Your home is your domain and, as the master of your domain, it’s imperative that it embodies your vision and character. There are very few things in this world that you can completely customize for you, so don’t be afraid to take the upper hand when making renovations and remember to have fun!
Your home is where you live, sleep, wake up, host parties, relax after a hard day’s work or maybe even be where you work full-time. Any way you dice it, you’re going to spend a very large portion of your life inside of your house, which means it’s crucial that you enjoy its aesthetic. This is your chance to let your personality shine through and shape your home to be as unique as you are.
You may not think of your windows as being a reflection of your personality, but the questions you will face during the installation process will be more complicated than you think. This is the ultimate guide to choosing the perfect windows for you, your lifestyle and your New Jersey home.
The Anatomy of a Window
Just like any other part of your home, your windows do more than just let you see out or let light in. They do more than keep the cold breeze from entering in the winter or keep the sleepy hot air out in the summer. Windows are multifaceted, sophisticated pieces of hardware in your home. On the surface, it appears that everything just works together so well. It’s an entire system comprising of many parts – each one playing a different role. So, let’s take a look at the anatomy of a window.
Familiarizing yourself with a window’s parts and the terminology that is used will help you completely customize your experience as you shop for new windows. Instead of looking at a window and pointing while you say, “You know that one part… yeah, this one right here?” you’ll be able to expertly talk about the window you want and how you want it without running into communication issues. People in the industry will instantly be able to know what you’re talking about - key people who will be able to help you get what you want.
When you look at a window, the stiles are the two side pieces that frame the window. These are the major vertical supports that hold up the sash. You’ll see a vertical stile on both sides of your window.
The sashes are the top and bottom pieces of the window. Together with the stiles, they frame the window. You’ll find the rails for the sash along the top and bottom of each window.
The muntins of a window are usually decorative. These are the rails that divide the window into lights. Each glass section is called a lite. They make up the grid of the window. They can both be sitting on top of the window and be used as decorative pieces, or they can help hold each piece of glass in place.
Muntins can be installed on the inside of the window, the outside of the window, or, as is often the case, both. On thermal insulated windows, they are usually mounted in between the two panes of glass. When this method is used, the windows are usually easier to clean as you have one big piece rather than nine little pieces.
Glazing refers to the piece of glass itself. In fact, window installers are often called glazers. These pieces of glass can be installed in a single thickness or a double thickness. Sometimes there are air pockets in between the panes of glass. The most energy-efficient windows use double and triple glazing. If you ever get the chance to see what a glazing compound is, it is a putty that holds the piece of glass in place to prevent breakage.
The apron is easy to remember because of how a person wears a cooking apron. Usually, a cooking apron attaches at the waist and covers the pants. In terms of windows, the apron is the horizontal rail that is fixated directly into the wall underneath the windowsill. It is usually a decorative piece that helps to complete the look.
The stool usually goes by a more common name – the windowsill. This is the shelf–like board that sits at the bottom of the window that protrudes out into the interior of the house.
Side Casing and Head Casing
The side casing and head casing of a window are the decorative frames that are fixated directly into the wall. Just as if you were to put an item in a case, the casing finishes the look of an installed window. These are the rails that make up the decorative window frame on an installed window. The side casings are the two pieces on the side, while the head casing is the piece on top. There is no bottom casing as this is called the apron – the board that sits directly underneath the windowsill.
The jambs are the two side railings that are located between the side casing in the stiles. These are more functional than decorative as they hold the window in its frame on the wall. These boards are placed vertically and run the entire length of the window from the bottom to the top.
I know I used the word “rails” while describing the other parts the window, but they have an official name. The rails are the horizontal boards that are joined directly to the vertical pieces of the windows – the stiles. The rails hold the glass itself in place.
Not every window has an operator. The operator of a window is the crank mechanism that is used to open and close both awning and casement windows. Some windows slide either up, down or to the side to open. But, in the case of awning and casement windows, a mechanism must be rotated and cranked to open or close the window. This mechanism is called the operator.
Latches are usually the locking devices on a window. At the exact spot where two rails meet – these are called the meeting rails – on a double-hung window, you will find the latch. On a single hung window, you’ll usually find it on the bottom rail. This also applies to an awning window. For a casement window, you’ll find the latch on the stile.
Latches generally have two functions. They not only lock the window, but they help keep the window closed. When the window is closed, it allows the weatherstripping to do its job by effectively sealing the window – blocking out the cold in the winter and keeping the heat out during the summer.
