Windows 101: How to Select Windows for Your New Home
While it may be more fun to pick paint colors, backsplash tile, and appliances, selecting the right windows for your new home is an equally important decision. In addition to providing light and airflow, windows also must stand up to the elements, including the beating sun, strong winds, and the snow and ice of winter.
We asked Bud Taylor of Tri-County Building Supplies a few questions about choosing windows for a new home at the Jersey Shore.
What factors do homeowners need to consider when choosing windows for their new construction?
First, think about the look of your home. If your home is ultra-contemporary, casement windows may give you the modern look that you want. Casement windows crank open horizontally on hinges mounted on one side of the window, like a door. For more traditional beach houses, double-hung windows are the most popular. This style features two large sashes (the frames around the glass panes) that slide up and down within vertical tracks. With double-hung windows, you can open either the top or the bottom of the window. Depending on its location, a window that’s open at the top may be safer for children and pets, since bug screens aren’t sturdy enough to prevent a fall.
It’s also important to look at the window’s Energy Performance Rating of window or patio door.
What are the most popular window styles purchased by Dakan Homes’ customers?
Most Dakan Homes customers choose double-hung windows, but casement and awning windows are popular, too. Awning windows function like casement windows, except that they are hinged at the top and open from the bottom when cranked. Because casement and awning windows extend outside the home, they may not be appropriate in areas with a patio or deck outside. You don’t want to create a hazard that people may bump into. But the beauty of building a custom home is that Rob Shino and his team at Dakan will work with you to design a beautiful, well-functioning home—even down to the windows.
Are there any window styles that you don’t recommend for this area?
I wouldn’t recommend gliding windows (also called sliders) at the shore. These are side-by-side windows that slide horizontally along top and bottom tracks, like a fast-food window. Most gliding windows have a low performance rating, making them less than ideal in this climate.
What materials do you recommend for new windows?
Silverline vinyl windows with a design pressure (DP) rating of 50 are the standard for Dakan Homes. A window’s DP rating indicates the amount of wind, water, and structural load it can handle. A window’s DP is just one of a couple of factors used to determine a window’s performance grade (PG). Air leakage and water penetration are other factors. A DP 50 rating is higher than the minimum that’s required by building code. These windows won’t corrode, blister, or crack—even on the coast. Customers have the option to choose vinyl-clad windows as well.
Do you recommend energy-efficient windows? What are the benefits of these windows to homeowners and the environment?
Energy-efficient windows reduce the cost of cooling a home in the summer and heating it in the winter. As a benefit to customers and the environment, Dakan Homes installs Energy Star-certified low emissivity (low-E) argon gas windows in its homes.
Do most customers choose windows with grilles? What factors should they consider when choosing between grilles or unobstructed windows?
Muntins are the vertical dividers that separate glass panes in a window. Grilles are the illusion of muntins. Some grilles are affixed on the outside of the glass, which can make cleaning the windows cumbersome. Instead, most customers choose grilles that are created by sandwiching thin strips of aluminum or plastic between double-paned glass.
Modern window grilles are only there for visual appeal, and there are many options to achieve the look you want. The most popular grille style for double-hung windows has single vertical and horizontal grilles in the top sash only. This creates a big cross in the top window and leaves the bottom window unobstructed to take advantage of coastal views. This style is called four over one. Having no grilles at all is also a popular option.
How do you know that it’s time to replace a window?
It’s time to call a window professional if you can’t lock a window or if it’s difficult to open or close. Many times, you may just need new hardware. However, if the window looks foggy or if the frame appears damaged, you may need to have the entire window replaced.
Are there any other factors or decisions new homeowners need to think about when choosing windows?
Be sure to use a well-known window company that offers a warranty. You want to make sure that the company will be around to if you need replacement parts or service.