along and give an accurate pricing model for your home’s new patio doors.

A Quick Guide to James Hardie Siding

When you are building or remodelling your home, there are many things to focus on. From the importance of storm windows to the broad aesthetic of the ideal front door and porch, your home can truly reflect your style. While siding is necessary for modern homes, it can be customized and add to the beautiful aesthetic of your family home according to your family.

While your home’s siding should be beautiful and improve the overall look of it, there are certain aspects to consider when you are shopping for the best siding for your home. The first element is water resistance. It is particularly important as, not only does water-resistant siding last longer, it will also better protect your shelter from rain, snow, and storm. Make sure, as well, that siding is easy to install and durable.

Image Credit: Flickr.com/photos/charles_hudson/4305086653

Importance of Home Siding

Siding should also be versatile. It should be able to meet the needs of the specification of your home. If there are areas of your home that make traditional siding a bit difficult to cover, necessary adjustments should be made. And, like many other aspects of a new or remodelled home, energy-efficiency is another crucial aspect for many families. If you choose to house siding based on looks alone, you may find rain in your living room.

James Hardie Quality

There are more than 5 million homes that are donned with James Hardie siding. With incredible reviews for decades, James Hardie Siding provides attractive and durable products. Having won several awards such as the coveted Good Housekeeping seal in 2013, as well as being acknowledged by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, or NARI, Southern Living, and Green Builder. James Hardie provides everything you need to replace the siding on your home. Several types of siding and trim are available, and over 2,000 expert professionals across the United States.

Only the Best

James Hardie provides a diverse catalog of siding products. From classic Colonial homes to graceful Victorians, there are several types of James Hardie Siding. HardiePlank Lap Siding is the most famous and best-selling product, not only from Hardie but on a national level. It leaves a classic look that is genuinely inclusive of all building types.

HardieShingle siding is another favorite type of siding sold through James Hardie. With the mildly rustic look of cedar shingles, this product is better than real wood siding as it is resistant to rotting, curling, splitting and warping. It is best for cottage-style homes.

HardiePanel vertical siding is often paired with HardieTrim to create a rustic look, reminiscent of board-and-batten looks. It is the preferred look for those who are looking for a minimalist look to their home. This type of siding works well with farmhouse-style or modern homes. HardieTrim boards are also a great way to introduce more color to your home and are a design choice that truly pops.

HardieSoffit Panels from the James Hardie Siding collection helps to reinforce the vulnerable gaps around the exterior walls of your home, protecting your family from pests and weather. For some, this is just an extra expense, but it is difficult to put a real price on your family’s comfort – additional steps are often worth it. If you are looking to take that extra action to your home and create a look of luxury, the Artisan Collection will add spare drama and dimension to a beautiful home.

Of course, James Hardie Siding also provides products to help protect your home from the elements. HardieWrap includes weather barriers, flex flashing, seam tape, and more serve to protect your home from moisture and gives the relief of extra security for your family. Its CementBoard also helps to prevent mold and other moisture damage.

Vibrant, Long-Lasting Color

James Hardie also offers ColorPlus technology, which is exclusive to this strong industry-wide brand. While many names install siding that blends into the rest of the houses on your block, James Hardie will allow you to get that ideal gorgeous color. A home will genuinely reflect on you when this lasting color is added to the already durable siding. ColorPlus technology applies to all of James Hardies’ siding. Its application comes with a 15-year limited warranty.

There are three necessary steps to this process. The first step is a durable finish: multiple coats are applied, 50 percent more than the average house painting company. Vivid color is added to every inch of surface on your home’s siding, with no spot of siding without shade. The second step in the process is added between coats: the siding is cured to secure an extreme bond between the paint and the siding itself. This incredible process adds yet another unique positive aspect to James Hardie siding: it will resist chipping, peeling, and cracking over time.

The third step is to apply UV-ray resistance. Over time, the average paint job will fade in the sun. However, both the vibrant paint and siding from James Hardie will resist fading and keep its curb appeal for much longer than the average siding company’s product. Using James Hardie ColorPlus will retain that new, bright look that shines from the newly remodelled home siding.

One-of-a-Kind Siding

Whether you are remodelling or constructing a house from the ground up, siding is vital for both the physical structure of your home and its curb appeal. James Hardie Siding has over 120 years of expert experience. Homeowners are one call and one free consultation away from incredibly appealing and quality siding that will never be a wrong decision.

