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Buying Windows in Oregon
Did you know the value of your home increases significantly when you upgrade your windows? It can seem like a hassle, but with a good contractor, a little bit of research and prep work, you will be on your way to improving your home, saving money on your energy bill and giving your home a minor face lift. This guide will help you get started.
Oregon Window Contractors
Finding a contractor is one of the most important steps on the path to renovating your windows. In Oregon, contractors must be licensed in order to work on your home. When requesting quotes, you can check their Oregon contractors license as well. Read on for other do’s and don’ts that will help you find a contractor for your project:
- Do make sure you get quotes from multiple contractors in your area before signing with one.
- Do read reviews and online testimonials from previous clients.
- Do be clear about your vision for your home and the aesthetic you’re wanting for your windows.
- Do read the contract (and don’t just skim it!) before signing.
- Do ask questions about anything you don’t understand. This goes for the entire process, not just signing the contract.
- Do speak up if important information is missing from the contract, or if anything has been added without first being discussed.
- Don’t sign a contract with a contractor who is not registered in Oregon.
- Don’t forget to make sure they carry the proper amount of insurance.
Do I Need a Window Permit in Oregon?
Yes, you need a window permit if you are cutting a new window or enlarging an existing window. Generally though, you do not need a permit if you are replacing a window with one that is the same size. The same goes for installing or removing storm windows– no permit required.
If you’re unsure about where your project falls within these parameters, check with your city’s permit office. Also, because permit requirements can change and are specific to city codes, it’s also a good idea to check with your local permit and zoning staff.
Oregon’s Climate and Energy Needs for Windows
Oregon has a mild climate, with rare extreme temperatures or weather patterns. Oregon residents enjoy mild and wet winters. Summers are typically sunny and dry- perfect for throwing open your new windows and letting the breeze in. The areas surrounding the Cascade Mountain Range experience more varied temperatures- with daytime temperatures in the summer climbing well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s important to choose the best window and window frame combination for Oregon’s mild climate. You will want something that fits within your budget and home’s aesthetics, as well as something that doesn’t require more maintenance than you’re able to provide.
Best Window Frames for Oregon
Window frames are not always given the consideration they deserve. However it’s details like this that can dramatically change the look of your window. There are many options, but below are the four most popular choices. Keep in mind, window frames made out of wood will require more maintenance than those made from fiberglass. However, you may be able to extend the lifetime of a wooden frame with paint or a sealant.
- Wood frames provide a classic look to any home. They offer the least amount of insulation, however this may not be an issue if you live in the milder regions of Oregon.
- Aluminum frames are popular choices because they are very durable and lightweight. They can be shaped to fit a variety of windows. Aluminum window frames conduct heat, which has the potential to increase energy bills during the summer.
- Vinyl frames are popular choices in cooler climates because they can have insulation added inside the frames in order to increase energy efficiency. Vinyl frames are a good choice because they are moisture resistant and durable as well. This material doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. Moreover, chips and scratches are not noticeable because vinyl frames are the same color throughout.
- Fiberglass frames are potentially the most energy efficient window frame choice you can make. That’s because they aren’t as affected by thermal energy, so they don’t expand and contract as much with temperature changes. Due to the material properties of fiberglass, they create a strong seal with the window glass, which helps to keep drafts out. You also have the option to inject more insulation into the frame, which will help to lower your energy bills. Like vinyl, insulation can be injected into the fiberglass frame, reducing energy bills considerably.
What Window Ratings Mean
If you pick out new window glass, there is a chance you will see a sticker with several terms and numbers you may not understand. The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) created a rating system. Below is a description of each property the NFRC rated and how to understand the numerical rating:
- U-Factor- This number measures the amount of indoor heat that can escape from your home. Look for a low number here, because the lower the number on the sticker, the warmer your home will be, especially during cooler months.
- Visible Transmittance (VT)- This number measures how much natural light enters through your windows. A higher number, or rating, means that more natural light is able to enter the home.
- Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)- This number rates the amount of outside heat that comes into your home through your windows. If you live around the Cascade Range and want to keep your home cool during the summer, look for a low number.
- Air Leakage- This number is fairly cut and dry. The lower the number, the less air leakage. This will keep the cool air in on warm days, and the warm air in when it’s cold outside.
Before You Start Your Oregon Window Project
Now that you’ve picked out your windows, you need to prepare your home for renovation. Typically this won’t take long, but it makes a big difference doing it ahead of time. If your windows renovation project is delayed at the beginning, it may not be finished on time. Take a few hours several days before your contractor is scheduled to start to prepare the area being renovated. Below is a brief list of things you can do to ensure there are no delays– at least on your end– to start of the project:
- Take down any curtains, curtain rods, window blinds or shades- essentially anything hanging on the windows being worked on. If you plan on reusing the window dressings, move them to an area where they can be cleaned and stored until they are ready to be rehung.
- Remove window awnings, shutters or metal bars on the exterior of your windows. You may be able to ask your contractor to take care of this for you, if you’re unable to do it yourself.
- Any area rugs or floor carpets should be rolled them up and moved to another part of your home.
- Make sure any fragile items are moved to areas of the home that won’t be disturbed. This includes vases, collectibles, art and picture frames or any special keepsakes.
- If you have any pets or children, be sure to keep them away from the area while workers are present. This will prevent injuries from happening to your loved ones, your contractor, and anyone else involved.