October 15, 2017
What You Want in Energy Efficient Windows
Have you been considering what you want in energy efficient windows? Wholesale Home Improvements in Denver has created a handy guide to help you make the best selection. These days, there are energy efficient options for virtually every style of window out there, so you can pick out the look you want and still take advantage of potentially lower energy bills.
First, let’s take a look at what options are out there for frame materials on replacement windows and what you want in energy efficient windows. Some materials are naturally energy efficient on their own, and others need a little bit of help. The good news is, there are options to up the energy efficiency of many materials so you can choose just the look you want!
- Aluminum or Metal Frames
You may remember from high school science classes that metal conducts heat fairly readily. That means that aluminum frames are not very energy efficient on their own. If you still want to take advantage of this durable, light and extremely low-maintenance material, you can add a plastic strip called a thermal break between the inside and outside of the frame.
- Composite Frames
Composite window frames are made up of composite wood particles. For example, particle board or laminated strand lumber. The benefit to these frames is that they have roughly the same insulating capacity as traditional wood frames but are not nearly as prone to rotting and moisture damage.
- Fiberglass Frames
Fiberglass is a great, lightweight material that also doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. It is filled with air cavities which, when filled with insulation, makes fiberglass an energy efficient option for your replacement windows as compared to wood or uninsulated vinyl.
- Vinyl Frames
Vinyl frames are popular as a low-maintenance and inexpensive option. Just like fiberglass, air cavities within the material can be filled with insulation, making insulated vinyl what you want in energy efficient windows versus uninsulated vinyl or wood. A quick note – make sure you look for quality vinyl as there are many cheap versions out there that will undermine the energy savings you’re trying to attain.
- Wood Frames
Traditional wood frames look fantastic and insulate moderately well. However, the downside to wood is that it requires a fair bit of upkeep as it is prone to cracking as it expands and contracts with weather conditions and eventually rotting and or succumbing to insect damage. If this is the style you want, be prepared for some upkeep.
Glass or Window Glazing
Once you’ve chosen the frame that you want, the next thing to look at is window glazing or glass. Since the glass is the most substantial part of your replacement window, you obviously want to choose the right glass, or window glazing, to both fit your budget and attain your energy efficiency goals. Factors such as climate, building design, and even window orientation affect this decision, and you may find it prudent to adjust in different parts of your home.
- Insulated Glass
When it comes to what you want in energy efficient windows, this one is easy. With an insulated glass window, two or more panes of glass are put together but spaced apart just a little bit. Then it is hermetically sealed leaving a buffer zone between the panes of glass that provides an insulating effect.
- Gas Fills
To make double paned windows even more efficient, manufacturers often put an inert gas, such as Argon or Krypton, between the two panes of glass. These gases have a higher resistance to heat transfer than does air and therefore improve the overall energy efficiency of any window, double-hung windows to casements.
- Heat-Absorbing Tints
If Heat-absorbing tints can be added to the window glazing as a means to not only inhibit heat transfer but also to block a significant amount of UV light. You do have to be careful though as if you cut down on the natural light by 70% or more, any indoor plants you have will either slow down the rate of growth or even die.
Gray or bronze tinted windows are the most commonly used colors as they work well to absorb both heat and light. If, however, you want to allow light through and only block heat, then you should go for a blue or green tinted glass.
- Low-Emissivity Coatings
Another big factor, low-emissivity (or low-E coatings as they are known in the industry) are what you want in energy efficient windows. These coatings can be applied to the glass to improve energy efficiency further. The coatings are metal or metallic oxide that is so thin it is basically invisible. Most of the time this happens during the manufacturing process, but to improve energy efficiency on existing windows, you can buy a film to apply to already installed windows
- Reflective Coatings
Reflective coatings reflect back the rays of the sun and block more light than heat. These coatings are often used in hot climates where the sun can be extreme. However, they don’t always positively help your energy bill because what is gained in lower cooling costs is lost in need for more electric lighting. It just depends on the climate, positioning of the home and what you want in energy efficient windows.
- Spectrally Selective Coatings
These coatings are a specific type of low-E coating that is capable of insulating against 40-70% of the heat that goes through your window but does not affect the light transfer. The coating focuses on blocking only the infrared portion of the solar spectrum (in other words, heat) and leaves the rest of the spectrum, which is visible light, alone.
After reading all this, do you have a better idea of what you want in energy efficient windows? It’s okay if you’re a little confused. The experts here at Wholesale Home Improvements in Denver are happy to help you figure out exactly what you want and will help you choose the perfect windows for your home. Our almost 25 years of experience is exactly what you need!
September 26, 2017
Looking to Update Your Patio Doors Before Winter?