Just How Good Are Andersen Replacement Windows?

Andersen has long been a household name regarding quality windows. Whether you are looking to build a home in whole or need to replace your home’s aging windows, you need to look no further than Anderson Windows. A new branch of a long-trusted company, Renewal by Andersen, has been around for over two decades and already comes with raving reviews.

Quality, Long-Lasting Windows

Renewal by Andersen has several designs of quality windows and doors. Such class has been on the market for more than a century, and the company offers fully customizable replacement solutions for every home. This new branch is no different from its mother company. Each product comes with a professional installation that homeowners can trust, beginning with a limited warranty.

With a free consultation, every home will meet a professional that will listen carefully to their needs and design ideas for their new windows and doors. As homeowners have for over a hundred years, this free home consultation means getting the best professional opinion. From energy-efficiency to customizable designs for the modern home, the client’s needs are always met when they work alongside the experts at Andersen Windows.

Of course, there are features shared by most – if not all – of the windows and doors provided and installed by Andersen Windows. They are friendly on the environment, have efficient energy-saving performance, and online product registration. There is also an extensive online brochure and store delivery provided.

Types of Windows

Renewal by Andersen provided some popular types of windows. These include sliding, awning, Jalousie, single-hung, picture, and bay windows, and others. If you only have the faintest idea of what sort of windows you need, Andersen offers customizable options, as there are a few types of windows that are not explicitly provided. The two kinds of windows not being offered by Renewal by Andersen are Garden and Hopper windows. However, as it is mentioned, there are customizable options which can be organized with the free home consultation.

Window Frames

Andersen Windows also provides a variety of materials in frames for their window designs. Of course, these are the primary materials that most provide: wood, vinyl, fiberglass, and aluminum. The most inexpensive will be vinyl windows, which are also the most recent type. They stand up to most weather conditions and can come in a range of colors for any home design. However, they do not last as wood windows do. They are the most traditional aesthetically and can be painted and stained for customization. While they do require routine maintenance and are more expensive, they can last more than the life of your home.

Other window frame materials include aluminum and fiberglass. Aluminum windows are more durable than wood, and are easier to handle during installation as the material is light and thin. While aluminum windows tend to let out more heat and cold air, most aluminum windows are made with a vinyl or rubber strip in the area between the interior and exterior. Fiberglass windows, then, are one of the most modern window frame materials. They look similar to vinyl windows but are more rigid.

Energy-Efficiency

Energy-efficient windows, of course, are of great importance these days. More and more homeowners are concerned with not just their impact on the environment, but the adverse effect an ineffective window can have on their heating and cooling bills. What makes a window genuinely energy-efficient? Energy-efficient windows reduce energy costs by decreasing air leakage from home, and these are best for those on a tighter budget. They also help keep the house more comfortable: your family will stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

It is important to remember that energy-efficient windows, at first, do cost more. However, when you choose the best provider, this preferred type of window pays for itself in time. Andersen provides various kinds of these energy-saving exterior home appliances, such as thermal, double pane, and triple pane windows. These are Energy Star certified and follow all characteristics of this famous label. When you choose Andersen Windows, you will save money in the long-term by conserving deeply on your home’s power bill.

A Beautiful Home

Image Credit: Flickr.com/photos/andersenwindows/

After a homeowner has their aging, worn windows with those provided by Renewal by Andersen, high quality and long-lasting, there are a few last perks. Each set of windows comes with a homeowner warranty, although limited, that allows for any slip-ups or mistakes to be taken care of right away. There more than 3 million Andersen windows installed nationwide, and the brand continues to be trusted by American homeowners year after year.

What Are the Best Windows for New Construction?

When it comes to purchasing windows for a new home, there are many things to consider. There are several types, styles, and especially when you are building a home from the ground up, it may be an overwhelming process. What does every new home need in their windows?

Many homes these days benefit from having energy-efficient windows. People are becoming increasingly aware of how beneficial energy-efficient windows are for their home and on the environment. In the long-term they can help homeowners save on their energy bill, minimizing the costs of making sure that heat stays in during the winter and cool air during the summer. Aside from these forward benefits, there are four aspects to consider when you are looking to install energy-efficient windows.

