Summer is ebbing away and fall is here. Many people are looking ahead to winter to keep the warmth in their homes and the cold air out. In Canada we live in an extreme climate. It’s hot in the summer and extremely cold at times in the winter.
So what constitutes a good window and more important a good installation? First of all in our climate thermo panes are a must. To increase efficiency they need to have Argon gas as well as have a warm edge spacer to make a thermal break between the two panes of glass. A Low E coating also reduces ultra violet light coming in and reflects some radiant heat back into the home also.
There are many different materials that a window frame can be made out of. Traditionally, wood was the choice. Some windows are still made out of wood but do require a substantial amount of maintenance. Another choice is aluminum or an aluminum/ vinyl hybrid. Aluminum is very durable but it does conduct hot and cold. Usually these windows are more suited to a commercial environment. Fiberglass is a good window material as well. It makes a very solid frame but is a higher end cost product. The most common material today is vinyl. Vinyl windows do not conduct the cold and have multiple chambers in the frame to add to the insulating value. Vinyl had been proven to be cost effective and durable as well.
Different styles are available as well. Casement windows feature left or right hinging with premium folding handles and multipoint locking hardware for a good seal. Push down screens, eliminate clumsy pins that can fall out over time. Single, double and double slider-tilt (swing in for cleaning) horizontal windows are practical as well. Awning is a less popular option but still effective and functional. Vinyl windows can also be manufactured into many types of shapes, for decorative accents and architectural details. Interior options include wood or pvc build-outs and or trim. Exterior options include painting, factory installed brick mould or site built brick mould.
Now to the installation, and there are two main methods. One is called a window insert. In this case the existing sashes (moving sections of the window are removed). Then the new window is installed within the existing window frame. This works well where you cannot change the existing trim inside or you have some other limitations. Many times in century old homes this is the case. The other method is full tear out. This is when the entire window including the frame is removed right back to the rough framing. The new window is then installed with space left for insulation all around ( ½” to ¾” of an inch) The window is then leveled and fastened with hidden screws. Reduced expanding foam is injected around the frame to insulate and seal everything. This type of insulation works best because it is a vapour barrier at the same time. Trim is then installed and latex caulking and spackle as required to fill nail holes inside and thermoplastic sealant outside at brick mould/ masonry or siding.
While the construction process may seem like an inconvenience, the final product will make it worth your while when you’re sitting down having your coffee break enjoying the view through your new windows. Enjoy!