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Windows State Buying Guide for Colorado
Several benefits for your home or business property are realized when you install new windows. The decision to purchase new windows might be a desire to replace old, inoperable or inefficient existing windows, or simply a need to accommodate new contraction for a home or room addition. In either case, important decisions are necessary to ensure you obtain the appropriate type of window designed for your property and suited for your area’s climate conditions. Information in this window buying guide should start you off on the right path by pointing out some of the crucial aspects of new window purchase.
The list below is a quick reference guide to information within the article:
- Selecting Window Styles and Frame Materials
Colorado New Window Permit Requirements
The window permitting process varies significantly between cities and states. Most major home improvement projects require a permit, especially when changes to the existing structure are involved. However, window replacement does not require a permit in most localities unless changes to the window opening — size — are necessary to accommodate the new window style. In addition, window installation in newly constructed homes or room additions requires a permit but usually fall under the project’s building permit. In either case, it is important to follow all city codes and regulations.
Before starting a window replacement or installation project, it is in your best interest to verify with your local building department to ensure you install your new windows legally and according to the Colorado State Building Code. Failure to do so could lead to negative ramifications such as additional permit fees, fines, and penalties.
Hiring a Window Contractor in Colorado
Unless you possess a major skill set in construction techniques, you will need to hire a contractor to install your new windows. An experienced contractor provides many benefits as they can install your windows quickly, efficiently, and correctly according to state code. In addition, an experienced contractor can handle any unforeseen circumstances that may develop during the course of the installation such as termite damage, stud replacement, brick and stucco repair, as well as any interior drywall or trim damage.
Before choosing a contractor for your project, it is recommended that you receive at least three estimates from licensed, insured and reputable contractors in your area. This will allow you to choose a contractor with whom you feel comfortable and compare pricing, job schedule, and warranty information. During the estimate, ask for copies of their license and insurance coverage. You can verify a contractor’s license by searching the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies website and a quick call to their insurance carrier can verify the status of their insurance coverage. Colorado contractors must carry general liability and Worker’s Compensation Insurance.
In addition, and before signing on the dotted line, it would be to your benefit to contact the BBB “Better Business Bureau” or the Consumer Affairs Department to check for any customer complaints or pending lawsuits against said contractor.
How Colorado’s Climate Plays a Role in Window Selection
Colorado’s climate should play an important role in the type of window you select for your property. Choose a window framing that holds up to the extreme climate conditions of the state. An experienced, local window contractor will be able to recommend the best type of window for your property based on its parameters and climate conditions and your desired window energy efficiency. Denver, Colorado residents can expect an average of 13 inches of rain per year — the U.S average is 37 –with 54 inches of annual snow fall compared to the U.S. average is 25 inches. Temperatures during the summer range between an average high of 90 degrees and a low of 59 degrees in mid July. Winter temperatures can average a low of 18 degrees with a high of 45 degrees in mid January. Consult with your contractor about the type of window frame materials and glazing options to determine which options meet your desired efficiency levels and fall within your project’s budget.
Colorado Window Glazing
Heavy emphasis should be placed on the type of glazing you choose for your new windows. The type of glazing you choose will have a major impact not only on your window’s energy efficiency, but also its ability to repel outside noise. The three most common types of window glazing are listed below.
Single pane glass — one layer of glass — is the least efficient of the three. It is most often used in areas such as garages, workshops and storage areas where climate and noise are less of a concern. Older homes, those with their original windows intact, usually have only a single pane of glass or glazing.
Double and triple-pane glazing uses a specialized gas — commonly Argon gas — that is inserted between the panes of glass. Argon gas is non-toxic and increases the windows energy efficiency and resistance to sound. It should be understood that a triple-paned window will be the most energy efficient and sound resistant glazing method of the three mentioned here.
Material Types and Window Types Used in Colorado
You will face some tough decisions when it comes to choosing a new window style and frame material. The following information will break down the different frame materials and window types to help you get started.
Common Frame Materials Used in Colorado
- Aluminum is a lightweight material many times stronger than wood and about three to four time stronger than vinyl or fiberglass. Its strength not only provides supreme durability against harsh climate conditions, but also provides the strongest structural integrity between the three clad window types mentioned here.
- Vinyl framed windows have overtaken aluminum as the most popular window frame material. The tough, rugged plastic never fades, peels, chips or requires maintenance.
- Fiberglass framed windows, although the most expensive, provide the most energy efficiency with the least amount of expansion and contraction.
- Wood framed or wood-clad windows are wooden frames with a layer of vinyl, aluminum, or fiberglass covering the exterior surfaces for added protection from outside elements.
- Single Hung windows incorporate a fixed sash, usually the upper, and a lower sash that opens and closes to provide room ventilation.
- Double Hung window is a type where both the upper and lower sashes are capable of opening.
- Bay windows are fabricated by mulling two side windows together with a larger, center section at between 30 and 45 degrees extending outward from the structure. Often, homeowners utilize the extra interior space created by the Bay window as a bench top seating area with underneath storage.
- Box windows are similar to Bay windows with the difference being they take on a more rounded shape because more window sections — 3, 4, or 5 — are mulled together at lesser degrees.
- Double slider windows utilize two window sashes that slide side to side horizontally. This type of window is also available with a single slide option where only one-sash slides and a 3-lite version with a fixed center sash and two sliding outer sashes.
- Casement windows incorporate a single sash that is hinged on one side. An interior crank or handle allows the user to open the window a full 90 degrees for optimum ventilation. Colonial casement windows operate the same as a traditional casement window with the difference being a decorative meeting rail to enhance its appearance.
- Picture windows are fixed panes of glass that do not include any operation.
- Awning windows utilize hinges mounted at the top of the sash. This allows the window bottom to swing out when open. A crank or handle located at the base operates the window.
- Garden windows are those types of windows that extend outwards, away from the frame and incorporate side, top and bottom panes to create a box. They are designed to invite sunshine and display plants or herb gardens.
- Geometric windows are fixed panels of glass that do not open or shut. They are available in many shapes and sizes and are commonly used over entryways, stairwells, or any other area where natural light is desired.
Paying for Your Window Purchase in Colorado
Window replacement or new installation can be an expensive undertaking depending on the type, glazing options, frame material along with the number of windows required for the project. You can use this free online cost calculator to give you an idea of the project cost.
Many property owners do not have the available funds needed to pay for their window purchase outright. Several options are available that can help you fund your window project. Traditional HELOC’s “Home Equity Lines of Credit” are loans that allow you to borrow against the equity in your home. Installment loans and credit cards are other ways folks pay for their new windows. In addition, many window companies and big box retailers such as Lowe’s and Home Depot run promotional financing options — zero or no interest financing — throughout the year.
Colorado Window Resources
You may be able to save a few dollars on your project depending on the type of windows you choose. Many local and federal programs, incentives, and rebates are available designed to promote energy efficiency and conservation. Explore the websites below to discover programs that might be available in your area.
- Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency
- Energy Star
- Rural Energy for America Program “Small Business”
Installing new or replacing existing windows in your property a good return on investment. Not only can you expect increased energy efficiency, especially when your replace single pane windows with double or triple-paned glass, but also increased property values. In addition, new windows provide an outstanding marketing tool should you decide to sell your property in the future.