Doors and Windows Energy Efficient Windows and doors: every home has them, and every home needs them. But that doesn’t mean all doors and windows are created alike. A modern wooden archway is a very different thing from an elegant French door, just as a classy bay window is quite distinct from a sleek and pleasing skylight. Not only that, but doors and windows come with nearly as many diverse accessories as the varieties in which they are found: handles, knobs, shutters, screens, and shades, to name just a few.

Doors and Windows Energy Efficient | Doors and Windows Energy Efficient

Here you can find information to help walk you through the process of selecting, installing, and maintaining these fundamental components of any home.

Window Shutters

Window Shutter Options

They can be made in panels or frames to fit window halves, for example, allowing one to have the upper half of a window with open shutters and the lower half with shutters closed for privacy. They will also fit any size window-even arches and porthole-style windows-and come with a choice of movable or fixed louvers. There are also accordion window shutters for patio doors and special storm or hurricane window shutters. Window shutters are made for both the exterior and interior of a home. In addition to controlling the amount of light, exterior shutters provide protection for the windows.

Interior vs. Exterior Window Shutters

Purchasing window shutters involves decisions surrounding the material the shutters are made from, as well as the style of louvers comprising the shutters. Interior window shutters are available in various colors to match almost any décor; they also come in primed wood that the homeowner can finish with paint or stain. Exterior window shutters are usually made of wood or vinyl. Wood shutters often look more elegant, although wood is subject to rot so must be maintained. Vinyl is the less-expensive option, but its appearance is less attractive and sometimes looks more like plastic. Some shutters are constructed of a composite polymer that has the advantages of being rot proof, more durable, and maintenance free.

Window Shutters: Louver Options

Louvers vary by width and thickness, and the louver size will impact the view out the window. Louver size also determines the style of the window shutter. Narrow-width louvers and those that are about ¾ inch thick are best for a traditional look, whereas wider louvers are a more contemporary style. Plantation shutters have the thickest and widest louvers (1-1/8 inch thick and 3-1/2" or 4-1/2" wide). If there is enough depth, interior window shutters are mounted inside the window frame or casing; otherwise, they are mounted onto hanging strips outside the window frame.

Maintenance of Exterior Window Shutters

Exterior window shutters should be mounted onto the house with hardware that is resistant to decay. Because of the possibilities of rot in exterior window shutters over time, manufacturers recommend leaving a one-half-inch space between the shutters and the building to allow more ventilation.

Sliding doors have come a long way since the balky, unattractive doors of yesterday. Today's sliding doors provide style and beauty as well as safety, durability, and when used outdoors, energy efficiency.

Benefits of Sliding Doors

The concept of sliding doors has been around for centuries and their many advantages over swinging doors continue to make them an attractive alternative. Just some of the reasons people like sliding doors include the following:

  • Sliding doors need a lot less space than swinging doors (a swinging door needs almost 10 times the space of a sliding door), so "waste" space in a house can be minimized, and closets don't need to have a furniture free "halo" around them just so you can open the door.

  • A sliding door opening out onto a small landing or a stairway is much safer than a swinging door in the same situation since a person doesn't need to step back and possibly fall.

  • Sliding doors won't slam in the wind, and they don't open by themselves.

  • Finally, a handicapped person may well find a sliding door easier to use than a swinging door. Plus, you can get sliders that are much wider than swinging doors, which allows for easy passage of a wheel chair for example.

Frame Construction of Sliding Doors

From a builder's perspective, there's an added bonus in that even with the wider door, you don't need to worry about the effect of the increased weight on the door hinges. Older outdoor sliding doors were primarily made from thin aluminum that would often bend in the cold and let air in around the edges. Today, outdoor sliding doors are made from a wide range of materials, including wood, vinyl-clad wood, and fiberglass. The fiberglass frames can be manufactured to have the appearance of wood, but won't warp or crack, as wood sometimes will. By injecting insulating foam into the doorframes, the insulating value (and consequently the door's ability to keep the warm in and the cold out) can be increased many times over that of plain wood.

Panel Construction of Sliding Doors

While attractive energy efficient frames are great to have, outdoor sliding doors have large glass surfaces that used to be very inefficient. Here too, improvements have been made through the use of modern energy efficient glazing. Dual glazed or dual paned windows combined with low e coatings and filled with gas, means that sliding doors are not only attractive, but energy- and cost-effective as well.

Modern Sliding Doors

Even with all the improvements, sliding door technology continues to evolve. Some manufacturers can actually provide sliding doors that will bend around a 90degree angle. Others have developed "lift and slide "technology so a door will ride easily on its rollers but then drop down into a track, creating both an air and watertight seal. Improved energy efficiency advanced technology combined with the inherent benefits of the design no doubt means we are going to be seeing sliding used in new and creative applications in the future.

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