Energy Efficient Windows

Many window shoppers consider the energy efficiency of many products before deciding to purchase them. Energy efficient windows and doors can make a dramatic impact on energy savings. Let’s look at your options when considering energy efficient windows. Checking a windows U-factor helps in determining energy efficiency.

U-Factor measures the rate of heat transfer and tells you how well the window insulates. U-factor values generally range from 0.25 to 1.25 and are measured in Btu/h. ft² °F. The lower the U-factor, the better the window insulates.

Another important consideration for energy efficiency is SOLAR HEAT GAIN CO-EFFICIENT

The SHGC is the fraction of incident solar radiation admitted through a window, both directly transmitted and absorbed and subsequently released inward. SHGC is expressed as a number between 0 and 1. The lower a window’s solar heat gain coefficient; the less solar heat it transmits. This is really important in the southern part of the US. A good number for this would be .19 or lower.

Many factors come into play when considering a windows energy efficiency.

Glass type and number of panes, typically a 2 pane system filled with argon gas and low-e coatings will meet the needs of folks living in North Carolina.

Materials used in the windows construction will also determine the conductivity of heat or cold transfer into a home. Aluminum or steel windows would conduct the most energy, where as Vinyl windows filled with foam would conduct the less energy.

There are many good window options out there.

This is 50% of the equation!!!

 

INSTALLATION IS AS IMPORTANT AS WINDOW QUALITY

When we talk about replacement windows in existing wood windows, there are 2 main options to consider:

Pocket replacement vs. Full Frame replacement

Check out my article ”Replacing Double Hung Windows”.

Photo 1 shows a pocket replacement frame inside an existing wood window frame. Note the lack of insulation around the openings, most builders in this area used no or a little fiberglass insulation around the frames prior to 2006.

Fiberglass insulation only works when installed in the batt foam, compressing it around a window is no better than cotton.

Pocket replacement windows do little to help with air infiltration around frames.

2012-05-18-08-43-11

Photo 1

Investing large sums of money into some perceived high end pocket window is foolish in my opinion.

If your going to use the pocket method don’t waste a lot of money on the window, it is just a temporary solution at best, and may even be detrimental to the structure of your home if you allow wrapping or capping of existing wood frames.

See the “Replacing Windows in Chapel Hill” article below for more info on that issue.

FULL FRAME REPLACEMENT IS THE BEST CHOICE

Image 1

Photo 2


Removing the entire window, frame, sills and trim is the only way to insure a tight seal between the window and the existing wall framing, see photo 2 showing low expansion window foam used to seal the new window, this combined with proper flashing will out last any pocket installation by many years and your new windows will make a real difference in energy efficiency.

For the most energy efficient solution, use full frame installation with any high quality window for best results.


Shopping for Doors in the Raleigh Durham, Chapel Hill or Cary area?

We at Windows, Doors & More INC. provide the best service and selection in our area.

We sell and install doors of all types, French Doors, Entry Doors, Sliding doors, Barn doors, interior and exterior door products made of wood, fiberglass, vinyl and steel, we have a door for every budget and taste.
Door-Replacement
All of installations are installed by our own people, NO subcontractors. We provide a 10 year labor warranty on our installations.

We carry name brands like Marvin, Pella, Andersen, Therma-tru, Plastpro, plus many wood door manufactures. We can even do custom sizes with wood doors in virtually any style!!

Call 919.460.6565 or email today for a free consultation.

Andersen-Sliding-Doors


Best Windows For Replacement In The Raleigh/Durham Area Of North Carolina

I often am asked, what are the best replacement windows? My response is pretty much the same for most folks.

1st question I ask is, what do you need architecturally? Do you need to match the look of your current windows? Do the grills or mutins need to match? Is the color of the new exterior important? Vinyl windows can not meet all of these requirements, then we look at fiberglass or wood clad, or even all wood replacement windows.

Pocket replacement windows or partial replacement radically changes the exterior appearance,

2nd question is how much energy efficiency do you desire? Certain materials work better than others,

3rd question is, what is your budget? Replacement windows can sell for 300-1800.00 each,

4th question
is which installation method is best for your home, my rule of thumb is if your home was built after 1950. The best installation method is full frame replacement, see other sidebar articles for more details.

Remember there is no such thing as a good cheap window!! The better the look, the more energy efficient = more cost

Call us today for a free consultation.


Window and Door replacement in Cary, NC

In Cary NC the windows and doors are as diverse as the people who live there.

The windows that have given homeowners the most problems have primarily come from builders grade wood windows used in homes from the 1990’s through early 2000’s.

