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Windows Replacement Buying Guide for Georgia
When you’re considering upgrading or replacing the windows in your home or business, it can be time consuming trying to find out what styles and types are available. This buying guide will provide information about the different designs, styles, types, frames and glazing options available to residential and commercial property owners in Georgia.
Things to Know about Window Installation in Georgia
Purchasing new windows involves more than just selecting the style, it also means hiring a contractor, applying for a permit, and prepping the area for installation. There’s also the consideration of choosing windows that are compatible with the Georgia climate, window frame types and glazing options.
An area a property owner may overlook is adequate insulation. No matter how high the quality and rating of the new windows, if the home is susceptible to air leakage due to cracks and crevices around doors, worn out weather stripping, or not enough insulation, the level of efficiency for each window will be diminished.
Before installing new windows, have the contractor inspect these areas. Should insulation be needed, there are several rebate programs available in Georgia. Check the Georgia Power website for air leak sealing, air duct sealing and attic insulation rebates, and the Green Building Wire website for grant programs covering duct and air sealing and building insulation.
The amount of time you’ll need to allow for installation depends on the type of window being removed, and the type and number of windows being installed. On average, installation can take less than an hour, per window, if there are no complications such as sills that need repairing, frames with peeling paint that must be scraped, primed and painted prior to installation, or storm windows that must first be removed. Time must also be allowed for doing the trim work and removal of materials.
Hiring a Contractor for Georgia Window Installation
Window installation requires a lot of know-how that includes expert knowledge on how to remove current windows, properly size new windows, do the framing, sealing and caulking, and applying window film or glazing for optimum energy efficiency.
It is recommended that you have at least 3 written estimates to choose from that are signed and dated with each outlining the cost, labor, materials, and any other expenses, from start to finish. Ask for each contractor’s license information so you can check their history at your local Better Business Bureau and validate their credentials through the Secretary of State’s Professional Licensing website.
When you choose a contractor, the contract should be in sync with the information on the estimate. The contract should also include warranty information covering labor and installation and a completion date. If you’re required to put down a deposit up front, what that portion of the payment covers should clearly be stated in the contract as well as what the remaining balance covers.
Do not sign the contract if there are any missing pieces of information or if the information is different from what was originally given to you in the estimate unless you’re in agreement with the changes. Get a copy for your records.
Permits for Window Installation in Georgia
New window installation in Georgia generally requires a building permit to ensure the product is installed according to current safety and building codes. A permit also means a licensed contractor will be on the job.
As a rule, only the property owner or the contractor or subcontractor is permitted to file an application. If your property is in the city, it is usually the Planning, Development, or Building Department that issues permits. There may be different offices for residential and commercial permits. For property located outside the city, contact your local county government office for information.
A permit for window replacement can usually be applied for and issued the same day from the permit office or using a city’s online permit services where applicable.
Contact the local office in your city or county to find out what type of permit is needed and if an inspection of the installation is required. Requirements deviate from city to city so be sure to follow through on the rules governing your location.
Preparing Your Property for New Window Installation in Georgia
Preparing your property for new window replacement prior to the contractor arriving saves valuable time and money.
- Remove any window treatments such as shades, blinds, valances or curtains.
- Remove any wall hangings near the windows.
- Move all furniture away from the windows so the contractor has an unobstructed path.
- Outside, move any potted plants placed under the window and cut back any tall shrubbery.
- If there is anything else blocking access to the window from the outside and it can be moved, do so.
- Be sure there is a clear and unobstructed path from the front door to the area(s) where windows are to be installed.
- If your property has mounted security sensors, it’s recommended they be turned off and moved to avoid damage.
- Installing windows can lead to a lot of dust and debris as well as paint. Consider covering the furniture in each room as well as laying drop cloths over carpet and floors. The contractor may or may not provide this service so it is best to be prepared.
- For property owners with inside pets, secure them in another area so they’ll be safe and away from workers.
Georgia’s Climate Considerations for Windows
Georgia has a subtropical climate with seasonal temperatures that range from generally brisk fall months and a moderately mild winter season to comfortable spring months and summer temperatures that average 80 degrees. Climate is a consideration when buying windows as the type of glass for one region may not work in Georgia. There are choices in window glass that do better in colder regions but are not as efficient in hot and humid areas.
Understanding Georgia Window Ratings
When it’s time to make your window selection, your contractor or sales person will help you choose the product that not only fits the style of your property, but also the type of ratings that provide the best quality.
On new window products, you’ll find a label with the window’s specifications. Windows are rated on the following criteria by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) and will be listed on the window’s label with the NFRC certified stamp.
- U-Factor – this rating determines the efficiency of the window’s ability to block heat from escaping or entering the dwelling.
- Air Leakage (AL) – rates the window’s resistance to air leakage.
- Visual Transmission (VT) – rates the amount of light admitted through the glass.
- Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) – rates the efficiency of the shading factor of windows.
Window Styles and Frames for a Georgia Property
This list provides information on a variety of available window styles.
- Arch top – a round decorative window used in small or large areas.
- Bay window – a large window with seating so you can relax and view the outdoors in comfort.
- Box windows – these windows are installed in a series using 3 to 5 windows.
- Double hung – you have the option of opening either a lower or upper sash.
- Elliptical – these are half or quarter circle windows usually installed as decoration.
- French casement – large pane glass windows that function like a French door.
- Picture window – another option for viewing through a solid pane of glass.
- Single hung – unlike the double hung, only one sash opens while the other stays in place.
Window frames are available in a variety of materials; some more efficient than others.
- Aluminum – The material is light and strong and requires minimal maintenance. The down side it conducts heat quickly.
- Composite – a blend of composite wood products that results in a structurally stable frame with better resistance to decay and moisture.
- Fiberglass – this material is both durable and versatile and insulation can be added to air cavities for better efficiency.
- Vinyl – this material is frequently used as it is durable, requires low-maintenance and resists moisture. Vinyl frames do not become discolored, fade or chip, and do not need to be painted. The hollow tubes can hold insulation for better efficiency.
- Wood – this material is a good insulator but it is susceptible to weather conditions that cause the wood to expand and contract. Wood frames require a regular maintenance check. Cladding of vinyl or aluminum can help reduce frequent maintenance.
Glass Options for Georgia Windows
There are basically three types of window glazing; single, double and triple-pane.
- Single-pane glazed windows are available but not generally used as the main window source for homes or businesses. While they provide clear visibility, single-pane windows are not energy efficient.
- To better utilize a windows ability to function at its best, consider double-pane glazed glass. What makes this type so efficient in buffering outside temperatures is the gas that fills the pocket between the two window panes.
- Triple-pane glazed windows are cost competitive, energy efficient, maintains interior comfort levels, reduces outside noise, and offers a high level of energy efficiency. Triple-glazed windows are better suited to colder climates.
Benefits of Installing New Windows in Georgia
- Updated look to the property
- Quality windows lead to better interior comfort and efficiency
- An increase to the property’s value
- Potential for rebates and incentives
- New windows are a positive selling point for property going on the market
To ensure the best possible new window installation experience, follow the checklist by having a licensed contractor in place and a city or county permit in hand. Ask questions and use the expert knowledge of your contractor or sales representative to guide you in the right direction to the type of style, frame material, and window ratings necessary for your property so you’ll get the best return on your investment.