Scissor Arm or Extension Arm
A scissor arm is attached to the window frame, either on the stiles or the rails. This extension arm is the part of the mechanism used to open an awning or casement window. While the operator operates this mechanism, it is operating the extension arm or scissor arm as the window opens or closes.
Windows Buying Guide
Now that you’re familiar with the different parts a window, it’s time to get into the fun part of shopping for windows. You need to understand the different styles, materials and even the types of windows that are available to you. You see, windows that are old or poorly installed are not energy-efficient. In fact, windows have their very own ROI. The money you spend upgrading your home to energy-efficient windows will eventually be returned to you in the form of energy bill savings. In other words, new windows can pay for themselves. By not buying new windows, you’ll eventually spend more money on energy costs than what you will have paid for a new window.
Benefits of New Windows
Older windows are usually made of wood. You can instantly tell if it needs replacing because the paint is often peeling away revealing the wood underneath. The wood is often warped or water damaged.
Inside your home, you may notice your carpet or furniture begin to fade. You may notice a draft when you stand nearby windows that are closed. You may not be able to enjoy the peace and quiet your home can offer when windows that are not energy-efficient. You’ll usually hear the echo of the strong noises directly outside. Lastly, the most damaging effect of old windows can be seen when you're overpaying for your energy bills throughout the year.
The type materials that that your current windows are manufactured from also play a role when it comes to the state of your home. Window frames cast from aluminum are often colder in temperature than the immediate air surrounding them. When this is the case, condensation builds up and seeps into the frame, often causing water damage. This will rot the wood and invite more leaks into your home, creating a domino effect of damage. When you see this, the damage has already been done. It can be extremely expensive to repair as you’re not only replacing the windows and frames but the walls inside your home can become severely damaged as well.
Even if you don’t notice any immediate damage around your windows, you will notice it when you have a higher energy bill. When you replace your windows, you’ll be able to save as much as 27 percent to 30 percent on your heating bills in the winter and 16 percent to 32 percent on your energy costs in the summer. This is a rounded figure as we look at the average gas and electricity prices in the U.S. to illustrate how important new windows are to your pocketbook.
As you estimate all these costs, remember that replacing the windows in your home is a tremendous undertaking. If you don’t do your homework ahead of time, you may end up spending a lot more money than you initially planned on. There’s a lot more involved than simply calling up a contractor and saying, “I want new windows.” A recent estimate for replacing five windows with new ones in a house that was 90 years old totaled $2500. In other words, the estimate was $500 per window.
Any project with this degree of undertaking will improve your home environmentally, economically and aesthetically.
The most difficult decision you’ll be facing as you go window shopping is selecting the right materials for your home. This has a direct impact on the cost of your project. You’ll need to look at the style and the quality of the materials, the type of glass you intend on using, as well as how efficiently your new windows will operate. Finally, you’ll need to look at the warranty that will come with your new windows.
Window Frame Materials
Choosing the right materials is the most important decision you make when it comes to your new windows. This will decide the look of your windows, and sometimes even the operation of your windows. They come in several varieties. You can choose from fiberglass, steel, vinyl or even aluminum. As with many things in life, you often get what you pay for and the more money a material may cost, the better weather protection you will receive. Usually, newer windows pay themselves off with low maintenance schedules and substantial energy savings.
In a very general sense, wood tends to be the most popular choice for window material. These windows are beautiful both from the inside looking out and from the outside looking in. Condensation does not gather on wood, nor does wood get too terribly cold.
Wood windows do require the most maintenance. Over time, wood shrinks and swells as the temperature fluctuates, which can cause it to rot and warp over time. This is more prominent on the exterior of the window than the interior. However, you can protect yourself against it – if you make sure that you have a maintenance schedule in place and adhere to it.
Wood windows can be painted in any color. Typically, when you order a wood window, the wood comes unfinished – giving you the freedom to customize its look and match it to your home perfectly. If you intend on painting them, you can have the manufacturer prime the wood before they send it to you. That can save some work on your end. Of course, if you wish to eliminate the work altogether, you can always order pre-painted windows.
Clad Wood Windows
Clad wood windows are windows that are wood on the inside and have either aluminum or vinyl on the outside. This outside layer is called cladding, it usually comes in several colors. The advantage of clad wood windows is that it allows you to keep your windows maintenance-free for several years.
The vinyl material hides scratches very easily. Although aluminum will scratch, it is more durable than vinyl and easier to paint if you choose to take that route. Aluminum comes in a wide variety of colors and should not require painting – it is merely an option to you. Vinyl is rustproof and aluminum is rust resistant.
