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Not an Afterthought
By Tracy Dickinson
HOME TRENDS June/July 2018
home :: home & garden :: home trends

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Not an Afterthought

Window products can transform your home.

Windows may not be the first thing that comes to mind when contemplating a house plan. Very few people create boards dedicated to “windows” on Pinterest and Houzz. But your choice of window products should not be an afterthought. Windows can have a dramatic impact on both the aesthetics and comfort of your home.

Aesthetics

“The biggest style trend we’re seeing is black trim inside and out,” says Bob Lane of Moehl Millwork. The popularity of more-contemporary designs, with interior color schemes in the grays and neutrals accented by black, has carried over into window fashions as well.

Gilcrest/Jewett Lumber’s Brad Schulte says, “We’re seeing a lot of black, especially for exterior finish. Whether it’s vinyl, fiberglass, even wood, homeowners are opting for prepainted black finishes on the inside, too.”

Brandon Klinge of Pella Incorporated says, “There is certainly a trend toward warmer, darker colors. That’s even true of stains. Homeowners are opting for darker finishes in wood stains as well.”

In addition to color preferences, professionals are seeing a transition in design profile also.

Lane says, “The whole issue of cleanability isn’t really a factor any more. Homeowners want stationary windows so they can keep that sleek look.”

“Homeowners want affordable, big views with as much glass as possible to fit their budgets and available space,” says Beisser Lumber’s Dan Perry. “Homeowners want as much glass as possible.”

“Home designs are really emphasizing modern, narrow lines,” explains Lane. “They want more glass for an uninterrupted view. Angular lines are the norm, not rounded or curved.”

Perry says, “Half-rounds are not so popular. We’re not even seeing a huge number of windows with grilles between the glass. When we do, they’re usually the simple Shaker or Prairie style to complement the ever-growing trend of the farmhouse-style home plans.”

That’s had an impact on the sale of windows with in-unit blinds, he says. “They’re not as popular, even though they’re practically standard as far as availability. Homeowners often want tinted glass instead of blinds so the view and the sleek look are unobstructed.”

According to Klinge, that preference for larger expanses of glass is tied to advances in technology. “In order to meet the demand for maximum glass with minimum frame and still meet performance standards, manufacturers have had to improve their manufacturing technology.” In just the last year, manufacturers have built new ovens that can produce up to 70 square feet of glass in one piece. “The max used to be 48 to 50 square feet,” he says. “These new ovens are offering technology that didn’t even exist a year ago.”

This manufacturing advance has led to new products in the door market as well. “You can now get folding patio doors with multiple glass panels, creating movable walls of glass in doors as big as 48 feet wide,” Perry says. “They really give you the freedom to create a true three-season room and bring the outdoors in.”

Efficiency

Along with technological improvements to meet changing aesthetic preferences, manufacturers are constantly working to advance window performance. “Glass just keeps getting better,” Schulte says. “Low-E is still king when it comes to efficiency, but manufacturers are improving on that all the time.”

One of the ways manufacturers are increasing low-E performance is in the application process. “Manufacturers are applying as many as three or four coats of low-E, even on the surface on the interior of the home. They’ve had to consistently improve performance to keep up with changing EnergyStar standards,” Schulte says.

Klinge says, “It’s not only the glass. It’s the overall product—windows and doors aren’t just windows and doors. It’s a more holistic approach, where all those design and performance aspects function together.”

For example, he says, it isn’t just the glass that’s more efficient. Even the finish materials are advanced. “With advances in cladding, sealant, glass, and preservative technologies, Pella now offers a limited lifetime warranty on all its wood-clad windows. This type of coverage typically only exists in nonwood windows and doors and demonstrates the advancement in window and door engineering and technology.”

Another exciting area changing in window design has nothing to do with appearance or efficiency.

“Several manufacturers have introduced window lines with security systems built in,” Perry says. “From an app on your phone, you can tell whether a window is open or unlocked.”

Klinge says, “Technology in windows and doors is becoming the focus. We’ve already seen remote-control blinds. Now we’re seeing products with digital devices implanted to connect to your home security system.”

“It’s the technology that interests me most in the industry right now: the way glass is continuing to move the bar for performance and design, the way windows and doors are becoming a part of protecting the home, the way products are improving to last so much longer,” Schulte says. He believes all of these factors have combined to make windows a key part of the home design.

“Things are changing and improving so fast, I don’t even know what to expect next. All these advantages trickle down to the consumers and improve their lives, too,” Klinge says.

Anything that can have that dramatic an effect on your home’s beauty and comfort should be more than an afterthought. Choosing the right windows can change everything.

 

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