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While they look simple, windows and doors have become high-tech additions to
homes. A lot of changes have occurred over the past twenty years.
A big part of this change came about due to government oversight requiring
energy-saving improvements. Industry standards today call for windows to include
low-E, higher performance glass developed to keep out air and water.
Homeowners should know that windows are now rated by U-value. The lower the
U-value, the higher the energy savings. Consumers are advised to watch for an
overall window U-value of .35 or less.
Here is a list of a few things homeowners should keep in mind when choosing
Be sure to avoid making scale mistakes when replacing or adding windows. This
can make an otherwise handsome remodel look off-balance. Experts suggest keying
off existing windows, checking the size you’ve chosen either by masking off the
section with tape or by using inexpensive home remodeling software. Some
showrooms have such software plus an on-site designer to help you choose the
Answers to your window questions......
1. What are various windows made of and what will work best for me?
Basically there are three types of materials used. Aluminum windows, with their easily scratched painted surfaces, conduct both heat and cold, so they're very poor insulators. Wood windows, which require constant painting and caulking, can absorb moisture, making them difficult to open and close. They can even rot. Alside's solid vinyl windows, however, never need painting and won't show scratches, because the color goes throughout the material. This is why vinyl windows are quickly becoming the most popular choice for both new construction and replacement applications.
In addition, you should certainly consider custom-sized windows for the very simple reason that they'll fit better. Stock-sized windows require extensive carpentry work both inside and outside your house. That can be very costly and inconvenient. Alside custom-sized windows, on the other hand, are manufactured to fit your existing window opening. You get the style and options you want while maintaining your glass area.
2. Is there any difference in how windows are made?
There are two basic types of construction: Mechanically fastened windows are screwed together at the corners. And welded windows, becoming more and more popular, that use a chemical or heat process for joining. Alside produces mechanically fastened and welded windows. Our mechanically fastened windows feature a unique overlap corner design for extra strength, while our welded versions utilize state-of-the-art heat welding equipment. Beware of windows with mitered corners screwed together or chemically welded corners, as they probably won't perform as well for you.
3. Can I replace my old windows with different styles or types?
Certainly, since all Alside replacement windows are part of Alside's Window System. You may want to consult an independent design specialist to find the type of window that best complements your home's natural design. No matter what style or combination of styles you choose, however, Alside can custom-manufacture it all for you.
4. Aren't all window manufacturers essentially the same?
Not at all. Many companies buy their parts and glass from various outside sources. At Alside, we extrude most of our own parts from the raw vinyl (PVC) resin ourselves.
You should also know that although a lot of manufacturers claim their windows are American-made, many in fact may be imported from Canada and other foreign countries. We're proud to say that every Alside window is manufactured right here in the U.S.A.
5. What about strength, protection and noise reduction?
You should look for a window that offers both superior strength and energy efficiency. Alside's computer-controlled process ensures a perfectly square window sash and main-frame with superior strength. And for exceptional energy efficiency, a full interlock at the meeting rail helps protect your home against the elements, or unwanted intrusions. In addition, our insulating glass unit traps dry air, creating an exceptional comfort barrier.
Moreover, homeowners with Alside Window Systems say there's a noticeable reduction in the amount of noise that enters their homes. A full interlock system at the point where upper and lower sashes meet helps stop air infiltration while providing an additional barrier against unwanted intrusions.
6. Do Alside windows require a lot of maintenance?
Because our frames and sashes are made of vinyl, you can say goodbye to painting and caulking. Alside windows won't stick, and you don't have to remove storm windows in order to clean them. In fact, you can do it all from inside your home. An occasional wipe with a damp cloth will keep your windows looking like new for years to come.
7. I have been reading about different test results on windows. How should this impact my buying decisions?
Be careful when looking at extremely specific results since many of them do not really indicate how well the window will work for you. Some apply to just certain parts of the window, like the frame and its R-value, and do not give an overall picture. Tested in nationally-certified labs and our own modern test facility, Alside windows are engineered to provide the optimum in energy savings and are rated by the National Fenestration Rating Council.
8. What is more important in saving energy, the frame or the glass?
Since 70% of a window is glass, real heating and cooling savings come from what is known as "improved glass performance," not a high R-value on the frame. Alside uses the latest technology, known as a high performance warm edge spacer system. This spacer system helps to improve the performance and the longevity of the insulated glass unit, and is standard on all Alside windows.
9. What energy-saving options should I know about?
You should give careful consideration to Alside's ClimaTech™ Insulated Glass Package, featuring LoE2 glass and argon gas. LoE2 glass is an excellent barrier against ultraviolet rays which fade carpet, furniture, draperies, and even woodwork. Argon gas is colorless, odorless, nonflammable, nontoxic, and above all, a safe, inert gas that is heavier than air.
Not only does argon gas help to increase the energy efficiency of a window, but helps to make your home quieter as well. When Alside windows are equipped with the ClimaTech™ Insulated Glass Package, they automatically meet or exceed the energy-saving requirements for all three climate zones set forth by the Energy Star Window program. Or you can get the ClimaTech™ Plus package with a foam spacer that provides even further energy efficiency as an option.
10. What is the Energy Star Program?
The Energy Star program was created by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy to help consumers in the recognition of energy-efficient products. This program also promotes the environmental and economic benefits of these products through the Energy Star label and other program activities.
11. Will Alside windows be a good investment?
Yes, for a variety of reasons. First, you may realize savings on your heating and cooling bills. Second, they're virtually maintenance-free, which eliminates painting costs. And finally, the transferability of one of the strongest warranties in the business may easily add to the resale value of your home.
12. Aren't all window warranties practically the same?
Not really. There are as many warranties as there are window manufacturers. Some brand name factory warranties cover just the sash and frame. The rest is left up to the local fabricator who may or may not cover it. Your warranty is only as good as the company behind it. With Alside, your unit is warranted from the extrusion and parts to the glass and construction by our Lifetime Limited Warranty*, with transferability provisions. It's one of the most comprehensive available, just what you'd expect from an industry leader.