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Tag: aluminum

Windows come in a variety of styles, designs and sizes. Years ago, the material used for window frames was limited to wood, but today, you can choose vinyl, aluminum and fiberglass windows. However, wood frames are still one of the most popular material options. Today’s window manufacturers also produce different types of glass to give you a more energy efficient product.

Vinyl Windows
Vinyl windows offer energy saving benefits. The material choice is also affordable. Window manufacturers make vinyl windows from PVC, and as a result, the product can vary in quality. Today’s vinyl is a durable product. Also, manufacturers have advanced the window style’s structural design and implemented construction changes, so if you select vinyl windows, then you will have a quality product that can last as long as 15 years depending on your climate. Keep in mind that vinyl windows have a tendency to warp and become unworkable if they are not installed properly. In addition, the material may fail more quickly in areas that experience high summer temperatures and low winter temperatures. The reason for the failure is that the substance expands in the heat while the cold weather causes it to contract. In addition, if you live in an area with extreme summer temperatures, then vinyl window frames in dark colors will likely have more problems than light-colored models.

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Wood Windows
Wood windows are a popular choice for many homeowners due to the material’s diversity. Furthermore, the option should last for 30 years or more depending on your climate and the type of maintenance that you complete on a regular basis. If you live in an old home with the original wood windows, then you can add weather stripping to increase their efficiency. By repairing your old windows, you are helping the environment since you are decreasing landfill waste and using fewer resources to maintain your home’s interior temperatures. Hardwood windows are expensive, but the material is durable. Also, maintenance is simple as the home feature only requires oil. Hardwood windows give you a diverse style because you can paint them or leave them in their natural state. If you choose to install softwood windows, then the material choice will be more affordable than hardwood. However, expect additional maintenance as you’ll need to paint the style or maintain them regularly.

Aluminum Windows
Aluminum is an appealing material choice because it is affordable and stronger than vinyl. Depending on your area’s climate, aluminum windows should last from 15 to 20 years. The material option is best for homes in mild climates due to the failures that frequently occur with the option in more extreme environments. For instance, aluminum windows may suffer from seal failures, glass condensation between the frames and operation issues as the material begins to corrode and break down. In addition, the energy efficiency ratings for aluminum are poor.

Climate Tips
When you begin shopping for new windows, be sure to assess your climate. For instance, wood typically provides the best insulation, but the material can rot. Therefore, it may not be the best choice for rainy or humid climates. Alternatively, when heat transfer and loss is an area issue, aluminum windows may not be the best material choice. However, aluminum is ideal for rainy and humid climates. The substance is also strong, and manufacturers can build aluminum windows to meet the strict building codes in coastal areas. For many homeowners, vinyl is a practical option. Also, the material choice is available in various colors, which lets you select windows that increase the visual appeal of your home. Once you begin considering new windows, assess each style’s U-value as the measurement estimates a window’s ability to withstand heat loss. The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, or SHGC, is another measurement to consider because it calculates the amount of heat that can enter your home through a window.

Tips for Selecting the Best Windows
If your windows are beginning to age, then it may be time to replace or repair them. Keep in mind that windows are a longtime investment, so be sure to select the right material for your area. Also, evaluate the home feature’s glaze and insulation materials to acquire the best replacement results for your residence. When you upgrade your windows, you’ll decrease your utility bills and help the environment.

A handful of our readers have been writing in asking about some previous decking posts we have on the site and some of the questions we are seeing are related to comparing pros, cons and average pricing of these materials. So, with the flow of questions, we figured we would try to provide some answers, via a post, of course! 🙂

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Composite Decking Pros / Cons / Cost
Composite decking materials are decking materials made of a composite of wood and a variety of other products. They began to come into popularity in the 1990s, after some of the major defects of the composite materials had been worked out. The idea of using composites was to be able to retain the appearance of wood, without some of its less desirable properties. Composite decking materials require much less maintenance than pressure treated wood. The big advantage over wood is that they do not have to be regularly refinished or stained every few years. Composites eventually will show some deterioration due to rot, because they are, in part, wood. Another problem which may plague composite materials is that they are subject to mildew and mold, which is a concern particularly in wet or damp climates. Generally composite materials run about $2.50 per linear foot, about 2 ½ times the cost of pressure treated lumber. In order to assess the advantages and disadvantages of composite decking, you need to be informed of your alternatives.

Pressure Treated (Pine) Decking Pros / Cons / Cost
According to an article by Popular Mechanics, about 75% of all new decks are still made of pressure treated wood. “Pressure treated” wood is wood which has had preservatives infused into it through a variety of processes, to make it more resistant to natural deterioration, and pest infestation, and to make it fire retardant. There are about 25-30 different preservatives commonly used, and a number of processes of treating wood, but your local lumberyard or home improvement center will have a selection of the treated woods most suitable to your particular environment. Pressure treated pine is the least expensive building material, costing roughly $1.00 per linear foot. To prevent deterioration, it should be power washed annually, and retreated with preservatives or stains every two to three years.

