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Buying Windows in New Mexico
Renovating the windows in your home can feel intimidating at best and overwhelming at worst. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Taking the process step-by-step and utilizing the guide below will help you upgrade your home with as little stress as possible. It’s only a matter of time until you’re enjoying the view out of your gorgeous new windows.
Licensed Window Contractors In New Mexico
If you own your home and are looking to renovate your windows, your best bet is to hire a contractor for the project. The state of New Mexico requires that contractors be licensed in the state. Contractors with a specialty, such as window installation, require at least 2 years of full time experience within the last 10 years.
While you’re researching potential contractors, make sure to read the testimonials of previous clients. Talking to friends about their experience is another way to learn about great contractors. Look for reliable contractors in your city, who have experience with the types of windows and the aesthetic you want for your home.
Share your ideas with the potential contractors so they are able to give you a realistic quote. If you hold back or don’t share something- you may be surprised when the final price is much higher than the initial quote. When it’s time to sign the contract, take your time reading it. Make sure there are no surprises or items you didn’t previously discuss. The contractor should explain anything you don’t understand and answer any of your questions.
New Mexico Window Building Permits
In addition to requiring licensed contractors, New Mexico also requires building permits. The documents needed to apply for a permit can be found at your city’s permit office. Contact them for information about applying for a permit, as well as any information regarding inspections. An experienced contractor, or friends who have undergone the renovation process, can point you in the right direction.
New Mexico Climate Considerations for Windows
New Mexico enjoys plenty of sunshine and low humidity. The temperatures can range widely during the day. The highest mountains do receive a fair amount of snow, and have a similar climate to that of the Rocky Mountains. New energy efficient windows are able to keep homes cool by keeping warm summer air from getting inside the home. During the cooler months, energy efficient windows ensure warm air stays in the house.
Window Trends in New Mexico
Whether you’re creating new windows in your home, or simply renovating the ones you have to be more energy efficient, there are several options for window styles. Below are some of the most popular options:
- Casement windows open on vertical hinge, just like a door. Because they open out, make sure there is space on the outside of your home to accommodate the window.
- Single hung windows open vertically at the sash, moving from bottom to top.
- Double hung windows, like their single counterparts, also open vertically at the sash. However, double hung windows give you the option of opening bottom to top, or top to bottom.
- Sliding windows are very similar to double hung windows, except they slide horizontally. Sliding windows are great options for ranch style homes, or longer homes such as the new container houses popping up.
- Picture windows are the only windows that do not open. They can be as large or as small as desired, and are a great option for windows that are hard to reach, or for rooms that don’t need ventilation. Because they fit directly into the window frame, and there aren’t any other spaces for drafts to come into the home, picture windows are very energy efficient- so long as your go with energy efficient glass.
Energy Efficient Window Glass
There are four ratings to look for when choosing energy efficient glass. These ratings are determined by the National Fenestration Rating Council, or the NFRC. Certain windows that are considered energy efficient will have a sticker on them. Look for the ratings for each of the following:
- U-Factor– measures the indoor heat escaping from the house. If the U-Factor rating is low, then warm air won’t easily escape. Pay attention to this number if you live in the mountainous, and cooler, regions of New Mexico.
- Visible Transmittance (VT)– is the amount of natural light let in through the window. A high VT rating means a high amount of natural light.
- Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)– measures the amount of heat from the outside that can enter your home via the windows. If you have a lot of south facing windows, and want to keep your home efficiently cool during the summers, look for a low SHGC rating.
- Air Leakage– is a fancy way of saying drafty windows. The air leakage rating measures how much air from the outside can enter your home. Again, you will look for a low air leakage rating.
Energy Efficient Window Frames for New Mexico
It’s a priority, understandably, to make sure the glass used for your new windows, or to replace old windows, is as energy efficient as possible. However, making sure you choose the best window frame to seal your new window is just as important as choosing the glass. The choice of frame will affect how much heat escapes your house- one of the factors at least- and how much water condenses around the window.
- Aluminum frames are great choices if you need a customized window frame, for a small or irregular shaped window. They do conduct heat though, and in New Mexico that can be problematic for your energy bills during the summer.
- Wood frames require the most maintenance out of the bunch, and if they aren’t treated for moisture, they can warp. As New Mexico is relatively dry, warping won’t be too much of a factor. Wood frames are a great option and they provide a traditional look to your home.
- Vinyl frames provide a lot of options for you, the homeowner. Like aluminum, they can be used to frame customized spaces and window shapes. They don’t require as much maintenance over time, and they rank high for energy efficiency. Vinyl frames are made the same color throughout, so they don’t need to be painted if they are chipped or scratched.
- Fiberglass frames make an excellent option for window frames. You may be familiar with fiberglass making great insulation for your home, well the same is true of fiberglass window frames. They don’t warp, change size or shape based on the temperature, and they are one of the most durable options. Like vinyl, they come in a variety of colors- but fiberglass window frames can also be painted.
Before Window Renovation Begins
Making sure your home is prepared for renovation to begin is a very important step, and one that is easily overlooked. Make sure you give yourself enough time to prepare your space and your windows for the renovation before your contractor shows up to work. This will make sure no time is wasted and your windows are completed on time.
Remove any window coverings such as curtains, shutters, or blinds- and don’t forget to remove the hardware! If you have an alarm system, be sure to disconnect the sensor for the windows being renovated. Move any furniture, area rugs, picture frames or fragile items out of the rooms being worked on. With renovation comes dust and the potential to damage breakables. For the items too big to move, just throw a heavy sheet or tarp over them to protect against dust. For those of you with pets or children, make sure you keep them out of the way of the contractor and their team.
Renovating your windows – or creating new windows – can be a serious financial investment. However, the value it adds to your home is just as serious. If one big payment is not an option for you, there are ways to finance your renovation. Look into home improvement loans by talking to your bank. Your city may even offer incentives to homeowners who make energy efficient improvements to their homes.