Upgrading your windows and doors can be pricey but the benefits easily outweigh the replacement costs. Energy-efficient windows and doors will lower your energy bills because they properly regulate your home’s temperature. Installing new windows and doors will also improve the aesthetic look and financial value of your house.Continue reading
Weatherproofing your home will not only improve the indoor climate and your level of comfort but will also reduce your electricity bill. So this winter season, take some time to inspect your house inside and out, paying extra attention to the air points of entry such as windows and doors. The following guide will teach you how to weatherproof your windows and doors for winter.
When inspecting your house for possible energy loss, mind your house’s exposure to the sun and dominant winds. The areas that are often subjected to dire weather conditions like these will require your extra attention. This is because cracks and gaps will inevitably develop between, windows and their surrounding brick wall.
House Weatherproofing Techniques
- Sealing around windows and doors
- Adding window shutters, blinds, or curtains
- Replacing windows and doors
- Adding attic insulation
- Waterproofing and insulating basement and house foundation
While some weatherproofing measures can turn into big home improvement projects, there are some efficient DIY steps you can follow. An easy way to do so is to simply caulk and seal drafty windows with a window gap filler.
Caulking Windows and Doors
When you are sealing window and door frames, it is important to choose the right caulking for the project. There are currently 3 main types of exterior window caulk on the market to choose from:
- Silicone caulk (or a mix of silicone and latex) is waterproof, very flexible, and shrink-proof with a life expectancy of 20 years after application. It is clear when it dries but tends to have a strong odour after immediate application.
- Polyurethane caulk is more commonly used for sealing windows and doors. It is expected to last 10 to 20 years. Polyurethane expands as it dries perfectly filling door and window gaps. Polyurethane caulks can also be painted over which makes them a fantastic window sealer for most projects.
- Butyl rubber, oil-based, or resin-based caulks are less expensive than the previous two types of window and door sealant, but they offer much less flexibility and do not last that long.
Things to Keep in Mind When Caulking Windows and Doors
Before applying the new caulk, it is important to remove the old layer with caulk remover gel. The old caulk hardens and becomes brittle with time and traps moisture beneath, which can host humidity and mold. Remove it completely and clean the area with rubbing alcohol before a new application.
Mind the Gap
Another important aspect of caulk application is the size of the crack in the door or window. If the crack is more than half an inch, use a backer rod to fill the gap instead of filling it with caulk. It is also essential to even out the window caulk surface after application; not only does it look more professional, but it also makes the window seal less vulnerable. In addition, it minimizes the risk of unwanted mould growth.
If you are caulking windows in a house with a brick exterior, you have to use caulk that is clear when it dries. Silicone caulk is a good example. The trick here is to get as little caulk as possible on the brick surface. You will need a good dispenser gun for this project so that it would distribute the caulk around the window evenly.
Read ‘Em and Weep
If your house is fairly new and there are trim boards around the windows or doors attached on top of the siding, you should not caulk the gaps in between. Windows like these have openings called weep holes. A weep hole is a small opening that lets water out of the windows so that they do not collect moisture. In this case, weep holes should not be sealed nor caulked because they serve a purpose in the overall structure of the window.
Window Sill Sealant
Another significant area to pay attention to when sealing or resealing a window is an exterior windowsill. A windowsill mainly diverts the water from the wall beneath the window. The windowsill might also develop gaps over time, mostly in 2 areas: between the window and windowsill, and between the concrete slabs or bricks that make up the windowsill. When you are caulking, make sure you take care of these areas too.
At the end of the day, it is critical to check the structure of your doors and windows. In some cases, a window or door seal would defeat their intended purpose and cause costly damage. Although caulking windows and doors seems like an easy DIY project, contact a door and window expert for a professional opinion. An expert can give you with many benefits not just for your house, but on your hydro bills, as well.
