The natural insulating properties of wood make wood-framed windows popular choices for new installations and as replacement windows. Heat gained and heat lost through your home’s windows is a critical element in your energy costs. Poorly installed or worn windows can result in as much as a 30% change in your heating and cooling costs. Keeping windows in your Madison WI home in top shape pays dividends.
There are two steps toward increasing the energy efficiency of your home’s windows:
- Repair, caulk and seal existing windows
- Select and install high-efficiency replacement windows
Wood-framed windows – a Top-end Option
The ultimate solution to energy leaking around windows is to find a reasonable replacement that fits your home’s style and your budget. Before making that move, here are some window maintenance procedures that will help:
- Check around all your windows for air leaks
- Caulk and weatherstrip where you can
- Add shades, blinds and drapes to cover the windows during peak heating/cooling periods
- Consider storm windows
Before you blame all your energy loss on windows, consider the many other areas in the home you can shore up, including:
- Electrical outlets and switch plates
- Fireplace dampers
- Attic hatches
- Where dryer vents pass through walls
- Vents and fans.
When you’ve determined it’s time for replacement windows there are many styles and materials to choose from. Here are several properties to consider that apply to every type:
- Look for Energy Star® and National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) labels – these indicate various levels of energy efficiency based upon rigorous standardized testing.
- Consider Low-E coatings – special coating on the glass that reduces transmission of heat through the panes.
- Review the U-factor – the U-factor is the rating measuring the rate non-solar heat moves through the glass. A lower U-factor rating is better in Madison’s cold winters.
- Consider the window’s solar heat gain coefficient or SHGC. It measures the amount of solar radiation that comes through a window. Lower ratings mean less heat gain from the hot summer sun.
TIP FROM A PRO – Look for U-factor and SHGS ratings that provide readings on the whole unit not those that may be measured as “center of glass” because whole unit measurements are far more accurate measures or real performance.
An evaluation of the various window options will reveal that wood-framed windows are among the top choices in both new and replacement situations.
Choosing Replacement Windows
Wood-frame windows are considered to be the most elegant and classic choice for replacement windows. They are often on the high end of the price scale, but that need not be the case – Pella Series 450® windows are prime examples of the benefits of wooden frame at competitive prices.
In addition to rich, natural appearance, wooden windows also present the advantage of:
- Representing an environmentally sustainable, renewable resource
- Wood-framed windows can be created in a wide variety of shapes and sizes
- They provide the best natural insulation values – low heat and cold transfer
- Strength and durability is a hallmark of wood-framed windows
- Painting and staining can help wood-framed windows match any décor
- Wood is in demand and represents a solid ROI
Wooden windows also have disadvantages, including:
- Regular maintenance is required to keep them looking and performing at their best
- The may be susceptible to rot, mold and mildew
Window Cladding Expands Benefits
There are popular options that combine the best of several window types and expand the use of wood-framed windows. Known as “cladding” it’s a process that literally wraps the wooden frames with another lower maintenance materials – usually vinyl or aluminum. This vigorous wrap is on the exterior where environmental agents are at their worst. The cladding process provides the durability and low-maintenance of the outside material without sacrificing any of the appeal of real wood inside your home.
Vinyl- or aluminum-clad windows may be more expensive than other options they combine all the positive benefits of both elements and deliver performance worthy of the price.
The advantages of adding an exterior wrap to wood-framed windows includes:
- They become extremely weather-resistant
- Very little maintenance – only cleaning.
- A wide range of color coatingscan be built in and they can be painted.
- Real wood in the interior can be stained or painted to match your décor.
- All the energy-efficient glazing options are available.
Adding a vinyl or aluminum cladding isn’t without its disadvantages, including:
- There’s a risk of rotting if moisture filters beneath unsealed edges. Temperature changes can make this condition worse with expansion and contraction that allows moisture in, contribute to rot, mold or mildew.
- Additional expense as opposed to single material frames.
- Installation may require specialized tools and techniques that can increase installation time and cost.
Window Installation Anchors Success
Even the best windows don’t perform as advertised without skilled, professional installation. After selecting the Pella wood-framed window that’s best for your home, relying upon skilled, experienced and factory-trained installation crews not only provides exceptional quality work, it delivers the most vital benefit – peace of mind.
Sims is one of an elite and limited group of specialists around the country that Pella trusts to install its windows and honor all of its extensive warranty commitments. Proper installation makes a huge difference in the desired results. Sims Exteriors and Remodeling is a Certified Installation Contractor for all new Pella windows in Southern Wisconsin. For new and replacement windows, contact Sims Exteriors and Remodeling and choose the best wood-framed window options to for your Madison WI home.