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St. Paul Window Replacement Guide
Replacing your home’s windows can seem like a daunting task when you consider all the factors involved, especially since few homeowners have experience with this type of renovation. Since most windows command a price between $300 and $700 or more apiece, it’s important to know that you are making a sound investment before any construction begins. But how do you know that you have chosen the right windows for your home? With a bit of research and this St. Paul Window Replacement Guide, you’ll have the tools you need to properly recognize when a window needs to be replaced, what materials will best serve the St. Paul’s climate, and what regulations must be adhered to in order to perform the renovation legally.
How to Know When a Window Replacement is Necessary in Your St. Paul Home
In general, the harsher, more extreme a climate is, the faster a window will wear out, and unfortunately, that’s the case for St Paul. It is not uncommon for older windows to have swollen, warped, or rotted under years of heavy precipitation and snow. In some instances, a simple repair will be able to prolong the life of your windows, but not in every case. Depending on how extensively your window’s frames have begun to rot, you might be able to eek out a bit more life by scraping off the affected area and replacing it with epoxy. If the decay is severe enough to cause moisture to seep into the walls of your home, then you will definitely have to have your windows replaced and a professional check that no structural damage or mold growth has occurred. Similarly, there is little that can be done to improve windows that are unable to open and close fluidly and they too will need to be replaced.
Even if your windows do not show signs of damage, old glass is incredibly energy inefficient and can cause undue strain on your HVAC unit, not to mention your own comfort level. By opting to upgrade to Energy Star approved windows, you can save hundreds of dollars a year on your utility bills, and see your property value increase upwards of 80 percent of your renovation budget, according to the National Association of Realtors. When you combine these with any state and federal incentives, it’s easy to see that your return on investment is going to be well worth the expense.
Window Materials Matter in St. Paul
Between the almost 50 inches of snow on average and months of freezing temperatures, your home’s windows need to be able to withstand a lot. That’s why choosing the right window materials is incredibly important.
Window framing materials have certainly improved greatly in recent years due to technological advances; but, the three most common materials are still aluminum, wood, and vinyl. Since metal is unable to withstand any extreme temperatures, it is best to avoid aluminum altogether. Both wood and vinyl are excellent choices, though, so long as they have been thermally improved and insulated. As to which is best for your home, that all depends on your home’s orientation, shading type, window area, and personal aesthetic. Vinyl is far more reliable than it used to be with most new windows lasting for roughly 20 years while still being fairly inexpensive and maintenance-free. Wood, on the other hand, has a classic aesthetic, versatile and changeable color selections, and the most durable material on the market, boasting a lifespan of 30 to 40 years. Talk to a professional to better determine which will best suit your home’s needs.
It used to be that windows were either single-pane or double-pane. Now, windows are graded on the rate at which heat is transferred from a home’s interior out (U-value), how well they can block solar heat from ever entering a home (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, SHGC), and how effectively they avoid air leakages due to changes in air pressure and temperature swings. Regardless of where you are in the country, a lower U-value will mean greater insulation for your home. SHGC, however, is far more dependent on your particular climate to determine which numerical range is best. Virtually all St. Paul residences would benefit from windows that have a U-value of 0.22 or less and a SHGC of 0.25 or below. In order to ensure that you receive continuous insulation regardless of air pressure or temperature, you should select double- or triple-pane glass that has been gas-filled. Energy Star windows will, also, come with a low emissivity (low E) coating that further blocks radiant solar heat. Though there are varying levels of solar gain allowance, ideally, your low E glass will be low-solar-gain rated.
St. Paul Permits, Inspections, and Fees
The City of St. Paul requires that either the homeowner or the contractor obtain a building permit before beginning a window replacement renovation. If you decide to file for the permit yourself, you will need to bring a completed application, an owner affidavit, and a fee to the Department of Safety and Inspections located at 375 Jackson Street, Suite 220, St. Paul, MN 55101-1806, Monday through Friday from 7:30 to 4:30. If you are going to be structurally altering your home at all, approved plans will need to be included with your application as well. If you have any questions regarding your application or the fee schedule, contact (651) 266-8989.
Once all construction has been completed, a city official will need to come inspect that all work and materials are to code. You can schedule this appointment by calling (651) 266-9002 from 7:30 to 9:00, Monday through Friday.