When shopping for windows, homeowners have two choices: vinyl or aluminum. The style you choose for your home depends primarily on what you are looking for in window frames and what you consider important. Choosing the right windows for your home makes a huge difference in the appearance and function of your space. Beautifully designed windows look great and offer a lot of natural lighting.
Compare Vinyl and Aluminum Windows
Window Cost by Material
Vinyl windows are considerably less expensive than aluminum window models. The PVC material used to make vinyl window frames is cheaper than aluminum. Vinyl windows are also easier to install so homeowners will save on installation fees
Aluminum and Vinyl Window Aesthetics
Aluminum framed windows are the more preferable choice for most homeowners because the thinner, more contemporary frames look nicer than the bigger, chunkier vinyl frames. Aluminum window frames are also seamless in design whereas vinyl window frames have a very noticeable connection at the corners which some homeowners find unappealing.
Vinyl frames can be painted in any colour to complement the exterior of your home. On the other hand, aluminum window frames cannot be painted. Instead, they are powder coated by the manufacturer during construction, limiting homeowners to which colour of frame they choose for their exterior. Aluminum frames are also more vulnerable to scratching. If the metal is marked, there is a high risk of rust forming when the aluminum metal is exposed.
Vinyl and Aluminum Window Installation
Vinyl window frames are more flexible and easier to install. They can be easily manipulated to fit into your window space.
Aluminum frames are more rigid and more difficult to install. They cannot be manipulated into the wall so the opening must match the window size perfectly.
Aluminum Windows Durability VS Vinyl Windows
Both types of frames are very durable but they also have their own issues and require regular maintenance to lengthen their life cycle.
Aluminum window frames can dent, and rust over time. Once the integrity of the frame is compromised, you are at a higher risk of mold developing as moisture and air seep through the cracks.
Vinyl window frames can warp under extreme weather conditions and separate from your home. Air leaks and heat loss can occur if the openings are not sealed.
What Windows Are the Most Eco-Friendly?
Aluminum window frames are more environmentally friendly than their vinyl counterparts. Aluminum is a natural metal that is reused and recycled. Vinyl windows are made of PVC and are not biodegradable. There is also some debate over whether or not harmful gases and chemicals are released into the air during and after construction.
Energy-Efficiency in Windows
Today, vinyl windows are designed to be highly energy efficient so they are better at maintaining your homes inside temperatures.
As a metal, aluminum is a natural heat conductor. Aluminum window frames retain heat and increase your room’s temperature during the summer. Aluminum frames are also more prone to condensation buildup in cooler environments.
There are many factors to consider when shopping for new windows, and that can be challenging to a homeowner. If you’re struggling to find the right type of window for your property, consult a professional. Milano windows experts have seen it all and knows exactly what works for your house and what doesn’t. They can also give you recommendations for a price within your budget.
No matter how big the scale of your renovation is, if you are contemplating any alteration to your home, you have to get the information about all the permits involved. When it comes to replacing windows, specifically, you might think permits are not needed due to how minimal replacing a window initially presents. But are there situations when a permit is required?
If you are working with an experienced window installation contractor, they should know everything there is about window replacement and installation. This, in turn, means they should be able to discuss with you all aspects of the project, starting with window replacement permits.
But sometimes, it is not all that easy. Although getting a permit is not a very time-consuming procedure, it can still delay the project. More than that, the window installers’ name will be on record, and the company will be responsible if anything goes wrong, especially in terms of insurance claims.
Check the Facts About Window Replacement Permits Yourself!
Some window installers may assure you that the changes to the windows are not significant and a window installation permit is not needed. You might run into this situation if the company you are planning to hire is trying to cut corners. This should immediately strike you as a warning sign—who knows where else your contractor chooses to fall short!
As a result, you, as a homeowner, are ultimately responsible for doing your homework, conducting research as to whether a window replacement permit is necessary. If you fail to do so, you might be fined, denied an insurance claim, or have problems selling your house in the future.
