The dining room has been painted a jazzy color, those new lighting fixtures were a find, and now there’s just one last thing sitting on that to-do list.
Windows. They need some love too.
While it’s not as easy as buying a new throw pillow at Southpark Mall, you don’t need to feel intimidated. Here are the options…
New Construction or Replacement Windows?
They sound like the same thing, right? Replacement windows are new windows… but new windows replace the old ones.
Don’t tie yourself in knots.
New construction windows are what you pick when you want to add a window or change its shape or size. You can change the entire look of your house and get more natural light.
New construction windows mean hiring a contractor to work on the surrounding carpentry, and help you get the look right. You’ll need to budget a bit more for the cost of labor.
When you go with replacement windows, you just swap in new windows. If your existing frames are in decent shape and you like the look of your house, this might be the way to go.
What style do you want?
Double hung windows open from the top and bottom. It’s a great way to get cross ventilation on those North Carolina spring days — the crepe myrtle is blooming, the birds are singing, and you want to wait to turn on the A/C. If you have kids, these are a smart choice for the second floor. You can get a breeze, and not worry about the kids pushing the screens out and falling.
Bay Windows have a lovely curb appeal. The three dimensional shape is an upgrade that’ll give you great light and show off the views of your property. Bow Windows have a similar feel, but they soften the curve of the bay shape.
How about frame and sash material?
This doesn’t refer to your silky beauty queen sash–this is about the material surrounding the glass. Vinyl windows are popular and can be made to match any style home. They offer great insulation, and are a piece of cake to keep clean.
If you want to get fancy, wood windows have that southern historic feel and come with a slightly higher sticker price. If you decide to go with wood, you’re committing to periodically painting or staining to protect them from moisture.
Since both options give you energy efficiency, your frame and sash material may just come down to a beauty queen contest after all.
If your house still has its original windows, you might have single pane windows. This style is builder-grade and the least expensive. Unfortunately, they are also the least energy efficient. Consider installing double pane or triple pane windows for the efficiency boost.
The space between the glass lowers heat transfer, especially with the argon gas they pump between layers. It’ll keep you cooler than sweet tea — especially with low-emissivity coating. Low-E coating is like an invisible layer of sunscreen – it blocks out UV light. You can enjoy the sun and not get baked.
If your front yard hosts amateur Tar Heel football games, maybe you want to opt for impact resistant glass and save yourself a repair. And if your home is near a bar where they watch the game, well, we also have a glass that can help you cut down on noise.
Like most home improvements, you’re going to get what you pay for. Knowing what you want is just the first step. Make sure you choose a reputable brand of windows, with warranties to back them up. We take pride in our homes here in Charlotte, and if you ask around, most Charlotteans will tell you that Window Nation is your best bet.