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Windows State Buying Guide for Iowa
Window replacement or a new installation are a major home improvement project that requires careful thought and planning before starting the project. As with any major home investment such as window replacement, it is important to start on the right foot so you cross the finish line with the product you want along with a quality installation. This window buying guide is designed to introduce you to some of the important features you need to consider when selecting new windows in addition to important contractor and permitting requirements in your state.
The list below is a quick reference guide to information within the article:
- Selecting Window Frame Materials
- Window Types
- The Cost of Window Installation
- New Window Benefits
When Permits Are Required for Window Installation in Iowa
Building permits are required in Iowa for new construction including structural additions to existing buildings. Replacing existing windows does not warrant a building permit unless structural alterations are necessary to the window opening. However, since building permits are issued at the local level, regulations and codes may vary. Before starting your window installation project, it would be beneficial to first contact your local building department to verify window permit requirements in your area.
Window Contractor Considerations in Iowa
Hiring a contractor is the most crucial step in a window installation project. The quality of your window installation depends on a qualified contractor with the experience to remove your old windows and the install the new windows while minimizing damage. Finding a licensed and insured contractor is often easier said than done.
- Contact several companies for estimates. It is recommended that you receive at least 3 to 4 estimates from reputable contractors or window installation companies for comparison.
- Ask for copies of contractor licenses and insurance information.
- Iowa residents can verify a contractor, tradesperson or business by visiting the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries website.
- Contact the Better Business Bureau’s website to inquire about customer complaints or pending legal action.
- Check the written contract for any missing information or information that is different from the estimate. The contract should be signed and dated as well as include all costs including materials, labor, set up or removal fee, transportation time, and a completion date.
After removing the old windows, repairs of any existing damage such as rotting windowsills or wall studs are necessary. These unforeseen circumstances can increase the overall cost of the installation, so be aware. Other interior or exterior repairs might also be needed if damage occurs during the installation process.
Climate Considerations in Iowa
The climate in your area should carry a lot of weight when choosing the window type, its level of glazing, and a suitable frame material that can stand up to the elements. Your contractor should recommend a window type based on Iowa’s climate conditions. Iowa has a wide temperature range averaging a high of 86 degrees in mid July and an average low of 12 degrees in mid January. Residents can expect on average of 30 inches of rainfall and 31 inches of snowfall annually. The number of days that receive any measurable precipitation are 100. In addition to climate, your contractor will also choose a window style tailored to your desires as well as the construction type and style of your home.
Types of Window Glazing Used in Iowa
There are numerous types of glazing and coating methods used in the window manufacturing industry to increase energy efficiency, noise reduction, UV protection, and reduce heat transference. Listed below are the most common glazing and coating methods available today:
Single Pane Windows
Single paned windows provide little protection against heat or cold. Today, single paned windows are limited to areas such as garages, workshops, and storage areas where energy efficiency and comfort levels are less of a concern.
Double Pane Windows
Double paned is insulated glass with space between the glass filled with air or gas. The gas — Krypton or Argon — increases energy efficiency, UV protection and noise reduction.
Triple Pane Windows
Increasing energy efficiency and noise reduction even further are triple-paned windows that seal two layers of gas between the glass panes. Triple pane windows are ideal for colder climates or those properties in close proximity to airports or highways where noise intrusion could be a problem.
Low-emissivity “Low-E” coatings are invisible layers of metallic oxide that reduces heat transference, or the amount of heat that passes through the glass. Its value lies in the fact that homeowners living in colder climates where heating costs dominate can choose coatings that maximize the amount of outside heat allowed to pass through the glass while folks living in warm regions can choose low-solar-gain coatings to minimize the amount of outside heat transference.
Window glazing is rated by its insulating properties, light filtration, and heat transference. Understanding their values can help you choose the best windows suited for your climate.
Iowa Window Frame Materials
The type of window frame you choose should be based on discussions with your contractor regarding climate conditions as well as the style of your home and desired maintenance requirements.
Aluminum frame 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 frame windows are rapidly becoming the material of choice in the construction industry. Vinyl framed windows use rigid, impact-resistant PVC “polyvinyl chloride” for frame construction. The material does not rot, fade, or require painting. Hollow chambers incorporated in its design resist heat transfer and condensation.
Wood frame windows are a popular choice particularly for the aesthetic appeal of interior areas when climate is not a concern. Often, wood frame windows must be special ordered from the supplier.
Clad wood frame windows incorporate both the beauty of wood for the interior and the toughness of an aluminum or vinyl jacket for exterior protection.
Fiberglass frame windows are ideal for folks living in areas of the country such as Iowa that are subjected to extreme winter temperatures. This frame provides maximum insulating properties and energy efficiency.
Common Window Types Available in Iowa
After choosing glazing and framing options, you must decide on the type of window you want for your property. Many window types and styles are available in Iowa. While the window style should coincide with the exterior features of your home, you have greater flexibility when selecting a new window type. Listed below are the most common window types and their operational features.
Fixed windows do not open or close.
Double hung windows are those that consist of two operational sashes. Only one of the sashes — either the upper or lower — can be opened at a time.
Casement windows are hinged vertically, which allows them to swing in and out similar to a door. A hand operated cranking mechanism is used to open and close the window.
Awning windows are very similar to casement windows with the difference being they are hinged horizontally, which allows them to swing open from the top or bottom direction.
Jalousie windows incorporate a series of horizontally positioned panes that open and close in unison.
Sliding windows are ones that slide back and forth along both upper and lower tracks.
Palladian windows are a group of three windows affixed with an arch over the center.
Picture windows are large fixed windows sometimes flanked on each side by casement, double, or single hung windows to provide ventilation.
Bay windows are designed to protrude between 30 and 45 degrees from the homes exterior creating aesthetic appeal on both the interior and exterior of the home. Many folks utilize the additional interior space provided by a bay window for additional seating or storage areas.
The Cost of Window Installation in Iowa
Window replacement and/or new installation can represent a high out-of-pocket expense depending on the type, glazing options, and frame material you choose along with the number of windows required for the project. Use this free online cost calculator to obtain a general estimate of the project cost.
Purchasing New Windows in Iowa
Folks who lack the necessary funds required to pay for their window purchase upfront can take advantage of these available financing options. Several options are available that can help you fund your window project. Traditional HELOC’s “Home Equity Lines of Credit” are loans that allow you to borrow against the equity in your home. Installment loans and credit cards are other ways folks pay for their new windows. In addition, many window companies and big box retailers such as Lowe’s and Home Depot run promotional financing options — zero or no interest financing — throughout the year.
Iowa Window Resources
Programs may be available to you that can reduce the costs of your window installation project. Many local, state, and federal programs offer incentives and rebates designed to promote energy efficiency and conservation. In addition, many utility companies offer rebates periodically to homeowners who install energy efficient windows or weatherization upgrades in their home. Explore the websites below to discover programs that might be available and/or active in your area.
- Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency
- Energy Star
- Rural Energy for America Program “Small Business”
- U.S. Department of Energy
New Window Benefits in Iowa
With the purchase and installation of new windows in your home or property, you can expect the following benefits:
- Increased property value
- Increased energy efficiency
- A great marketing tool should you decide to sell your property in the future
- A more comfortable and quieter home environment