If you’re looking to update your patio doors before winter arrives, the team at Wholesale Home Improvements in Denver has a few suggestions for you. The type of material that the doors are made out of is a good thing to be thinking about as you are deciding what you would like to do for this significant home improvement.
There’s a myriad of patio door styles and colors to choose from. While it’s always fun to focus on style and adding flair to your home, the best place to start is choosing a patio door material. If you’re looking to update your patio doors before winter, here are a few considerations when choosing a material.
Wooden patio doors create a timeless, classic look that can’t be beaten. Besides visual appeal, it is also easy to repair minor damage like scratches. On the downside, however, wood is a bit more expensive and requires maintenance to keep it in good shape. Environmental factors such as the sun and heat can have a substantial effect on the wood, causing warping and damage.
Steel is a great option if you want something sturdy and energy efficient. It’s less of a hit to your pocketbook than wood and requires less maintenance to keep it up. Though it won’t warp or bow like wood, if it does get scratched it can rust and start not to look so good. So, be sure to keep up on the paint and repair scratches as they happen.
If you’re looking to update your patio doors before winter and considering aluminum, which is a similar option to steel (but more lightweight), you’ll have to keep up on maintenance since this material is even more susceptible to scratches and dents. While inexpensive and fairly sturdy, this exterior door material may not be suitable if you have active kids or dog friends that tend to scratch at your door to be let in or out.
Vinyl is a great, all around option. Many styles are made to mimic other materials, so vinyl can provide style while being sturdier, less expensive and easier to maintain. They’re also relatively energy efficient, so it can seem like there’s no downside. However, be aware that extreme shifts in temperature can cause the vinyl to crack and vinyl is more flammable than other materials. Most people find these downsides minor in comparison to the benefits of vinyl patio doors.
Finally, fiberglass is an excellent option for your patio doors. Fiberglass doors can be made to look just like wood and provide all the elegance that this traditional material offers without the downsides. Fiberglass patio and exterior doors are energy efficient and virtually maintenance free. It can even handle environmental stresses like changes in temperature without warping or deteriorating like wood. The best part is, you get all this for a reasonable price.
So if you are looking to update your patio doors before winter, be sure to come and see us here at Wholesale Home Improvements in Denver. We’ll help you decide on the perfect material, design, and style for your home. Our experienced staff will also install the doors quickly and efficiently and leave you to enjoy your new home improvement.
September 9, 2017
Fall Is a Great Time to Replace Your Windows
The experts here at Wholesale Home Improvements in Denver, Colorado assure you that fall is a great time to replace your windows. When the leaves begin to turn bright colors and the days start getting cooler, that’s your cue to start picking out the materials, design, and colors you want to use for your home’s new windows. There are a few practical reasons that make fall a great time to replace your windows. Let’s take a look at each one a little more in depth.
The cold winter months are when energy efficiency becomes most important as you want to keep the heat in and the cold out. If you wait until springtime, to replace your windows, you will lose out on taking advantage of that energy efficiency all winter long. This is even more of an issue when your current windows are of the old, single paned variety and keep about as much cold air out as a sieve. Of course, it depends on what windows you buy (and the state of your current windows), but people generally see a 17-25% drop in energy prices when they install new, Energy Star windows.
Enjoy the Fall Air
Old wood and aluminum windows often don’t open, either because they weren’t made to open or because they are so old that their opening mechanism isn’t what it used to be. Some might even have swelled in their frames and are stuck, or it’s so much work to open or close them that you don’t even want to bother. With Denver often seeing warm days well into October, installing new casement windows, you can maximize your home airflow.
Protect Your Health
Old, poorly sealed windows make for cold drafts wafting about your home which can make you and your family members more susceptible to sickness. Sure you can always bundle up to protect yourself, but the whole point of heating your home is so that you don’t have to bundle up against the cold when you’re inside. If you know it’s time to replace your windows, makes more sense to do it now before having to go all winter with those cold drafts plaguing you.
No Time Like the Present
Perhaps the most compelling reason that fall is a great time to replace your windows is the fact that we are just now entering autumn. There is never any time like the present to get a project underway. If your windows are older and in need of an upgrade, give us a call at Wholesale Home Improvements. We’ll not only help you pick out the perfect replacements for your home but also install your windows quickly and efficiently.
As you can see, fall is a great time to replace your windows. So, contact Wholesale Home Improvements to give your home the upgrade it needs before the chill sets in. When you’re enjoying a warm home and potential energy bill savings, you’re sure to be thanking yourself!
