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Indianapolis Window Replacement Guide
Most renovations to your home come with some level of stress, but replacing your home’s windows doesn’t have to fall in that category. In fact, with a bit of research and wise decision making, you can become one of those 71 percent of homeowners surveyed by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) that say they “have a major sense of accomplishment when they think of the project.”
Since most windows last anywhere from 10 to 40 or more years, it’s likely that you only have experience with this type of renovation once or twice at best. Since projects of this magnitude usually come with a price tag of $15,000 to $20,000, it’s normal to be a little apprehensive starting out. This Indianapolis Window Replacement Guide can help put those nerves at ease by teaching you how to recognize when a window needs to be replaced, what window assembly materials are best suited for your Indianapolis climate, and what municipal regulations are in place to ensure that the construction is performed to code.
How to Know When a Window Replacement is Necessary in Your Indianapolis Home
The longer your windows have been exposed to the elements, the more likely they are to have begun to show signs of wear and tear. Common problems like termite damage, rot, and structural warping can cause a host of problems for not just the windows themselves, but also, for the overall structural integrity of your home. When windows are not perfectly sealed from the elements, moisture can seep into the walls of the home, where it can encourage framing decay and mold growth. There are measures you can take to help reseal rotted or termite damaged window frames which can put off the need for a full window replacement for a while, but be sure to monitor these repairs closely to ensure that they have properly solved the issue. However, if your main issue is that your windows will no longer open or close easily due to warping, there is little you can do other than replace the entire system.
NAR reports that the top reason most homeowners absorb the expense of a full window replacement renovation is to improve the energy efficiency of their home. Considering that heating and cooling your home amounts to an average 48 percent of a home’s utility bill, the better your windows are at insulating your home, the more money you will save and the longer your HVAC unit will last. You can certainly add window coverings or install storm windows or plastic insulation sheeting over your windows that will aid in making the old glass less drafty, but in order to get a permanent seal from the elements, the windows will need to be replaced. Thankfully, most homeowners are able to recoup upwards of 80 percent of their renovation expense in increased property value, making it a far more affordable project to tackle.
Window Materials Matter in Indianapolis
When shopping for your new windows, you will need to decide on the window framing material, single versus multiple-paned glass, and the level of energy efficiency you wish to have.
In 2010, Forbes ranked Indianapolis has being the 7th worst winter weather city in the country due to its 41 inches of precipitation and 24.2 inches of snow. When you, then, add in the high summer temperatures, it’s important to get a window framing material that will adequately be able to shield your home from these climate swings and be able to stand the test of time in the elements. Though the market is now flooded with varying materials and combinations of materials, your three main options are aluminum, vinyl, and wood. Any metal framing like aluminum will allow too much heat transference and should absolutely be avoided. Between vinyl and wood, so long as they are thermally improved or insulated, then it really just comes down to personal preference. Wood’s lifespan usually doubles that of vinyl and will not lock you into a color scheme for the life of the window unit. However, vinyl will definitely be more budget-friendly.
In order to ensure that you are getting the most energy efficient windows, opt for ones that follow the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and have met Energy Star standards. These windows will have two main rankings: U-value, which measures the rate at which heat escapes from inside your home through the glass with lower U-values indicating better insulation, and Solar Heat Glare Coefficient (SHGC), which rates how well the windows can block the sun’s radiation from ever entering your home. You can, also, opt to have a low emissivity (low E) coating applied to the glass itself which will give an additional barrier against radiant solar heat. Although virtually any new window assembly will be an improvement in your home’s energy efficiency, the absolute best window to withstand Indianapolis’s climate will be gas-filled triple-pane glass with a U-value of less than or equal to 0.22, a SHGC of 0.26 to 0.4, and a moderate-solar-gain low E coating.
Building Permits, Inspections, and Fees for Indianapolis Residents
The City of Indianapolis requires that a building permit be obtained before beginning construction to ensure that the process is done professionally and safely. Usually your contractor will file for all necessary permits, but if that is not the case for you, a renovation building permit application can be filed on the Indianapolis Code Enforcement webpage by simply creating an account. You will not need to submit plans for review so long as you are not changing the structural openings at all, and your permit fee should be $173. You can find instructions on how to pay this fee online here. If you prefer to apply for your permit in person, you can do so at 1200 Madison Avenue, Suite 100, Indianapolis, IN 46225 on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 8:00 to 3:30, Wednesdays from 12:00 to 3:30, and Fridays from 9:00 to 3:30.
Once renovations have been completed, an inspection of the work must be performed by a city official. To make an inspection request, you will need to login to your account and choose “Schedule an Inspection” which is in the Permits and Contractors subheading. Step-by-step instructions for setting up your inspection appointment can be found here.