While many modern homes are now constructed with windows that block the majority of harmful UV (Ultra-Violet) rays from the sun, there are times when you may want to purchase additional window films to help block out the full spectrum of UV-Rays that your existing windows may let through. Often times, windows will block the majority of less-harmful UV-B rays, but will allow a small amount of UV-A rays through.

If you are sensitive to sunlight, heat, or want to just minimize your exposure to harmful UV-rays, a window film may be exactly what you’re looking for. There are generally 3 types of window films that help reduce your exposure:

1. Insulating Window Films

These are one of the most popular designs, because they not only help block UV-rays, but drastically reduce the heat coming into your home, letting your air conditioning run less and saving you money in the long run. In addition, during the winter season, the same film will work to insulate your warm air inside your home, allowing you to save on your heating bill.

Insulating window films are also used to help reduce the amount and severity of fading on carpets, furniture, fabrics, and other household objects. These are the go-to window films in terms of overall quality and value. They are very energy-efficient and can be the perfect compliment to your existing windows.

2. Glare-Reducing Window Films

Another popular category of window screens are those that help to reduce the bright glare on your TV or computer screen. These are becoming more common since electronics have become ingrained in every home. Many times, you have to choose between having beautiful natural light coming into your home, or having a massive glare on your computer screen, which is a lose-lose situation. With glare-reducing window films, however, you will be able to take full advantage of both to truly be comfortable in your home’s office space! In many states out west, with looming landscapes and unblocked sun-rays, these are gaining traction through window installation companies such as High Country Window Tint.

3. Privacy Window Films

As the age of privacy becomes to grow more into the spotlight, these window films help your physical while still allowing natural light to permeate your home’s interior. In many cases, these window films are translucent, frosted films that are applied directly to the glass of your windows. They offer not only day time privacy, but let natural light filter through your windows as well. For a great mix of both privacy and UV-protection, these can be the best choice. Often, home owners will utilize these types of window films near the front door, so you can see if there is someone on the porch without them being able to see into the house.

There are a few aspects to keep in mind when you are going through the purchasing process of window film, such as:

– Total Solar Energy Rejection
– Light Transmission
– Visible Light Reflectance
– UV Rejection
– Shading Co-efficient

These are all different factors and terms that are thrown around the different window films, so be sure to thoroughly conduct your research before deciding on a product to install. Above all else, make sure you are happy with the design of the window film – if you install it throughout your home and don’t like the look, it can be a major headache to take care of!

What makes one window frame better than another? The answer depends on you, and your priorities. All of the primary types of window frames – wood, vinyl, composite, and aluminum – have their strengths and their weaknesses. Choosing the right replacement window frame requires you to understand which qualities each material has to offer, and to decide which qualities matter most to you.


If your budget is the primary concern when selecting a replacement window, vinyl frames are a solid choice. This isn’t a reflection of the quality of the windows, but rather that vinyl is an inexpensive material. As a result, vinyl windows are less expensive than their aluminum and composite counterparts. Wood is the most expensive frame material.


Composite, and particularly wood, windows are often considered to be more attractive than their counterparts.

Vinyl is available in a limited number of colors, has a plastic-like appearance, and require thicker frames. Aluminum windows come in slender frames and a wide variety of painted colors, but are subject to fading, pitting, and chipping over time.

Wood windows, on the other hand, can be either stained or painted to maintain their timelessly appealing looks. Like aluminum windows, composite windows come in slender frames and a range of colors; composite windows retain their looks more easily than aluminum windows do.


Neither wood nor composite nor vinyl window frames transfer heat well; that makes all three effective insulators. When combined with the right glass, all three frame materials can yield very energy-efficient windows. All three can perform well in more demanding climates.

Relative to the other frame materials, aluminum transfers heat easily. As a result, they are not always a strong choice for climates with cold winters or hot summers. Aluminum frames can be enhanced to provide better insulation and efficiency, but this will increase their cost.


If the wood is high-quality, and appropriate care is taken, wooden window frames can last for several decades. Composite replacement windows, such as these from Renewal by Andersen, should last between 20 and 40 years, as will higher-quality vinyl windows. Aluminum windows can last even longer, though some elements of the window may require replacement.


