Several homeowners who have replaced their decades-old windows during a home remodeling project uniformly say they are amazed by how much more comfortable their homes are once they make the switch.
The fact is that most homes built in the Shreveport/Bossier area during the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s are equipped with wood-framed windows that have single panes of glass.
Even if you’ve managed to keep yours looking nice after so many hot summers have expanded, contracted, rotted and cracked those wooden frames, your air conditioner is having to work extra-hard to compete with the hot, outdoor air that those single panes are allowing to waft indoors.
Before the weather gets too hot, consider replacing those drafty, high-maintenance windows with newer, energy-efficient models.
Most homes built after the 1960s have some sort of metal window because homeowners wanted windows that didn’t require scraping, sanding and painting year after year.
Those windows might be all-aluminum, vinyl or fiberglass, and they never need painting, inside or out. But because a lot of the homeowners I work with still love the look of a wood window that they can paint on the inside to match their interior décor, I recommend “clad” windows.
“Clad” windows feature a wood frame that is covered on the outdoors side with vinyl, fiberglass or aluminum, so they hold up under the Louisiana sun year after year. However, in the interior side, the frame is wood only, so the homeowner can stain or paint it any color.
The metal or vinyl cladding adds a layer of durability to the window and makes it far less trouble to care for. But looks are just one consideration when it’s time to replace your old windows. Energy efficiency is just as important.
You’re likely to notice a dip in your energy bill and an immediate difference in how comfortable your house will feel once you upgrade your windows.
That’s because your new windows will have double panes of glass—called “double glazed”—rather than single, and will keep heat and cold outdoors where it belongs, depending on the season. You’ll feel fewer drafts coming through new windows. And some homeowners tell me that the extra pane of glass helps them feel more secure and helps keep their homes quieter.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you shop for windows:
- The experience can be overwhelming. Like everything else these days, you’ll find enough options to make your head spin. You can buy windows in every shape, size, material, color and style imaginable. My advice: Don’t do this on your own. Visit a window showroom, where you can talk to professionals who can teach you about the pros and cons of different models and answer your questions.
- Don’t overbuy. Triple-pane windows aren’t necessarily better than double-pane in our climate. They’re designed mostly for far Northern climates and coastal homes. Here, double-pane is just enough.
- Consider your options. Learn about gas fillers and coated glass so you can decide if it’s worth the cost to add another layer of energy efficiency and comfort.
- Remember the Energy Start label. Look for the Energy Star label on any window you’re thinking about putting on your home. That label proves that the window meets rigorous energy-efficiency standards set by the federal government.
New windows can make your home more beautiful and more comfortable—and they can save you money on your energy bills. If you haven’t replaced yours for the last 15 years or so, it might be time.
Jeb Breithaupt, B. Arch., MBA, has been president of JEB Design/Build in Shreveport since 1983. You can contact him at 318-865-4914 or by visiting www.Jeb.net.