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Atlanta Window Replacement Guide
Residential windows last 10 to 40 years on average, so chances are you’ll have to replace your windows. Due to Atlanta’s climate, your windows need to be able to withstand ice storms as well as intense summer sun, all while being as energy efficient as possible. To ensure that the job is done safely, the City of Atlanta has strict guidelines for building permits and inspections that must be followed. This Atlanta Window Replacement Guide will lead you through the steps necessary to determine when a replacement is needed, know which window materials and design are best for the Georgia climate, and understand the municipal requirements to ensure that the job is done to code.
How to Know When a Window Replacement is Necessary in Your Atlanta Home
Aged windows that have begun to leak or rot need to be replaced. When these issues are neglected, serious structural damage can occur within the framing of your home, which will require a much larger expense to repair. Also, if your windows are unable to open or close easily (or at all), then you have a safety hazard on your hands in the case an emergency. Considering Atlanta consistently hovers in the 90s in the summer, around freezing in the winter, and has almost 50 inches of precipitation annually, it’s easy to see how a home’s windows could begin to warp or decay in this climate.
Another aspect that all older windows have in common is lack of energy efficiency. The Efficient Windows Collaborative says that you should expect to see a 15 percent drop in your utility bill on average when you choose to replace single-paned windows with an energy efficient alternative. Additionally, the 2015 Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors assesses that you could expect to recoup about 80 percent of your renovation expenses in increased property value.
Window Materials Matter in Atlanta
When considering which type of window you would like in your home, you will need to decide on what material the window framing is made from, choose single versus multiple-paned windows, and consider any sort of specialized energy efficiency coating.
When it comes to window frame materials, the three main options are wood, vinyl, and aluminum. Due to Atlanta’s climate, materials that block out solar heat like vinyl and wood are going to be your best choice. Solid wood frames are usually now coated in vinyl or fiberglass, so you can expect an added level of durability with this choice; however, coupled with that is the added expense of hardwoods. Vinyl, on the other hand, is usually the least expensive material option for windows, but don’t expect the variety of color options that wood provides.
The more energy efficient the window is, the higher the price is going to be, which makes sense considering the labor involved and savings over time. Windows that meet these standards will have a designation by the 2012 IECC and Energy Star. For Atlanta, the absolute best windows will be gas-filled dual paned windows with a triple-paned window that is registered with a U-value of less than 0.22, a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) value of less than 0.25, and spectrally selective low E glass. 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 low E represents how effectively the window can reflect heat when covered with a thin metallic coating.
Atlanta Window Permits, Inspections, and Fees
The City of Atlanta does require that window replacement renovations with budgets over $2500 obtain a Residential General Repair Permit which can be obtained by either the homeowner or the contractor at the City of Atlanta’s webpage or in person at 55 Trinity Avenue, 3rd Floor – Suite 3900, Atlanta, GA 30303. Usually only an application will be required; however, there are occasions when plans of the project will need to be reviewed first. Either way, you can expect to have your permit within a few business days, if not the same day. A minimum fee of $175 will need to be submitted with the application. If your project’s plans do need to be reviewed, then additional fees will be assessed.
Once renovations are completed, a city inspector will need to come and evaluate the work to make sure everything has been done to code. You can schedule an inspection by phone at 404-658-6800, online at the City of Atlanta’s Inspection Division website, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.