August 23, 2017
Egress Windows for Your Basement
Today’s helpful information from Wholesale Home Improvements in Denver, Colorado covers egress windows for your basement. If you’re not familiar with the term, egress means “to go out” or “an exit.” Egress windows, therefore, refer to windows you can use as an exit. By law, any sleeping room is required to have a window large enough that occupants can easily escape or rescue workers can easily enter in case of a fire or other emergency.
If you are adding a bedroom or rental unit to your basement, you will have to comply with regulations for egress windows. Even if you don’t plan to have anybody sleeping down there, it is still a good idea. You never know if this simple addition could end up saving someone’s life.
So, what comprises proper egress windows for your basement? The newest regulations call for a window that is at least 20 inches wide by 24 inches tall. The minimum net clear opening should be 5.7 feet square. The sill height should be no more than 44 inches from the floor. If you have a basement window that doesn’t meet these requirements (they were different in the past) it is a good idea to update it for maximum safety.
We understand that it is an expense to enlarge an opening and install a new egress window, but the money is well worth the possibility of saving someone’s life.
Proper egress windows not only have to meet certain size requirements but also certain functional requirements. For example, they must be operable from the inside without the use of any special materials like a tool or key. Obviously, if you are trying to get out in a hurry, you don’t want to be looking for specialized equipment to get the window open. You are still allowed to have bars or grills, but they too must be operable without special equipment.
Types of Windows
There are several different types of windows available. Let’s look at what works well for basement egress.
- Casement Windows: This is the ideal basement egress window. The casement window takes up less wall space, and the side hinges make opening the window and escaping easy.
- Double-Hung or Sliding Windows: These popular windows can be used for basement egress, but are not as common. When opened, a double-hung or sliding window still has glass covering half the opening, so to meet the size requirements for egress, you’ll need a big window.
One type we do not recommend using as egress windows for your basement is awning windows that swing upward and out. Awning windows are generally not used as egress windows as they can be awkward to get open and crawl through.
One last note about egress windows for your basement, be sure that nothing is blocking your escape route on the exterior. Underground basements will require a window well and possibly even a ladder to get out easily if the well is deep. The experts here at Wholesale Home Improvements can help you with any questions you have about the requirements and ensure that your windows are installed correctly.
August 9, 2017
Should You Choose Insulated Vinyl Siding
At Wholesale Home Improvements in Denver, Colorado, we're here to answer the question, should you choose insulated vinyl siding for your new or replacement siding. Vinyl siding, in general, is a great product and offers many advantages over other types of siding--not the least of which is versatility and cost effectiveness. However, you may be wondering if it is worth it to make the bump up to insulated vinyl siding instead.
So, what are the benefits of insulated vinyl siding? Let’s look at some of them, and hopefully, this information will help you decide should you choose insulated vinyl siding.
- Higher energy efficiency
The main difference between insulated siding and regular vinyl is, of course, the insulation--which makes for better energy efficiency. Some homeowners prefer insulated siding based purely on this advantage. Sometimes you can even get some great tax credits by choosing this option!
- Better impact-resistance
Again, due to the insulation, this can make the siding more durable and last a bit longer depending on your location.
- Greater weather resistance
Often, the most intense beating your home will face comes from the weather and insulated siding has a marked advantage over traditional vinyl siding in its ability to stand up to the elements.
- Greater ability to muffle sound
This is a great benefit if you live close to a busy street or some other area where there is a lot of outside noise. Having a quiet oasis inside your home can be just what the doctor ordered on a particularly stressful day.
- Install over existing siding
In some cases, you won’t have to remove your existing siding to install insulated vinyl siding. This can save you a lot of money in removal and waste disposal fees.
- Easy maintenance
Insulated vinyl siding is very easy to maintain, and if a section is damaged, it is easy to replace only that portion.
- Color schemes
There are a huge variety of colors and styles you can choose from to create virtually any look you want. You can even simulate the classic look of wood siding without the extra cost or maintenance that traditionally comes with it.
While it’s a great product and comes with an impressive list of positives, it does have a few downsides to think through when deciding should you choose insulated vinyl siding. The majority of issues have to do with moisture. The siding must be installed correctly, or it is prone to moisture and mold problems. This is because the nature of insulated vinyl siding lowers its ventilation and ability to breathe. However, the good news is that virtually all issues with this siding can be avoided if installed by a knowledgeable team.
So, we hope that this information has been helpful in your decision about whether you should choose insulated vinyl siding. Of course, as we pointed out if you do go with this product you should always have it installed by professionals that know what they’re doing--like those here at Wholesale Home Improvements. Whether you’re going with insulated, traditional or any other siding product, we have over 25 years of know-how and many happy customers in the Denver metro area to back up our work.