Window Frames

The first aspect is to choose which frame is best. Wood is a typical, sturdy window frame that is less prone to transfer of cold and heat from home. Although they are the best value for insulation, they do require quite a lot of upkeep. If they don’t get appropriately maintained, wood frames can rot if left alone. It is also not the best frame for an environment that frequently gets snow and rain. However, if kept well and in the right environment, a wood frame can last decades.

While wood may be the most popular, three other materials are chosen for an energy-efficient window. Vinyl is another material used commonly for those homeowners that keep a tight budget. However, a vinyl window frame is not always poor in quality. It insulated glass well and prevents air leakage with their thorough construction. For those who want a more colorful exterior scheme rather than energy-efficiency, vinyl window frames may not be the best choice.

Aluminum window frames are most common in areas that are frequently humid and wet, such as Florida or Georgia. They are also the preferred window frame for the most hurricane-prone regions in the United States. However, they are not highly rated as far as energy-efficiency.

Wood-clad window frames are often called a high cross between the low-maintenance vinyl and energy-efficient wood. However, they tend to leak in wetter areas, so they do not serve well for those hurricane-prone regions as with exact aluminum frames. If you choose these windows, make sure to insulate them with rubber membranes to keep rain out. A sill pan may also be necessary to drain any water that collects.

Layers of Glass

More than the frame, what is inside of it? From basic cottages to multi-million- dollar homes, most homeowners choose double-paned windows. They have what is known as Low-E glass and vacuum sealed argon fill. While this is an added feature and can cost more, it helps homeowners to save a considerable amount on their energy bills in the long-term. Single pane windows may be cheaper, but these benefits make the extra cost worth it for most people. There are also triple pane windows, which are typically reserved for areas with harsh climates or those homes or rooms that require less light transmittance and visibility.

When it comes to the performance of a window, energy-efficiency is not the only thing that you should look for. The first is the U-value, which measures a window unit’s resistance to loss of air and heat. The second aspect is the SHGC or Solar Heat Gain Coefficient. It regulates how much heat enters your home through windows.

Window Design

The design of new windows is something else that one should consider. There are window designs that are more efficient than others, and there are three common types. The first is the double-hung window: this is the most common unit used in new homes, and they are especially prevalent in older buildings. The bottom part of the window slides up to open it. This type of window is energy-efficient for the most part, but in extreme climates, it can have the opposite effect.

Casement windows are standard in areas where the windy weather is a significant issue. They work by a crank, and the window will swing outward to open. These hinges need extra maintenance but are highly stable windows. Picture windows do not typically open and come in various shapes and sizes. If you would like a window like this to be energy-efficient, consider the type of glass used.

The Best Home Possible

Whether you are having your home built for you or are a contractor trying to make a new pod of homes, windows are a vital part of any house. From energy-efficiency to basic design and weather resistance, consider everything about the home and its environment to install the best possible windows for each new structure.

Understanding Energy Efficiency in Windows

When it comes to energy efficiency windows it is important to understand how they work, their benefits to you, what to look for.

The benefits of energy efficient windows

  • Q: How do energy efficient windows benefit your budget? A: Energy efficient windows will lower utility bills which are good for your pocket book by keeping cold and heat from coming in through the windows.
  • Q: Can energy efficient windows help with being healthier? A: Since there will be less air flow infiltrating from outside to inside you will likely have fewer colds and allergy problems.

A look at how energy efficient windows work

  •  Q: How do I know what U-factor I should look for in windows? A: The National Fenestration Rating Council can help you understand the U-factor; and what it is based on. Energy Star can help you with basing the U-factor along with your climate to know what will work best for you.
  • Q: Which type of window is a better window single pane, double pane, or triple pane? A: The double pane is better than a single pane, the newest in these are the triple pane, however; the triple pane unless it is in fiberglass is extremely heavy.
  • Q: What type of hang should I have for the best energy efficiency? A: The best for energy efficiency when it comes to how the window is hung would be an awning or hopper style in which the window presses into the frame in order to close making it a tighter fit than just sashes that slide.
  • Q: What are thermal pane windows? A: Thermal windows have 2 or 3 panes of glass that have argon gas in between the panes which stop the heat leaking out the window during winter or the cold out during summer. Another gas that can be used is Krypton which is heavier than argon.
  • Q: Is the window pane the only thing that should be energy efficient when it comes to windows? A: No, your window casement should also be energy efficient; this means the casement needs to be insulated with wrap and rigid foam board insulation, just like under your siding. This will keep air from coming in around the casement. It will also cut down on conduction of heat when it comes to the window frame.

