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Window Replacement in Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh’s windows do a lot of heavy lifting. They keep our homes nice and warm during the winter months, and then turn around and help our houses stay cool and comfortable during the hot summer days. And, if you’re careful when you shop, they can help you save money on your heating and cooling bills as well.
This guide will get you ready to pick out the perfect windows, and provide you with a guideline to permitting, hiring a contractor and inspections as well. Read on to get your replacement project under way today.
Window Contractor Requirements in Raleigh
The city of Raleigh does allow homeowners to make repairs to their own homes, rather than requiring you to use a contractor. To do so, you’ll need to sign an owner affidavit when you visit the Raleigh Development Services department to file a permit. This form certifies, among other things, that you own the property where you’ll be doing the work, and that you will not use an unlicensed worker to perform the work for you.
When you do complicated repair work on your own, however, you’ll also be liable for ensuring that the project stays up-to-code and that the work is performed safely. If you don’t have a solid background in construction or thorough experience with home repairs, you may want to elect to use a professional contractor to do replacement for you. Although a window replacement may not seem like a large job on its face, it can easily turn into a much larger job, especially if you’ll need to make alterations to the wall area surrounding the window–if you’re going up or down in size, for instance. That kind of work requires familiarity with permits and city building codes–remember, any large unpermitted repairs you make around your home must be inspected if you attempt to sell in the future, meaning the inspector may require you to rip the work out in order view the framing and rough-in.
That said, there are a lot of contractors out there, and of course, their work has varying degrees of quality. If you want to narrow down the selection, you can perform a few quick checks into a candidate’s background to give you a feel for their history. Licensing is the first obviously indicator–your contractor should have the required certifications for construction work in your area. Next there’s a clear name. Good contractors hold no outstanding debts with the city. And lastly, ask your contractor for a list of references–if they’re professionals, they’ll be happy to oblige.
Applying for Window Permits in Raleigh
In Raleigh, you can apply for permits one of two ways: a same-day permit to get the job going quickly, or a next-day permit that takes an extra day to process. Generally, if window replacements are eligible for a same-day permit. However, if the scope of your replacement is large, the city may require you to go through the longer review process.
For same-day processing, you need to visit the Development Services department’s satellite office at 8320 – 130 Litchford Road, Raleigh, NC 27615. The main office, however, is located at One Exchange Plaza, 1 Exchange Plaza, Raleigh, NC 27601.
Regardless of the speed of your application, you need to be ready to offer a very detailed outline of the work you plan to complete. And if you live in the city’s historic district, be prepared for your plans to be scrutinized based on their curb appeal alone–the city has strict guidelines for architectural design for historic buildings. You can read about those guidelines here.
Window Requirements in Raleigh
Raleigh is in that sweet spot in the East, weather-wise. Your home probably sees mild winters and enjoys moderate summer temperatures. However, that also makes it a little bit more difficult to select an appropriate window model–you’ll need something that can keep your home warm and insulated in the winters and cool during the summer heat. In windows, these qualities are defined by two different industry measurements, the U-factor and the solar heat gain coefficient. U-factor indicates how well the window insulates your home–how much heat is lost through the glass. Solar heat gain coefficient (abbreviated SHGC), on the other hand, gives you an idea of how much solar radiation can come in through the glass–essentially, how well the window shades your home. In your area, you’ll want a balance between these two measurements. Generally, look for windows with a U-factor no greater than 0.50 and a SHGC no higher than 0.40. However, if you’re looking for superior energy performance, consider investing in windows with lower rates than these minimums. Products that bear the ENERGY STAR certification, for instance, are rated for efficiency in your area, which will save you more money in the long run.
Window Inspections in Raleigh
Any project that requires a permit also needs to be inspected by city official. You can use Development Services’s online scheduling tool to book a visit–and be prepared to have all the documentation associated with you permit, and the permit itself, on display at the time of the visit.
Insulation and Window Care in Raleigh
In addition to the U-factor, however, you also want to make sure your window’s frame has proper insulation as well. Sealing the frame for air leaks is your most important measure here–make sure all glass and stationary parts of the window are cleanly caulked, without any breaks or gaps in the seal. Additionally, you can add weatherstripping to the moving parts to give yourself some extra insulation.
If your windows are rated for low energy emissivity, you’ll also want to be careful how you wash and care for the glass, as well. Don’t use chemical cleaners–wash with soap and water only. And make sure not to clean them during the hottest parts of the day, as this can damage the glass.
Rebates and Incentives in Raleigh
Energy efficient windows won’t net you any rebates through the state or city government. However, if you choose products labeled with the ENERGY STAR symbol, you may be eligible for a return of up to 10% of the cost on your federal income taxes. There is a $200 maximum for the rebate. File form 5965 to see if you qualify.