Although permits for replacing or installing windows have requirements that change from city to city in, according to most municipalities in Ontario, the following cases necessitate you get a permit:
Altering the Size of the Window
If you are planning to change the width or height of a window in any amount, you will have to get a replacement permit prior to any changes. And it definitely makes sense; for example, expanding the window’s width often requires cutting the adjoining studs, which may affect the structural integrity of the wall.
Moreover, you should keep in mind the window lintel beam when considering expanding its size. What this beam does is carrying and evenly distributing the wall weight above the window so that it remains intact.
So, obviously, in the event the size of the window is at all altered, the lintel beam would have to be accordingly adjusted to frame the new window. Done incorrectly, this crucial step might have serious repercussions, from cracks in the wall to wall collapse.
In addition, if you happen to live in a heritage building, window replacement permits are a must here, even for the slightest window size alteration. In this particular scenario, the property’s preservation and cultural value are at the heart of the conservation efforts. Therefore, expanding or reducing the size of a heritage window is strictly regulated and necessitates an official permit.
Installing a New Window
You will need a permit if you are planning to install a new window. New window installation is actually a more serious project than it seems. By requiring permits for new window installation, the municipality wants to make sure that it will not affect the integrity of the wall.
Installing an Egress Window
Installing an egress window is always a procedure that is strictly regulated by the Building Code. The main reason being that egress windows are not solely installed for aesthetic purposes—safety is also a major concern here. For this reason, a window installation permit is necessary so that your egress window does not pose a life hazard in the future.
Getting a Permit? Do Not Order the Windows Before Approval!
Some contractors may assure you that documentation for the window replacement permit is on its way and will try to convince you to place an order on windows before getting the actual document, simply to ‘ to save time.’ It might be a tempting offer, but an honest window contractor would recommend you wait until your permit is fully processed.
Overlooking this step might result in damages and will probably end up costing you money, time, and effort later on. Upon the arrival of official documentation from your city, you can then proceed and order the windows for installation or replacement.
Changing the Windows? Good Time to Verify Your Windows Are up to Code.
Although municipal building codes do not change too frequently, if your house is at least 30 years old, and some custom alterations had been previously made, have a professional window installer inspect your windows to make sure they are up to current code. After all, windows are not only a design feature but a safety one, too. It is also essential that you do your research and make sure that you are aware of the requirements for window replacement permits.
The role of an egress window is to serve as an emergency exit for the building occupants in case of a fire or any other emergency. Since safety is a primary concern, the requirements for this specific type of window are very strict. Local building codes define egress windows by their sizes and location although the National Building Code of Canada might stipulate slightly different requirements.
For example, according to the Ontario Building Code, the bedroom window code for egress windows states that any floor containing at least one bedroom should have one egress window at minimum. But how big does an egress window have to be exactly?
Well, usually, bedroom egress windows specs are as follows:
- Can be opened from inside without specialised tools.
- Should have an open segment with a minimum area of 0.35m², with no part of it less than 380mm.
- Should not be installed higher than 1,000mm (39 inches).
- Allow a minimum of 5% of light calculated according to the floor area of the room.
- Provide adequate ventilation.
How big an egress window has to be is usually based on whether an adult person is able to escape through the window in case of emergency. Of course, This is the minimum size for an egress window. Generally speaking, any regular window size that exceeds the aforementioned dimensions and clearance requirements falls under the customary egress window definition.
Do You Need an Egress Window in Your House?
Some window contractors try to avoid assessing the house for safety requirements when working on a window replacement project quote. Indeed, one seemingly little detail such as installing egress windows may delay the whole project if, in fact, there is a necessity to install them.
We believe that although bringing the house up to code is the homeowner’s responsibility, the window contractor should have enough competence and experience to make sure of this, as well. After all, windows are their specialty, and this little change to the project may prove to be a life saver.
