Wonderful Window Design

Studies have shown that natural light improves moodsreduces eyestrain and even creates the illusion of spaciousness. A home filled with natural light not only appears bigger but is more pleasant to live in. Short of building a glass house, how do homeowners facilitate as much natural light in their homes as possible?

Windows are a fantastic way of allowing sunlight to in but the window design you select is key. Some window designs are better suited to the facilitation of natural light than others so it is important that you keep this in mind when discussing your plans for the inclusion of new windows in your home.

Window Design Styles

There are several styles of windows from which to choose here are a few of the most popular:

Bay – These large windows are traditionally made of three windows, one large window flanked by smaller windows. A window seat under a bay window is heavenly.

Double-hung – This classic window design style has an outside sash that slides up and down and an inside sash that slides up. This style of window allows a lovely breeze in as well as facilitates natural light.

Casement – Casement windows are usually hung in pairs and mounted on hinges that allow the sash to swing in or out (depending on what you prefer).

Bow – These windows are similar to bay windows but have more than three panels which join to form a gentle curve.

Tilt-turn – This window design is popular in Europe, these unusual windows tilt in towards the room at the top and also turn a full 180 degrees – excellent for easy cleaning.

Jalousies – This window design is comprised of many slats of glass that open and close. Jalousies windows are extremely similar to Venetian blinds.

Skylight – This window design is perfect for small rooms where normal windows would be overwhelming. Skylights are essentially windows which are fitted at an angle rather than vertically, usually through the ceiling or roof.

Fixed – As these windows can not be opened their sole purpose is to allow light in.

Stained glass – This window design is popular in Victorian inspired homes around the world. Patterns are made from different pieces of coloured glass and the sparkle of different coloured beams of light has a wonderful effect.

Window Design Considerations

Before finalising your window design ideas you need to take a few things into consideration.

The design of your home – you’ll want the design of your windows to fit into the overall design of your home. Rounded windows may look a little obscure when fitted into a really tall wall just as overly large windows may be inappropriate in a small home. Select a window design that can be used through your home to achieve a consistent design theme. Incorporating a large variety of window designs may be overpowering. Window design should be complimentary never overwhelming.

New Trends in Clad Wood Windows

Simply put windows…are what you put in the holes in your house. Think about that. Holes in your house. It seems to me that if you are going to have holes in your house, you want a very good quality window to prevent the those holes from letting the conditioned air out and the cold air in and rain from destroying the interior of your house.

Their are three basic categories of windows:

  • Wood
  • Aluminum
  • Vinyl

I will discuss wood windows in particular in this post and specifically clad windows as very few people wish to put unclad windows in their house due to the added maintenance of having to paint them every 3-5 years.

Wood windows are made of wood, (primarily pine) but are sold primarily with a cladding on the exterior to reduce the exterior maintenance requirements that attach to all windows (no painting). The cladding is typically Aluminum, however their are increasing options in this regard in the form of extruded and sheet noble metal claddings such as Bronze, Copper and Zinc.

The last 3 materials are generally sold only on custom windows which are very expensive and typically can only be justified on hard budgets of over $ 400 PSF. If your like me (and most others) you will not be building a home in this range.

However, there are a few copper alternatives manufactured by commodity window manufacturer’s that might in fact fit into your budget. I will discuss these in greater detail in a later post. Anyway back to clad wood windows.

The best known names in this field (due to huge marketing budgets) are Anderson, Pella, Weathershield, Jeld-Wen and Marvin. They probably comprise about 65% market share between them and each of them have their own specific advantages and disadvantages. Only a careful review of the features and benefits of each window will reveal what is best for your project. A brief description of the features that I consider important when reviewing the various windows follows below:

Anderson – unique in that the wood window made by Anderson is clad with a PVC vinyl cladding. The cladding is bound to the wood substrate with an adhesive type mechanism which has shown effective, but in some extreme climates worries me that it could detach.

The window is backed by a top-notch warranty and I have anecdotal experience that the company takes its warranty obligations seriously. A good thing indeed. There was manufacturing problem with the welding of the corners of the vinyl cladding some years back on a lot of windows that made its way to Colorado. I was selling Anderson windows at that time and know that the Company spent a very healthy sum of money to find the windows with the problem and fix them before the owners knew there was a problem. It is not that usual to see this kind of pro-active attitude in any company.