Both vinyl and composite windows excel here, retaining their looks and performance without requiring maintenance. Wood window frames, on the other hand, require occasional re-painting or refinishing in order to look and perform at their best; this is also true of painted aluminum windows.

Which qualities matter most to you in a window frame? Looks? Energy-efficiency? Durability? Now that you have a better idea of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the different materials, you’re well on your way to making a well-informed choice of replacement window.

When constant power is required, many automatic transfer switches perform critical roles, ensuring that backup power will be employed when the primary power source ceases to work. Their control panels detect any loss in voltage. If the loss persists for more than a pre-determined number of seconds, the control responds by transferring the load from the primary source to the backup source, such as a generator or a battery. But is this function worth the additional cost for the average homeowner?

An alternative to the automatic transfer switch is the manual version. Unlike the automatic version, manual transfer switches lack a control panel that allows them to sense a drop, or even an outright loss, of voltage; they will not break the connection to the primary power source or create one to a backup source without intervention from a person. When primary power fails, no backup will be available until that person switches the load and engages the generator.

Providing for a seamless switch from primary to backup power is always convenient, but not always essential for a homeowner. Automatic transfers are most valuable for homes with medical equipment, security systems, multiple refrigerators or freezers, or even large aquariums; they’re also more important in harsher climates, such as where pipes could freeze in an un-powered home. If, on the other hand, your losses would be minimal in the event of being temporarily without power, a manual transfer switch might be the better option.

Manual transfer switches lack the sophisticated electrical components of their counterparts; their more limited function also makes them less expensive. A basic manual transfer switch will cost a fraction of what you would expect to pay for an automatic version; it will also take your electrician less time to install. And because automatic transfer switches require more regular and more elaborate maintenance than their simpler rivals, the difference in cost will only increase over time.

The best way to decide whether an automatic transfer switch is right for you is to weigh the added installation and maintenance expense against the losses you’ll incur without one. If you’re a typical homeowner without a non-typical need for constant power, your losses are liable to be minimal – not enough to justify the expense. If you have unusual needs for constant power, such as those described above, then an automatic transfer switch may be worth every additional cent. Your local electrician can help you decide for sure.

For many of us, sofas are a big deal. They’re expensive. They’re the focal point of many living rooms. And they’re the place where we relax after a long day. But despite their importance, most of us have no idea how to clean our sofas in the event of an accident. Fortunately, your sofa knows.

Modern sofas include a tag with a one-letter code that corresponds to the best and safest cleaning upholstery method. For example, a tag might feature a W – which indicates that you ought to use water-based cleaning agents on your upholstery fabric. Here are some explanations of the most commonly-found cleaning codes:

Code W 

You’re probably wondering: What is a water-based cleaning agent? Think steam cleaning or hot water extraction. Along with the water, commonly used additions are light applications of mild detergent, baking soda, and vinegar.

No matter which mixture you use, you’ll want to be careful and conservative. This means you’ll use as little moisture as possible to get the job done; use distilled water to avoid leaving a mineral deposit behind; and use a white, pattern-free towel to avoid transferring any dye. Before you do anything else, you’ll want to test your cleaning solution on a part of your sofa that you rarely see.

Code S 

Some fabrics are sensitive to water, and may shrink or discolor if water is applied to them. Despite their sensitivity to water, some of these fabrics can be effectively cleaned by solvents. Cleaning with solvents probably isn’t as unusual as you think; solvents are the cleaning agents used whenever your clothes are dry-cleaned.

It’s worth mentioning here that you should never assume which cleaning method is safe for your sofa. For example, that seemingly rugged polyester fabric might not be as good a candidate for water-based cleaning as you think. Always make sure to check your code.

Code WS 

These durable fabrics can be cleaned by either water-based cleaners or solvents; this allows you to select the cleaner best-suited for the task at hand. While water-based cleanings work in most cases, solvents can be more effective at dealing with some oil-based stains – think pizza grease or oily salad dressing.

Code X 

If you have a stain on your sofa, this is the code you don’t want to see. Code X means that your furniture can be vacuumed or brushed, but not cleaned with any sort of liquid; if liquid is used, there’s a good chance that shrinking, staining, or distortion will occur.

That said, if the stain is prominent enough, cleaning may still be your best option. But don’t just try your luck. Instead contact your local Chem-Dry or other professional upholstery cleaner. The technician can evaluate the situation, assess the risks of using a cleaning solution, and choose the one most likely to work.

