There’s more to windows than meets the eye. In fact, there’s not much that meets the eye at all with high quality windows — to the casual observer, it’s just another transparent pane of glass. But there’s actually a lot more going on than many homeowners consider when pursuing window installation.
Modern, high-quality windows are filled with subtle features to increase their energy efficiency, durability, and comfort. Here are the top four features homeowners might not consider when thinking of window manufacturing:
1. More to Windows than Meets the Eye
People rarely look at windows — more often than not they are looking through them, to the outside world. However, with high quality windows, they’re rarely looking through just glass. Most modern windows contain a pocket of argon gas or air in between the glass panes.
This pocket of gas helps to insulate against the cold and heat, and dampen sound to reduce indoor noise levels. A hundred years ago the idea of storing a neutral gas in your windows would have sounded like science fiction — today it is standard for most high-end windows.
2. Fantastic Facts About the Frame
Window frames are probably one of the last things considered when shopping for window replacement or installation. They really work backstage in the show — never starring but essential to the performance.
Frames can be made from a huge variety of materials including wood, vinyl, and fiberglass composites. Each come with their own strengths and weaknesses which give a homeowner or contractor some flexibility when deciding their frame.
Wood is the most common type, and is very effective. It can be painted, which allows a decoration-savvy homeowner some flexibility of style. Wooden window frames, however, are prone to warping and deterioration and may require more maintenance. Vinyl window frames are great for those looking for affordable window solutions, and has improved significantly in quality over the last few years. Fiberglass composite options are the most well-rounded, but by far the most expensive.
3. Low-Emissivity (Low-E) Glass
Windows that block out some types of light and let in others? Admittedly, this sounds pretty strange, even impossible. But with Low-E glass, it’s reality.
Light has several parts. There’s the light that we see, and other forms like infrared and ultraviolet. On a hot summer day, infrared and ultraviolet that come through windows along the visible light can put a tax on your air conditioner.
Low-E glass has a special coating which only blocks out harmful wavelengths of light, letting you have all the good effects of natural light with none of the negative consequences.
4. Secure, Sound-Dampening, Shatter-Proof Glass
Glass is a stereotypically fragile material. It has even entered the English language through phrases such as “glass jaw” to describe a boxer with a weak chin. However, modern window solutions include the durability of shatter-proof glass.
Shatter-proof windows incorporate a sheet of plastic in the middle, making them far more difficult to break. This is excellent for those concerned about the security of their homes, as it deters break-and-enters. In many hurricane-prone areas, shatter-proof glass is mandated as part of the building code.
In addition to its security features, shatter-proof glass also acts as a sound-dampener, further insulating homes from exterior noise.
Neutral gasses, composite frames, UV and infrared blocking, shatter-proof — the modern window has come a long way from a single pane of glass. There are a multitude of solutions out there for any home, and any project.
Windows aren’t something most people spend a lot of time thinking about. Next time consideration is given to window installation in Edmonton, however, it’s important to think of all the features at work behind the scenes to give you the best window possible.
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