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Window Replacement in Missouri
Subject to long humid summer days, tropical storm systems, and frequent tornadoes, Missouri weather runs the gamut in terms of extremes. Homes here need to be built not only to offer residents maximum comfort throughout stifling heat, but to remain strong and sturdy during fierce stormy weather, as well. Those climate concerns play a big part in choosing the right windows for your Missouri home—the ideal kind will increase your home’s overall energy efficiency, saving you money at the same time. This overview will acquaint you with the basics of window replacement in your state—everything from selecting the right, energy efficient model to concerns like hiring a contractor, and obtaining a permit in your area to kick your project off right.
Things to Know About Window Installation in Missouri
No, a window replacement is probably not the most complicated renovation you’ll make in your lifetime as a homeowner, but it does come with certain conditions that require technical skill and know-how. If you’re unfamiliar with window replacements, this is one job better left to the pros. A professional contractor will ensure that your window is installed in accordance with area guidelines and manufacturer’s suggestions, so that the project is completed quickly and safely.
An experienced contractor will help you determine not just what guidelines to follow, but can also inspect a window’s surrounding insulation, as well, so you’ll get the highest energy efficiency out of your project. Newer, energy-efficient window models and coatings can help here, too. They work with your area’s climate to maximize comfort while reducing energy use throughout a home.
Many local jurisdictions and regional utilities even offer cost-mitigating incentives or low-interest loan programs to help local residents afford energy efficiency projects in their houses. These offerings often include rebates more efficient windows—for instance, Columbia Water and Light’s Home Performance Loan Program and Kansas City Power and Light’s Home Energy Savings Program both offer residents money for improvements made throughout the home that reduce energy consumption. Programs vary from location to location, so it’s best to contact your local energy provider and your local government to see if you’re eligible for any incentives.
Window replacements do not take a long time—most projects can be completed in less than a few hours, especially if the window is a direct replacement. However, if you’re asking your contractor to widen the opening around the window or remove storm panels before installing the new window, it can add time to the project.
Hiring a Contractor for Missouri Window Installation
When hiring a contractor it’s best to first obtain at least three different estimates—that way you’ll know the rates are reasonable for your area and the scope of the job. Ask that the contractors break out their estimate—you should be able to see line items for materials, labor and other expenses, at a minimum. Also ask to see each contractor’s license and references. While Missouri does not require contractors to hold a state license, each workman must be licensed in the local city or county where the operate, so contact your local government office to verify a contractor’s license.
The last thing to consider when making the decision which contractor to go with is your own intuition. Often, when something feels off, it is, and you and the contractor you select should be able to communicate well and get along. If you don’t think you’ll be able to work with this person, don’t sign.
After you’ve made your decision, ask your contractor to provide a final contract for you to sign. Review the details of that contract to verify that they match the amounts you were quoted in your estimate. If the contractor requires a deposit, clarify which part of the work the deposit covers. Lastly, ask for a signed copy of the contract for your records, just in case.
Permits for Window Installation in Missouri
While some local building departments may not ask you to pull a permit for a direct replacement, some may need a full permit for replacements of any kind. Before you begin planning the details of your project, check with your local permitting office to see whether or not a permit is needed, and what kinds of supplemental information—like homeowner’s insurance policies, manufacturer brochures, plans and designs—you’ll need to provide along the completed application.
You can generally find out all this information with a visit or call to your local building department. If there are more technical sections to fill out in the application, your contractor should be able to help you fill in the gaps.
Preparing Your Property for New Window Installation in Missouri
A window replacement is not the most complicated project, but you can save time and hassle by doing a few things to prepare your home before your contractors arrive:
- Remove any window hangings, including window treatments, shades, blinds, and curtains, as well as any wall hangings like art or photos located near the window.
- Trim back trees and shrubs surrounding the window’s exterior.
- Move furniture and rugs away from the work area, and protect these items with drop cloths or tarps.
- Deactivate window sensors on your home security system.
- Close pets in a room or other confined area so they won’t be accidentally let out.
Missouri’s Climate Concerns for Windows
Missouri’s hot summers make one industry measurement of particular importance when selecting your windows: the product’s solar heat gain coefficient, or SHGC. This rating, put forth by the National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC), indicates how efficiently a window shades your home—essentially, how much heat from the sun is allowed to enter your home.