No code

If you can’t find a code, you’ve still got two good options: First, you can contact the manufacturer. If you can provide the manufacturer with the product name or number, they should be able to provide you with the cleaning information you need. If this isn’t an option, contact a cleaning professional. A skilled technician will be able to identify the fabric through examination, and then choose the best method of cleaning.

What’s the difference between energy-efficient homes and inefficient homes that require great expense to keep comfortable? Smart construction, efficient insulation – and modern, energy-efficient windows. Windows with older glass, poor insulation, and failing seals can compromise efficiency; in fact, they can be responsible for up to a quarter of a home’s energy expenditure. On the other hand, energy-efficient new windows can have a huge impact on your efficiency, your comfort, and your monthly energy bill. Here’s how:

All windows allow the transfer of heat between the inside and outside of your home. Older windows allow more transfer to occur. This means that winter heat can more easily escape your home, as can summer cool; your heating and air system has to work harder to make up for the loss. Newer windows allow less transfer to occur; your heating and air system gets more rest – and costs you less money.

In inefficient windows, heat is transferred too easily through both the window’s frame and its glass. If a frame is built from a material with good insulating (or poor heat transferring) qualities, it will be more efficient. Wood is an excellent insulator; vinyl and composites like Renewal by Andersen’s Fibrex are also effective. Metal windows frames are poor insulators.

Newer windows often have two or even three layers of glass; in between the glass panes is another layer of gas. Some gases are effective insulators as well; krypton and argon are two often-used examples.

In modern windows, even glass isn’t what it used to be. Today’s glass employs special coatings that can reflect away light rays or trap heat or both. The glass used for windows varies depending on the local climate, on the amount of sunlight that hits the window, and on the room inside the window. For example, if one room is especially prone to becoming hot or cold, the right window glass can help manage the issue. Richmond Window, my local Renewal by Andersen dealer, was very helpful in selecting the best windows for every place on my home.

Maybe you’re wondering: How do you know which windows are right for you? Start with a basic understanding of the most common values used to compare window efficiency, U-factor and solar heat gain coefficient (or SHGC). The U-factor reflects to the heat transferring quality of the glass; lower U-factors indicate less heat transfer. SHGC reflects the amount of sunlight that penetrates into the house through the panes.

Here in Central Virginia, we live in what’s called the North-Central Climate Zone.

Here, we have to deal with both cold winters and hot summers. Thankfully, there are windows that are specially designed to perform well in our climate zone. In our climate, windows need to offer a U-factor of 0.30 or less as well as an SHGC of 0.40 or less in order to qualify for ENERGY STAR certification. Make sure that your replacement windows should meet the ENERGY STAR requirements for your area.

Chances are, you spend thousands of dollars each year to heat and cool your home. Replacement windows offer you the chance to spend a lot less. So perform your due diligence, get to know windows and their ratings, and make a smart choice that your benefit you for years to come.

When it comes to home renovations and repairs for your home in Northern VA, it’s easy to remember projects like that bathroom remodel that you’ve always wanted to do, or getting a new dishwasher when your old one starts leaking water all over the floor. Unfortunately, many people tend to forget important repairs and replacement when it comes to things like siding, roofing, gutters, and other parts of your home’s exterior.

We see these parts of our home every day, but often forget that they need maintenance until there’s a leak or some other kind of damage caused by a lack of upkeep. In most cases these exterior elements only need semi regular maintenance, which might just consist of taking a good look to make sure everything looks right. But when something isn’t right with your siding, roofing, etc. it can lead to serious problems for your home’s interior. In particularly bad cases, unchecked issues with roofing or siding could lead to serious structural damage, either from insect problems like termites, or excess water coming in from leaks.

One of the things that gets overlooked the most in terms of home renovation and repairs is siding. Generally, the siding on homes lasts a very long time, depending on the material, and only needs very occasional maintenance, again depending on the material. No matter what kind of siding you have, it’s a good idea to take a careful look at your siding every so often to make sure everything looks the way it is supposed to. Even small damages can lead to larger problems and should be fixed right away.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding for instance might not need any maintenance for 20 years, but it’s still important to make sure that your siding hasn’t been damaged from hail, high wind, or some other type of storm damage. Vinyl is the most popular option throughout Virginia, along with the rest of the country, because it is affordable, lasts a long time, and requires very little maintenance. The main downside to vinyl is the fact that it is not particularly strong, and can be damaged fairly easily by storms or high winds.