The other features of the window include a proprietary glazing system that will require that you will always have to go the Anderson for replacement and a reticence by the company to put breather tubes in their glazing system (critical in high altitudes). Anderson is the largest manufacturers of windows (under one brand) in the U.S. Anderson sells their product through a dealer network composed of lumber yards, window dealers and home-improvement contractors. Anderson mow also sells a line of composite windows made from the waste wood derived from manufacturing its wood windows,

Pella – Pella manufacturers windows clad and unclad in Iowa and markets them through primarily authorized distributors although they have recently started to distribute their builder grade line through Home Depot. The Pella product is distinguished by the availability of buit-in roll-down insect screens, between-the-glass window blinds and and an exclusive distributorship for the clearest window screening material made in the United States.

New! Creative Ideas on Choosing your Window Covering Style

Window coverings have a process on how you should choose your window curtains and drapes. You have three basic choices to decide from on what window treatment is best for your homes decor. You first have to decide whether you want informal or formal window coverings? Secondly unlined or lined? And thirdly the style and type of heading desired. After you have decided on the type of window treatment you are looking for you can start to finalize the design. Window coverings are influenced by several elements, which include the function of the space, the style of the architecture of the home, and the window treatment preferences of the homeowner. The resulting factor is the same window design can be treated very differently depending on the person’s taste. Imagine a dining room that has a bay window. This type of window style is usually a multi layered floor length window treatment – basically it’s a formal window covering. If your taste is a more casual laid-back style you may introduce an informal appearance of café curtains with some sill length and some tied back side panels.

What is a full formal window treatment?

A formal window covering usually will have two or three layers. The first layer may be the casement curtain and will be installed within your Windows trim area. Usually you would use a sheer, solid or maybe a lace panel that will lay straight or either gathered at the top. Over draperies usually called just draperies will be your second layer. Generally they will cover the trim and window and if there is room left stretched further to each side or even the area that is above your window. Optionally the third layer of your full formal window treatment will be a valance this is also known as pelnet that horizontally runs across the top of your window and will cover the curtain or drapery heading. Another piece of the formal window treatment is a hard valance, also known as a lanbre-quin or a cornice. It is normally made with wood, which is then covered with upholstery or some fabric. To some people by not using the third treatment it will appear like the window covering is unfinished but in all sense this depends on the taste and style that you are trying to obtain. By using heavy but curious fabrics which would include brocades, Tapestries, silks, Damasks and velvet you will enhance the prestige of the formal treatment. The downside of these fabrics is that they will require cleaning from professionals every couple of years.

What is an Informal window treatment?

An informal window treatment can consist of one or two basic layers or you may decide on having nothing at all. If you have a great window location with privacy a beautiful window can look great even without a dressing especially if you have a great view. Sometimes just some basic casement curtains look great for a casual room. If you need to cover only the lower half of the window a Café curtain can offer you privacy and not block the light. Fabrics that are used for the informal look consist of chitz, ticking, linen, muslin and gingham. A benefit to the informal window coverings over the formal window coverings is that most of these are washable and easy to take care of.

Window drapes and curtain linings

Depending whether you have a formal or informal curtain or drape covering it will often decide if your window treatment will be lined. Factors will include the amount of natural light you want in your room and the length of time you expect the arrangement will last. Unlined curtains diffuse daylight but won’t exclude it. Being the simplest form for your window covering it is still very effective by itself as a window under treatment. The unlined treatment doesn’t have the extra thickness of a lining and will stack lightly back. A good choice is to use a fabric that looks attractive from both sides so there will not be a right or wrong side for the inside or outside of your window covering. Classic choices for unlined treatments would consist of lace, mobile, Muslim and sheers that are made out of cotton or silk organza. You may even have textured fabrics that have open weaves; an unlined curtain will filter the light beautifully and give you some privacy in the evening when the lamp is on. Try consolidating sheers with window blinds and shades. Unlined curtain drawbacks are the damage from the sunlight on the window treatment because there is no lining for your window fabric for protection it will deteriorate rapidly.