These wood windows are of poor overall construction, top that with inferior wood that is not resistant to mold and decay and you have a serious problem I want to educate you about.

Ok, you have these wood windows, what should you do?

Before you talk to a smooth talking salesperson, who sells the latest and greatest window!!

Learn your options; first thing I like to teach folks are the installation options for their new windows.

See replacing DH’s in article on same page, for detailed installation methods.

Then we discuss window options, we are an independent window and door contractor.

We are not going to recommend a product based on financial gain for us, we recommend the best product and installation for the job. Please see our reviews on Angie’s list, they tell it all.

We also use our own employees, no subcontractors, 35 years’ experience in the building and remodeling trades. I am a licensed general contractor.

We can handle any issue that may arise, including structural damage, siding, sheetrock, that may result from these windows leaking water into your homes walls.

Also check us out for any other home improvement project you may have.

adamwindow3

hirsch window leak

hirsch window rot

 


M & W Window Problems

Poor Quality Windows & Improper Installation

For years builders and building suppliers have been selling and installing M & W wood, aluminum and vinyl clad windows in the Raleigh area. Now, homeowners are facing real challenges in dealing with these builder grade windows. Most of the issues are related to water infiltration into the structure of these homes having these windows. Combine that with improper installation, lack of flashing and improper or no vapor barrier and you have a real recipe for disaster.

Photo 1: Notice staining of plywood/sheathing, this is the beginning stages of serious water damage, photos 2 and 3 shows water damage to side frames not replaced by plygem warranty

Photo 1: Notice staining of plywood/sheathing, this is the beginning stages of serious water damage, photos 2 and 3 shows water damage to side frames not replaced by plygem warranty

We have found water penetrating in these window openings, especially in the M&W windows made from 1990 through 2006. In fact there are class action lawsuits for the very same reason.

If left in place these windows are causing, and will continue to cause, structural damage to your home! Inserting a window into these existing frames, also known as pocket replacement, will not correct or allow you to discover the potential water damage within the walls and framing. If you allow a person selling you this type of window to wrap or cap the exterior with a product called trim coil then you will trap the moisture in the window frame and inside your walls (see replacing windows in chapel hill for windows that have been capped). Notice the mold and fungus growing out of the frame from under the capping!! Some of these windows are only 6 years old! The worst part of capping is that you cannot see what is going on under it!! This is also true for windows with vinyl cladding, or wood windows covered with vinyl at the factory.

Brier Creek Homeowner Alert!

Photo 2

Photo 2

Most of the homes in the Brier Creek Country Club have these vinyl clad M&W windows!! Most of them have water damage especially those windows exposed to the weather, bay windows, first floor windows that are located under a second story window, windows on gable walls, any windows not covered by porches or overhangs. If you are concerned squeeze the bottom frames to check if there is give. The frame should be hard and not move when pressure is applied.

Plygem Corporation purchased M & W a few years ago inheriting this issue, now they are trying to service the windows that may still be under warranty. Their solution to the problem does little to fix the issue, they recommend replacing the bottom sill. This does nothing to address the side frames which are also damaged and most importantly is does absolutely nothing to repair the structural damage created by these leaking windows. Or stop the water leakage. 50% of the problem in BRIER CREEK is the installation!!! Modern building practices recommend vapor barriers applied over the homes sheathing. The windows need to be installed into this vapor barrier. Many builders mistakenly tape over the bottom installation fin, sealing any water that may leak from the window!! This water stays in your walls!! Wood and water do not mix anywhere, especially in our climate. Moist wood leads to insects, termites and other vermin infestation; let’s not discount mold, mildew and fungus. This is what happened at Brier Creek and other areas around the triangle that have M&W vinyl clad windows that were improperly installed.

 

Solution!

Photo 3

Photo 3

The use of solid vinyl windows has eliminated the leaking issue of the cladding however, the use of cheaply made vinyl windows is creating a new set of issues…this will be addressed in a future article.

Do you have these windows in your home? Have someone look at your windows, preferably not a pocket replacement window salesman as they will not have the correct product, resources or experience to deal with this serious issue in your home. Settling for a quick fix or Band-Aid approach, will only waste your money and potentially expose your family to mold and other issues in the near future.

To correctly rectify this you will need to totally remove, inspect and replace ALL pieces of these window and surrounding frame. At Windows, Doors & More Inc. we are experts in the full-frame replacement method and a NC licensed General Contractor.   We are here to help, please contact Todd Gillespie for more information. 919-460-6565, or email through the contact form on our website, all estimates are no pressure, informative and reasonable.

