You want the best windows, the best window company and the best price when its time to replace your homes windows. It can be supper hard to know where to start and what to look for if you have never done it before. This article is intended to help you do that. We will discuss types of windows. The options for windows. And instillation methods for different kind of windows. Furthermore, we will touch on selecting a contractor to install your new windows, ordering your new windows and permitting the windows.
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Appearance will be your first consideration. What will be the visual impact of new home windows. What do you want them to look like? Aesthetics are important after all. And this goes beyond if they will be white or bronze. It’s important to consider how they open. You can get pretty much anything you want but here are the basics.
All these windows can have a grid pattern mostly know as colonial style.
This is a single hung window with a colonial grid. There are still only two panes of glass not twelve. The grid is mounted on the outside. The inside is smooth. The look is great, but they can be tough to keep clean.
Windows have a maximum size allowed in ordered to meet our high wind resistance needed in Florida. Fortunately, all windows can be joined together with an aluminum “mullion”. The “mull bar” is hidden in the instillation. Resulting in a uniform look as if two windows (or three or four) are one.
Types of window frames
Windows are made with either aluminum or vinyl. There is a big debate as to which is better. I think beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you tend to believe aluminum is stronger than plastic, you probably like aluminum. And vice versa. There is no question however, that vinyl is more energy efficient. Metal is a much better thermo conduit than plastic. The frame inside an aluminum window will be much closer to the outside temperature than with a vinyl window. The higher temperature of the frame becomes your air-conditioners problem.
Vinyl and aluminum windows are equally strong. That is to say they both meet the same impact requirements and in a hurricane will perform exactly the same. Vinyl windows do tend to be a little more expensive
Types of window installations
There are frame window installations and fin window installations.
The wood buck is secured inside this concrete window opening. It is the same for wood frame homes. The window frame fits snugly within the buck. The tapcon (screw) passes through the buck and is embedded in the concrete at least 1 ½”. We can’t be sure how exact our concrete or wood opening will be. Therefore, the wood buck is plus or minus ¾” to fit the window precisely. The window buck purpose is to allow us the flexibility to compensate for human error. So a window buck could be as small as 1/4" and as large as a 2" x 4".
The first pictures is front looking in. The screws go through the front of the window “fin”. Not though the side of the frame. The second picture is from the inside. Notice how large the buck is. The buck is 1 ½” thick. Not ¾” like a frame install. This is to allow the installer to have easy access for the screw instillation.
Leak free window instillation.
There are two things worthy of noting in the three previous pictures. First is the green stuff around the window. This has an important purpose. It can be green, pink, red. It doesn’t matter. This material both waterproofs the opening. And it prevents the concrete from cracking. The second is the black stuff around the window looking from the front in. This black cover is called “window wrap”. It seals the rough opening. Caulking is applied to it and the fin or flange is pressed into the caulking. The process makes the window waterproof before stucco is applied over the opening. This is super important as cracking stucco is a leading cause for window leaks. All good window companies should use this practice.
Also notice the shims in the picture above. The window frame can be no further from the buck than 1/4". The inspection will fail if it is. In a frame install every screw needs a shim. The shim ensures the screw doesn't bend the frame as its tightened.
The thick edge of a shim is 1/4". On a fin window install the shim simply ensures the window frame is no further than 1/4" from the buck.
Insulated windows or laminated glass?
Non-insulated windows have one pane of glass. Insulated windows have two. The two panes are separated by a space. The space disrupts the heat flow into the building. Argon argon can be added in the space, between the panes, to enhance the insulating performance.
Laminated glass is a safety glass that holds together when shattered. It is held in place by a layer of plastic between two layers of glass. The plastic "interlayer" keeps the glass from breaking when impacted. The interlayer keeps the layers of glass bonded even when broken. Its high strength prevents the glass from breaking up into large sharp pieces. A "spider web" cracking pattern appears when the impact is not enough to completely pierce the glass.
Laminated glass is normally used when there is a possibility of impact. It forms a safety barrier. Hurricane impact windows, skylights and automobile windshields can use laminated glass. In areas requiring hurricane impact resistant construction, laminated glass is often used. Boca Raton and surrounding communities is a good example.
Laminated glass is used to increase the heat and sound insulation rating of a window as well. It significantly improves sound attenuation compared to monolithic glass panes of the same thickness. Some panes block up to 99.9% of the UV rays of the sun.
Insulated windows have two layers of laminated glass.
Low-e window treatment vs tint
For years we tinted or applied reflective film on windows to reduce the heat load inside. The result was good. The surface of the glass heated up, but less radiant heat made it into the building. Today we offer a better solution called “low-e”. Low-e glass can reflect the heat without increasing the surface temperature of the glass. Resulting in even more energy savings
You can go with a big or small company. Medium and large contractors tend to use sub-contractors for their installations. In doing so they keep their costs down. Family owned and operated companies tend to be more hands on and reliable. Owners involved with their work don’t like to feel the pain problems cause. You can have the best windows in the world, but poorly installed window have lots of problems.
Your contractor will make an initial measurement for the estimate. A ball park measurement will suffice for generating a price. Once you sign the contract he will come back and make a very detailed measurement. When the contractor places his order, he owns the windows. He can not send them back if they don’t fit right. So a good contractor will pay a lot more attention on the second measurement.
Window Permit, engineering, manufacturing and instillation.
We order new windows with the final measurements in hand. Most windows are custom size. Your order goes in the queue. Depending on the industry work load, it could take four to eight weeks for the windows to be delivered. Permit documents will be submitted to the building department while the windows are being made. Engineering plans are sometimes required for the permit. Waiting for plans may hold up the process a week or two. From the time you sign your contract, until the time of instillation could be two or three months on average. Plan ahead.
We are window installers for all window manufacturers. We don't care who's windows you want. Please just choose us to install them. Hows that for honest :) We buy our windows through distribution. PGT is the manufacturer of their choice. Most of our installs are PGT. We also install some SIW and Anderson and sometime Lawson.