Hurricane Season will be here before you know it. Are you ready to batten down the hatches and live in total darkness for days, or would you rather ride out the storm with a nice view? Storm Tight Windows has everything you need to know before you install impact windows in your home.
Whether you are replacing vinyl, wood or metal windows, your project will require a certain level of expertise and skill. You want to make sure to adopt the “measure twice – cut once” mentality. The accuracy of the impact window measurements, the installation and the correct impact window type and fit are key to maintenance-free, energy-efficient impact windows that will last the life of your home. Normally, window installation is at least a two-person job. While it’s possible to install them yourself, this is one of those instances where it would be best to call the professionals. The eye of a major hurricane is not the place you want to be when you discover a mistake.
If you want to get the highest return on your impact window and investment, there are some important things to consider. When selling your home, vinyl windows recoup an average of 78% of the initial investment according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2014 Cost vs. Value Report. Having 100% Virgin Vinyl windows can be a major selling point to people looking to buy your home, especially if the impact window manufacturer has a transferable warranty. Plus, they just look cool.
The best way to get a crash course in impact windows and to ensure you know what you are buying is to schedule some in-home estimates from a few reputable companies. These companies will bring out window samples for you to see, will clearly explain the details of the warranty and will leave you a written estimate. Another good sign is if the company has credible, third-party endorsements such as television networks, and radio. These organizations use strict criteria to evaluate manufacturers and products and reputations. If a company or product makes their list, they will most likely make yours. Don’t be afraid to ask around either, chances are you have some friends and family who went through a similar process. Work smarter, not harder.
ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designed to help you save money and protect the environment. The NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council) is a third-party, non-profit organization that independently tests and certifies all ENERGY STAR qualified windows so you can compare the energy and performance features.
The NFRC label can be found on all ENERGY STAR qualified windows, doors, and skylights and provides performance ratings in five categories:
U-Factor: measures the rate of heat transfer and tells you how well the window insulates.
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC): measures the fraction of solar energy transmitted and tells you how well the product blocks heat caused by sunlight.
Visible Transmittance (VT): measures the amount of light the window lets through.
Air Leakage (AL): measures the rate at which air passes through joints in the window.
Condensation Resistance: measures how well the window resists water build-up.
Once you learn to look for these, picking your perfect window will become so much easier.
Now that you’ve gathered information on reputable companies and energy efficiency, it’s time to develop a comparison checklist to determine which products and companies can provide the highest level of impact protection at the best possible price. Take your time, this is a big decision, you want to make sure you’re getting exactly what you want.
Does the price of the window include items like permitting, handling any homeowners-association compliance issues, accessories you may need as well as installation? Consider which features are most important to you and make your decision accordingly. Again, this isn’t something to rush into and you don’t want to be surprised by extra costs halfway through.
READ THE FINE PRINT. Does the warranty cover air leaks and broken seals and if so, for how long? Does the warranty cover labor and glass breakage? What recourse do you have if they go out of business? Do they carry liability insurance, workers compensation insurance and are they licensed to work in your state? Do they have national backing by a third-party such as Better Business Bureau? Is the warranty transferable to the next homeowner? These are important things to know before you choose a company. There are a lot of people out there looking to make a quick buck, do what you can to make sure you don’t become a statistic.
Since we live in a warm environment, the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient measurement can be an important factor. Consider heat-reflective Low E glass and insulating Argon Gas to block the sun’s rays. The last thing you want is to make your house even hotter!
For life-long durability, choose solidly constructed frames with steel, reinforced sashes to prevent warping and sloped sills to remove rainwater. Look for double fin mylar weather stripping, double ventilation locks, and a fusion-welded sash and frame. Are the windows custom manufactured for your specific home? Are the products American made? Do your research on the quality of the materials the company is using.
VISUALIZE! Visit a window showroom for ideas and invite a professional consultant to bring samples to your home or use an online tool to explore style and color options. Experiment replacing a double-hung window with a bay window or adding a wood-grain trim.
Replacing your windows should be a highly satisfying home improvement project. One that not only saves you energy and increases the value of your home, but also adds comfort, security, and beauty. As South Florida’s #1 Impact Window Manufacturer, Storm Tight Windows is here to help. If you would like more information, please call them at 1-(877)-WINDOWS, or complete the contact form on their website.
This article is sponsored by Storm Tight Windows