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Windows Reflect the Beauty of Your Home

Commonly Asked Window and Door Questions and Answers

Commonly Asked Window and Door Questions
Q: What are windows made of?
A: The easy answer is glass, plus a framework of wood, vinyl or composite materials. However, the window industry has many options available to suit any home and lifestyle. Window frames today are offered in vinyl or vinyl-clad (for low maintenance), all wood, aluminum-clad or composites. And there are many types of glazing options available to make windows more energy efficient.
Q: What does "cladding" mean?
A: Some windows are made of wood and then covered on the exterior and/ or interior with another layer, such as aluminum or vinyl. This layer of extra covering (the cladding) gives added protection to the window and strengthens its resistance to outside weather or heavy inside usage.
Q: How often should residential windows be replaced?
A: Homeowners with windows over 25 years old should consider replacing them, both to gain the best energy efficiencies and to protect the "envelope" of the house. A home is an ideal candidate for a window replacement if its windows are sealed or painted shut, experiences ice buildup or a frosty glaze during the winter, gets fogged with condensation or has drafts that come through the windows.
Q: What do U-values and R-values really mean?
A: U-Values represent the amount of heat that escapes through a wall window, roof or other surface. The lower the U-Value, the more energy-efficient a material is. R-Values are the direct opposite. These measure an object's resistance to heat flow. The higher a material's R-Value, the lower it's U-Value, and the less energy it will lose. An R-Value depends on the number of layers of glass in a window, what type of gas is between those layers, and whether one or more of these layers of glazing have been treated with a Low E coating.
Q: What does Low E stand for?
A: Low E is a non-visible, microscopic layer of silver coating added to glass for greater energy efficiency and increased comfort. Low E stands for “low-emissivity,” which is the action of reflecting light passing through glass. By reflecting part of the light spectrum (the part that transmits heat), we reduce a window's U-Value and increase its R-Value.
Q: Are different grille pattern options available on or between the glass?
A: True Divided Lite, Simulated Divided Lite, Airspace Grilles and Perimeter Grilles are available in a variety of styles and patterns. Custom configurations are available, as well.
Q: What is the difference between Simulated and True Divided Lite?
A: True Divided Lites are individual panes of glass, held together by mounting bars. These windows are similar to those found in colonial times. While they look very much like the windows of yester year, with today's technology, these windows are extremely energy-efficient and feature insulated glass or insulated Low E2 glazing. Simulated Divided Lite windows use just one piece of glass, but have grilles adhered to the interior and exterior of the window in a variety of decorative options to give the window an overall look of True Divided Lite. Often available with removable grilles, these windows are easy to clean. Windows with Simulated Divided Lite only have grilles adhered to the interior and exterior - there are no airspace grilles.
Q: What are grilles?
A: Grilles are lite or pane dividers that form a design partition on a window or door in a decorative pattern.
Q: What other types of grilles are available on windows?
A: Airspace grilles are sealed in the airspace of insulating glass in different designs. That makes the windows easy to clean, because the grilles are sandwiched between the glass. Removable perimeter grilles have easy snap-in designs and allow a homeowner to change the look of their windows. Custom Grilles are also available as removable perimeter grilles and can also be easily installed and removed.
Q: What is an impact resistant glass window?
A: Impact-resistant glass has strong laminated glass interlayers. When combined with an exceptionally strong window frame, this type of window provides homeowners with greater security and protection from storms, flying debris and even the occasional stray golf ball. When struck by something hard and forceful, like a tree branch or softball, the glass resists shattering. In the rare event that an object impacts the glass, the pane may shatter, but it remains held within the frame. This greatly reduces the risk of flying glass, water or debris penetrating into the home.
Q: Who should have impact resistant glass in their homes?
A: Homeowners living in coastal areas prone to strong winds and storms, or who live directly on a golf course or in an area where vigorous sports activities take place, should consider impact-resistant glass in their homes. Other homeowners might be interested in the sound reduction and security benefits which impact-resistant glass provides.
Q: Will impact resistant glass prevent intruders from breaking into my home?
A: No glass can completely prevent intruders. Any glass, when struck repeatedly with forceful blows, will shatter. However, the majority of impact resistant glass stays in the frame when broken, making forced entry much more time consuming, cumbersome and difficult.
Q: Do I need an architect?
A: If you want a truly one-of-a-kind new home or have a tricky design or building situation, an architect's services are essential. But tasks such as modifying a standard home plan, adding a dormer or remodeling a bathroom are projects that you and your builder or remodeler can probably tackle together. Remember that for complicated interior changes, large additions or perplexingly stubborn questions about appearance and function, an architect's assistance at the planning stage can be a very good investment. For more information, contact the American Institute of Architects and the Society of American Registered Architects.
Q: What about alternatives to architects?
A: Designers don't have an architect's credentials, but many are very skilled at planning residential projects. Some specialize in kitchens and baths, interior spaces or landscaping, while others plan entire houses. Designers may work for an hourly rate or a flat fee.
Q: How can I locate a design professional?
A: Start with friends, relatives or neighbors who have worked with architects or designers. Satisfied customers are always the best reference. If you don't know anybody who has employed the kind of help you're after, check with your local Horne Builders Association or the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the NAHB Remodelers Council, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and the American Institute of Building Design.
Q: How can I evaluate candidates?
A: Set up an appointment with each and bring along photos or sketches of your home or the one you'd like to build. Chat with them about your ideas and what you hope to accomplish. Ask to see representative examples of each person's work. Accomplished professionals should have a portfolio of pictures to show you - and solicit the names of previous clients. Follow up by visiting with some of these references. Gauge their opinion of the work, and decide for yourself how well the project turned out.