Wood Siding

Wood siding is another popular option in Virginia, prized for its rustic look and high customizability. Unfortunately, wood siding requires a fair amount of maintenance to keep it looking nice and free of pesky termites or other bugs that burrow and eat wood. Generally this maintenance consists of repainting or refinishing your siding every 5 years or so to keep it looking nice and sealed against bugs. Wood siding lasts longer than vinyl siding and withstands external damage much better, but you must be very aware of any possible infestations that could be happening inside of the siding.

Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber Cement siding has become a very popular option across the united states, but especially here in Virginia due to our humid climate that can cause wood siding to warp. Fiber cement siding, such as Hardiplank, is usually cheaper than wood, and combines the durability of wood siding with the easy maintenance of vinyl siding. Best of all, fiber cement siding lasts longer than wood or vinyl siding.

Siding Maintenance

Hail Damage on Vinyl Siding

Siding for the most part is very easy to keep up with in terms of maintenance, as it only really needs to be checked every so often. I recommend giving your siding a thorough inspection every year or two years, and then doing a quick check after any kind of strong storm. Generally siding is damaged from high winds, falling debris, or hail as a result of a storm. It’s wise for homeowners in Virginia to check their siding before and after hurricane season, since that is our period of highest risk for storm damage.



Melted Vinyl Siding

In the event that your siding or roofing has been damaged or is just worn out, you may be inclined to try to tackle the job yourself. I don’t recommend this as it can be very difficult work that often requires a crew of people to complete. If your siding isn’t installed correctly it can lead to serious issues down the road.

When I had to get the siding replaced on my home in Centreville, I called Metropolitan Contractors, who did a fabulous job installing brand new Hardiplank siding on my home. They were prompt and did a quality job with the installation. I recommend them if you live in Northern VA, but if you’re elsewhere in the state your local contractor should be fully equipped to repair or replace your siding.

When you’re thinking about your next renovation project for your home, make sure to take a look at your exterior to verify that everything looks as it should, and if you know you’re coming up on 25+ years with your current siding, especially if that siding is vinyl, you might want to look into replacing your siding before you find yourself having to do costly repairs.

Protecting your health is just one of the many reasons why you should clean your carpets regularly; in addition to the dirt and stains that you can see, carpets also accumulate potentially harmful pollutants and allergens between cleanings. But some carpet cleaning processes are healthier than others. If better health is part of what motivates you to clean your carpets, you should also be mindful of what kinds of cleaning solutions are used. While some are kid- and pet-friendly, others are not.

Professionals generally do a great job at removing the cleaning solutions they apply to your carpet. But no matter how well these solutions are extracted back out of your carpet, traces and residues will be left behind; these traces can be released into the air in your home. If your cleaning required the use of chemicals or solvents, this could be a problem. Studies have found that chemicals in carpet cleaning solutions can cause short-term health issues such as headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, and trouble breathing.

In short: You don’t want to use cleaning solutions that you’d be afraid to breathe in.

Thankfully, the carpet cleaning industry has made great strides in improving the processes and solutions that they employ. Many companies now specialize in green cleaning solutions that are eco-friendly in addition to being safe for you and your family. There are several eco-friendly carpet cleaning companies in Tacoma. Rainier Chem-Dry, for example, uses a method they call hot carbonation; instead of using chemicals, Rainier Chem-Dry uses a variation on tried-and-true club soda.

Here are some other reasons why you should pay close attention to the methods your carpet cleaner uses:

Chemicals can harm your carpet, too. If that cleaning solution includes optical brighteners (or dyes), or has a particularly alkaline or acidic pH, it may degrade or discolor your carpet fibers. Of course, you shouldn’t be expected to become an expert on cleaning solutions. But you ought to take a moment to see if your cleaner is certified by the CRI – a watchdog organization that strives to maintain high standards in the carpet cleaning industry.