The general rule is that egress windows should be installed on each level of the house where there are bedrooms, with no door opening directly outside. This does not necessarily mean that every bedroom has to have an egress window in it—it just has to be located somewhere on the same floor.
The International Residential Code stating where and how big an egress window needs to be was drafted in 1997. This means that if a house was built before 1997, or if there were any alterations done to the house layout such as addition of bedrooms, or if the den is used as a bedroom, there is a risk the windows might not be up to par. This is when you should consult with your contractor to make sure all egress windows criteria are legal under provincial regulations.
What Are the Types of Egress Windows?
Bear in mind that the basement bedroom code primarily recommends sliding windows due to height restrictions. For the most part, a typical basement window size with the opening of 20 inches in width by 24 inches in height is well within safety standards.
If you are considering a window replacement or a new egress window installation in your house, make sure your property is compliant with egress window codes as well as the standard basement window size. Not only will it help you sell the house in future, should you want to, but it may also save lives. Although going through the inspection stage might seem like a feat, think of all the potential egress window advantages; they make the process worthwhile.
Home security has become a serious concern in recent years. While some GTA residents invest in state-of-the-art alarm systems, a lot of people are looking for lower-budget home security ideas that will simply minimize potential risk. After all, people do not keep valuables in their homes anymore, and many find it that installing an alarm system creates more inconvenience to home residents than to the thieves.
Take a good look at your house and answer these simple questions to assess theft risks:
Is your house in the busy part of the city or a more secluded area?
- Do you travel often?
- Would you say your area is generally safe to live in?
- Is your routine predictable?
- Are you aware of frequent break-ins in the area?
- Are there any side windows and doors in your house that are hidden from view?
- Are the doors or windows clearly visible to neighbours? Or are they obstructed by some landscaping feature?
How Can You Secure Your Home without an Alarm?
It is no secret that burglars break into houses through doors and windows, and in rare cases, through a garage door entry. If it looks like it will take more time to break into the house or it will create too much noise, most burglars will simply not bother. Securing your doors and windows will, pretty much, win the battle.
Burglar-proofing your doors is a wonderful way to guarantee the safety of your house and your loved ones. Try out the following tips and tricks for secure, impenetrable doors:
- Install a deadbolt lock that can only be opened with a rotating key, making entry a lot more difficult.
- If there is a glass panel on a door, make sure it is shatterproof or reinforced with metal decorative elements that will prevent the glass from easily breaking.
- Do not leave a spare door key under the doormat. Burglars know where to look and leaving a key under the mat means you are giving them your belongings on a silver platter.
- Replace the lock with a keyless entry lock.
- Always make sure to lock the backyard gate.
Home security experts recommend paying extra attention to first-level and basement windows because they are at a higher risk of being broken through by burglars. The following are some methods you can use to secure your windows:
- Do not leave any windows open when you leave the house.
- Make sure your windows are shatterproof and cannot be easily broken into.
- Consider installing double-pane windows as they are more secure than single-pane ones.
- Use horizontal planks to deadbolt the windows on the ground floor.
Cheap Home Security Ideas
When you theft-proof your house, remember that burglars are looking for quick and quiet entry opportunities, and they prey on empty houses. They will never risk it if they are not absolutely certain the house is empty. However, there are some easy and inexpensive ways in which you can trick burglars into thinking your house is one to avoid:
- Keep your cars in the garage; it makes it difficult for the potential burglars to figure out your routine.
- Stick a “Beware of dog!” sign by the back and front door. Even the prospect of potential noise will be enough to scare thieves away.
- Install a few fake surveillance cameras around your property to give the illusion your house is constantly monitored.
- When you leave the house, turn the radio or TV on; it will create the impression that someone is in the house.
- Install spotlights in dark areas of the garden.
- Install motion-activated lights by the back or side doors.
- Use curtains and blinds, and keep them closed on the first floor to prevent potential burglars to peek in and assess your valuables.