Vinyl windows are made from PVC. They’re not solid – they have hollow spaces engineered on the inside that make them resistant to heat loss and condensation. They are less expensive than the wood windows or clad wood windows. However, vinyl has a tendency to warp when exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations. They can be harder to operate and tougher to completely seal to prevent air leakage. Pure vinyl windows are not intended to be painted. If you choose a darker shade, keep in mind that it will generally fade over time.
Steel windows are arguably the most expensive window option you have available to you. They are more resistant to the elements than any other material, including aluminum and wood. They are generally not used in homes simply because of the expense. However, if you have room in your budget for steel windows, they can be made to be very attractive and have a very low maintenance schedule that will last for several years.
Aluminum windows are extremely common due to their low cost and high efficacy. They stand up to the elements better than bare wood and are easier and lighter to handle. They typically come insulated with a thermal break of extruded vinyl. Sometimes, they are treated with foam which can help reduce and eliminate condensation and heat loss. Aluminum comes finished from the factory, which protects it from corrosion. However, if you live in a coastal area, expect aluminum windows to deteriorate faster simply because of the humid, salty air.
Buy the Right Type of Window
Windows do a lot more for a home than let light in and are let us see out. Windows can change the very architecture, mood or ambiance of a room. It can provide a focal point that can define how you decorate. Windows can allow for ventilation or provide for emergency escape routes. Windows are made in a broad spectrum of sizes and types to accommodate varying needs, different houses and different personalities.
Before you decide on a window style, ask yourself how you want the window to perform. You need to look at ventilation, maintenance and security.
In general, windows are either operable or fixed. Fixed windows do not have any opening mechanisms. They are usually used for architectural looks and light where ventilation is not an issue. You can find fixed windows in various shapes including round top in standard geometrical shapes. However, you can always get them custom made to any irregular shape as the situation calls for it. This also includes large picture windows.
Sometimes, you may wish to have a seamless bent glass corner as it offers an unobstructed view through the corner of the house. This is more readily available in newer types of windows.
Operable windows are defined as windows that you can open. They can slide down, up or from either side. Furthermore, they may hinge outward or inward. Usually, these types of windows are the ones that use the operator and the extension arm. Windows can always be made in several different styles and incorporate various innovations. Some windows are created using both fixed and operable parts to them. You can always also get bent glass corner windows, curved glass windows and more.
Here are the major types of windows that you typically see being offered by any given window manufacturer.
Double-Hung & Tilt-Turn Windows
Double-hung windows provide the best ventilation of the common window styles. They’re quite common – usually, the bottom sash will slide up or the top sash will slide down. You’ll often find hidden mechanisms such as weights or springs or other devices that will help you lower, lift and position the sash where you want it.
Depending on how they are manufactured, some types of double-hung windows will allow you to remove, rotate or tilt the sash. This is a nice feature as it makes for easier cleaning.
You can always tell a double-hung window from a single hung window because of how it opens. If you can only open the window one way – if only one of sash pieces slide up and down, but not both - it is not called a “double-hung” window. It is known as a “single-hung” or “vertical sliding” window.
Tilt-turn windows are different as they have unique advantages over double hung windows. They open inward toward the room at the top and rotate a full 180° for cleaning. For this window, look for a multipoint locking system to keep the window tightly closed.
Casement windows offer simple operation as they are side mounted on hinges and operated by cranks. These cranks will open the window either outward or inward. They open completely to make for easy cleaning, and offer excellent ventilation by encouraging fresh air to enter the home.
Awning & Hopper Windows
Awning and Hopper windows are just like casement windows except that they don’t open from the side. Awning windows have a hinge at the top while Hopper windows have a hinge at the bottom. They typically don’t open all the way but still offer excellent ventilation. Hopper windows are usually used above doorways and often protected by eaves.
Horizontal sliders do exactly as the name implies – they slide horizontally. They may have more than one fixed panel in addition to the sash that slides. They usually slide effortlessly on horizontal tracks. While these do offer ventilation, they can never open all the way – only half of the window can be open at any given time. Horizontal sliders are usually the window of choice when you don’t have a whole lot of clearance to swing a window in or out.
Jalousie (Louvered) Windows
Louvered windows are made from several parallel slats of glass that open at the same time. They’re beautiful, but they can be costly. They’ll allow the user to slope the slats to keep rain and obscure direct sunlight from getting inside without completely shutting out all air and light.
