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Little Rock Window Replacement Guide
Virtually all homeowners are at a loss for where to begin when considering replacing their home’s windows, which makes sense when you take into account that most windows last for upwards of 40 years. At best, a homeowner will have gone through this process once, maybe twice, in the past, but with technological improvements and changes in municipal building codes, that experience is likely to be rendered moot. Between the various window frame materials, glass coatings, and permit regulations, it is easy to feel overwhelmed.
However, this venture does have its rewards. The 2015 Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors found that 80 percent of the renovation expense is recouped immediately in the form of increased property value. With Little Rock’s vast climate swings, your windows need to be able to withstand the intense summer heat as well as any torrential rain, all while being as energy efficient as possible. When they are able to do that, the Efficient Windows Collaborative reported that those homeowners saw a 15 percent drop in their utility bills. By adhering to the strict guidelines for building permits and inspections as outlined by the City of Little Rock, you save yourself the headache and expense of potential fines or shoddy labor.
This Little Rock Window Replacement Guide will help walk you through the renovation process by examining how to recognize when a replacement is necessary, the different materials that are available, and all that is required to perform the job legally.
How to Know When a Window Replacement is Necessary in Your Little Rock Home
When your home’s windows have begun to leak or rot, then it is definitely time for an upgrade, and quickly. If left unattended, these deteriorating windows can allow moisture to seep into the walls of your home, potentially resulting in damage to the structural integrity of your home’s exterior walls. On the other hand, if your windows have warped to the point that you can no longer open or close your windows with ease, then you and your family are put in a precarious position were an emergency like a fire to occur. Considering that Little Rock gets close to 50 inches of rain in a year and has temperatures that swing from the low 30s to the mid 90s, it is easy to see how a window can begin to break down in these ways.
Older windows also lack energy efficiency across the board. By opting for a replacement that best suits Little Rock’s climate, you can expect to see your utilities drop hundreds of dollars over the course of a year. From the savings alone, most homeowners find that a job of this magnitude is well worth the expense and effort.
Window Materials Matter in Little Rock
When considering which type of window you would like in your home, you will need to decide on the window framing material, single versus multiple-paned windows, and any sort of specialized energy efficiency coating.
In terms of window frame materials, there is a multitude of options out there; though, your three main options are wood, vinyl, and aluminum. Due to Little Rock’s climate, materials that block out thermal heat like vinyl and wood are going to be your best choice. Solid wood frames are hands down the most durable material on the market with most lasting 30+ years. However, longevity comes with a hefty price tag with solid wood generally being the most expensive windows available. Vinyl on the other hand, tends to be the least expensive option that has incredibly low maintenance requirements while still being quite durable. The main complaint with vinyl is that the color selection is limited and cannot be altered down the road.
You can expect the unit price per window to increase as their energy efficiency increases due to higher labor and material costs. Windows that meet a high enough energy efficiency standard will have a designation from the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and Energy Star. The three specific attributes that are measured on these windows are U-value, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC), and low E. The U-value and SHGC amounts measure the rate at which a window is able to conduct heat and solar radiation flow respectively from the exterior of your home to the interior and vice versa, while the low E represents how effectively the window can reflect heat when coated in a thin metallic covering. Although any newer window will be an improvement, the best windows for your Little Rock home will double-pane, gas-filled windows that are graded with a U-value less than 0.3, a SHGC value equal to or less than 0.25, and has a spectrally selective low E glaze.
Little Rock Window Permits, Inspections, and Fees
The City of Little Rock requires that you or your contractor obtain a building permit before beginning any renovation to your home. A permit application is available to be printed online, but must be filed in the office of the Department of Planning and Development, Building Codes Division which is located at 723 West Markham, 2nd Floor, Little Rock, AR 72201. If any structural changes are planned for the exterior walls in order to accommodate a different size window, then you will need to submit the appropriate building plans as well.
A fee will be assessed at the same time you apply for the permit based on the total valuation of your projected renovation. For jobs that will cost below $500, no fee will be assigned unless an inspection is required. If you are looking to replace all the windows in your home, though, your budget will probably fall between $500.01 and $50,000, at which point you will be fined $31 for the first $500 and an additional $3.60 for each additional $1,000.
Once the renovation is completed, an inspection will need to be scheduled with a city inspector. This can be done by calling one of the building inspectors at (501) 371-4833, Monday through Friday from 7:30 AM to 9:00 AM.