If you travel frequently or when you go away for a long time, home security experts advise the following:
- Make sure your mail does not pile up on the doorstep because that is a tell-tale sign there are no occupants in the house.
- Make sure your grass is cut in the summer and the snow plowed in winter while you are away.
- Do not leave your garbage bin outside for the entire time you are out of the house.
- Leave a couple of lamps in the house on timer mimicking your usual routine.
- Have a designated person check up on your house every once in a while to make it seem like there is activity in your property.
These simple steps will not only add peace of mind but will help you secure your windows and doors. You can now burglar-proof your house without breaking the bank and having to and disarm annoying alarm every time you step out to grab a package. If you want to upgrade your existing doors or replace your windows with more secure ones, contact windows and doors installation experts in the GTA.
It is usually in the winter when you notice your windows and doors are letting cold air inside the house. Although there might be some other reasons why a room might feel too cold, from inadequate wall or attic insulation to poor air exchange in the ducts, a simple test will help you identify the problem if it is not obvious enough.
Say you suspect a drafty window but do not know exactly which window or door it is, attempt the following: hold a burning incense stick or candle close to the problem windows and look at the smoke. If it starts fluttering or trembling, the window does, in fact, let the cold air in. Another obvious problem is when the windows show excessive condensation on the glass.
When Should You Think of Replacing Windows and Doors?
You expect your windows’ performance to naturally deteriorate over time, but there are specific signs it is time for window replacement:
- Excessive heat loss
- Cracked, rotten, or warped window panes
- Excessive condensation buildup between the panes
- Visible leaks, most noticeable after strong directional rain
If the window or door does not close properly
Overall, the house may lose over 10% of its heat through drifty windows. At -17°C outside—assuming the temperature in the house is around 20°C—, the temperature of the glass surface inside should measure around 6°C for regular windows and 13°C for high-efficiency windows.
When Is the Best Time to Replace Your Windows
Most replacement projects roughly take 6 to 8 weeks from the date of signing the contract until complete installation. Since the projects usually cover all the windows and doors replacement, or at least, one side of the house, as you would want the styles of windows and colors of the frame to be consistent it does require a longer production part and preparation.
Traditionally windows and door replacement projects are scheduled between April and May. Usually at that time, the weather is warm enough to start the project, and clients still remember how uncomfortable it was during the winter months.
Another reason is that window and door replacement could only be a part of a bigger renovation project, and it is usually scheduled earlier in the season to be completed by fall or before the winter.
Sometimes, if you sign the contract before the season starts, you can get an advantage of an early-bird discount. That works great both for clients and contractors! The clients get the guaranteed lower price, and contractors are able to optimize production and installation.
Take Advantage of Off-Season Prices!
If you have not made the plans to replace the windows at the beginning of the year, there is still plenty of time to do it later. In fact, there is quite a few advantages to that! First of all, you are getting better pricing for replacing windows and doors during the slower colder seasons of the year. Secondly, because contractors are not inundated by work during the off-season, they are not in a rush to complete the project and you can rest assured they will take care of your window and door replacement project.
Luckily, modern technology and materials allow to expand the installation time almost throughout the year. Window installations can be effectively performed when the temperature outdoor is as low as -20°C (including the windchill factor). Although the vinyl in the windows is made to withstand much lower temperatures, it does become more brittle and there is a higher risk of cracks during the installation process.
Replacing windows and doors is a major project and it does require careful planning in advance. If you are unsure about when it is best for you to take on window and door replacements, contact a window contractor to get an idea of the most convenient time of year to replace your doors and windows.
When deciding whether you would like to repair a window or to replace it entirely, it is important to take into account the benefits that you will receive from either process. To have a damaged or aging window repaired will understandably be the more cost-effective of the two solutions, and is more practical when removing damages from the window itself, but for a significant improvement on the state of your window, it will be necessary to replace the window entirely.