Residues can attract dirt. Virtually any carpet cleaning will leave the carpet cleaner than before. But some processes can leave behind a sticky residue that actually attracts dirt and hastens the need for another cleaning. This is especially likely if large quantities of water or cleaning soaps are used, such as is the case with traditional steam cleaners; as a general rule, the more detergent, polymer, or solvent that’s applied, the more will be left behind.

Cleaning agents can be irritants. If your cleaning employs solutions with a low (acidic) or a high pH (alkaline), any residue left behind is more likely to irritate your skin; bleach, for example, is a common cleaner with a high pH that can irritate. If possible, try to use solutions with neutral pH (think distilled water or club soda) to minimize the chance of skin irritation or other more harmful effect.

If you have to hire a carpet cleaning company, take the time to ask about their methods. Do they use chemicals? Are their ingredients non-toxic and eco-friendly? Does a residue of any sort get left behind? If you’re working with a reliable professional that uses sound methods, their answers should reassure you. If they don’t, look for another local carpet cleaner – there are many here in Tacoma!

Anyone living in Virginia can tell you that hurricane season is an extremely unpredictable time when it comes to weather. There have been several huge storms in the last few years, and it’s nearly impossible to predict which storms will be a big problem for homeowners across the state. Most of the time when a powerful storm comes through we get maybe a week’s notice before it hits, just enough time to buy up all the bread and milk at the neighborhood Kroger. Unfortunately, that is rarely enough time to take other important precautionary measures, like having a home generator installed.

While having a home generator isn’t a strict necessity, it can save you tons of money and keep your family comfortable during inclement weather situations. While hurricanes and ice storms are fairly rare, it helps to be prepared when they do eventually come around.  Here are some of the top reasons to have a generator installed in your home:

  1. Minimize Food Loss – Everyone has a refrigerator, and many families these days have a chest freezer as well to keep extra food handy. In the event of a power outage that lasts a day or more, all of the food in both your fridge and freezer can go to waste. Often that can be several hundred dollars’ worth of food depending on how much you store at one time. Even a small home generator has enough power to easily keep your fridge and freezer running, saving you hundreds on food that would have otherwise gone to waste.
  2. Keep the Water Running – If you aren’t on city water lines, chances are you get your water from an electric well. That means if your power goes out for an extended period, you could be stuck taking showers at the YMCA. Not to mention you won’t be able to flush the toilet or get a glass of water until the power comes back on. Powering an electric well is one of the top reasons that many people choose to get a home generator, and it is one of the best ways to ensure your family’s comfort during a long term power outage.
  3. Keep the Lights On – This one is probably the most obvious reason for having a home generator, or at least the first thing that most people think about. Some people enjoy hanging out by candlelight during a power outage, but it’s also nice to have access to all of your normal creature comforts in the event of extended power loss.
  4. Power Life-Saving Medical Equipment – For some people, loss of power is a serious threat to health and safety. Oxygen machines, home dialysis machines, and a handful of other home medical devices require constant power to maintain proper functionality. If you rely on one of these devices and your power goes out in the middle of the night you could be in a potentially dangerous situation. A home generator with an automatic switch could save your life in the event of a late night power outage.
  5. Maintain Comfortable Temperatures – Most people don’t really think about their heating and air conditioning until it stops working. A home generator can keep you and your family warm if you have a power outage during a blizzard or ice storm. Sometimes in the case of an outage during inclement winter weather, it can take days before the power company is able to access the lines to fix the problem. Being without central heat during that time can be extremely uncomfortable for you, your family, and even your pets.

These are just a few of the reasons to purchase and install a generator for your home. It’s not terribly often that the power goes out for days at a time, but when it does you want to be prepared. Not to mention, having a generator installed will boost your property values if you ever decide to sell your house.

If you’re not sure what size or type of generator you’ll need for your home, talk to a local generator installation technician. I live in Richmond and I had the team at Bradley Mechanical install my home generator. Their knowledgeable technicians helped me pick a generator that would cover all of my needs in the event of a power outage.

Choosing a generator can be a daunting task, but with a little help from the right people you’ll be hooked up with reliable backup power in no time. A home generator will give you peace of mind when hurricane season rolls around because you know that no matter what happens you’ll be comfortable and safe in your home.

