Windows FAQs Be Green. Live Better!

Windows FAQs

  • Q:How often should residential windows be replaced?

    A:Homeowners with windows over 25 years old should consider replacing them, both to gain the best energy efficiencies and to protect the “envelope” of the house. A home is an ideal candidate for a window replacement if its windows are sealed or painted shut, experiences ice buildup or a frosty glaze during the winter, gets fogged with condensation or has drafts that come through the windows. It is also recommended to upgrade your windows if the existing windows are single pane or leaking air.

  • Q:What are modern windows and doors made of?

    A:Windows and doors are made of many different materials and the most common are wood, aluminum, and vinyl. Home Performance contractors usually install vinyl made windows and glass doors since vinyl does not transfer heat as much as aluminum and other metals.

  • Q:What does “cladding” mean?

    A:Some windows have wood frames that are covered on the exterior and/or interior with a layer called “cladding” consisting of vinyl, fiberglass or aluminum. This cladding provides additional protection for the window frame by strengthening its resistance to outside weather or heavy inside usage.

  • Q:How do I know what type of glazing is right for a window?

    A:Different climates and styles of homes require different glazing options in order to maximize energy efficiency. Some glazing options can also help reduce outdoor noises from entering the home. Options range from the single-glazed glass with minimal insulating value (commonly found in historic homes), up through dual-sealed, triple-insulated glass with multiple Low E surfaces with an argon gas-filled insulated airspaces for maximum efficiency. The minimum requirement for new windows here in Southern California is dual-pane windows, it is highly recommended to add the Low-e feature which reduces the U-factor and the Solar Heat Gain Co-efficiency (SHGC).

  • Q:What are grilles?

    A:Grilles consist of muntin bars that form a decorative pattern on a window or door by dividing the glass into smaller panes.

  • Q:What are the advantages of airspace and perimeter grilles?

    A:Airspace grilles feature the muntin bars sealed in the insulating airspace between two panes of glass and make the windows easier to clean. Perimeter grilles have an easy snap-in design that allows you to easily remove them for cleaning and to quickly change the look of the windows. Some manufacturers offer custom grilles designed to fit a number of architectural styles and are also available as removable perimeter grilles for easy installation and removal.

  • Q:What do U-values and R-values really mean?

    A:When choosing any window or door, look for information that lists the product’s U-Value and R-Value. U-Values represent the amount of heat that escapes through a wall, window, roof or other surfaces. The lower the U-Value, the more energy efficient a material is. R-Values are the direct opposite and they measure an object’s resistance to heat flow. The higher a material’s R-Value, the lower its U-Value, and the less energy it will lose (has a better Thermal Resistance). An R-Value depends on the number of layers of glass in a window, what type of gas is between those layers, and whether one or more of the layers of glazing have been treated with a Low E coating.

  • Q:What does “Low E” stand for?

    A:The term “Low E” means low emissivity. Emissivity is a property that’s unique to materials, such as glass, which light can freely pass through. Low E is a coating of non-visible, microscopic layers of silver sandwiched between layers of anti-reflective metal oxide coatings. Added to the surface of window and door glass, Low E provides greater energy efficiency, increased comfort and protection from damaging Ultra Violet (UV) rays. By filtering out the part of the light spectrum that transmits heat, Low E reduces a window’s U-Value and increases its R-Value.

  • Q:What is the difference between “Simulated” and “True Divided Lite?”

    A:True Divided Lite (TDL) windows have individual panes of glass held together by muntin bars for a look similar to homes built during colonial times. While they look very much like the windows of yesterday, today’s technology makes TDL windows extremely energy efficient with insulated glass or insulated Low E glazing. Simulated Divided Lite (SDL) windows feature a glass pane with the muntin bar grilles permanently adhered to the interior and exterior surfaces to give it the appearance of a TDL window. An optional narrow spacer bar is available for the insulating airspace between glass panes and grille bars. This design offers modern energy efficiency while replicating the look of TDL construction where each lite is completely separated by a muntin bar.

  • Q:Who should have impact-resistant glass in their home?

    A:Impact-resistant glass is ideal for homeowners living in coastal areas prone to strong windstorms and hurricanes, or for those who live near a golf course or other area where vigorous sports activities take place. Some homeowners choose impact-resistant glass for the sound reduction and security benefits it provides.

  • Q:Will impact-resistant glass prevent intruders from breaking into my home?

    A:No glass can completely prevent intruders from entering your home. Any glass, when struck repeatedly with forceful blows, will eventually shatter. However, the majority of impact-resistant glass stays in the frame when broken, causing a forced entry to be much more time consuming, cumbersome, and difficult.

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