Whether the window has been broken and you are looking to retrofit a new pane to be installed or looking to replace the frame as well, there are factors that need to be considered. The installation of a new frame can provide a significant improvement to both the aesthetic quality of your space, as well as the efficiency of your home’s heating and cooling systems. This can, in the long run, save you a significant amount of money and stress.
How Much Is a Window Replacement Price?
The cost of replacing a window in your home can vary greatly, depending on the size of the window, and the type of window that you are looking to install. For example, a window that uses a compression seal to ensure that your home is watertight can be more expensive than the weather stripping alternative. In the long run, the compression seal is more effective and can survive for a longer period of time without being damaged.
Replacing a window frame as well as the window itself can also increase the cost, however, it can often come with a significant design improvement as well as one in energy efficiency.
Factors for Replacing Windows
When replacing a window it is important to understand the factors that will most greatly impact the overall cost. Here is a list of conventionally found expenses that are likely to affect the cost of your window replacement.
- Full window frame replacement
- Wooden or vinyl frame
- Type of window being installed
- Size of window being installed
- Low-E coating
- Window tinting
- Professional service charge
Call Milano Windows and Doors Today
Milano Windows and Doors is proud to provide the Greater Toronto Area with the very best services in window replacement and repair imaginable. We can offer you the highest quality products, along with our dedicated service, all at a fair and competitive price. If you would like to see more of Milano Windows and Doors check our website for some interesting ideas or to see any of our past projects.
While this new development might be hectic for us window and doors companies, we admit that this is probably the most interesting thing we’ve read all week. Interesting enough to make us write an article about it, for sure. Recent news sources picked up on developments and Michigan University, which suggest that a new generation of solar cell technology is a few years away from hitting the market. What does this mean for windows and doors? Read on below.
Upgrades to Your Windows are Right Around the Corner
This new generation of solar panels is here, though, meaning they could soon be used instead of glass as viable replacements to any object reliant on a transparent surface. According to an article in Newsweek, the solar cells will start to hit commercial products over the next few years. What does this mean for your home? Well, consider how much light hits your windows and doors daily. What if this energy could be harvested and used to power your home?
Windows that Power My Home? That’s Crazy!
Yes, we agree. The scientist team behind this solar cell project state that they’ve hit milestones in recent weeks and the technology is “making sense to scale up.” This system works by picking up near infrared wavelengths, and guiding them onto photovoltaic solar cells. While the efficiency of these solar cells is lower than your typical, non-transparent kind, the team behind the project expects to see a tripling in improvement over the upcoming years.
As solar energy becomes more affordable, we see increased use worldwide in homes and private residences. Even people living in apartments are installing solar panels on their balconies to improve their living space’s energy efficiency. Experts believe that sooner or later easy access to solar power, easy integration into home and quickly improving energy storage capacity will lead to complete coverage of the country’s clear window panes, and steady coverage of the United State’s and Canada’s growing energy demands.
The Future of Windows Panes
The hope for this technology is that ultimately, windows will be installed with these solar panels outright. That is why, we personally hope for this future, and for the possibility that improvements to clear solar panel technology within window panes will lead to world access to inexpensive, widespread solar energy and a sustainable future. And we’re not just saying this because it’s window related, we promise.
Milano Windows and Doors is your number one choice for window and door installation in Toronto. Vaughan, North York, Richmond Hill, Maple, Newmarket, Mississauga, Scarborough, Brampton and further. We provide customers with environmentally friendly, energy efficient window and door products, as well as quick, effective and timely installations. Our company specializes in window and door installations and repairs. We stock and install high-quality window and door products such as vinyl windows, steel and fibreglass entry doors, interior doors, porch enclosures and patio doors. We guarantee your complete satisfaction with our services, personally surveying all jobs performed by our teams to guarantee the proper installation techniques and amazing design. Contact our company today for energy-efficient window and door products, as well as style advice and ideas from the expert window and door installation professionals. Browse through our product catalogue now, or visit our website to learn more.