Popular Cities in Nebraska
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You’ll get an instant estimate, broken down for both labor and materials. You can even adjust your results to see how different frame materials and window qualities affect your overall costs. Save and share your estimate to email it to yourself or a friend, or click Connect With a Local Pro to get started on your replacement project today.
Guide to Replacing Windows in Nebraska
If you live in the state “where the west begins,” your home’s view of nature might just be as important to you as protection from the harsh winds and hot summers. You may also want to be a friend to your environment by reducing your energy usage. By replacing outdated, damaged, or under-performing windows, you have an opportunity to expand your view, enhance your home’s curb appeal, take a load off your heating and air conditioning system, and better protect your home from damage due to occasional harsh weather.
With an array of contractors, materials, and styles to choose from, replacing all the windows in your home can feel like an enormous project. But, the right tools and information can make it so much simpler. Here are the steps you should take to help the process along smoothly.
Hiring a Licensed Nebraska Contractor
If you truly care about the quality of your windows, you’re not going to buy the cheapest products out there and expect good results. A contractor should be the same way. Don’t just find someone who’s convenient and doesn’t charge too much – find someone who’s qualified, and who knows the regulations that will satisfy the permit (and therefore keep your family and home safe). Ask family and friends whether they’ve had a good or bad experience with a local contractor. Review multiple options, and ask to make sure they are licensed professionals. Double check with the Nebraska Department of Labor before signing with anyone.
Once you’ve decided to trust someone with the job, you may feel it only necessary to skim the contract. However, make sure to read it carefully and ask questions before you sign to avoid surprises down the road. A trustworthy contractor should be happy to answer your questions.
Obtaining Window Permits in Nebraska
Requirements from city to city may vary, but the City of Lincoln and Lancaster County requires a permit for replacing windows in sleeping rooms, regardless of the size. A permit is also required to replace windows in “hazardous” areas (typically windows placed in bathrooms or near doors; review the city’s requirements for details). When the size of the opening needs to be altered to accommodate the new window, a permit is required for that as well to make sure the job has been handled properly. You or your contractor can submit the permit application which, among other information, requires a description of the labor and a cost valuation.
Choosing Your Frame Materials
Nebraska’s hot summers, cold winters, and occasional heavy storms mean residents have to be prepared for whatever comes. A quality frame can boost energy efficiency and better guard your home from the elements. There are four main types of window frames:
Vinyl frames are visually versatile, durable, low-maintenance, and energy efficient. You really can’t go wrong with this option unless it’s simply not the look you’re going for.
Wood frames have been used in residences for some time, but they are vulnerable to damage in humid conditions. Thankfully, Nebraska’s weather may allow for your wood frames to hold up a little longer.
Fiberglass frames, like vinyl, are an energy efficient option because they can be injected with insulation. They are also visually versatile and affordable.
Aluminum frames are strong and lightweight, but may not be suited to the hot Nebraska summers since they conduct heat easily.
Understanding Nebraska Window Ratings and Energy Efficiency
Windows aren’t the most exciting home products to select. You may not feel like shopping around much, but it’s important to pay attention to the fine print on products to know you’re getting the most energy efficient option that also suits your home’s style. By paying careful attention to the specs of a product, you can know how much air will leak through it or how much solar heat will enter your home. The right choice can do a lot to improve the efficiency of your HVAC system.
U-factor – this rating tells you how much heat inside your home will escape through the window. A lower U-factor is better because it means the rate of heat transfer is lower. This helps you hold on to that warm, cozy air in the winters. In Nebraska, the minimum U-factor allowed is .35.
Solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) – inversely, this rating shows you how much heat will enter your home from the outdoors. A low SHGC is ideal for hot summers, but a high SHGC is better if your area tends to experience frigid winters.
Visible transmittance (VT) – this rating shows the amount of sunlight that passes through the glass. The higher the VT rating, the more light is transmitted.
Air leakage (AL) – this refers to air loss and infiltration. You’re going to want to look for a low air leakage rating to avoid this problem.
A good place to start your search for products is by look for Energy Star-rated products. Double and triple-paned windows are two of the most energy efficient options for colder areas, as they contain layers of gas between the panes that increase insulation.
Selecting Window Styles for Your Nebraska Home
You can view needing to replace your windows as a burden, or you can see it as an opportunity to improve visual aspects of your home. It gives you an excuse to expand your view of the outside world and let more light in. It can also spruce up your home’s appeal and add value to your property. Before you surrender to the “same old, same old” mindset, considering the following styles for a refreshing change:
Single-hung – includes a fixed upper sash and a lower sash that can open vertically
Double-hung – includes both an upper and lower sash that can be opened
Bay and box windows – three panes fit together and project outwards from the wall at 30 or 45 degree angles. Bay windows begin create extra space in a room, which you’ll often see used for a window seat and bench storage. Box window protrude from the wall but do not add square footage. Bow windows are similar to bay window, but contain more panes and are rounded out from the exterior wall. All of these windows work well if you want to increase your views of the outdoors.
Arch top and elliptical – these types are shaped like pie slices that together form a half-circle or half-oval. They usually go above standard windows as a decorative feature.
Picture – like bay windows, multiple panes fit together, but they do not project out from the exterior wall.
French casement – open outward like French doors.
Preparing Your Home for Window Replacement
You’ve entrusted your project to a professional, and that’s certainly the way to go if you yourself don’t have experience with installing windows, but don’t expect them to do everything for you. Help the process along by completing the following tasks:
- Remove any decor in the area that could get damaged, pose a hazard, or simply be in the way, including wall decor.
- Unplug and remove any electronic appliances or alarm sensors in the area.
- Take down curtains, blinds, window screens, and hardware.
- Remove rugs.
- Cover large furniture pieces.
- If you’re worried about your floor, cover it before the contractor arrives.
- Be sure to communicate with your family about where they should be during the project and how long it will last.