Doors and Windows Guide


Every American homeowner who lives in the same house all their life eventually has to come to terms with spending money on the doors and windows in their home. This could be because rust and rot have set in and they are getting ready to disintegrate. On the other hand they might have decided to take advantage of tax rebates under the government’s energy star incentive scheme.

Of course they might simply wish to install the latest doors and windows for pure vanity’s sake. Whatever their reason, they will find themselves confronting a cost-benefit paradigm. This is because there has to be a limit to what we are prepared to spend, and this inevitably falls a little short of the salesperson’s expectations.

Doors and Windows and Aesthetics

The outside appearance of a home can make or break a sale. That’s because of what estate agents call kerb appeal, which can cement the viewer’s first impressions. Houses are generally constructed in a particular style – colonial, traditional, ranch, modern and so on – and in the nation’s mind these have their own particular styles of doors and windows too.

Much of this has to do with the size of individual sheets of glass, and how these are arranged within the doors and windows frames. The manner of opening is equally important. Replacing vertical sliding sashes with hinged casements may look good on paper. But when they’re open they could look awful.

These days, replacement doors and windows are readily available in most traditional designs, and many firms will make them up especially for a premium. It is far wiser to shop around and spend a little more, that be pressurized to accept the cheapest offer just because the supplier has a surplus of that particular model.

Energy Saving with Doors and Windows

While energy star tax rebates come in handy, the long terms benefits of green windows show in monthly energy bills. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration the average American family spends in excess of $100 on electricity consumption every month. If they could save 30% of this through energy savings, this could be enough to replace many of the doors and windows in a smaller home.

Factors to Consider

While it may be tempting to choose a window or a door just because it “looks solid”, there are more criteria to consider that just appearance when it comes to ordering doors and windows. Chief among these are:

  • Double versus triple glazing (a critical success factor in colder northern areas)
  • The quality of the glazing spacers and the performance of the e-coatings
  • The class of seals fitted to the doors and windows
  • The thermal properties of the framing elements
  • The reputation of the installers

It is particularly important to check that fittings qualify for energy star rebates before placing the actual order. This should be confirmed on the written quotation for the doors and windows you have chosen.

Finally, Some Installation Tips

Your choice of installer can make or break the project because it is equally important to ensure that gaps between frames and walls are equally weather-tight. A professional installer should seal the cavities first, supply doors and windows that are a tight slide-in fit, and then seal thoroughly across all joints.

In a worst-case scenario remedial work to recover a shoddy job could go as far as removing the units, making good and then reinstalling them. Besides the obvious risk of damage, this will outdo any savings accrued from using an inexperienced windows and doors contractor.