They’ve fallen out of favor in the recent years because they allow for uncountable drafts and costly energy losses.
Bay & Bow Windows
Bay or Bow Windows are distinct in that they aren’t a single window. Rather, they are between three and five windows that form an abscess or a recess in a house wall. The usually protrude, allowing for an inward “bay” that can make a room seem bigger than it actually is and allow people see more from the bay windows and they can from a normal window. When you see a curving series of windows, what you’re looking at is called a bow window. These windows usually curve out of the house and are capped with their own roof covering. Normally, this allows for an extra window seat on the inside of the window.
Glass block windows are often privacy windows that still allow light in and are most often used in bathrooms. They have no operability as you cannot open them. However, you can design glass blocks to look like glass windows and come up with your own design. They allow for varying degrees of privacy and will allow light to flood the area. These blocks are durable and highly resistant to moisture. They can often be seen as not just bathroom exterior windows, but exterior bathroom walls. They can also be installed in curved shapes.
Despite their look and strength, glass block windows are not better at insulating than other windows. The R-value for your standard glass block is about 1.96. More on R-values later.
Planning New Window Placement
If you simply plan on replacing your current windows, you don’t need to worry too much about placement. However, if you plan on installing entirely new windows in your home, you’ll need to take a considerable amount of time planning exactly where you want them to go.
You’ll want to capture the best views and have your new windows provide the highest quality of natural light as possible.
Make Every Effort to Look Outward
Spend a considerable amount of time standing on the other side of your walls - on the outside of your house - to see what you can see. Pay attention to what you want to see when your windows are installed, and make note of what you don’t want to see. Study the path of the sun. This will affect not just the amount of natural light that will enter into the new window, but the quality of the natural light. Furthermore, it can also influence the amount of heat that will seep through the window and affect the new room.
Also, it can be beneficial to take special note of how the sunlight may bounce off streets, buildings, bodies of water and other various surfaces directly within your line of sight.
Every day, the sun makes an arc from east to west. During the summer, the sun rises and sets furthest to the north – making it the highest during the day. During the winter, the sun is setting in a more southern position, at a much lower elevation.
Take note of your lateral position. The further north you live, the lower the sun will be in the sky during the winter.
The Sun’s Angle
The cardinal directions – north, south, east, and west - will make a big difference in the quality of light your new window will receive.
If you want to capture the morning sun, make sure your window faces east. Be wary when the window faces south as sunlight will be bright and direct. Solar panels are usually oriented facing south to maximize their efficiency. If your window must face south, consider installing an eave or an awning to block some of the intense summer heat but still allow the warmth of the sun during winter.
If your window faces west, it can be both intense and glaring. This is possible to control, to a degree, through shades, blinds or even glare resisting glazing.
If you have a deciduous tree – one that is not an evergreen such as a pine tree – you can always use these trees to help shade your house. Deciduous trees are trees where the branches extend out and offer a considerable amount of shade. Deciduous trees shed their leaves in the winter. Evergreens do not. It’s always helpful to have a deciduous tree planted on the west side of your property. In the summer months, they will help shade your house and in the winter months, they will permit the sun’s rays to permeate through the leafless branches.
If your window is facing north, you will never get direct sunlight. Instead, you’ll get bluish-colored sun rays coming from the sky. It can be beautiful because this type of light is constant. Artist studios love northern windows because the light is steady, bright and never direct.
Make sure you discuss all of this with your architect when you’re planning where to place your new window.
The hardware that comes with the window usually operates it. These include latches, counterbalances and even hinges. Each of these has a double-duty to play. First and foremost, they must be functional. A window latch that does not lock is useless. Second, the hardware has to look good. Window hardware has just as much to do with the aesthetic finish of your new window as does the rest of the window. In fact, these little mechanisms can be the difference between a window looking good and a window looking like it doesn’t belong. Here’s a look at the different types of hardware you need to consider as you go window shopping.
Cranks are mechanisms that are used to open hopper, awning and casement windows. Before cranks came along, older types he used to have push-bar operators. Some of the newer types of cranks offer fold–down handles that are relatively inconspicuous, adding to the beauty of the new window. Keep in mind that you don’t have to get a crank in a metallic finish – some manufacturers offer non-metallic finishes.
When you look at the various hopper, awning and casement windows, it is important make sure that they have enough arm space between the sash and the window frame while the window is open so that you can wash the exterior glass. The best ones always take this into consideration. In some cases, you may find hardware – typically, European hardware – that can turn a casement window into a hopper window. These windows that open from multiple points often have multiple locks. This minimizes air infiltration.
