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Buying Windows in Oklahoma
Home ownership comes with its perks and challenges. Choosing to renovate your windows can fall into either of those categories- sometimes both at the same time. However, with the right contractor and a little bit of window buying knowledge, replacing or adding new windows in your home can be one of the best parts of owning your home
Finding Your Oklahoma Window Contractor
Generally, Oklahoma doesn’t require general contractors to be licensed at the state level unless they are doing electrical or plumbing work. Contractors must also be residents of Oklahoma in order for that rule to apply to them. That being said, the license requirement varies from city to city. Check with your city to see if contractors must be licensed and registered there.
It can be overwhelming to review the quotes contractors submit to work on your project. It always helps to read online testimonials from previous clients or ask friends if they have ever worked with a particular contractor. You can also ask the contractor if you may contact some of their references. Find out if they have completed projects similar to the one you’re proposing. This will be helpful when describing the desired look and function of your new windows.
Oklahoma Window Permits
A permit is required if you are changing the structure of your home at all, which means if you are constructing a new window you will need a permit. If you’re only replacing a window, or renovating it, permit requirements vary across the state. Check with your local building departments for specific requirements.
Oklahoma’s Climate Considerations for Windows
Oklahoma residents enjoy four distinct seasons throughout the year: wet springs leading into warm and pleasant summers, crisp autumns turning into icy winters. However, residents have an extra season to contend with– tornado season– which generally lasts from late March through August. It’s understandable then, that strong storms and tornadoes, as well as Oklahoma’s bitter winters pose unique problems to keeping your home safe and energy efficient. Below is some advice to finding the best windows for your home.
Prepare Your Home For Renovation
It’s a common misconception that renovation starts when your contractor arrives on the first day of work. However, it actually starts before then, as the area being renovated needs to be prepared. To ensure the work is not delayed, it’s best to prepare the area days before your scheduled start date. You may need your contractor’s help with certain tasks, like removing any exterior bars or shutters, but there is plenty you can do on your own. Below is a list of Do’s and Don’ts to help you get started:
- Do start your preparation before the contractor arrives to start work.
- Do roll up area rugs and put them in another room.
- Do remove any shutters or bars on the outside of the windows being renovated.
- Do remove any curtains or blinds on the windows being replaced, also remove the hardware that goes along with the window curtains.
- Don’t leave any picture frames or valuable art up in the rooms that are being worked on. Move them to a safe part of the house.
- Don’t let your pets or children run around the house when the contractor and their employees are there. Do try your best to prevent injuries!
Understanding Window Ratings Best For Oklahoma
Your contractor may mention window ratings, or energy efficient properties. It’s easy for the names and abbreviations to confuse you, not to mention the ratings- sometimes you want to look for a low number, and other times a higher number is better. Here is a guide to The National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) ratings for energy efficient windows:
- U-Factor- Look for a low number here. The lower the number, the warmer your home stays during winter. That’s because u-factor rating measures how much indoor heat escapes the house.
- Visible Transmittance (VT)– Look for a high number here if you’re desiring a lot of natural light. VT measures the amount of natural light entering your home through the windows. For added energy efficiency, you can add glazes or low-e coatings to reduce thermal heat from the sunlight coming into your home. You’ll get the natural light you desire, without the harmful UV rays.
- Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)– Look for a low number because SHGC measures how much outside heat can enter your home via the windows. If your home has a lot of windows that receive direct sunlight, this could be very important to you- especially during the summer.
- Air Leakage– Again, look for a low number because this number is indicative of how much air can potentially enter your home through the windows. Think of drafty windows, not energy efficient and not enjoyable during Oklahoma’s bitter and icy winters. If you choose a window with a low air leakage rating, you also won’t have to worry about cooling the entire neighborhood during the summer.
Oklahoma Window Styles
Oklahoma’s plains and beautiful wide open spaces make for excellent scenery. The right windows for your home can dramatically frame the gorgeous landscapes, or make the most of natural lighting. Below are some of the favored window styles for homes all over the Sooner state:
- Single-hung windows is a style many are familiar with. These windows open vertically from bottom to top.
- Double-hung windows, as you can imagine, are very similar to the single-hung variety. However, these open bottom to top and top to bottom. This presents more options for ventilating your home.
- Casement windows open outward from the home using hinges on the window frame. When you picture casement windows, imagine french doors opening out. Casement windows can be opened by hand or by turning a crank.
- Awning windows also open outward, and like their namesake, they open up over the window opening. They are generally opened using a crank, but homeowners have the option of selecting awning windows they can open by hand.
- Picture windows cannot be opened, and because of that they are considered an excellent choice for improving energy efficiency. This is because air cannot escape or enter through any openings in the hinges or sashes- because there are none! Picture windows are great for uninterrupted views of the scenery, or for out of reach spaces where natural light is desired.
- Bay windows project outward from the house as much or as little as you desire. They typically comprised of any combination of picture windows, casement windows and single (or double) hung windows. It’s also not unusual for homeowners to use only picture windows in their bay windows.
Window Frame Options in Oklahoma
Taking the time to consider and choose the right window frame for your renovation is as important as choosing the right windows for your home. There are different materials to think about and they all have pros and cons.
- Wood frames provide fair insulation and a classic image. However, wood expands and contracts depending on the weather. If you live in the eastern, more humid, parts of Oklahoma you will definitely want to treat wood frames against moisture damage.
- Composite frames resist moisture damage better than regular wood frames, and are slightly more durable, but still require a fair share of work to maintain. They are comprised of a composite of woods and therefore have many of the same properties as regular wood frames.
- Aluminum frames are very lightweight and durable. However, aluminum frames conduct heat easily, which you will notice during the summers especially.
- Vinyl frames are resistant to moisture, durable and don’t require as much maintenance as the previous three window frame options. A popular feature of vinyl window frames is the lack of painting required, because they are the same color throughout. Meaning you won’t have to paint them if they get chipped or scratched. Vinyl frames are energy efficient, and you can increase the energy savings if you inject insulation into the frame.
- Fiberglass frames are perhaps the most durable and energy efficient frames for Oklahoma. Fiberglass has similar properties to window glass as it does not experience expansion or contraction with weather temperatures. Because of this, the seals between windows and fiberglass frames are very tight. A bonus feature is that, like vinyl, insulation can be injected into air pockets within the frame.