Windows, Glass and Window Treatments

Windows, Glass and Window Treatment Considerations

Windows do more than just beautify a home from without and provide light and picturesque views from within. They are one of the most important factors in regulating home temperature, and properly installing the right kinds of windows can lead to major savings in home heating and cooling bills.

Window placement is a crucial factor in home planning. Heat loss during winter and heat gain during summer are highly dependent on where windows are situated and what type of materials are used. Properly placed windows can give a homeowner great control over exposure to the sun - southern-facing windows offer the greatest flexibility, while northern-facing windows are the least facile.

Well placed and properly sized windows can also offer a great opportunity for home cooling by utilizing cross-breezes. Of course, when selecting window locations, you'll need to factor in things like furniture placement and accessibility for opening and cleaning.

When choosing glass for your windows, be sure to factor in where the window will be placed and how it will be used. Tempered glass should be employed around doors or anywhere a chance of breakage exists. Double- or triple-pane insulating glass should be used wherever possible on exterior windows, as an upfront investment will lead to major savings on heating and cooling bills.

Other glass options include glazings or coatings that protect from heat while admitting light, or reflective coatings that keep bright sunlight from fully infiltrating the home.

There is a plethora of different window styles to choose from, ranging from simple single-hung sliding panes to bay windows, from glass cubes to skylights. Your home may have as many different windows as you have uses for - make sure to consider all your options before settling on a style.

And while wood frames are the most popular and traditional, there are many attractive metal and vinyl frames on the market that may better suit your home's character and insulation needs.

Once your windows are installed, it's time to decorate them. While something like a bay window may require no adornment at all, you may wish to treat other windows with shades, blinds, curtains, toppers, or any combination thereof. You may even wish to add muntin inserts to give a single pane window the look of several smaller panes.

Always consider how much control you wish to have over natural light entering a room, and choose your treatment accordingly - bulky drapes may not be the best option for meticulous light and heat control. Blinds and roll-up shades offer much more flexibility, and come in a variety of appealing styles.