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Des Moines Window Replacement Guide
Choosing to renovate your home can be an exciting time, but not without a few learning curves along the way. Considering most home windows have a lifespan upwards of 40 years, it’s likely that even the handiest of homeowners will be novices when it comes to this particular upgrade. Yet with a bit of research, you can confidently enhance your home’s energy efficiency and aesthetic in a breeze.
The time, money, and potential stress is well worth it, though! The 2015 Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors found that 61 percent of survey participants have a “greater desire to be home since completing the project,” as well as most having seen a bump in their home’s property value equivalent to roughly 80 percent of their renovation budget. Add in any tax incentives that you might qualify for and an average 15 percent reduction in utility bills, and it’s hard to not want to move forward with replacing your home’s windows.
To help ease you into the process, this Des Moines Window Replacement Guide will instruct you on how to know when a replacement is necessary, what materials will best fit with the Des Moines climate, and all that the city requires for an installation to be done legally.
How to Know When a Window Replacement is Necessary in Your Des Moines Home
Age is an important factor to consider when determining whether or not to take the plunge into a full-scale window replacement, though it is not the only one. With Des Moines’s severe winters, lack of dry season, and humid, hot summers, it is easy to see how windows frames could become cracked, leaky, rotten, or warped over time. If any of this damage allows for precipitation to enter the exterior walls of your home, there is a much higher likelihood that your home’s structural integrity could be compromised and mold to have begun to grow. Also, if your windows can no longer open and close fluidly–or at all–then a replacement is definitely mandatory. Were an emergency to transpire, you and your loved ones need to be able to evacuate your home as quickly and easily as possible, and this simply cannot be done without properly performing windows.
Across the board, the older a window assembly is, the less energy efficient it will be. Oftentimes, poor performing single pane windows will allow for a breeze to be felt through the glass itself which will make anyone uncomfortable quickly. By opting for windows that meet the strict Energy Star guidelines, you are ensuring not only your home’s efficiency, but, also, helping to prolong the life of your HVAC unit due to lessened wear and tear.
Window Materials to Consider in Des Moines
You will need to narrow down your window selection by deciding on window framing material, single versus multi-paned glass, and any specialized energy efficient coating that might be applied.
Although the market now offers a wide variety of framing materials and combinations of materials, the three main options are hardwood, vinyl, and aluminum. With Des Moines’s fickle climate in mind, any improved, nonmetal material will insulate your home the best, which rules out aluminum. Hardwood is definitely the most durable material available, especially when it is coated with a composite component, and also, is the most versatile since you can easily change the color with a new coat of paint. However, wooden-framed windows are usually going to carry a larger price tag.
On the other hand, thermally improved and insulated vinyl windows will be significantly less expensive and require virtually no maintenance since the color in solid throughout the entire frame. Technology has greatly improved vinyl windows’ lifespan, but know that sunlight and extreme temperatures will take their toll over time.
For obvious reasons, the more energy efficient a window is, the more you can expect to pay for them. However, don’t let the price deter you from seeing the potential value they can provide in both lower utility expenses, increased property value, and personal comfort. Energy Star and the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) have made it easy to gauge just how energy efficient a window via three main qualifiers: U-value, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC), and low emissivity (low E). The U-value measures how much heat is lost through your window out into the world. Simply, the lower a window’s U-value rating is, the better insulating the window is. SHGC operates in a similar fashion by evaluating how much solar radiation your windows are able to block.
Finally, low E coated glass reflects radiant solar heat, allowing your home to maintain a more constant temperature inside. Any new window will be an improvement if you have old, single-paned windows. However, the most energy efficient window that is able to keep your family the most comfortable regardless of the season will be a gas-filled triple pane window 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.
Window Permits, Inspections, and Fees in Des Moines
The City of Des Moines mandates that a building permit be acquired before any work begins on your home. An application can be downloaded from the City of Des Moines’s webpage and submitted at Permit and Development Center’s Community Development Department which is located at 602 Robert D. Ray Drive, Des Moines, IA 50309.
A fee will be assessed based upon the estimated valuation of the renovation. For projects that are greater than $2,000 but less than $25,000, a $50 base amount plus $7 for each additional $1,000 will be assessed. For example, if your renovation is projected to cost $20,000, your fee due at the time of application will be $176. If your window replacement renovation falls between $25,000 and $50,000, a $211 base fee plus $6 for each subsequent $1,000 will be fined.
Once your renovation has been completed, a final inspection must be conducted by a city official. The name of your assigned inspector and their contact information will be provided on your building permit, and you will simply need to reach out to them in order to schedule this appointment.