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St. Louis Window Replacement Guide
Homeowners are usually at a loss for where to begin when it comes time to upgrade their home’s windows. Considering most residential windows have a lifespan of 10 to 40 years, it’s understandable that knowledge of current products and building codes can be lacking. The 2015 Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors reported that an average 2,450 square foot home’s window renovation expense will run around $15,000 with most new windows costing $300 to $700 and up. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the full scope of products available and what will best suit your needs before launching into any renovation job of this magnitude.
Yet, this undertaking can be well worth that learning curve and expense. Homeowners that have gone through this process report increased property values, as well as decreased monthly utility bills. Due to St. Louis’s climate, your windows need to be able to withstand the frozen snowy winters as well as the intense summer sun, all while being as energy efficient as possible.
This St. Louis Window Replacement Guide will usher you through the steps necessary to evaluate when a replacement is needed, which window materials and design are best for the Missouri climate, and any municipal requirements.
How to Know When a Window Replacement is Necessary in Your St. Louis Home
Any signs that your windows have begun to leak or rot are obviously going to be at the top of the list for windows that need to be replaced. Usually, these windows will be more than 15 years old, although this type of damage can occur at any point. If these issues are neglected, serious structural damage can occur within the framing of your home which will require a much larger renovation budget to repair. Also, if your windows are unable to open or close easily (or at all), then you have a major safety hazard on your hands were an emergency to take place. Considering St. Louis swings from an average low of 20 degrees with over 5 inches of snow in the winter to an average high of 86 degrees in the summer, it’s easy to see how a home’s windows could begin to warp or decay over time.
All older windows are also incredibly energy inefficient which translates to cold drafts and high utility bills for your home. The Efficient Windows Collaborative says that you can expect to see an average drop of 15 percent in your utility bill when single-paned windows are replaced with an energy efficient alternative. The 2015 Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors also assess that you should expect to recoup about 80 percent of your renovation expenses in increased property value. Between the monthly savings and the improvement in your home’s investment, you can easily see how a renovation project of this degree is well worth the expense.
Window Materials Matter in St. Louis
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 multiple-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. Due to St. Louis’s climate, materials that block out solar heat like vinyl and wood are going to be your best choice. Vinyl is usually going to be the least expensive option while still boasting incredible durability. However, the color options available tend to be limited. Solid wood frames, on the other hand, are usually now coated in either vinyl or fiberglass which makes them easily the most reliable and long-lasting alternative out there. Expect this option though to be at the top of your budget.
The more energy efficient the window is, the higher the price is going to be due to greater amounts of materials and labor needed during manufacturing. Windows that meet these standards will have a designation by the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and Energy Star. These windows will almost always have three main qualifiers on them: U-value, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC), and low E. 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, while the low E represents how effectively the window can reflect heat when coated in a thin metallic covering. Although your home’s energy efficiency will definitely improve with a lower grade window, the absolute best quality window for St. Louis’ climate will be gas filled, multiple-paned windows with triple-glazed glass that are registered with a U-value of less than 0.22, a SHGC between 0.26 and 0.4, and spectrally selective low E glass.
Permits, Inspections, and Fees in St. Louis
The City of St. Louis does not require a building permit or any inspections so long as the windows being replaced are of like size without any structural changes to the exterior walls.
If you are planning to make more extensive alterations, then the City of St Louis’s website has instructions to help you navigate the building permit application process, fee assessments, and inspection schedules. Feel free to call (314) 622-3313, Monday through Friday from 8:00 to 4:30 if you have any questions in regards to your case.