Windows and Exterior Design

health benefits of poolsRenovating your home to improve energy efficiency, aesthetic appeal or just for resale value is never a waste of money. In fact, realtors will tell you that if you want to sell your home as quickly as possible and maximize your return on investment, potential buyers take note of curb appeal. So, before you go ahead with any plans for interior decorating prior to putting your home on the market, do consider enhancing with this trio of exterior decorating items guaranteed to appeal to potential buyers and garner a higher price for your home:

  1. Replace your current windows
  2. Replace your faded vinyl or even older aluminum siding with a new and improved product, available in a range of colors and always an energy-saving booster as well.
  3. Replace your front door with a steel door in any one of the bold and exciting colors and trendy styles now available – you can’t beat a steel door for added security to your home.

Even if you’re not interested in renovations for the sale of your home, one of the most-popular items in home remodeling is the addition of replacement windows. No matter the reason for getting new windows, there are many styles and features to suit every budget.

Trending design in replacement windows

The trend today is looking to the future, making our tomorrow a greener place and leaving less of a carbon footprint in that process. In the last few years, the trusted, Government-backed ENERGY STAR symbol has cropped up everywhere and I’ll be you have that sticker emblazoned on most of your major appliances, showing you just how smart of a consumer you have been. This runs the gamut from the compact fluorescent light bulb which has now usurped the lowly incandescent light bulb, to home appliances which tout energy efficiency and cost savings to you. Now A/C units and high-efficiency furnaces are built to consume less energy and provide more even temperatures than ever before.

But, did you know that your old windows could potentially unravel all this good energy efficient practice by letting in drafts? Caulking doesn’t do the trick, and even shrink wrapping your window to battle the drafts is not always feasible. So, if you are looking to make your home more contemporary with some of the new types of windows now available, no matter your choice, you will still be getting the bonus of more efficient energy use. Did you know that the standard replacement windows with triple-pane glass made of fiberglass or vinyl offered by most window installation companies today, promise an increased energy efficiency of 53%-74% over the single-pane windows you might have in your home right now?

Some of the contemporary windows that are now available offer these features:

  • Exterior tinted panes are now optional instead of the standard clear pane only;
  • Exterior grille treatments for added protection;
  • Wood enhancements depending on the architectural style of your home;
  • Triple-pane windows now include an optional blind, shade or grille which replaces the middle clear pane in the “sandwich”; and
  • Exceptionally heavy window panes help protect your home from dust and makes it impervious to damage due to the elements and helps reduce allergens for allergy sufferers in the family.

The windows of the future are

If you’re satisfied with your current windows and they are providing your home optimal energy efficiency, and perhaps you are merely browsing the internet or visiting home shows to see what types of replacement windows are “out there”, you might want to wait just a little longer before considering replacing your existing windows. In the immediate future, some of the most-popular replacement windows will include the following features, all designed for creature comfort, aesthetic value and continued protection of your most-valuable asset … your home. Why not consult with a window installation contractor in McLean? This expert will help you decide the best windows for your home and enlighten you on the some of the innovative trends in windows that are either just becoming available or their availability is just around the corner. For example…

Smart windows

Microsoft isn’t the only place where you’ll find high technology in “Windows” … the new class of windows available will take the technology bar way higher. Very soon, you will be able to get windows with switchable glazing (sometimes called “smart windows”) which can adjust the amount of solar heat gain or the amount of light which are permitted to pass through the window subject to the environmental conditions inside your home. In other words, the window adjust itself to your current home conditions. This is good for a state like Virginia which has, of late, been subject to its own wacky weather … a good example was last year’s surprise snowfall, and though it melted before day’s end, it still was just one example of the ever-changing weather trends, which experts are no longer sure they can blame on global warming. These new “smart windows” fall into four categories:

Electro chromic – The panes change from clear to mid-dark to fully dark at the flip of a switch.

Photo chromic – The panes gradually respond to outside changes in light, much like eyeglasses which automatically tint themselves on sunny dates. This is wonderful for wicked hot days since the sun’s rays are filtered out automatically, with no human intervention involved, thus cooling the house substantially.

Thermo chromic – This process causes your windows to change automatically from clear to diffused to white and even reflective in response to the heat. This is accomplished by using gel-based coatings. There are products currently available commercially only that may be applied to almost any traditional window assembly.

Liquid Crystal – This is a concept which has been used for awhile for privacy control, but not energy savings. It has been perfected by the introduction of a product that encases a layer of tiny liquid crystals between the panes turning the glass a translucent milky white. But when electric current is applied to the layer of film that encases the crystals, the glass becomes transparent once again.

The future is looking brighter when you know you are living in a house designed to conserve energy and give you a wonderful window to the world in the process.