When it comes to keeping your home clean and healthy, your carpet should be the first thing you think about. People often overlook proper carpet cleaning for a variety of reasons, either thinking that their carpets are already clean because they vacuum regularly, or not even thinking about them at all. Most carpets hide dirt well due to their patterning, texture, or a mixture of the two, but that doesn’t mean that harmful bacteria and allergens aren’t hiding in the fibers of your carpet.

Many people believe that vacuuming is enough to keep the carpets in your home clean, but the fact of the matter is that while vacuuming is helpful to get some surface dirt, it’s not enough to get any sort of ground in stains, bacteria, or anything that isn’t directly on the surface of your carpet. Most people don’t even think about what could be living under the surface of their carpet. Without proper care and regular professional cleaning any carpet can become a breeding ground for all sorts of mold and bacteria. Left unchecked, these pests can ruin your carpet, cause allergic reactions, and respiratory illness.

The only sure way to keep mold and bacteria at bay is to get regular professional carpet cleanings from a reputable local carpet cleaning business. While the option to rent a steam cleaner and take care of this yourself may look appealing, there is a lot that goes into carpet cleaning, and if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing you could end up ruining your carpet. Many of the consumer carpet cleaning solutions have harsh chemicals that can ruin certain kinds of carpets, and if you aren’t sure if the solution you bought works for your carpet, you could end up having to replace your wall to wall carpeting. This incredibly expensive consequence can be avoided by hiring professionals to take care of your carpet cleaning.

On top of eliminating various bacteria and mold, regular professional carpet cleaning will extend the life of your carpets by leaps and bounds. Many carpets require regular carpet cleaning with professional grade equipment to maintain their warranty. In addition to maintaining the warranty of your carpet, regular professional cleaning will make your carpets feel as soft and lush as they were the day they were installed.

If you’re someone with children or pets, you may have some concerns about whether or not professional grade carpet solutions are safe for them. There are many carpet cleaning companies that use harsh chemicals that can leave behind dangerous residues, but there are also carpet cleaners that brand themselves as non-toxic and eco-friendly, such as Chem-Dry, that are completely safe for kids and pets. All it takes is a little bit of research to find a carpet cleaner near you that meets your specific criteria.

One of the most important things about getting your carpets professionally cleaned is setting up a schedule for regular carpet cleanings. It’s a good idea to get your carpets cleaned every six months, if possible, and annually if you can’t swing it every six months. Keeping up with a regular cleaning regimen for your carpet will make sure that bacteria and mold aren’t able to get a foothold at any time, which will greatly reduce allergens in your home, and even boost your indoor air quality.

It’s always a good idea to do your due diligence when choosing a carpet cleaning company. Try to find green and eco-friendly companies since they avoid using toxic chemicals that can seep into ground water and pollute your local ecosystem. These companies are better for the local environment, and better for you and your family. You don’t want a company that’s going to leave harsh chemical residues behind on your carpet for you and your family to walk around on. Take a few minutes before hiring your local carpet cleaner to make sure they are doing what they should to protect the environment, if they aren’t, they aren’t worth your business.

If you haven’t had your carpets cleaned in a while, or haven’t ever had your carpets cleaned, take the time today to schedule an appointment with your local carpet cleaning experts. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes in looks, smell, and feel. Your home will be a healthier place afterwards, and your carpets will last much longer as a result of it.

Replacement windows can be found in a wide variety of styles, but all the options can sometimes make it tricky for consumers to pick out the right style for their home home. Double hung or casement replacement windows are the most popular for use in residential dwellings, but sliding windows and bay or bow models are nice options as well. The casement window was invented over a century ago and has remained popular ever since. Such models swing out from the side like a door.

Double hung windows are another traditional favorite and this model has been around for several centuries. Fixed windows, also referred to as picture windows, feature a solid design and do not provide ventilation, but they do give an unobstructed view of the home’s surroundings. Sliding models, as their name implies, are not stationary, but rather slide back and forth in a similar motion to that of a movable patio door.

Because there are many models from which to choose, shoppers often find the selection process challenging. Below are some of the most popular types of homes in the New England area brought to you by Andersen window replacement of Cape Cod and some essential tips to make the task of choosing the best replacement windows a bit less daunting:

Victorian Style Windows

victorian windows new england

When replacing windows in an old, Victorian house, it is essential to maintain the home’s original architectural integrity. Double hung windows work well in such homes, but Victorian windows are typically larger than the size considered standard by most homeowners. Although it may be tempting to renovate the openings and install smaller windows, this often results in ruining or compromising the look of a traditional Victorian house.