A window’s SHGC should generally be listed on the label or inside the brochure that accompanies the product. Look for a model with an SHGC that’s rated at 0.40 or less—the lower the number, the less solar radiation allowed through the window, and the cooler your home will stay in the summer.
Another measurement of note, especially if you’re trying to maximize your home’s energy efficiency, is the window’s U-factor, or the measure of how well it insulates a home. For superior performance, look for a U-factor of 0.30 or lower—the lower the rating, the better the window will insulate your home’s interiors. If you’re interested in saving money on your energy costs, another thing to look for is the ENERGY-STAR label located on the outside of the window’s labeling. This certification is given by the EPA to products it reviews and finds to exhibit the best energy performance. Purchasing these products generally ensures that you’ll meet the eligibility requirements for any available incentives and rebates available.
Understanding Missouri Window Ratings
Besides a window’s SHGC and U-Factor, there are two other measurements that determine how windows will perform once installed in a home. They are:
- Air Leakage (AL): This rating indicates how much air circulation a window allows through its glass and frame.
- Visual Transmission (VT): Visual Transmission is the measurement of the amount of light allowed into a home through the window’s glass.
Window Styles and Frames for a Missouri Property
Selecting a window is obviously a very personal choice, and along with your window’s energy efficiency ratings, you’ll need to make decisions about its style and and the material of the frame. These are some of the most popular styles:
- Arch top: Shaped in a traditional square shape with the additional of a rounded, decorative top.
- Bay window: Come together to form an outward projection for a seating or storage area.
- Box window: Large decorative windows with small glass panes hung in panels of three or five.
- Double hung: Two operable sashes with a horizontal divider in the middle, so that the window can be opened from the bottom and the top.
- Elliptical: Shaped in a large quarter or half circle, these windows make beautiful decorative additions.
- French casement: Open outward from the vertical line, much like a French door operates.
- Picture windows: Large, single panes in picture windows make these a great option for a home with a good view, but may not be as energy-efficient as other choices.
- Single hung: A traditional window style, single-hung windows open by sliding the bottom sash above the top.
Frames also add to your windows appearance—and help reinforce its strength and keep a home insulated. Here are the particulars of several different kinds:
- Aluminum: Strong, durable, and storm resistant, aluminum windows make a good choice for those Missouri homes prone to flooding and other severe weather. However, being metal, it can potentially conduct heat into a home.
- Composite: Many homeowners desire the natural look of wood, but are hesitant due to its reputation for warping and decay. Composite, made of natural wood fibres mixed with vinyl or other synthetic materials, to get the natural look of wood without the maintenance problems.
- Fiberglass: Durable fiberglass can be easily combined with insulation for a well-protected home.
- Vinyl: An ideal frame material—durable and fade-resistant, it also contains air pockets that help to keep a home’s interior insulated.
- Wood: A classic, authentic material, but is being replaced by many homeowners due to its tendency to warp, fade, and decay from moisture exposure. In Missouri’s frequent humidity and rain, it may not be the best choice.
Glass Options for Missouri Windows
There’s one last category of options to consider when making your final window purchase, and it’s one that can make or break a home’s overall efficiency. A window’s glazing system and whether or not you select an energy-efficient coating can help keep your home protected and insulated.
- Single-pane windows: Not considered ideal, as they generally are not good insulators. They conduct heat and air conditioning through the window, as well as allowing drafts into your home. If you do select a single-pane window for your replacement, make sure to pair it with an aluminum frame and storm panels.
- Double-pane windows: The solution to the insulation problems demonstrated by single-pane windows. They contain an inert layer of gas trapped between two panes of glass, which helps to form a barrier between a home’s interior and the elements.
- Triple-pane windows: For extra insulation, homeowners can opt for triple-pane windows, which contain an extra layer of gas and another pane of glass. This windows may keep Missouri homes a little too warm, however.
- Low-E Glass: Low-emissivity glass is not a glazing system, but a transparent microscopic film that is applied to window glass. The coating reflects infrared heat back into the home, helping reduce both heating and cooling costs.
Benefits of Installing New Windows in Missouri
Windows add many benefits to homes—aesthetic benefits like boosting your home’s curbside appeal—and financial benefits, like increasing a home’s market value, or potentially saving you money by insulating and protecting your home, lowering overall energy expenses. Meanwhile, they can also help protect against severe weather and keep you more comfortable overall in your home in the Show-Me State.