Lined curtains and drapes

Lined curtains and drapes have more body, which will give you softer and deeper folds and improve the window treatment appearance. The lining will block sunlight and protect the window fabric from fading. A lining also preserves the color and increases your privacy and will reduce noise from outside. Look for linings that are treated to resist sun damage and rot, once the lining becomes deteriorated you can just realign it or just hang the window covering without the lining on. The rule of thumb is that if you line one curtain in the room do all the rest the same so they will match, Usually the lining fabric will be off-white or white although you can get colored linings you should know that this will affect the hue of the window covering when light passes through it especially in a lightweight curtain fabric get samples and test them togeter

Basement Replacement Window Tips

One thing to keep in mind when choosing basement replacement windows is increasing the value of your home. They should be pleasing to the eye but also need to resistant to water leaks, and energy efficient. This is an area of the home that when doing home improvements should not be skimped on. To have the job done right you should hire a reputable, qualified contractor that has the experience with this type of work. You should hire a home improvement contractor that specializes in window replacement or with window replacement contractor.

This contract specialist should be able to give the homeowner advice on which is the best replacement windows for the basement. Check out several contractors before you make your choice which to hire. Get and estimate from each one so you can compare to see which one to choose. If you have had family or friends who have had basement replacement windows installed find out what they thought of the contractor who did the job. If they give them excellent references, you should check the out to see what they charge in comparison to the other bids you have.

Do not immediately settle for double glazed windows but consider all the options. Depending on the structure of the basement, using double pained windows are just one form of energy efficient windows to choose from. Two other options to consider are thermal or fiberglass. Using energy efficient windows will help to block the heat and sun from much of the interior in the summer and in the winter, it will help to keep the cold and wind outside while the inside is warm.

If you have money in the budget, you could replace the smaller windows with larger windows, which will help to improve the value of the home as long waterproof and energy efficient. Getting bigger replacement windows for the basement can give the area more light so it will not have a dingy dark appearance. In case of a ground water leak, they need to be totally watertight. One type of basement replacement window that can help prevent leakage into the basement is windows that have a drainage system that is built in.

If you decide to replace the windows yourself, you have to take accurate measurements so the replacement windows are not too large or too small. If the windows do not fit correctly, you can have heat leaking out and increase your utility bill along with the possibility of leaking windows. It can save you money to do the replacement yourself but if it is not done correctly, it could cost more if you have to hire a professional window replacement specialist to correct your mistakes and put in the windows correctly.

Home Buyer Beware — Windows that Leak

The number one housing defect is water intrusion. The number one entry path for water is around things that penetrate the exterior walls. Let’s talk about windows.

Most houses are built today with vinyl windows. Don’t get me wrong – vinyl windows are great products. They are energy efficient, relatively inexpensive, recyclable, and require little maintenance. But vinyl windows have some inherent problems that must be correctly addressed during installation.

Installation Damage

20% of new windows may leak because of damage that occurs when the window is handled and installed. Unfortunately, you can’t see this damage. Vinyl windows are especially vulnerable because the corners of the window frame are “fused” together on many brands. During shipping, handling, or installation, the seal at the corner can break.

Improper Installation

We used to slam new windows into houses with little regard for water intrusion other than squirting some caulking around it. Have you ever looked closely at a typical vinyl window? A fin extends from the edge of the frame all around the perimeter. This fin extends over the edge of the opening in the wall. But it’s not very wide. On most windows the fin is less than 1-1/2 inches wide, with holes in it for fastening. So it is really a mounting flange. It is not really sealing out much moisture.

Water can travel horizontally where building wrap, siding, and flashing overlap vertically on a wall. Therefore, you need wide flashing to prevent leaks.

The window industry has come up with the solution: a more stringent installation standard for the person installing the window. The new standard says you must flash around the window when it is installed, using specific steps.

The flashing must be at least nine inches wide and sealed to the window fin on the top, bottom and sides. The idea is to create a nine-inch-wide waterproof flashing around the window.

In addition, the flashing at the bottom of the window extends into the rough opening to protect the framing and finish materials inside, should the window frame leak. Ideally, a sill pan should be installed at the bottom.