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Replacing Windows in South Carolina
If you are thinking about replacing or upgrading the windows in your home, the entire process can seem like a major challenge. However, it doesn’t have to be difficult. Let this window buying guide steer you in the right direction. With a little bit of preparation and research, you’ll be enjoying lower energy bills and the view from your new windows before you know it.
Licensed South Carolina Contractors
Windows contractors in South Carolina are required to be licensed by the state. This applies for all aspects of home renovation, including installing and replacing windows. You can research your contractor on South Carolina’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation website if you’re unsure about their status.
When you request quotes from potential contractors, it is very important to disclose the full scope of your project. This ensures that the contractor understands exactly what it is that needs to be done, and that you receive as accurate a quote as possible. Even small changes can increase the price or extend the timeline. If you’ve received a quote and signed with the contractor and decide you want to add to the project, call them as soon as you’ve decided. This will allow them to bring extra workers if necessary, as well as adjust their schedules as needed.
Reading online testimonials is a good way to get a sense of the type of work your contractor does. Are they as comfortable working on historic homes as they are on contemporary ones? Do they have a specialty? Reach out to friends who have gone through the home improvement process and ask if they have a contractor they’d recommend.
Before signing though, it’s imperative that you read the contract carefully. Make sure you understand everything. If anything is missing- or extra work is added- make sure to bring this up with your contractor. The contract serves as the foundation to your renovation project, so you want to make sure you agree with it.
Do I Need a Window Permit in South Carolina?
Permits are required to replace old windows, or create new windows where previously there were none. Specific permit requirements vary by city and county, so be sure to check with your local building permit office. If you have already found a contractor, ask if they can pull the permit for you.
If you live in one of South Carolina’s historic districts, you may require an additional renovation permit and inspection. Make sure to check with the proper historic council to avoid delays on your project or serious fines.
South Carolina’s Climate for Your New Windows
South Carolina has a humid, subtropical climate. Summers are hot and muggy and winters are generally mild. South Carolina experiences significant rainfall throughout the year. The amount of moisture in the air can affect how well your windows insulate your home, not to mention how much maintenance your choice of window frame may require.
Favorite Window Styles in South Carolina
South Carolina boasts impressive views, no matter what part of the state your home is in. Choosing the right window for your home can make the most of your view.
- Awning windows– windows that open out and up using a hand-crank.
- Bay windows– project outside of the home and can be comprised of any combination of picture windows, casement windows or single/double hung windows.
- Garden windows– also project away from the home, but on a deeper scale than bay windows. These provide more natural light and allow you to enjoy greenery, even during South Carolina’s mild winters. Garden windows are scaled smaller than bay windows- think of them as miniature green houses.
- Casement windows– open outward from the home, similar to french doors. These use vertical hinges on the window frame. They can be opened by a crank or by hand, depending on your preference and their size.
- Double hung windows – open vertically and allow you the option of opening them either top to bottom, or bottom to top.
- Single hung windows– open vertically as well. However, they only open bottom to top.
- Picture windows– the only windows that cannot be opened. They provide an unbroken view of the landscape with no sash or hinge to break up the scenery.
Frame Styles for South Carolina Homes
Of course, a window is only as good as its frame. Below are the most common window frame options. Some are more energy efficient than others. Some, like wood, require more maintenance due to South Carolina’s humid environment.
- Wood– using wood for window frames provides a classic look and fairly good insulation. It can be treated with a weather-resistant paint or glaze to lengthen its lifespan. Wooden frames require more maintenance though because they expand and contract depending on the weather and temperature.
- Composite– a material that blends composite wood products to create the window frame. It does typically have a longer lifespan than frames made solely out of wood because it holds up better against moisture. It still requires a fair amount of maintenance and occasional paint touch-ups.
- Aluminum– a very light and strong material used for window frames in South Carolina. It doesn’t need a lot of maintenance and can be shaped to fit a variety of windows easily. However, aluminum does conduct heat, which can increase energy bills during the summer.
- Vinyl– a popular material because it is resistant to moisture, is very low maintenance and is durable. Because the material is the same color throughout, they don’t need to re-painted if they are chipped or scratched. Insulation can be added to better protect your home against extreme temperatures.
- Fiberglass– is stronger than vinyl. It does not expand or contract with weather temperatures, much like glass, which gives you a tighter seal. It is a low maintenance and great option for improving your home’s energy efficiency.
Do’s and Don’ts Before Window Renovation
It’s a common misconception that renovation starts the minute your contractor walks into your home. However, it really starts before that- when you prepare your home for renovation. Yes, like any artist prepares their canvas, you should prepare the window area before your contractor arrives to work. This ensures your project isn’t delayed and protects your valuables from being damaged. Below are some Do’s and Don’ts of preparing your home for renovation:
- Do remove any window coverings and hardware such as curtains, curtain rods, and window blinds. If you have shutters on the outside of your windows, those must be removed as well. If you’re unable to remove the shutters yourself, ask your contractor to do this for you.
- Do take down picture frames and art around the window and move it to a secure place in your home.
- Do roll up and move any carpets or floor coverings to another area of the house. Bonus: Do use this time to take them out for an extra dusting before rolling them up for storage.
- Do cover any furniture in the room, as window renovation can be a very dusty business
- Don’t let your animals or small children near the areas being renovated. This is for the safety of your pet, your children, the workers and the contractor.
- Don’t forget about the items on shelves or tables that may be bumped or broken during the renovation. If you’re unsure about whether or not you should move something, ask yourself if you would be sad or angry if it’s broken. If the answer is yes, do move it to another part of the house.
South Carolina Energy Efficient Windows
Replacing old, drafty windows with new energy efficient ones not only adds significant value to your home, but saves you money on your monthly utility bills. Many cities are offering reimbursements on items that have a high energy efficient rating, and you may be eligible for tax refunds.