New window treatments are one of the most effective ways to add value to a home. Besides increasing curb appeal, new windows can also save a great deal on heating and cooling costs. They can also yield a significant return on investment. While the style of the home will affect the choice of windows for each room, there are a number of other factors to consider when installing new or replacement windows.
How you use a window should affect your choice of a replacement. With a kitchen window over a sink, for example, a sliding window might be easier to reach over. Moreover, it also helps to know what kind of furniture you plan to have near a window.
A casement window that can be opened with one hand might be the right choice if a large table will sit in front of a window.
Weather and Ventilation
If one side of the house gets hit by unusually fierce winds, picture windows may be the right option to let in natural light without worrying about the weather. Energy efficient windows come in handy in these situations. Smaller windows, however, are usually better for keeping out the elements.
The right windows can also help ventilate certain areas such as bathrooms. For example, ventilating skylights allow light inside while letting warmer air escape the house.
Enhancing a View
One of the best things about installing new windows is how they can make the most of a nice view. Picture windows and patio doors are an effective way to bring the outside in and to make an ordinary room seem even larger. Sliding glass doors also have the advantage of not needing the space that an ordinary door requires to swing open.
If safety is an issue, awning or casement windows are a good idea, especially for lower floors or areas accessible from the street. These types of windows are more difficult for would-be intruders to pry open. Of course, it’s always necessary to check with local building codes in order to know how much of an opening to allow in case of fire or other emergency. In these instances, sliding or casement windows are suitable options for meeting those codes.
If there are walkways near windows, however, it helps to install ones that do not swing out e.g. horizontal sliders, so that a pathway is not obstructed every time that window is used.
Noise and Privacy
For bathroom windows or ones near an entry, privacy glass gives an opaque effect that eliminates the need for window coverings. If a window faces a busy intersection or highway, sound control windows are a great option to block out excessive street noise.
Beyond having the right windows to suit your household needs, the right window treatment can also make a significant difference in the look and functionality of your new windows. Blinds, often referred to as hard window coverings, are an inexpensive way to control the light in a room. Blinds are composed of slats that run horizontally or vertically. Their advantage is that they are easy to clean and a nice alternative for people sensitive to pollen or dust in the air.
Shades, on the other hand, are considered a soft window treatment. Instead of the slats common to blinds, shades consist of smooth fabric that folds up to reveal the window. Shades are generally more energy efficient than blinds because they trap cool air from air conditioning and keep out the sweltering summer heat. They are also a bit better than blinds for privacy because they can still allow light while covering a window. As window treatments, Shades and blinds each have their own uses which may benefit one room more than another.
The important thing to know is that, with a window replacement project, you have the power to change not only the appearance, but the function of your existing windows. For instance, you can make substantial changes by installing sliding doors or a new bay window. Furthermore, window treatments will also impact their look and their practicality. In other words, a bit of planning and careful consideration can ensure that you upgrade both your home’s appearance and its functionality at the same time.
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