Photo 4: Shows what happens when these M&W windows are allowed to leak for 15 years!! imagine the expense if this were a brick or masonry wall!!

Photo 4: Shows what happens when these M&W windows are allowed to leak for 15 years!! imagine the expense if this were a brick or masonry wall!!


Replacing Windows In Chapel Hill?

Shopping for window replacements for the Chapel Hill or Durham area of North Carolina?

Consider this; choosing the right installation method is just as important as the brand/quality of the window you choose. For example, let’s say you want the most indestructible window on the planet!! I would think a window from a submarine would qualify as the best…wouldn’t you?  Take this window and place it inside of your existing wood window frame, AKA pocket replacement, and what do you have? You have 1⁄2 of a window job that will still leak air and will only last as long as the wood frame stays solid.  This does not seem right does it? My point is, why purchase a high quality window and only do half of the window installation?  Take the same window and remove the entire wood window, sash, frame and trim and now when it is installed you have a window that will last for many years without further maintenance required, for a more detailed explanation see replacing double hung windows.

When it comes to replacing windows the right product combined with proper installation does make a difference! When I speak with homeowners about other bids they are receiving, one of the first things I hear is “they are going to cap or wrap my exterior trim and sill!”  This is when a flat coil of aluminum is bent to fit around the trim and sill and placed over existing wood (see Figure A) this window was capped 10 years before the photo.  The next two photos (Figure B & C) show the damage created from trapping moisture inside this capping.  Capping or wrapping of an existing wood window cannot be sealed enough to keep out moisture.

 

window was capped 10 years before the photo

Figure A

Figure B

Figure B

Figure C

Figure C

The next set of photos shows a project where the pocket window replacement method was used leaving the old window frame in place, only 6 years prior.  Notice the fungus growing out between the window and the capping!!!

Figure D

Figure D

The worst problem created from capping is the damage to surrounding structure that cannot be seen until the capping is removed.

Figure E

Figure E

The difference between us and them is, I will never recommend this type of installation for the replacement of existing wood windows in Chapel Hill and the Triangle area of NC.  They have quotas to meet!!  Your best interest is not on their agenda; always specify FULL FRAME replacement…


Wood Windows in Raleigh, NC

Thinking of replacing your windows with wood windows? The Beauty of wood stands alone in all the material choices available for window construction. Whether you stain or paint the look created from detailed craftsmanship is not easily replicated with plastic or fiberglass. Most consumers today require low maintenance exteriors, wood window companies have responded with clad wood windows. Clad windows are wood windows covered with either aluminum or vinyl exteriors, many color choices are available, even custom colors from some of the larger companies.
Wood Windows RaleighWood window replacement can cost more than replacing your windows with vinyl, due to higher manufacturing costs, plus you’ll need to stain or paint the interior.

Of all of my clients whom I have replaced their windows with wood windows, they are by far the most satisfied will the overall look and performance of their new windows.

Wood window replacement maintains the current architectural appearance of your home better than any other window type available. Combined with today’s technology, wood windows make a great choice for window replacement.

For a free estimate contact us today or call 919.460.6565.


Replacement Windows in Raleigh – FAQs

IS WINDOW QUALITY IMPORTANT?

In our geographic location, Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area of North Carolina we experience hot, cold, wet or dry, sometimes in the same week! These environmental extremes wreck havoc on our homes exterior, especially if there is wood involved. Choosing the next window and method of installation should be considered carefully.

WHAT ARE THE METHODS FOR WINDOW REPLACEMENT?

Basically, there are 2 primary methods for replacing wood windows.

  • “Full Frame replacement”, aka” complete replacement”
  • And “Pocket replacement” aka” Partial replacement”

(See replacing DH’s “in the news” for more details)
If your current window is not made of wood, i.e. aluminum, vinyl or steel. A variety of techniques may apply.

WHO IS BEST FOR WINDOW INSTALLATION? A LOCAL CONTRACTOR OR A NATIONAL WINDOW COMPANY.

Look for a certified window contractor in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area. Some manufacturers offer certification, all about the same, Pella certification is a comprehensive program requiring its members to follow strict professional guidelines, with ongoing training and support that provides contractors the tools they need to succeed. A hands on approach is what you’ll find with Pella window contractors, able to deal with any other issues that may arise during installation, i.e. wood rot, structural damage.

We have been a Pella certified contractor in Raleigh and Triangle area for 25 years! We also sell and install all name brands. Being independent also allows me the ability to offer the best product for you, not for me. A large national company offers one brand of products, usually a pocket installation, done by sub-contractors, primary motivation is sales. Hire the crew, not the sales person!!!

