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Replacement Windows FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions About Replacement Windows

Replacement Windows Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Does a window really need more than one layer of glass?

For hundreds of years windows have been made with a single layer of glass. But there is one major problem with that simple design: glass by itself is not a very good insulator so as a result, much heat will transfer out of your home in the winter and into your home in the summer.  Modern technology has resulted in new window designs that include multiple panes/layers of glass. Nowadays, a quality window maker will use  two or three layers of glass creating a “sandwich” of glass around an air pocket. But instead of just using air which is not a very good insulator, manufacturers are now using different types of gas such as argon or krypton that act as a much better insulator (thermal barrier) than just ordinary air.

Q. I like the look of a wooden window.  But all I see in the home improvement stores is white vinyl.  Am I stuck with that?

For homeowners who like the appearance of natural wood and woodgrain, Master’s offers some excellent options in windows made of strong, energy efficient, rot-proof vinyl that can be ordered with one of several different woodgrain interior finishes.  You’ll end up with great energy savings over wood windows and you will have windows with far less maintenance than wood.  In fact, our high performance Soft-Lite windows are virtually maintenance free.

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Q. Is a vinyl window that much more energy efficient than one made of wood?

Yes. The insulating properties of wood are pretty poor when compared to modern vinyl replacement windows.  And when you consider that a wood window requires regular maintenance, you will see that you are far better off with a well designed modern vinyl window like those installed by the experts at Master’s Construction.  Our windows are designed to give you many years of trouble-free service and save you energy at the same time.   All our replacement windows have some of the best energy star ratings in the industry.

Q. Will an energy efficient replacement window really save me much money over time?

The energy savings that you achieve will depend on the size of your home and on how many windows in your home you replace.  Estimates by the US Department of Energy indicate that 30% or more of a home’s total energy is lost because of windows and doors that are not energy efficient. Think about how much lower your heating bill or air conditioning bill would be if it was thirty percent less each month… for as long as you own your home!

Q. Why shouldn’t I buy a window at the local home store to install myself?

Most do-it-yourself windows are what are called  “contractor grade” windows.  They are not meant to be energy efficient, just cheap – cheap enough to attract unsuspecting buyers who are not aware of all the costs associated with cheaper windows.  Installing an “off the shelf” windows may require you to make significant modifications to the current window openings in your home. You might need to cut a larger opening if the bargain window is bigger than your old window.  Or you may need to fill in the gaps around a window that is smaller than the original window.  The more adjustments you have to make, the more likely that you could end up with unwanted air leaks.  Our expertly measured, custom-made replacement windows will fit perfectly, creating a better air seal in the original window openings and allow our installers to get the job done as quickly as possible so that your home does not need to remain in a state of disrepair, nor will it be open to the outside elements very long.

Q. How can I tell which replacement window offers the best energy efficiency?

The National Fenestration Research Council (NFRC), has set industry standards for rating the energy efficiency of replacement windows.  The NFRC is an independent, non-profit organization that administers the only nationally accepted rating system for energy performance of windows, doors and skylights. This organization’s unbiased, reliable rating system allows homeowners and contractors to compare the energy efficiency of many different home improvement materials.  You will find an NFRC label on any window you purchase from Master’s Construction.

Q. What is the most important insulation issue of a window?

A. The most important insulation issue (but not the only issue) is the glass and the air space surrounding it.  If your current windows have a single pane of “regular” glass or even a double pane in many cases, you are not getting the kind of energy efficiency available today. Advances in window and glass technology have resulted in a glass insulating system that will keep your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer. In addition, the Soft-Lite windows installed by Master’s Construction are designed with many additional features that enhance the insulating properties of their windows including advanced weatherstripping design and  high-tech glass spacer materials.

Q. Why do I need windows with Low-E glass?

A. Low-E Glass can greatly increase the energy efficiency of your home by reducing the amount of heat that enters or leaves. Low-E (“low emission”) glass is manufactured by applying a very thin (see-through) coating of metal on one side of the glass.  This ultra thin metal layer greatly increases the insulating ability of the glass.  So the net result is that heat and light can pass through, but the thin metal coating does not allow heat or light back out.

Q. What is the U-Value of a window?

A. The U-value is a measure of a windows energy efficiency.  It is the most important indicator of a window’s performance.  It indicates the rate of heat flow through a window and the lower the U-value, the more energy efficient a window is.  Since the U-value measures the efficiency of the entire window, including the glass, spacers, frame and sash, it is the only rating system accepted by the US Department of Energy in its EnergyStar program.  If you would like to take advantage of windows with the lowest, most energy efficient U-values on the market, contact Master’s Construction and ask about our high performance Soft-Lite replacement windows.

Q. What is the R-Value of a window?

A. R-value is the measure of the resistance of a material to the flow of heat.  So with windows, R-value measures the resistance of glass to the flow of heat.  This rating system works in reverse to the U-value system… the higher the R-value, the better the glass will be at insulating a home. But since R-value does not measure the efficiency of the entire window, it is NOT an accepted form of measurement by the EnergyStar or the NFRC.

Q. Is there a difference between a bay window and a bow window?

A. Yes. A bay window consists of 3 windows extending out from the wall of your home.  The center section may or may not open and is parallel to the wall of the house and usually is wider than the two side sections.  This center section can be a fixed “picture window” style.  The two side windows are angled out from the house and are usually double-hung windows to provide ventilation to your home.

Bow windows usually have a smoother curve to them than bay windows and usually have 4 to 6 sections all the same width, although some very wide bow windows can have more sections. Those sections (a.k.a. “lites”) typically do not open but in some cases may have crank-open casement windows at either end.

Call 610-264-3333
Call Today For A Free Window Estimate!
We look forward to hearing from you!


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