Just remember that if you get a European-style window mechanism, expect the window to swing into the room instead of out. Typically, American casement window hinges will swing out.
You’ll typically find counterbalances on the single-hung or double-hung windows. When you open the window, the counterbalances prevent the window from slamming shut. They balance the weight of the sash so that the window stays open. I’ve seen older model windows where the counterbalances are nothing more than ropes on lead iron weights. Typically, you won’t see that – these were antiques. However, what you will see are things like torsion screws.
Most aluminum and vinyl windows are light enough that they can slide from side to side on their own. However large, door height windows and sashes are usually supported by heavy-duty rollers installed along the bottom edges. If you opt for wooden windows, make sure your gliders include low-profile hardware.
Latches, Locks & Security
This is typically the most important part of a window. They not only lock the window, but they hold the window closed and prevent air drafts. On double–hung windows, the latches lock together the top and bottom half of the window and are installed where the two sashes meet.
When looking at various latches, keyed sash locks are often more secure. If you have a window that opens from side to side, be on the lookout for security latches that can prevent the window from being jimmied open.
Windows are not as easy to secure and doors are. Windows can be forced off their tracks, lifted off their tracks and the windows themselves can be broken. If security is an issue where you live, consider replacing the ordinary glass that comes with the window with laminated, tempered or even glass that has chicken wire inside. Furthermore, consider installing a perimeter alarm system.
There are several devices on the market that make it harder to pry open a window or remove it from its tracking. These devices may work differently depending on the window you have, whether it is a double–hung window or if you need to secure a horizontally sliding window. Make sure you get the right hardware for the right window.
Track grips can prevent a panel from sliding. These are usually secured with the thumbscrew or a key. You can always use metal stops along the lower track that are also secured by a thumbscrew or lever of some sort.
Another way you can secure your window is to secure a bar that screws into the doorjamb. These bars pivot on a hinge to prevent the window from being opened and can easily be lifted when you do want open it. Furthermore, pins can be used to secure these bars in place.
To prevent an inside panel from sliding, cut a dowel or piece of stiff tubing a quarter inch shorter than the distance between the panel and the jamb and then drop it into the empty portion of the lower track.
Other locking mechanisms, particularly for double-hung windows, include wedge locks, locking pins that go through one sash to the next, and key-operated latches.
Window Glass Buying Guide
Window glass is notorious for being energy inefficient. It allows heat to leave the house in the winter and cooler, air-conditioned air to exit the house in the summer. It seems as if it’s a battle you just can’t win.
Taking a look at what’s on the market nowadays, you’ll find that it’s a battle that you can win. Double-glazed, and even triple-glazed windows have made some far reaches into the realm of energy efficiency. These new windows will make you want to welcome the summer heat and stand at the window as you watch the snowfall in the winter – all without feeling a difference. Many new types of high-performance a windows have been popping up all over the horizon that address all of these problems.
Understanding R-Values & U-Values
Before you determine the window glass that will work best for your new window, we need to take a look at the two basic measurements of performance – namely, the R-values and the U-values. Other measurements may include a light transmittance value that rates how much light the piece of glass allows to enter your home. Lastly, the shading coefficient and UV value measure the amount of glare and ultraviolet light that a piece of glass allows through. Make sure you discuss these values with your glass dealer.
This R-value rates the thermal resistance. In other words, this evaluates the ability of the glass to resist heat flow. Glass is given a value wherein the higher the R-value, the more resistance the material has. A single pane window may offer an insulating value of R-1, while its dual-paned counterpart will offer an R-value of twice that – R-2.
The primary factor that determines what R-value a piece of glass has is the type of glass. However, it’s not the only one. You can always buy various films and tints that will impact the R-value.
The U-value works differently. This measures heat loss against time. In other words, it measures the amount of heat that escapes per hour through a piece of glass. Typically, windows have two U–values – one for the piece of glass itself and one for the window including the frame. Unlike the R-value, you’re looking for a lower U-value. The lower the value, the more energy efficient the window is.
U–values don’t matter as much as R-values in regards to heat gain. If minimizing heat transfer is important to you, simply pick a piece of glass that has a high R-value. If you want more light to be let into the room, choose a piece of glass that has a high light transmittance value. However, the opposite is also true if you want to cut glare. If you wish to reduce the heat gain your room experiences, select a piece of glass with a high shading coefficient. If you pick a piece of glass that has a high UV value, it will prevent your furniture and curtains from fading due to the ultraviolet rays. It all comes down to what is important to you.