WHAT IS THE BEST MATERIAL FOR WINDOW REPLACEMENT?

Your options include; Vinyl, Fiberglass, Aluminum, Composite, Wood and Wood Clad. The best ways to judge a material, is how much faith does the manufacturer place on their products, or how much warranty? A 20 year glass seal warranty or better. Plus at least 10 years of parts coverage is a must, also, does the factory have warranty personnel? You will need to have that type of support in the long term.

Also as important as warranty, is energy efficiency. Energy efficient windows will help you save money on energy costs, look for low numbers for U-value, below .30 minimum, .24 or better is outstanding. For solar heat gain, .30 or lower, sunny sides of home would benefit from lowest numbers. Vinyl and fiberglass windows offer the best numbers, due to low conductivity of heat or cold.

If you must have the look of real wood, consider wood clad, where the wood window has a exterior skin of vinyl or aluminum, vinyl cladding does not hold up as well as a extruded aluminum cladding, avoid roll form aluminum as it is thin. Some fiberglass windows have wood interiors; all can be stained or painted to match your existing conditions.

Composite type windows have poor warranties for all their claims of superiority, and are typically installed in a pocket type installation, a large investment for incomplete installation!! Aluminum and steel windows are durable but inefficient at energy saving, prone to early seal failure.

WINDOW SHOPPING ADVISE FROM A LONG TIME WINDOW CONTRACTOR!

Beware the high pressure sales people; they will sell you what’s best for them! But not YOU!!

Look for an independent window contractor that uses name brand products backed by factory service and parts. Avoid sub-contractors; they are motivated to get the job done quickly. Choose the most energy efficient window you can afford, you can make a difference!

Install it correctly; this is the most important choice you have to make!! See replacing double hung’s in the news and info section


Replacing double hung windows?

You have 3 types of installation options:

1. Pocket replacement
By removing the existing sashes and jamb liners, a new window is set inside the existing frame. This is primarily how vinyl windows are done.

2. Sash replacement
Same as above but no new frame installed. Only the sashes and liners are replaced.

3. Full Frame replacement
The entire window is replaced – sash, frame and trim.

Which is best for your home?

In North Carolina we live in a severe weathering zone. Rotten wood can be hiding under trim and window sills!

Are your windows out of square? Look for unequal reveals, bows and gaps along edges where sashes meet frame. Chances are it was not shimmed. Shimming ensures that the frame of the window stays secure in the opening. Without shims, your windows are free to move around.
Is there old or no insulation between existing window frame and wall studs (called rough opening)?

Pocket replacements-vinyl replacement, i.e.; Pella Precision Fit and Andersen Renewal OR sash kits (just sash and liners replaced) do NOT address any of the problems listed above. In fact, it can cause more problems in the future since capping of existing trim with aluminum coil stock, can trap moisture in the trim, which accelerates the rotting.

Many pocket replacement advocates will tell you that Full Frame replacement will damage your siding and interior. This is simply NOT true. They may also tell you it’s more expensive when in fact its extremely competitive with mid to high-end windows.

Why are so many companies promoting pocket replacement? Profit and ease of installation = quick money. Many companies hire professional salesmen who are very effective in their presentations.

Few have any actual construction experience and quotas motivate most. Why leave any part of an inferior window in place? With full frame replacement you remove entire window, frame and trim. This
is the only way to correct hidden issues.

The advantages of full frame replacement over pocket replacement include:

  • Discover & Repair water and insect damage.
  • You will be able to install new frame constructed out of low maintenance material, i.e. vinyl, aluminum, fiberglass, and NOT just cover existing (i.e. capping).
  • Add flashing to sill and provide a real drip cap.
  • Caulk directly to siding or masonry.
  • Square new installation, use shims.
  • Use foam to insulate around rough opening.
  • You will get all new window sills and trim cut with precision (you could even upgrade or change your style)
  • Allows more flexibility with design. Change to casements, transoms, etc.
  • Full frame replacement does not reduce your glass area as does pocket replacement.
  • Quality is higher with full frame window brands. These are also called new construction windows. All can be custom made.

In general, the warranty for doing a pocket replacement will not apply to your existing frame. Looking at long term costs you could spend considerably more with pocket replacements. With full frame replacement you will be saving more energy & landfill space.

Pocket replacements, sash replacements are quick fixes. Making repairs to existing windows and replacing sills, etc, in my opinion, only delays the inevitable and is not the best investment for your money.

Regardless of who you hire for your window project I hope that you please consider full frame replacement!