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Window State Buying Guide for Idaho
Idaho property owners considering a new window upgrade for replacement of existing windows or those for new construction would benefit by familiarizing themselves with the parameters required by the project. Aside from choosing a window frame material and type, they must also determine when permits are necessary, the expected costs of the project, as well as selecting a licensed and insured window installer. The following window buying guide will help you get your project started by covering some of the most important areas of new window purchase and installation.
The list below is a quick reference guide to information within the article:
- Selecting Window Frame Materials
- Selecting a Window Type
- The Cost of Window Installation
When Permits Are Required for Window Installation in Idaho
Most Idaho localities, such as Boise, require that you obtain a building permit when replacing or installing new windows. The guidelines may vary between cities so it is recommended you verify permit requirements with your local building department. In addition, you can contact the State of Idaho Division of Building Safety, 1090 East Watertower Street, Ste. 150 Meridian, Idaho 83642-3556, (208) 334-3950. You can access an online building permit application by clicking here.
Understanding Window Certification and Rating Labels in Idaho
New windows should include a product certification and ratings label defining the characteristics of the unit. While your contractor or sales representative should explain the differences between manufacturer ratings to ensure you are making the best choice based on your requirements, the guide below will give you an ideal of the information provided on the label.
This is an example of the different ratings on the NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council) label found on many products.
- Air Leakage (AL)
- Solar Heat Gains Coefficient (SHGC)
- Visual Transmittance (VT)
This link to the NFRC website explains what each rating means.
Types of Window Glazing Used in Idaho
Window glazing represents the number of layers of glass used in a window. In years past, single-glazed windows were the most common type of glazing used in window construction. As time progressed, new technologies were implemented in window manufacture that incorporated double and triple-paned windows. While you can still purchase single-paned windows, today, they are primarily used in areas such as garages, workshops and storage areas where energy efficiency and comfort carry less weight. Double-glazed windows incorporate two layers of glass with the space between them filled with air or gas. The gas — Argon or Krypton — increases energy efficiency but not enough to justify the additional expense versus energy savings. Triple-glazing as you might have guessed, adds a third layer of glass. The primary benefit of triple-glazed window is noise reduction, which would be beneficial for properties located near major highways or airports. In addition, a triple-glazed window will provide the most energy efficiency, which would be beneficial for properties located in extremely cold climates such as Idaho.
Idaho Window Frame Materials
The window framing material you choose is an important aspect of a new window purchase. You want a frame material that is capable of holding up against your area’s climate conditions, is conducive to your maintenance requirements and falls within your project’s budget. The most common types of window frame materials are listed below.
- Aluminum framed windows are an economical, versatile, and tough option for new or replacement windows. The light aluminum material simplifies installation, is corrosion resistant, and requires little maintenance.
- Vinyl framed windows are made of PVC “polyvinyl chloride” and have quickly become the most popular window frame material among building contractors. The tough, rigid plastic never fades, peels, chips or requires maintenance.
- Fiberglass framed windows incorporate the best attributes from each material. The fiberglass elements stiffen the window and allow it to be painted, which is an attractive option for some property owners.
- Wood framed or wood-clad window are wooden frames protected with a vinyl, aluminum, or fiberglass jacket covering the exterior surfaces for added protection from outside elements. They allow you to showcase their beautiful, wood grain interiors with maximum protection on the outside.
Since Idaho experiences some frigid temperatures during the winter months, it might prove to be a wise investment by purchasing fiberglass-framed windows to help maximize energy efficiency and home comfort levels.
Common Window Types Used in Idaho
Purchasing new or replacement windows in Idaho requires making some tough decisions regarding window types. In this section, you will find a breakdown of the different window types to help get you started on your project.
- Single Hung windows incorporate a fixed sash, usually the upper, and an operable lower sash to provide room ventilation.
- A Double Hung Window is a window type where both the upper and lower sashes are operable.
- 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 building. 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 are mulled together at lesser degrees.
- Double slider windows utilize two window sashes that slide horizontally. This type of window is also available with a single slide option where only one-sash slides and a 3-lite version with the outer sashes operable.
- A casement window incorporates a hinged sash operated by an interior crank or handle that allows the user to open the window a full 90 degrees for maximum 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. Often they are strategically placed to enhance property views.
- 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 showcase 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.
- Skylights are fixed or operable windows installed in ceiling areas. Their main function is to allow natural light to enhance interior areas.
The Cost of Window Installation in Idaho
Property owners can get an idea of the costs associated with a new or replacement window purchase by using this cost calculator. Simply enter your zip code and the number of windows you plan to replace to receive a ballpark estimate of your project costs.
Paying for New Windows in Idaho
The costs to install new or replacement windows can be substantial and will depend on the size of your home, the number of windows required and the type you choose. While paying cash is always the best option, many property owners may not have that luxury. Many lending institutions offer green funding or loans with reduced rates to promote energy efficiency and attract your business. A few examples are listed below:
- Energy Efficient FHA Loans — lays out the guidelines and requirements for obtaining an FHA Energy Efficient Loan.
- Energy Star — explains Energy Efficient Mortgages “EEM” and their benefits
- Bankrate — provides another in depth analysis of green loans and how they work
Idaho Window Resources
After receiving your estimates, ask your contractor about money-saving rebate or incentive programs available in your area. Your contractor should be up to date on any active programs in Idaho. In addition, verify with your contractor that your estimate does not include or reflect any rebates or incentive credits in their estimate.
- Energy.gov — provides a searchable list of state government agencies, utilities and others that offer a variety of tax credits, rebates and other incentives to support energy efficiency.
- Energy Star — apply for tax credits on Energy Star qualified windows, doors and skylights.
- Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency — provides a comprehensive database of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency.
- Rural Energy for America Program — provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small business.
- U.S. Department of Energy — a searchable database allows you to access thousands of rebates, grants, loans, assessments and other incentives for commercial and industrial facilities.
Where to Purchase New Windows in Idaho
Idaho residents have several options from with to choose when purchasing new or replacement windows for their property. Big box retailers such as Lowe’s and Home Depot sell a variety of popular window styles and types. Often, they promote special deals such as no interest financing for six months or longer, which is a nice option for property owners short on cash. Idaho is also home to many reputable window contractors and window supply companies that can meet your window installation needs as well.
Regardless of where you purchase your new windows, you can expect increased energy efficiency and home comfort levels after installation. In addition, new window installation adds beauty to both the exterior and interiors of your home, increases your property values, and provides a nice marketing tool should you decide to sell your home in the future.