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Window Replacement in North Dakota
Installing new windows can bring North Dakota property owners several benefits, such as increased energy efficiency, improved aesthetic, and better protection from the elements. It’s a worthy investment, especially if your windows are old, damaged, or inefficient. But before you buy any products or hire a contractor, it’s important to know what you want out of your new windows and how the process works so you don’t neglect any important steps or considerations.
Permits Needed to Replace Windows in North Dakota
Permits are not usually required in order to replace windows in North Dakota. But if your project calls for any structural changes or is in conjunction with finishing a basement, you will need to contact your city’s building inspection division to learn more out the requirements.
Make sure to have project estimates ready when you apply for a permit, as the permit cost is proportional to the amount of work that will be completed. The cost does not include any inspections that may be required to obtain it. Check out Bismarck’s Residential Building Permit Fee Schedule to get a better idea of the typical permit costs in your state.
Choosing the Right Window Frame Material for the Weather
North Dakota’s cold, windy winters and fairly hot, humid summers mean homeowners need to be prepared for diverse conditions. When choosing the material for your new window frames, be sure to keep the weather in mind and be aware of what materials might not hold up against extreme conditions. Here are the most common window frame materials:
Vinyl – This material doesn’t break the bank. It’s also up to the challenge of withstanding a variety of weather conditions without frequent maintenance. These factors make it one of the most common window frame materials.
Wood – Homeowners with rustic or classic tastes may be drawn to wood window frames. Unfortunately, the aesthetic comes with a downside. Woods retains moisture, which can cause the frame to expand and ultimately become vulnerable to the elements – especially during the humid summer season. However, if you’re sold on the look of wood for your interior, a metal or vinyl coating on the exterior can increase durability. Clad-wood windows are low maintenance and require no paint finish on the exterior.
Aluminum– lightweight and durable, but if you’re worried about energy efficiency during the warmer months, keep in mind that it conducts heat. It resists corrosion but conducts heat.
Fiberglass – versatile and can be insulated, which may be ideal for harsh North Dakota winters.
North Dakota Window Styles
This project isn’t just about increasing functionality. You can also use it as an opportunity to improve curb appeal or increase the amount of natural light that floods your space. Here are several style options that could make your home more appealing:
Single-hung – includes a fixed upper sash, as well as a lower sash that can be opened for ventilation
Double-hung – includes an upper and lower sash, both of which can be opened for ventilation
Bay and box windows – three panes fit together (usually a larger middle window with smaller side windows) that protrude from the structure at 30 or 45 degree angles. Bay windows begin at the floor and create extra square footage, which is often used for a window seat, while box windows protrude from the wall at shoulder-level and are just big enough to serve as a shelf. Bow windows are a rounded version of bay windows, and usually include four or five panes.
Arch top and elliptical – half-circle windows with pie-shaped panes. These are usually installed above rectangular windows as a decorative feature that brings in more light or elongates a room.
Picture – similar to bay windows, except that the panes lay flush with the structure rather than protruding from it
Sliding window – one window sash glides sideways on the tracks, while the other is stationary. This can allow for more interactivity between the indoor and outdoor living spaces.
French casement – open outward like French doors
Choosing Energy Efficient Windows for Your North Dakota Home
Replacing your windows means having the perfect opportunity to increase the energy efficiency of your home and save money on your monthly utility bills. Factors like air leaks and a high heat transfer rate force your heating and AC system to work harder to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. But choosing high quality windows or window glazings can help improve the efficiency of your HVAC system. Double and triple-paned windows hold layers of gas between the panes that offer essential insulation during the winter. Make sure to look for Energy Star-rated products that meet established efficiency criteria.
If you truly want to get the most out of your windows, it’s important to understand the performance ratings that apply to these products. The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) have established the following ratings to help consumers choose energy-efficient products.
U-factor – indicates the rate at which the heat from inside your home transfers to the exterior. A lower U-Factor means lower heat transfer, which means more comfort during cold winters.
Solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) – indicates how much outdoor heat will enter the room. The lower the rating, the more comfortable your home will be during hot summer days. Unfortunately, this rating can cause a bit of a dilemma; a low SHGC may help in the summer, but a high SHGC is more ideal for the winter. So be sure to consider the climate in your specific area before basing your decision on this rating.
Visible transmittance (VT) – shows how much light passes through. A low VT rating means less sunlight is allowed into your home. But be careful of choosing a high VT rating, as it may cause a glare problem.
Air leakage (AL) – air leaks around windows account for a surprising amount of home heating costs. The air leakage rating helps you avoid this outcome. The lower the rating, the less air will leak through the product.
Choosing a Contractor for Your North Dakota Window Replacement
The biggest mistake you can make when replacing your windows is choosing quality products, yet entrusting the project to a sub-par contractor. An inexperienced contractor may cause damage to your home, fail to obtain the proper permits, present a danger to you and your family, or simply not do a good job. Be sure to obtain multiple estimates, ask for recommendations from family and friends, and check out online reviews. Your contractor should be skilled enough to spot any potential problems with the project and should be up front about the costs involved.
The Secretary of State’s website offers a search page that will allow you to verify that a contractor is licensed before making your decision.
Benefits of Replacing Your Windows in North Dakota
Energy efficiency: As discussed above, windows play a significant role in keeping your HVAC from working overtime to make up for air leaks and heat transfer. This improvement can also make your home more comfortable for you and your family.
Lower maintenance: Old windows are no match for the quality of new windows when it comes to factors like paint, glazings and treatments, and the materials used for the frame and glass. Because of this, new windows accrue less damage – which means you spend less time and money sprucing them up or doing repairs.
Safety: New windows are much sturdier when it comes to withstanding impact. A quality replacement window could help keep your family safer from storms and break-ins.
Aesthetic value: Replacing your windows means getting a clean new product, but it also presents an opportunity to update the facade of your home or open up the space.
Home Value: If you’re replacing under performing or cheap windows with premium products, it is likely to add value to your home. Homebuyers appreciate home updates that add functionality or style.