Do’s & Don’ts
George Fowler, owner of Heritage Windows, shares some important “do’s” and “don’ts” when it comes to installing windows and doors:
The two key questions that potential Heritage customers should ask themselves are, “What is the correct product for this application?” and “Who is the most qualified person to install this product?”
Never install a wooden window in your house!
Windows in older homes of 50 to 75 years were built out of trees that were 100 to 200 years old. The wood in today’s windows is usually only 10 to 15 years old. There is no sap in the wood that will protect windows from rotting out. I have seen windows in houses that are just 18 months old that have totally rotted out. You need a cladded wooden window or some other type such as vinyl to stand up to the elements.
Never install a “builder’s grade” window or door on the lakeside of a house!
Weather coming off a lake can be 10 times worse than the other side of the house. The wind and rain is usually hitting the house horizontally and “builder’s grade” windows and doors will not hold up. You need excellent architectural windows and doors. I recommend an “out swing” door with a high performance sill. The harder the wind blows, the tighter the door shuts. The same is true for windows; I recommend a casement window, which opens out, shuts back tight and locks down for minimal infiltration.
Never have a novice install your windows or doors!
I have often seen expensive windows or doors that have been installed by someone who doesn’t know what they are doing, and the window or door leaks. Just as bad as a poor installation is the wrong product installed in the wrong situation. You need someone who has been in the business for many years to advise you.
Never install a wooden door in a house that is not covered by some type of porch!
There are wooden doors in 100 to 150 year old churches and old buildings that look great, but what we are not aware of is that these doors were made from trees that were 100 to 200 years old. Some of today’s wooden doors are made from “young growth” trees that do not have the sap to withstand weather. They need to be protected by a porch or awning.
If your windows have failed or rotted out, do not replace them with the same kind of window again!
If the glass in your aluminum windows have fogged in just a few years, don’t replace them with more aluminum windows. Move up to a vinyl window. If your wooden windows have rotted out, replace with a cladded one. Do it correctly the second time around. Don’t waste good money by installing cheap windows. Also, only buy a window and door with at least a 10-year factory warranty. Anything less is not worth it.
Upgrade in glass quality whenever you replace!
Low-e glass was first introduced to the residential market in 1977. Low-e glass features transparent, microscopic layers of silver placed between layers of anti-reflective metal oxide coatings. These coatings block 83% of harmful UV rays and 96% of the sun’s infrared heat, so homes stay cooler in the summer and interior furnishings fade less. In the winter, Low-e helps keep homes warmer for improved comfort and reduces condensation. It also delivers greater visible light transmittance than tinted glass. When I was building houses 15 years ago, Low-e was expensive, so we just installed them on the south and west side of the house. Today the price is so reasonable that you should install them in the whole house.
Choosing the wrong product for your new home the first time will only hasten the demise of your home and cost you additional installation!
Talk to a professional windows and doors man before you buy anything. Find out about all the different glass options and windows types first. Don’t just go to the building supply store and buy whatever they are selling. Do your research.
There are basically six types of windows on the market today: Wood, Cladded Wood, Vinyl, PVC, Aluminum, and Fiberglass.
Wood windows are by far the most popular but also the most expensive to buy and maintain. As far as I know there is only one “all wood” window with a 20 years rot and termite resistance warranty. This is the only window I would recommend.
A cladded wood window is the best wooden window on the market. It is a true wooden window but has a heavy extruded aluminum cladding that completely covers the exterior surfaces for low-maintenance durability. They also come in 5 or 6 standard colors with a baked-on finish that doesn’t need to be repainted.
The best window for the money is a vinyl window. They are custom sized, have several color choices and many profiles and glass options. They are reasonably priced and some have a lifetime warranty that is also transferable to the new owner.
PVC windows are great windows. They too are priced economically and they look just like a wooden window.
I recommend aluminum windows only in commercial application.
Fiberglass windows are gaining in sales, they are stronger than vinyl and come in an additional darker color.