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Natural Wood/ Select Hardwoods Decking Pros / Cons / Cost
A second wood alternative would be to build a deck with natural wood. Pine, unless pressure treated, is too vulnerable to rot and infestation to make it a good alternative. Redwood and cedar, because they contain natural oils and tannins which make them more rot and pest resistant, also have a great appeal because of their natural beauty. Tropical hardwoods, such as cumaru, Philippine mahogany, red tauri, tigerwood ipe, and others are still another alternative. These woods are extremely durable and resistant to both rot and infestation, but they are so hard that it is almost impossible to drive a nail through them without drilling a hole in them first. They are also heavy and hard to work with. All natural woods will start to discolor to the characteristic “silver” of weathered wood if not treated with a stain. Redwood and Cedar, which are cheaper near where they are harvested, can run from $1.25 to $2.00 per linear foot, but can run more, depending upon the grade. Select hardwoods such as ipe can run as much as $4.00 to $5.00 per linear foot, and often must be special ordered.

Plastic or PVC Decking Pros / Cons / Cost
Plastic can now be made to look like wood, and is basically maintenance free. The new plastics are stain and scratch resistant, and won’t rot or mildew. Appearances tend to vary by manufacturer, so you would want to get all material from the same source. To date, plastic decking materials have tended to sag over time, as opposed to the other decking materials. Plastic decking material runs about $3.00 per linear foot. Some contractors also note that plastic can be difficult to work with, which may result in additional labor costs during installation.

Aluminum Decking Pros / Cons / Cost
Aluminum is the ultimate decking material if you are talking either durability or maintenance. Aluminum is impervious to rot, mildew, cracking, or warping. It will not catch on fire, and pest infestation is not a problem. It is lighter and stronger than most other materials and can be cut with regular carbide-tipped saws. The major drawback for aluminum decks is the cost. At roughly $9.00 per linear foot, it costs nine times as much as a pressure treated lumber deck.

Conclusion
Of the three lower cost alternatives, composite decking will probably continue to gain in popularity as technology produces even better composites. Pressure treated wood, although considerably less expensive initially, should be considered to be of roughly comparable cost, when maintenance and upkeep costs are factored in. If you are someone who will do your own maintenance, these costs can be reduced, but if you hire someone to wash and stain your deck at regular intervals, the maintenance costs of the pressure treated lumber will soon exceed that of the composite deck. Plastic, appears to have little advantage over composite until the problem of sagging is adequately addressed.

Even before the economy took a nosedive, homeowners were looking for ways to save money. Home improvements can improve your property’s value while increasing energy efficiency. If you’re looking to replace some or all of your home’s windows, here’s what you can expect to pay. We have laid out the average cost of new home replacement windows.

New Home Windows
Best Case Scenario
You will save a lot of money if your existing window frames are in good condition. If the frames are free of major defects, you can replace just the windows and save up to half of the cost of replacement windows.

Only a certified contractor or other window installer should remove the old window and inspect the frame for any damage. That same contractor will be able to repair a salvageable frame or remove a damaged one, but any additional work will end up costing you money. Most contractors work for about $100 an hour, and frame replacement can easily add another $200 to your total bill.
After you have the measurements, you have enough information to order the replacement windows. The window size is fixed unless you want to enlarge the opening. For load bearing walls, that process is both time consuming and expensive, and you should expect additional labor to cost another $200-$300.

Average Window Materials and Prices
The windows themselves come in a variety of materials. Vinyl is relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain, but it usually doesn’t come in too many colors. Unfortunately, most paints will quickly fade and crack on vinyl after a few years. However, paint manufacturers like Benjamin Moore have begun selling paint specifically designed for vinyl surfaces.
Energy Efficient Vinyl Windows Being Installed
Other common materials include wood, aluminum, and fiberglass. Wood is an excellent insulator but is expensive compared to vinyl. It also holds up poorly in humid regions and can rot over time especially if rainwater is allowed to accumulate.

Aluminum is a lightweight metal that won’t corrode like iron. Many homeowners go with aluminum clad windows that encase the exterior surface in aluminum but leave the interior window wood for a beautiful appearance. Aluminum clad windows cost more but offer excellent weather resistance and insulation.

Fiberglass is a relatively new window material, and it offers a number of advantages over vinyl, wood, and aluminum. Like aluminum, it won’t corrode, rust, or rot. It can hold paint well, and it will insulate better than the other materials. Fiberglass contracts and expands with the temperature at roughly the same rate as glass, so it won’t leak as much air during the winter and summer months. By filling frame cavities with foam insulation, fiberglass windows offer the best insulation out of any type of window.

An average standard home window can cost as little as $300 for vinyl but 2-3 times as much for fiberglass. Wood and aluminum clad windows typically cost about $500-$700, and they offer a good compromise between cost and energy efficiency.

Triple-pane windows will also drive the cost up over double-pane windows, but they offer superior insulation. Insulating gas between the panes will also increase the overall cost but help save money on heating and cooling bills. Have a damaged frame? A new one will increase the cost by 50-100 percent including the additional labor required to tear out the old frame and install the new one.

Bottom Line
At a minimum, expect to pay on average at least $300 for materials and $100 for labor per window. If your home has 10 windows and you’re replacing all of them, the job will cost at least $4,000.

Once you add in extras like triple-pane windows or fiberglass frames, the material costs can increase up to about $1,000 for a standard window. That same 10 window home will cost about $11,000 instead.

Every frame that needs to be replaced will cost another $200-$700. With all of the bells and whistles for each window, you’re looking at anywhere from $1,000-$1,500 per window. Larger windows and additional work can add several thousand dollars more to the eventual cost.

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