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Louisville Window Replacement Guide
Every homeowner loves the natural light that their home’s windows provide, but no one appreciates when those same windows are drafty, making them feel uncomfortable and raising their utility bills. Although most window replacements cost between $10,000 and $20,000, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) notes that a homeowner can expect to recoup upwards of 80 percent of their renovation expense in increased property values. Plus, you will see your utility bills fall significantly as soon as those windows are installed which can result in hundreds of dollars saved each year.
These are definite incentives for choosing to move forward with a window renovation, but where does a homeowner begin? Since most windows last between 10 and 40 years, it’s likely that they have only gone through this process before once or twice at best. With the help of this Louisville Window Replacement Guide, you will learn how to recognize when a window replacement is required, what type of window material is best suited for the Kentucky climate, and what municipal regulations are in place to ensure that all work is done in a professional, safe manner. With this knowledge and the help of a local professional, you will be well on your way to making a sound investment for your home.
How to Know When a Window Replacement is Necessary in Your Louisville Home
Regardless of how well a window has been made, it can only withstand the elements for so long before it begins to breakdown. It’s when this deterioration happens that major problems for your entire home can begin. There is little that a homeowner can do for window frames that have warped over time and are unable to over and close easily, other than replace them, unfortunately. It is incredibly important that this issue be dealt with in a timely manner as well, since your home’s windows are a potentially necessary escape route were an emergency to occur. On the other hand, there are measures you can take that will let you put off a renovation for a bit longer if your windows have begun to rot. Yet, if this damage is severe enough to allow moisture to enter the walls of your home, you will need to have a professional perform a thorough inspection to ensure that your home’s structural integrity is still intact and no mold growth has occurred.
The NAR, also, found that 47 percent of all surveyed homeowners who had replaced their home’s windows had done so in an effort to improve energy efficiency. Nothing is less effective at blocking out external temperatures than old, cracked single-paned glass. Considering that 48 percent of a home’s utility bill comes solely from heating and cooling a home, it behooves you to ensure that your window are as energy efficient as possible given your budget. Though less expensive alternatives like insulation sheeting and storm windows are available, the best way to fully seal your home from the elements is by having your home’s windows replaced.
Window Materials Matter in Louisville
When you start to shop for your new windows, you will quickly discover that you will need to make several decisions in regard to what material(s) is used for the window framing, single-pane versus multi-pane glass, and what level of energy efficiency you desire.
When it comes to framing materials, technology has allowed for several new products to flood the market; but the three most common materials available are wood, vinyl, and aluminum. Due to cold transference, metal window frames like aluminum would be a poor choice for Louisville’s climate. As for all nonmetal options, electing to go with thermally-improved or insulated upgrades are highly recommended since they will greatly improve the window’s overall energy efficiency. Wood and vinyl both have their own pros and cons. With wood, you are ensured to have the longest lifespan and the most versatility at the expense of steady upkeep and a high price tag; whereas, vinyl is virtually maintenance free and quite affordable, but has limitations when it comes to color selection and a susceptibility to structural degradation.
Energy Star and the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) have set strict standards that a window has to meet in order to get their stamp of approval. These windows will be judged by the rate at which the home’s heat is transferred outside (U-value) and how well the window’s glass can block solar radiation from entering the home (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient or SHGC). Considering Louisville’s climate, you should look for windows to have a U-value of less than 0.3 and a SHGC of 0.4 or below. These windows will be far more insulated when you choose either a double-pane or triple-pane glass that has been gas-filled. There is, also, a low emissivity (low E) coating that can be applied to further boost the window’s ability to block the sun’s radiant heat. It is recommended to opt for either a low-solar-gain low E or a medium-solar-gain low E coating. By having a knowledgeable professional come and inspect your home, he or she will be able to advise you on what levels best fit your home given its specific orientation and level of shading.
Window Permits, Inspections, and Fees for Louisville Residents
The City of Louisville requires that a building permit be obtained by either the homeowner or the contractor prior to any work being started to ensure that any construction done and materials used are to code. At the time of application, a fee will be assessed based based on the estimated cost of the project. The Department of Construction Review may ask the applicant to provide some forms of proof in regards to the projected renovation estimate, but that is not always the case. You can expect the fee to be $25, plus $2.50 per $1,000 of the projected expense. For example, if your window replacement renovation is budgeted for $20,000, then your fee will be $72.50. Once work has been completed, a city official will need to come and inspect all changes that have been made. Although, you cannot select a specific day, your request will be placed in a queue as soon as it is submitted.
You can easily apply for the permit, pay the fee, and schedule your inspection via the online permitting portal. This Online Permitting Information helps provide you with instructions through each step of the process. If you prefer to apply for your permit in person, you can do so Monday through Friday from 7:30 to 5:00 at the Department of Codes and Regulations, Metro Development Center located at 444 S 5th Street, Suite 100, Louisville, KY 40202-4314. If you have any further question, you can contact (502) 574-3321.