What to look for in energy efficient windows

  • Q: What should you look for in energy efficient windows? A: There are a few things to look for; the U-factor, the R-rating, SHGC, VT, and Air Flow. You also should be looking for Energy Star label. All these ratings together will let you know if you are getting the correct energy efficient window for you.
  • Q: Besides energy ratings what else should be considered when choosing energy efficient windows? A: Besides the window ratings, you need to consider the way the windows are hung and the medium the window is made from. An example would be a window that presses into the frame when it closes will be more air tight than one that does not.

What are the top energy efficient windows on the market?

There are a few top brands in the market of energy efficient windows on the market today.

These brands are;

  • Andersen® Windows provide packages that meet tax credits for energy star products that will give you 70% more energy efficiency in warm weather and 45% more energy efficiency in cold weather as opposed to the old single pane windows.
  • Milgard® Windows has a new package that totally addresses three key areas;   frame, design and glazing by corresponding with the climate of the area in which they will be installed.
  • JELD-WEN® Windows offers their LoE3-366 glass with insulating argon gas in order to lower energy costs by helping to keep homes colder in the warm months and cozier in the cold months. They also deflect direct sunlight which helps reduce the bleaching of interior furnishings and prevents condensation.

If you wish to purchase or find out more about these brands of windows call today! 916-823-8535.

Exterior Window Shutters: Wooden or Vinyl?

Exterior window shutters are an asset to your home. Not only do they protect your windows during storms and inclement weather, they also look beautiful if chosen right. These shutters are available in various materials; from the traditional wood, to the economic vinyl, and ultra-modern fiberglass.

When it comes to wooden and vinyl shutters, there are supporters and detractors of both, but wooden shutters actually win hands down. Here are six big reasons why:

1. Curb appeal: Once you do up your windows with wooden shutters, there is a dramatic improvement in the appearance of your house. It immediately looks warmer, more classy, and welcoming. Vinyl shutters cannot match that look, even with the faux wood version, because you realize up close that it is not the real thing. A great cedar wood shutter would always stand out. It would also add a significant number of dollars to the price should you decide on a home sale. Granted, wooden shutters don’t come cheap. But they are a safe investment, no doubt about that.

2. Customizable: The biggest advantage of wooden shutters is that they are customizable. Odd-sized windows are not a problem, and you can actually match the color and appearance of the wooden shutters to your furniture, a feat impossible to achieve with vinyl shutters. In addition, if you plan to match the design of your window shutters to the architecture of your home, wooden window shutters would do it much better than vinyl.

3. Energy-savings: Wooden shutters are also better than vinyl because they help trap the heat inside in winter and keep out the heat in summer. This saves on your heating as well as air-conditioning bills. Vinyl shutters would do no such thing. Imagine closing incensed cedar shutters to the summer outside and enjoying a cool drink in the movie-theatre atmosphere in your home. You can’t do that with vinyl shutters.

4. Better security: Wooden shutters provide better security than vinyl, because they are sturdier. They are good against rain and storm, and also against any human incursion. Vinyl shutters are delicate in comparison, and cannot stand up very well to a security threat, be it the weather or robbers.

5. Maintenance: Detractors of wooden shutters point to the amount of maintenance required for wooden shutters, as against vinyl shutters which do not need much upkeep once they are fixed. But a good quality wood like Incense cedar is not prone to warping when used in window shutters. It is bug and moisture resistant because of the tannin oil it contains. The sealing properties of the natural oils help protect it from decay and rot. With good priming and preparation, painted Incense cedar window shutters keep their color very well. All this makes an Incense cedar wooden shutter durable and comparatively low-maintenance.

6. Natural and harmless: In some vinyl shutters, especially those manufactured outside the US, quantities of lead harmful to human health have been found. They are especially unsafe for children. With wooden shutters you can rest assured that only the most natural and harmless products are being used on your windows.

Vinyl shutters are best suited to interiors like bathrooms and solariums. They could be great around the swimming pool. But as exterior window shutters they fail to give the service given by wooden shutters, both in terms of looks and protection. For the best investment in exterior window shutters, good quality wooden shutters are still the only answer.