“If I had lovely prairie style windows like you have in your house,” Kellie, a recent commenter on a popular home blog wrote, “I might consider restoring ours rather than replacing, but as it is, ours are just plain vertical bars, nothing really artistic.”
Kellie’s not alone. There are certainly homeowners who are blessed with attractive, unique, aesthetically pleasing windows on their homes — windows that are dozens, if not hundreds, of years old. When it comes time to upgrade or in an attempt to improve a home’s energy efficiency, these lucky homeowners often opt to restore rather than replace their windows.
Not every homeowner is so lucky. Perhaps most commonly, homeowners find themselves confronted with the fact that the windows have already been replaced — a decade or two ago, with flimsy aluminum replacement windows, low quality early vinyl replacement windows, or another type of sub-standard window. These replacements may have been considered a good decision when they were installed, but the rapid advances in window technology have rendered them obsolote.
Other homeowners may have what are known as original construction windows. Original construction windows are common in relatively newer homes. Surprisingly, they often show up in higher end homes. Windows are doors are a prime place for building contractors to cut corners and save some money — ensuring themselves greater profitability. Original construction windows are often thinner and of a lower quality than the average home replacement window. They do not offer the same energy efficiency that home replacement windows are known for. Often, they’re rather generic in appearance: a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to windows saves contractors money.
Appearance is, of course, of paramount importance. Your home’s windows are one of the first things visitors and passersby look at when considering your home. The quality and appearance of your windows sells a lot about your family. In these cases – the sub-par early replacement windows or the thin, generic original construction windows — the truth is that the windows do nothing to enhance your home’s appearance and may, in fact, detract from it.
Because home replacement windows are available in a variety of styles, shapes, sizes and colors, an appearance conscious homeowner can select the windows that best enhance their home’s look. Kellie, faced with less than inspiring windows, has opted to replace the prosaic windows described above with vinyl clad exterior, wood interior home replacement windows with prairie style grilles.
Grilles recreate the charm of older, true divided light windows, yet offer far better energy efficiency and performance than their earlier counterparts. Grilles — sometimes known as muntin bars — are permanently affixed to the exterior, interior, or exterior and interior of the insulated glass. Grilles are generally available in a variety of standard styles, including the prairie style Kellie discussed, and other popular options: 9-Light and Traditional. Additionally, custom grille work is available, especially pertinent to those homeowners who want to replace some, but not all, of their windows, and want to match existing glass patterns, or who have a custom look they’re trying to achieve.
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