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Detroit Window Replacement Guide

When you purchase a home, you know that general maintenance and repair is going to be your responsibility. However, replacing your home’s windows is a far more involved renovation than simply altering the landscaping, and most homeowners are inexperienced in the entire process since exterior windows tend to last between 10 and 40 years. All of that can make the entire idea of renovating your home’s windows a little daunting. Yet, this is an undertaking you will want to take on when it’s needed and this article will help demystify the process for you.

Although a full vinyl window replacement in an average 2,450 square foot house will run about $15,000, you can expect to recoup about 80 percent of that in your increased property value. Also, once the replacement has occurred, you should see a 15 percent drop in your utility bill on average, according to the Efficient Windows Collaborative. To ensure that the job is done safely, the City of Detroit has strict permit and inspection guidelines that must be followed.

This Detroit Window Replacement Guide will walk you through the steps necessary to determine when a replacement is needed, which window materials and design are best for the Michigan climate, and the municipal requirements to ensure that the job is done to code.

How to Know When a Window Replacement is Necessary in Your Detroit Home

If your drafty, old windows have you wanting to hit the road out of The Motor City, then it’s high time you looked into replacing them with an energy efficient alternative. If your windows are more than 30 years old, chances are that it is time for an upgrade. However, age alone is not the only indicator you should pay attention to. Regardless of the material, many windows swell and warp under the strain of intense sunlight and the general settling of the foundation. If your windows are still functional, but do not form a complete seal, a strip of inexpensive weather stripping can offer a slight improvement. If your windows have begun to rot or leak, then you are at risk of more serious structural damage to your home. You also have a major safety hazard if your windows are unable to open or close properly. It is easy to see how wear and tear can happen in a city like Detroit that averages 33.5 inches of precipitation each year.

If you feel a tangible draft when you are in front of your window, then you are losing copious amounts of air through the fenestration, not to mention the allergens and dust that then can eek their way inside, too. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that the majority of homeowners who chose to replace their windows did so in order to improve their home’s overall energy efficiency. By opting for Energy Star certified windows, you will not only improve your comfort level, but you will decrease your utility bills by 12 percent on average and recoup upwards of 80 percent of your renovation budget in increased property value. It’s because of these reasons that most homeowners feel that their return on investment is well worth the expense.

Homes with older windows also tend to have extremely high utility bills due to the aged materials that the windows are made of. If you are looking to make your home more eco-friendly then a window renovation will be in order.

Window Materials Matter in Detroit

Especially in climates that see as many sub-freezing days as Detroit does, it is important to choose your window’s materials wisely. When considering which type of window you would like in your home, you will need to decide on what material the window framing is made from, single versus double-paned windows, and any sort of specialized energy efficiency coating.

When it comes to window frame materials, your three main options are wood, vinyl, and aluminum. It is best to avoid aluminum in Detroit because it transfers too much thermal energy into your home; however, both vinyl and wood frames will work equally well. Solid wood frames tend to be coated in fiberglass or vinyl nowadays to give the wood an extra level of protection from the elements and removes the need to repaint in the future; but solid wood windows usually are the most expensive. On the other hand, vinyl is normally the least expensive window material option and has the same perk of not needing to be painted, though your color options will be more limited.

Since energy efficient windows require more labor to manufacture, they will increase your project cost, but that money will be recouped over time. These windows will have met standards set by both Energy Star as well as the 2012 IECC, and should have a low U-value and a moderate Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). The U-value and SHGC amounts measure the rate at which a window is able to conduct heat and solar radiation flow respectively from the exterior of your home to the interior and vice versa. For Detroit, the absolute best windows you can choose will have MSG Low-E triple-glazed glass that are double-paned and gas-filled with a U-value less than 0.22 and an SHGC value ranging from 0.26 to 0.40.

Detroit MI replacement windows

Windows Permits, Inspections, and Fees in Detroit

The City of Detroit requires that you or your contractor obtain a permit before beginning any kind of home renovations, including window replacements. A printable building permit application can be found here and submitted at the Buildings, Safety, Engineering, and Environmental Department located at 2 Woodward Avenue, Room 409, Detroit, MI 48266.

Your contractor can, also, submit an application online through BSEE webpage. So long as your changes do not alter the structure of your home, you will not need to submit plans to be reviewed, and permits are issued the same day on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If your home is zoned in an historic district, then you will need to take additional steps to procure your permit, all of which are outlined on their website.

A fee will be assessed at the time of your application based upon the total estimated cost of the project. For jobs under $2,000, the fee is $150, and for jobs over $2,000 but less than $500,000, the fee $150, plus $20 per $1,000 over $2,000.

Once your renovation project has been completed, a city official will need to come inspect the work that has been done. You are able to schedule the appointment by phone at 313-224-3202.

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