The Role of Windows in Weather Protection
Windows are known to enhance our home’s curb appeal, improve our comfort, and even help us save on energy costs. The various window frame and glazing materials available on the market today are engineered for those functions, and new advances in technology show a promising future for our windows.
What many of us often take for granted and, thus,don’t really think about much, however, is that windows also play a huge role in keeping the elements out. Weather protection should therefore be a primary consideration when we shop for replacement windows or new windows.
Heat, while important during the cold months, can also do quite a number on your home otherwise. Aside from the discomfort that it brings, it can damage your interiors, increase your utility bills, and promote premature aging on exterior accessories. The full functionality of windows, in particular, can be hampered by too much heat. Some materials succumb faster to it, too, when subjected to overlong exposure.
Choosing the right materials is therefore critical. Consider these:
- Engineered wood, fiber cement, and other composite window frame materials are better equipped to handle heat. They are less impervious to temperature extremes, which translates to better energy performance. Renewal by Andersen’s patented frame material Fibrex also offers superior advantages, especially when it comes to structural integrity, maintenance, and energy performance. Wood windows are also great insulators, but they can warp, rot, or corrode easily. Metal frames, on the other hand, cannot handle heat well if they don’t have thermal breaks.
- Two factors are important to a window unit’s performance under heat. The first is U-factor, which measures the glazing’s capacity to limit heat transfer. Lower U-factors mean better insulation. The other factor is solar heat gain coefficient or SHGC. SHGC measures the rate by which the window transmits solar heat. Lower SHGCs represent less transmission.
Condensation is not always a bad thing; but if you notice a lot of it on your window, chances are you have to make repairs somewhere. Condensation can cause paint to blister and wallpaper to fade. Aside from the cosmetic damage, it can also promote health risks inside the home.
We recommend switching to materials that are designed to handle moisture formation, such as:
- Composites still win the race among all framing materials when it comes to dealing with moisture. Just make sure they are sealed properly to limit the potential of condensation formation.
- Low-emissivity glazing resists moisture formation better than other glazing types, especially within a multiple glazing unit. This is because double- or triple-glazed low-e windows are separated by a spacer designed to resist condensation formation, among other functions. When purchasing energy efficient windows, you can also opt for those that have high Condensation Resistance (CR) values. As it is optional, however, some products may not indicate this information.
Hire the right window installers, too. A window that can truly stand up to the weather should also be installed according to the right methods, your climate zone, and your energy needs.
Brice Richards is the VP of Production for Renewal by Andersen of Austin. He has been with the company for nearly a decade, time spent working hard to make sure their teams of skilled technicians do not disappoint and always deliver 100% customer satisfaction. In his spare time, Brice enjoys photography and thinking of interesting insider tips and news to share on the company blog.