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Boise, ID Window Replacement Guide
More often than not, window replacement falls into the “mandatory” category, rather than the “fun and creative” category, but this doesn’t have to be the case! In fact, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that 61 percent of surveyed homeowners that recently replaced their windows have a “greater desire to be home since completing the project” and that a whopping 71 percent have a “major sense of accomplishment when they think of the project.” By taking the time to properly research all of your available options, you can confidently begin your renovation and take your home’s aesthetic and comfort to a whole new level.
This Boise Window Replacement Guide will help you in understanding when a window needs to be replaced, which window assembly materials best fit your city’s climate, and what municipal regulations are in place to ensure that the job is performed safely.
How to Know When a Window Replacement is Necessary in Your Boise Home
Although windows are meant to be one of the longer lasting structures in your home, a time will inevitably come when they will no longer be viable. The brutal winters and sweltering summers in Boise will take their toll over the years, causing window frames to warp, rot, and leak. If you have only just begun to notice these issues, then there are steps you can take to help put off a full-scale window replacement renovation for a while longer. However, if you have been monitoring the damage and your tricks are no longer working, then it is definitely time to upgrade, especially when you consider the impact to your home if you do not. When cracks are large enough to allow moisture and bugs to enter the exterior walls of your home, you run the risk of suffering extensive damage to the home’s structural integrity and probable mold growth. For windows that can no longer open with ease, your family is in greater danger if an emergency were ever to transpire. None of these potential outcomes are worth the risk, so move ahead with a replacement.
NAR also discovered in their report that almost half of the participants chose to replace their home’s windows in order to improve their energy efficiency. When single-paned windows are replaced with an Energy Star rated window, most homeowners can expect to save upwards of 15 percent on their home’s utility bills in the first year, resulting in an annual savings of hundreds of dollars! Not only with these new windows save you money, but they will also greatly increase your personal comfort level by helping to maintain your home’s internal temperature and eliminating drafts that came through the old glass itself. When you add in that most homeowners recoup upwards of 80 percent of their renovation budget in increased property value, it makes taking on a project of this magnitude far more palatable.
Window Materials Matter in Boise
Now that you have decided to move forward with a full window replacement, you need to determine which window framing materials and level of energy efficiency are right for you.
With advances in technology, the current window market is flooded with options when it comes to a window’s framing material(s); though the three most common are hardwood, aluminum, and vinyl. Due to Boise’s climate, it is necessary to choose the most insulating materials available, which will rule out any metal materials like aluminum. Thermally improved wood or vinyl will both be fantastic options since they have low conductive spacers built into the frame that allow for your home to be well protected from the elements.
Hardwood is going to be the most durable and easiest to alter option available, and you can expect your windows to still be going strong for 30 to 40 years with proper maintenance. However, this longevity does come with a hefty price tag. On the other hand, thermally improved and insulated vinyl are virtually maintenance free, far less expensive, and should have a lifespan of around 20 years. The main downfall with vinyl is that it is susceptible to degrading and warping, and once you pick a color, there is no way to change it down the line.
Treated glass can be a bit more challenging to decode, though not insurmountable. Energy Star and the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) use three main factors to gauge a window’s energy efficiency: U-value, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC), and low emissivity (low E). The U-value represents how effectively a window is able to insulate the home’s current temperature, with a lower U-value indicating a more insulating glass, whereas the SHGC measures how well a window is able to block out solar radiation.
Similarly, the low E is a spectrally selective metallic coating that works to block radiant solar heat from entering your home. Almost any new window will be an improvement, but by choosing an Energy Star approved window, you are ensuring your home will be as energy efficient as possible. The average home in Boise would benefit the most from triple paned, gas-filled glass that has a U-value of less than or equal to 0.22, a SHGC of less than or equal to 0.25, and a low-solar-gain low E coating.
If you happen to live within the historic district of Boise, be sure to understand what your obligations and restrictions are before you make a final decision on what windows you want to install in your home.
Windows Permits, Inspections, and Fees for Boise Residents
The City of Boise requires that no renovation work be started before a building permit has been approved of by the Department of Planning and Development. Usually your contractor will take care of ensuring that all permits are acquired, but if that is not the case for you, then you can log on to the City of Boise’s webpage (PDS) and file an application electronically. Assuming that you are not structurally altering the walls of your home, you should not have to provide plans for review in order to obtain your permit.
A fee will be added onto an application based upon the projected cost of the project and must be paid before the permit is granted. For renovations that are between $2,001 and $25,000, a fee of $70.76 will be assessed for the first $2,000, plus $12.71 for each additional $1,000. For example, if your window replacement is expected to cost $15,000, you can expect a permit fee of $235.99. A full list of the fee schedule is available here and you can pay this amount electronically by logging in here.
Once all work has been completed, a city official will need to come and inspect your home to ensure that everything has been done to code. You can schedule this appointment via your PDS account or by calling (208) 384-3802.