Now, here at USHomeWindows.com, we don’t spend much time blogging about what we read in the newspapers. After all, our focus is on helping you find the best replacement windows for your home, not on media critiques. However, a story in Thursday’s Washington Post caught our eye.
In a column entitled “Slowdown Offers a Chance to Get Real About Home Sizes”, Roger K. Lewis, a columnist and professor emeritis of architecture at the University of Maryland, discusses the recent trend toward oversized homes. In an age marked by conspicuous consumption, more and more homeowners have purchased homes that were 5,000 or 6,000 square feet — at the same time that the size of the family living in the home was shrinking.
Builders love these large houses. After all, they’re expensive projects — creating lots of opportunity for profit. However, many of these oversized homes aren’t built as well as you might like to imagine. Contractors who are already enjoying a fair profit have discovered that they can make even more money by cutting corners — compromising building quality, materials used, and basic workmanship. Or, to quote Lewis,
“There are lots of opportunities to compromise quality in designing and building a house. Windows and doors are favorite cost-saving targets. Interior finishes and accessories — decorative trim and hardware, cabinets, floors, lights — are also fruitful targets.
Among the most important components of any building, windows provide daylight and views to the outside, keep out the weather, and resist heat gain and loss. Yet the quality, cost and performance range of windows is vast.
For example, windows may be double-glazed but lack energy-efficient, low-emissivity glass and an insulating cavity filled with inert gas. The window frame and sash may be thin vinyl that is easily deformed, rather than aluminum or aluminum-clad wood. The movable sash may not move very smoothly.”
This certainly isn’t welcome news to anyone, especially if they’ve just mortgaged themselves to the hilt to purchase one of these giant dream homes. What can be done?
For starters, you’ll want to examine your windows carefully. Original construction windows, as Lewis indicated, are often thinner and of lower quality than the average home replacement window. There is a world of difference between the thin and flimsy vinyl window frames used in original construction windows and the thick, rigid, strong models featured in high quality vinyl home replacement windows, such as Alside Sheffield windows. Similarly, aluminum and wood framed windows can vary wildly in quality — generally, low quality models are used in original construction while higher quality models are available in the home replacement window market.
If you find that you, like many of your peers who bought a new home, have thin, flimsy original construction windows in place, you have many options. The first option is, of course, to live with the windows the way they are. This is an expensive option, as you’ll be losing substantial amounts of energy through these windows. Installing replacement windows — either a few at a time, or throughout the entire house — will also be expensive. However, you’ll be positioning yourself to enjoy savings on your energy bill — savings that will occur on an ongoing basis. Additionally, you’ll be adding to the value of your home, an important consideration should you plan to sell at some future date.
Erick Bibbins says
stupendous post you annex