What are the Best Windows and Doors for your Home?
The home is made up of many different customizable pieces – everything from the roof, siding, and paint can be manipulated in subtle or fantastic ways. Windows and doors are no different with nearly infinite types of customization. There are a lot of things to consider when trying to determine the best windows and doors for your home.
These pieces come in a variety of forms ranging from the timeless plain and simple, to more extravagant models that create plenty of personality for your home.
Since there is such an array of options, picking the best windows and doors for your home is a bit of an undertaking, as there are so many things to keep in mind. In this guide, you will learn the differences between the types of windows and doors and which ones work best for you.
Types of Windows
The most common type of windows in modern homes are single and double hung windows. The single hung window only has a bottom piece that moves up and down, while the double hung allows for both the top and bottom sash to do so.
For a little more style there are arched windows that are often found in vaulted ceiling rooms but can be used elsewhere. Bay windows are protrusions that extend off of a wall, typically creating some sort of small shelf.
Bow windows are similar, but rely on additional windows – usually, five compared to three – to create a longer and smoother curve. For a more extreme shelf, there is the garden window – these miniature bay windows are specifically made for plants.
For a more exotic approach that relies more on looks rather than use, there is the picture and round circle windows. The picture window is just one large piece of glass with no framing or moving parts, while the circle window is exactly what it implies.
Skylight windows are perfect for rooms that need natural light, but lack a good exterior wall, while a hopper and sliding windows offer a unique twist on how they open.
Picking the Right Windows
Now that you have a good understanding of the different windows that are out there, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of picking a style that will work best for you. In terms of aesthetics, you don’t want to pick anything that will clash with the look of your home. While those round windows might seem neat, they probably won’t fit into a colonial style home.
Picking a style that fits the exterior of your home is only part of the battle. The environment can affect what you need as well. While most windows have some level of energy efficient, there are some that work specifically for extreme weather areas.
If you find that you’re in an extremely cold or hot place, then getting a set of glazed windows or ones that filter out UV radiation can cut back on your energy bill in the long run. Double-paned windows give an extra layer of protection from outside forces, while triple-pane goes a step further than that. The frame is another area that needs to be looked at thoroughly as well. The frame not only influences the style of the window, but the material used can also have many practical effects.
The three most common types of material are vinyl, wood, and aluminum. The cheapest of these is the vinyl – when installing correctly they can give impressive insulation and reduce leakage. Wood is another common options. While wood requires the most upkeep, it can have some of the longest lifespans of any of the products. In humid and rainy climates they can be prone to rotting and bugs. Aluminum is not amazing when it comes to transferring heat, but it is an inexpensive option that works well in moist environments.
Types of Doors
Like windows, doors have a huge range of styles and looks. Traditional style exterior doors are a classy variant that relies on intricate scrollwork, colored panels, and glass inserts. These type of doors work great for irregular openings as they can be custom designed to fit.
The rustic look is often made entirely out of wood. While they can come in many forms this type of door is often simple as it’s often found on cabins. In direct contrast is the modern door style – relying on sleekness and straight lines for their look. They’re often larger in size, so as to fill their empty spaces.
Craftsman styles are probably the most versatile as they are often seen in multiple different materials and offer large glass inserts that are almost infinitely customizable. Interior doors can come in a large variety of styles, like the pocket door that pushes into the wall, found most commonly in bathrooms.
Dutch doors are divided horizontally and divided into two different sections that can open separately. Bifold doors fold up together – usually found in closets, patios, and kitchens. The most popular by far is the simple hinged door, which is the easiest to install and maintain.
Both interior and exterior doors can be organized by the material they are made out of. Paneled doors are some of the most common as they can look ornamental. Metal doors are more pragmatic while PVC styles are cheaper but offer good quality. More exotic styles are bamboo and glass doors.
While other materials like fiberglass, fiber reinforced plastic (FRP), and wood are also available.
Picking the Right Doors
Picking the right style for your door can be remarkably important, especially when it comes to the front doors. Often the first thing a visitor sees, these doors can make a great first impression on a potential buyer.
There is also the added problem that if these doors aren’t properly fit they can cost homeowners money for years to come due to gaps. When it comes to looking its best to use your common sense – obviously an old cabin like door won’t work on a typical suburbia home.
Size is also a factor – unusual openings will require customization, which is not always something that certain materials and styles can do. Aside from this, make sure whatever door you get you understand the proper maintenance required. Weather fluctuations can make some materials expand and contract, while humidity can create additional problems.
While walls, roofs, and floors are the form of your home, it’s the openings that come to define it. Getting the best windows and doors for your living space is a matter of knowing what styles are offered out there and what materials suit your needs the most.
Regardless of what you pick make sure to follow proper upkeep procedures. Be sure to clean and fix any gaps or seals so when you do find the best windows and doors you know that your investment will last for many years to come!