Why Garden Windows Are Not Energy Efficient

Interested in a garden window?  Garden windows are far less energy efficient than conventional windows. Why? First, let’s define what a garden window is.

A garden window is essentially a five-sided glass box that protrudes from your house as much as two feet.

The reason why garden windows are not very energy efficient is because they can utilize as much as twice the amount of glass for the same size window opening than would a conventional window. Glass, no matter how well-sealed or filled with gasses, is a notorious energy waster.

Garden Window

How to Cut an Opening in Basement Walls for Windows

Most basements could always use more light, don’t you agree?

So, it’s the fervent wish of many homeowners to punch as many windows in the basement walls as possible. But how do you cut an opening in the basement walls for windows?

While this is not a DIY guide for cutting openings in basement walls, we want to let you know two important details:

  1. If the basement wall is made of concrete block, you can conceivably cut the opening by yourself. The reason why concrete block responds well to a circular saw outfitted with a masonry blade is because you are cutting out the mortar between the blocks, not the blocks themselves.
  2. If the foundation wall is poured concrete, you’ll probably want to have a contractor cut the window opening (and possibly install the window, too).

Basement Window

Prebuilt Bay Window Kits

Bay windows may look complicated to install, but you don’t necessarily have to build them from scratch.

Prefabricated bay window kits are available that supply the roof framing, flashing, seat board, and all other needed elements. There is no need to design your bay window from scratch anymore with prefab bay window units available from most home improvement stores.

Do You Need a Building Permit for a Bay Window?

Here’s a question we hear a lot:  Do you need a building permit for a bay window?

Answer:  Possibly, but usually not.

Generally, a one-for-one window replacement does not require a building permit. But when you start to increase your house’s “footprint,” building codes begin to apply. True, a bay window does not rest on the ground, but it does decrease the distance from your house to the house next door.

Another consideration is whether you need special tempered glass for the bay window. Because bay windows have seats that permit both sitting and (often with children) standing, this stronger tempered glass may be required to prevent people from accidentally falling through.

Installing a bay window is a pretty big deal, so it’s definitely worth making a call to your local building permitting department to make sure you are keeping within code.

Bay Window

How Important is the New Construction Window Nailing Flange?

Well, it’s pretty important…

The nailing flange on a new-construction window is that metal or plastic apron-like piece that extends outward to let you nail the window against the house.

Note that replacement windows will not have a nailing flange; only new-construction windows will have this nailing flange.

The nailing flange is the thing that really ties your new construction window tight against the side of the house. Even though it will eventually get sealed down with silicone caulk, you want to make sure that it stays in good condition.

So, make sure that you do not bend out that nailing flange until the very last minute. Bending it out ahead of time means that you risk creasing it and making it less weather resistant.
Window Nailing Flange

A Mullion Post is the Way to Install Two Windows

What’s a mullion post, and we should you care about it?

If you have a wide window opening, one obvious way to span this distance is to buy a wide replacement window. But specialty-size replacement windows really drive up the cost of your window project. One way to get around this is to use a mullion post to install two windows in that opening.

For example, instead of installing a 60″ wide window in that space, you may decide to install two 27″wide windows side by side. Between the two windows would be a mullion post. The mullion post would cover the rest of the 60″ distance; tie those two windows together; and provide structural stability.

In fact, a mullion post isn’t just a good idea when installing two windows side by side; it’s a necessity.

Mullion Post

Use Paintable Silicone Caulk for Window Casing

Imprint this in your memory:  paintable silicone caulk…

Be sure you buy the right kind of caulk for filling gaps around exterior window casing. You’ll want to make sure that the caulk you buy is both silicone and is paintable.

Not all silicone caulk is paintable; not all paintable caulk is silicone.

Silicone caulk holds up much longer for exterior use than latex caulking. Many homeowners will caulk the casing with silicone and then leave it at that. If you have vinyl siding, that may be the case, since vinyl siding is not exactly paintable.
Silicone Caulk

How to Position Windows in a Room

Most people give little thought to how to position windows in a room.

When contemplating how to position windows in a room, most people think in terms of the horizontal position of a window in relation with another window. But what about vertical positioning?

Most home decorators agree that windows need to be positioned so that they align in a straight line at the top. While this may seem counter-intuitive, consider this: right above the tops of the windows you have the juncture between the wall and ceiling. This juncture forms a perfectly straight horizontal line which could compete with the tops of the windows, if those window tops ran in a staggered line.

Replacement Window

The Utility Knife is Your Friend When Removing Windows

Besides a pry bar, reciprocating saw, and patience, one of the most valuable tools you can have when removing windows is a utility knife.

A good utility knife helps you cut away the window trim. Otherwise, when you pull away the window trim, you will end up yanking off paint, wallpaper, or even wallboard paper. By using a utility knife when you remove window trim, you separate the two items and no tearing will result.

Be sure to have lots of replacement utility knife blades on hand, too.  Buy a mega-pack of 500, and that will take care of you for the next five years.
Utility Knife

When Removing Windows, Cut Through Nails with Reciprocating Saw

Removing windows from their frames in order to install replacements can be a real mess. But one essential tool you’ll want to have on hand is a reciprocating saw.

After you have removed the interior window casing, you will find that the window jamb is still attached to framing studs by nails. One difficult way to approach this is to remove each nail, one by one. But an easier way is to put a metal-cutting blade in your reciprocating saw, and to slice through those nails in the slot between the window and stud.

And it doesn’t have to be a fancy Milwaukee Sawzall brand.  Any kind of reciprocating saw should be able to chew through nails.

Reciprocating Saw