2/8/2013 7:50:00 AM Ask the contractor: Replacing panes a pain, but worth the effort
Sandy Griffis Yavapai County Contractor’s Association
Q: We recently had to replace a few windows in our home and the window company we used told us we had to install vinyl frames. Our home now has two different types of window frames. Was this correct information?-Kelly and Mike, Prescott
A: This is not a simple yes-or-no answer. There are several points that come into play. Do you live in a manufactured home? Is your home in the Urban Wild Land Interface Area? Are you looking to install the most energy-efficient window possible? Are you going for the least expensive window option available?
The current 2006 International Energy Conservation Code, under which our municipalities are operating, requires a .40 u factor. A u factor is the average combination of the frame and the window. Any window that passes this rating including wood, vinyl or aluminum frames is acceptable. There are no mandatory wood, vinyl or aluminum frame stipulations. If your home is in the Urban Wild Land Interface Area, there could be other requirements that affect your window replacement and it is suggested that you should check with your local fire department or fire district.
The new 2012 Energy Code, which is being considered by our municipalities, has more restrictive requirements for window replacement, with one of the requirements going from a .40 u factor to a .35 u factor.
If you reglaze your windows on site, meaning the windows must be site-built, you are exempt from meeting any u factor requirements and you can replace and/or install as many windows as you want. Another allowable u factor exemption would be if you replaced up to 15 square feet of window only. Although you are exempt from the u factor window requirement, you are not exempt from the applicable building code requirements.
Another important factor to consider is all bedroom windows must meet egress, even if the window prior to replacement did not meet egress. Bedroom egress must meet 5.7 feet of operable window. Building permits are required for all replacement windows as well as an applicable floor plan.
If you live in a historic district, you should check with the Historical Preservation Committee as they have additional requirements that affect the frame and glass.
Windows are an extremely important component of a home and there are many product options available. Are you after total energy savings? Are you concerned about less fading of furniture and household items and blocking UV rays? What level of low-emissivity do you want? Are you concerned about sound transmission? Are you after protection from the stray golf ball or baseball? Do you want cleaning convenience and dust control? There are windows that have baffled and offset weep slots which create a one-way path for water to drain out of the window seal without allowing air to flow back in. There are different types of window locks and various window materials.
Window installation is a science. If you put the highest-rated window in your home and still feel cold next to the frame, then the installation techniques were not followed. Window installation techniques have improved dramatically over the years and there are best practices on the market now that will save you labor, keep you from having to have a window reinstalled, and even improve energy efficiency and improve the window durability.
So before you consider replacing windows, do your homework. It is not a simple process.
Yavapai County Contractors Association (YCCA) is a professional association representing licensed, bonded and insured contractors, suppliers, distributors and business entities. Call YCCA for information on hiring a contractor at 778-0040. Submit questions to email@example.com or through www.ycca.org.
Posted: Saturday, February 9, 2013
Article comment by:
Really a flipping permit to replace something that is already existing? That is why there are so many run down properties in the tri city area. Many people are barely making ends meet and would like to save a few bucks by putting better windows on their houses but to have to get a permit and a floor plan just to replace windows is just plain crazy. I understand the need for the windows to be better than the previous ones but seriously how can someone afford to do a permit and a floor plan on top of trying to afford to purchase new windows. I guess i will not be updating my windows after all.