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Portland, ME Window Replacement Guide
Whether it’s from the strong nor’easters, the 47 inches of rain, the 62 inches of snow, or the months of freezing temperatures, your Portland home’s windows take a beating over the years. When your windows are at the end of the lifespan, it’s likely that your comfort level will take a beating as well. Watch out, wallet, because that beating is coming after you, too! Between improper seals and drafty glass, there is simply no way for you to ever make your home energy efficient, putting undue strain on your budget and HVAC unit.
If you feel like this sums up your home’s windows, then it might be time to consider replacing them. This Portland Window Replacement Guide will help teach you what you need to know in regards to when a replacement is necessary, what materials are best at combating the Portland climate, and what municipal regulations are in place in order to ensure the job is performed to code, so that you can confidently decide on the perfect new windows for your home.
How to Know When a Window Replacement is Necessary in Your Portland Home
Any window that has to withstand a climate like Portland’s is going to show its age sooner rather than later. If your windows receive full sun for most of the day, there is a high likelihood that they have warped over the years, resulting in windows that no longer seal properly when closed and take a lot of strength to open. Unfortunately, there is little repair work that can be done to combat this issue other than simply replacing it altogether. However, if your main issue is small patches of rotted wood, you can get a bit more life out of your windows by repairing them with epoxy. Be sure to properly inspect that you have thoroughly sealed all rotted areas and that there are no open gaps that would allow water to enter the walls of your home.
Even if your window frames are in good condition, that doesn’t mean that you are off the hook for a window replacement. Due to technological advances, treated glass used in modern windows is substantially more energy efficient, allowing for less heat transference and a more constant temperature within your home. The 2015 Remodeling Impact Report found that 61 percent of homeowners have a “greater desire to be home” since completing their renovation mainly because the level of comfort has increased so drastically. When you, then, factor in that homeowners typically see an increase of 80 percent of their renovation budget in their home’s property value, it’s easy to see just what a great investment a window replacement really is.
Window Materials Matter in Portland
In order to ensure that you are getting the most energy efficient windows available, always look for options that have met Energy Star’s strict guidelines. These windows will be evaluated on how well they are able to insulate your home’s internal temperature (U-value), block solar heat from ever making into your home (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, SHGC), and regulate the volume of air leakage that occurs under changing air pressure and temperature. With U-values the lower the number, the better insulating the windows are; whereas with SHGC, it depends on your specific climate as to which numerical range will be best. An additional low emissivity (low E) coating is usually applied to these windows as well, helping to block further unwanted solar radiation. In general, the best glass for Portland’s climate will come with a U-value of less than or equal to 0.22, a SHGC between 0.26 and 0.4, and a medium-solar-gain low E coating. In order to combat changes in air pressure and to further insulate the glass, you can expect these windows to be double- or triple-pane glass that is filled with argon gas.
The framing materials are just as important as the glass itself, and finding the right one for your home takes a little consideration. Although the window market is now full of various framing options, the three most common are aluminum, vinyl, and wood. Metal frames like aluminum are a terrible decision for northern climates, and will never be Energy Star approved. While wood or vinyl have been thermally improved and insulated, they become energy efficiency champions. Deciding between the two mostly comes down to personal preference. Vinyl is an economical, maintenance-free choice, but will lock you into one color scheme for the life of your window. Wood, on the other hand, is classic and the most dependable material on the market, but comes with a hefty price tag and varying levels of upkeep. Talk to a professional about the pros and cons in regards to your own home’s orientation and shading type in order to find the perfect window for your home.
Municipal Regulations for Portland Residents
If you are not changing your home’s exterior walls in any way to accommodate your new windows, then you do not have to obtain a building permit before construction begins. If you do need to structurally alter your home in any way, then a building permit can be filed and any associated fees paid on the City of Portland’s webpage.