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Buying Windows in Laredo, Texas
The great thing about making the investment in new windows for your home is that high quality window brands are designing windows to last for 25 years or more. Windows on the market are largely durable and weather resistant, bringing exceptional energy efficiency to your home. When you replace your windows with a more efficient option, you can expect to see your utility costs decreasing and the resale value of your home increase.
Since buying new windows for your home is such a significant financial investment, it is important to be sure you are buying high quality windows that will last. Additionally, since windows protect your home from extreme weather and changing temperatures, window purchases should be influenced by the climate where you live.
In this window buying guide, we will look closely at the climate in Laredo, how it should affect your window purchases, as well as the city regulations concerning window replacements and other home improvements.
Knowing When to Invest in Window Replacements in Laredo
At some point, all windows will need to be replaced. When that time comes, most windows begin to show signs that they are no longer performing as well as they should. You may begin to notice decay or rot on your window frames; in some cases moisture will begin to get trapped between the panes or the window will become difficult to open and close. In some cases, time is the best indication that it is time to invest in new windows. If the windows in your home have been around for more than a couple decades, it is probably time to upgrade to a more energy efficient option.
The Basics of Window Replacement in Laredo
Although location plays a significant role in your window buying decision, there are few general decisions that need to be made first. New windows are divided into two very basic categories — new construction and replacement windows. Replacement windows work best for projects where there will be no construction to the surrounding wall since they are custom built to fit perfectly in the space left behind by previous windows. New construction windows, however, have to be directly secured to exposed studs or frames so they are most appropriate for new buildings or major renovations.
Replacement windows can be both stationary and operational. Stationary windows are often used alongside operational windows as a means of bringing additional natural light into the home. Both picture and arched windows are stationary windows available in a variety of sizes and shapes. Operational windows such as double hung windows and casement windows open to allow fresh air into the home. Double hung windows are the most popular window for residential homes. These windows have two vertically hung sashes that slide up or down to open. Casement windows have a single sash with a hinge along one side and open outwards from the opposite side. Most window brands offer numerous customization options, including multiple frame materials and finishes, hardware finishes and glass grid designs.
Requirements for Replacing Windows in Laredo
In order to make sure that all homes are safe and compliant with city building codes, a permit must be obtained before any major renovations are made to homes in Laredo. Homeowners and contractors can view permit requirements and purchase the appropriate permit through the Department of Building Development Services.
If you plan to hire a contractor to install your new windows, you will want to double check to be sure they are properly licensed and insured. All contractors making major improvements to a home, including replacing windows, are required by the state of Texas to obtain a general builder’s license from the Texas Department of House & Community Affairs. Contractors who have employees working for them are also required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover any expenses that might occur if one of their employees is injured while working.
Buying Windows for the Climate in Laredo
According to ENERGY STAR® guidelines, Laredo is located in the Southern Climate Zone, a region known for mild winters and hot summers. In general, homeowners will use their cooling system heavily and rarely use the heating system. ENERGY STAR® places a National Fenestration Ratings Council label on all new windows, creating a universal approach for rating window performance.
There are two ratings on the NFRC label that Laredo homeowners should pay the most attention to. The first rating is the U-Factor rating, a number that indicates how much heat can pass through a particular window. If homeowners in the Southern Climate Zone want to comply with ENERGY STAR® standards, they should purchase windows with a U-Factor of 0.40 or less. The second important rating on the NFRC label is the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, representing how much solar radiation passes through a particular window and heat the home. Because Laredo has hot summers and mild winters, ENERGY STAR® requires windows with a rating of 0.25 or less.
The City of Laredo is located along the coast, and an at risk area for hurricanes and extreme weather. If your home is located near the coast, it may we wise to invest in impact resistant windows. The glass of these windows is laminated and has an inner layer of polyvinyl butyral, making them especially resistant to debris and wind.
According to ENERGY STAR®, households in the Southern Climate Zone that are compliant with the guidelines they have put in place can expect to experience a significant utility savings of up to $266 each year. Energy efficient windows also offer a significant increase in home value, yielding an estimated 70% return-on-investment if homeowners choose to sell in the future. In addition to the financial benefits, energy efficient windows are one way families can live a greener life by relying less on non renewable energy to heat and cool their home.