PREMIER Remodel Guide: Windows and Window Coverings

Decisions, decisions, decisions….all home remodeling projects involve a lot of them. In our ongoing PREMIER Remodel Guide Series we will go over the basics of some major home remodel projects so you can approach these decisions armed with a little more information and understanding.

Why replace your Windows?

According to Remodeling Magazines 2010-2011 Cost vs. Value Report Window Replacement ranks in the top 8 most valuable remodeling projects for Southern California, with Wood Replacement windows recouping 72.4% and Vinyl recouping 71.6% of cost. The value is truly even greater as these percentages do not take into account your monthly energy savings, which are significant, as well as potential tax credits.

“It’s important to think about how the choices you make today when improving your home will affect the environment in the future.  Products such as aluminum clad wood windows are 100% recyclable and surprisingly affordable.  Composite windows will stand up to the heat of Southern California very well and can be made to replicate wood and are expected to stay out of the landfills for a very long time.”

Steve Landry, Owner, Custom Engineered Openings Windows and Doors

Must know Vocabulary

Low-emittance (low-E) coating which reduces the U-factor by suppressing radiative heat flow. The U-factor tells you how well a window insulates, the lower the number the better. To qualify for federal tax credits the U-factor needed to be 0.30 or lower.

Double-Glazed –Double glazed windows have two parallel panes of glass with a space between them. This space functions as form of insulation for both temperature and noise. Gas-filled double glazed models fill the space with Argon or Krypton gas offering even higher energy efficiency and monthly savings.

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) Label—This label will tell you most of the important things you need to know about a window’s performance: U-Factor, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, and if it is Energy Star Certified.

Luxury options

Milgard Essence™ Series offers the warmth and style of a wood interior with the strength and durability of a fiberglass exterior, leveraging the best of the two materials to create a superior wood window.

Marvin’s Lift and Slide Glass Doors® allow a seamless transition from inside to out with industry-exclusive hardware that virtually disappears and simple, effortless operation.  Available at BUILDERS WINDOW SUPPLY in San Diego.

Window coverings

Far more than just decorations, your selections for window coverings contribute greatly to overall energy efficiency and the simple enjoyment of a room. Plus there great techy gadgets that allow you to control everything from your phone or laptop!

Shades and Shutters

Roman Shades can be made of almost any textile to suite your personal design and the cascade of fabric adds visual warmth while gently diffusing light.

Duo-Shade systems offer the privacy of black-out shades plus a sun-control or sheer shade all rolled into one. Perfect for a master suite.

Plantation Shutters, generally characterized by their wide elliptical shaped louvers, originated in Mediterranean climates like ours because the wider slats let in more air while blocking sunlight. They tend to make a bold architectural statement.

Style File, Window Dressing:

Tassels are hot—from clothing to jewelry to home design tassels are all the rage.

For a glamorous look draperies should puddle a bit at the bottom so order them a little bit longer than the distance from the rod to the floor.


The next step in effective whole home energy management comes in the form of home automation. Your window coverings can be controlled remotely by you or by automated sensors that automatically adjust the shades to take advantage of or block solar heat gain depending on the time of year. Popular brands Lutron, Creston, and Vantage offer automated shading solutions.

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