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Windows and Doors: Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ

Why should I be concerned about windows?
Home windows and doors can be responsible for unnecessary heat loss, high-energy consumption and cold drafts and can be the reason for condensation problems within homes. Windows and doors are the biggest single area of heat loss in the home.

Why should I buy custom replacement windows?
Custom replacement windows give you the perfect fit. Stock windows are available only in standard sizes. When your window opening is larger than a standard size, you’re left with an opening around the perimeter of the window. This opening is often filled with sheet rock or molding and you are left with extra all space to patch and paint. Custom replacement windows allow you to maximize your viewing area without jeopardizing the visual esthetics of your home.

What is a replacement window?
A replacement window is a window that's custom built to fit within the opening of an existing window. It's built to fit precisely and can be installed without disturbing the interior and exterior areas around the window.

What is air infiltration?
Air infiltration refers to the movement of air at a different temperature through the different interfacing surfaces of the sash and frame. Look for windows that are designed for absolute minimum air infiltration.

What is a "rough opening"?
The rough opening is the opening in the wall that the window or patio door fits into. Normally, the rough opening must be sized 1/2 inch larger than the frame in both width and height.

What does the term "failed" mean and how can you tell when a window has "failed"?
You know a window has failed if there's moisture in between the panes of glass. There are two types of window failures:
  1. a seal failure: the glazing is cracked, missing or the fit of the window is bad.
  2. a window failure: moisture is leaking in.
What's the warm-edge technology that all the manufacturers are touting?
Most window sashes in Canada are made from double-pane glass. This creates a dead-air space between the two panes, thereby improving the insulating properties of the sash. An edge spacer is used to keep the panes in place and keep them separated. In many instances, this edge spacer is made from aluminum. Aluminum conducts energy. The aluminum contacting the glass reduces the thermal performance of the windows because it more easily conducts energy. Also it is well to remember that it does not matter if your windows are double or triple panes if the frame design is lousy.

What is the U-value?
The U-value is a measure of the window's thermal efficiency that takes into account the gasket (compression vs. sliding seal), dead-air space (in double- and triple-pane windows), material conductivity (aluminum, vinyl, wood). The U-value is based on the window's ability to resist the flow of energy. The lower the U-value, the better the thermal performance of the window.

What is low-E?
High-quality glass often contains a low-emissive coating (low-E), which reduces heat transfer back through the window. Low-E, or low emissivity, refers to the way a unit reflects certain length waves. A window with a good low-E lowers your energy bill because in the summer it reflects sunlight; and in the winter, it absorbs it to help in heating your home.

What are vinyl windows made of and what are the advantages?
Vinyl Replacement Windows are made from UPVC. The advantages are they are available in a wide range of styles and shapes, have moderate to high R-values, are easily customized, are competitively priced, require low maintenance, and mold easily into almost any shape.
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