As a second choice, casement windows also work well in a Victorian home. Models of this type swing out similar to that of a door. They are typically operated with a crank and were sometimes seen in original Victorian style dwellings, although they were never as popular as the classic double hung model. Well-positioned bay windows can be used to enhance the home’s original architecture, and most larger Victorian houses had at least one bay window on each floor with a window seat for reading or relaxing.

Colonial Style Windows

colonial replacement windows house

Colonial homes feature various styles depending on the early settlers by whom they were built. Most feature Spanish, French or Dutch influences and traditional Georgian or New England architecture. Similar to other classic style dwellings, colonial homes are usually fitted with multi-paned window units and in most cases, feature shutters. Consumers should keep in mind that ventilation is important in colonial style dwellings, as little or no space is typically left open in the floor plan of this style home. For this reason, double hung windows or sliding windows are usually recommended for colonial houses. Such models not only pair well with shutters, but also provide maximum ventilation. The majority of double hung models can be opened from the top or bottom sash, making them highly convenient as well. In addition, grids can be used to accent geometrical proportion and emphasize symmetry.

Cape Cod Style Windows

cape cod style home windows

Cape Cod homes originated in 17th century New England, and typically feature one-and-a-half stories and a roof with a steep pitch. Because of their classic style, sliding windows or double hung models are almost always recommended. Grids are typically added to match the multi-pane look and patios often feature French style sliding doors or French swinging doors.

A bay window or bow window can also be added for accent, although these were rarely seen originally in Cape Cod style homes. Shutters are almost always used with traditional Cape Cod dwellings, as well.

Ranch Style Windows

rancher home

Classic ranch homes are generally one story, low ceiling homes that emphasize horizontal patterns. Because no window has cleaner lines than the stationary, picture window, these were the mid-century favorite for virtually all ranch houses. However, casement replacement windows are also a terrific choice for a ranch or ramble style dwelling, as they can be treated to match essentially any architectural style.

Awnings are almost always seen on ranch homes, and horizontal grilles are a favored treatment among consumers who wish to enhance the overall look of a ranch-style dwelling.

Traditional Style Windows

Homeowners whose dwellings feature traditional styles have the option of selecting essentially any window model they find appealing. There are numerous styles from which to choose, but most fall into one of two categories: fixed or operable. Fixed units include the aforementioned picture windows, and of course, bay or bow models. Operable units include casement, double hung and sliding windows. Casement or double hung units are highly versatile with regard to ventilation, while picture windows offer the best view.

The model selected is primarily a matter of personal preference, although other factors also influence the homeowner’s decision. For example, if small children reside in the dwelling, casements are a good choice, as they allow fresh air to flow into the house, but can be locked in place at a width too narrow for a child to climb through. Similarly, a double hung window that tilts in for easy cleaning and maintenance may be chosen by a homeowner whose primary goal is convenience. Fortunately,  local retailers are familiar with the many types of homes in Philadelphia, and therefore  most carry a broad range of models.

Material Options

window material options for replacement

After a window style is selected, Philadelphia PA homeowners must then choose the kind of material they prefer, as well as the desired number of panes. Doubles panes are considered the best choice, as single panes offer little or no protection from extreme temperatures or damage. Triple panes are not usually needed unless fuel bills are problematic.

Fiberglass, wood, vinyl and aluminum are the four main window frame options available on today’s market. Wood is aesthetically appealing, while vinyl is more cost-effective than the other options. Fiberglass is somewhere in between wood and vinyl with regard to cost, but offers exceptional longevity. Vinyl-clad aluminum frames are also very popular. Aluminum frames are rarely a good option for residential dwellings, as aluminum is a poor insulator, unlike wood or vinyl.

It is always a good idea to comparison shop before purchasing replacement windows. Units that are perfect for one type of house may be all wrong for another. Therefore, taking an adequate amount of time and reviewing as many options as possible before making a purchase is in the best interest of all consumers. Regardless of which style a homeowner ultimately selects, the replacement windows Philadelphia PA residents invest in will add value and beauty to their homes for many future years.