Types of Window Glass
An excellent and common insulating method is a choosing a window that has more than one pane. These are either two or three pieces of glass have an air gap in between them. Double-pane windows have recently become the gold standard in terms of performance. Triple glazed windows may do better, but they are more expensive and heavier to handle than double-pane windows.
Let’s take a look at your options and see what you can put in your windows.
Low-E & Insulating Glass
Low E stands for “low emissivity,” and has a thin and virtually invisible film coating that actively prohibits a radiant heat transfer. Furthermore, it also protects carpets and furnishings from fading due to its high UV value. Some windows have two of these coatings to achieve an unbelievably high R-8 insulation value. If you really want more efficiency, you can get windows that are airtight and have argon gas sealed in between the glass panes. Windows that utilize Low-E glass filled with argon gas are twice as efficient at insulating as standard dual-paned windows.
Tinted Glass & Reflective Glass
Tinting glass has been a traditional method of reducing heat loss, glare, and ultraviolet radiation that typically discolors carpets, furniture and even floors. Tint works by absorbing and reflecting solar radiation.
As the name implies, tinted glass is much darker than clear glass. This reduces the amount of visible light. You can, however, choose from several different colors and shades that are available. Each one has a different effect on lighting and heat. Gray and bronze tints often cut down on heat and light equally. Windows with green or blue tints to allow more visible light. Black tints, of course, absorb more light than heat.
Reflective glass works the same way as tint and reduces solar gain. When you look at reflective glass from the outside, it appears to be a mirror. Tinted glass absorbs a tiny percentage of light and does not have the same reflective appearance as reflective glass.
Don’t block too much light. Doing this can have a detrimental effect as your home will require higher amounts of artificial light and likely raise your energy bills.
Safety Glass Windows
Safety glass windows are designed for situations where a person might accidentally be injured by the window itself. You most likely find these in any window that is within two feet from the floor, along staircases, in bathrooms and among railings. They are usually called safety glass because they can be tempered, wire reinforced or even laminated. These windows will not shatter when they are broken. Tempered glass is what you typically see in vehicles and will crumble when broken instead of shatter. Laminated and wire-reinforced glasses are held together by an internal layer of plastic or wire.
You can always find decorative pieces of glass that are etched, leaded, beveled, stained and more. Hydrophobic coatings help shed water more quickly, and leave the window clean after a rainstorm. Impact-resistant windows are also available to you and will protect your home from windblown objects and the typical baseball through the window.
Dual-pane and triple-pane windows may have fake or real divided lites. A lite, in this case, is a single section of glass. For example, if you were to take a look at a piece paper and draw a tic-tac-toe symbol, you’ll have nine sections. If you see that same design on the window that window would have nine divided lites. Homes that have real muntins, which are the divisions between pieces of glass, are considerably more expensive and difficult to get than the ones that merely snap onto a larger piece of glass.
A really nice feature that you will see on newer windows are window shades or mini-blinds positioned within the two pieces of glass. They make maintenance a breeze, reduce the amount of rope that may hang down from a typical set of mini blinds, and will reject glare and heat gain on sunny afternoons.
Window film is an inexpensive way to create privacy and lower your monthly bills. Get the right one, and it can also preserve your furnishings and floor and prevent them from fading.
Direct sunlight is notorious for causing floors and furnishings to fade. It’s not the light itself – it’s the ultraviolet radiation in the sunlight that causes it. You could block the sun with curtains, but you’ll also lose the natural light.
A more practical solution is to have window film applied directly to your existing windows where direct sunlight is an issue. It acts just like window tint and is designed to deflect the heat and absorb UV rays. They come in different colors and will slightly reduce natural light and offer a higher degree of privacy, all without impacting your view in a negative manner.
When you purchase window film, pay attention to how it’s intended to be used. Different films have various levels of light transmission. A darker film may sound good, but you will lose natural light. Typically, you’ll see three types of window film available. These include glare-reducing, privacy and insulating films.
The glare-reducing film reduces glare – this one is simple.
Privacy film is used indoors to add a higher degree of privacy to any given window. These are typically used on shower doors, sidelites and transom windows.
Insulating films reflect sunlight and UV rays. These are the ones that will reduce your home's heat gain and substantially lower your energy bills. Furthermore, during the winter months, they may reflect radiant heat and send it back toward the inside of your home.