Archive for the ‘Windows’ Category

How to Prepare Your Windows for the Winter

Window

Open Window

It is extremely important to prepare your whole house, along with the windows, for the winter months. When working properly, windows allow the warmth and light of the sun to fill your home as they show you what is going on in the outside world. If your windows are improperly insulated, they allow the warmth inside your house to get out and end up raising your utility costs. Depending on the severity, your windows could be costing you hundreds of extra dollars every year in the Baltimore area. Continue reading

How Long Does a Roof Last?

Wood Shingles on Roof

Wood Shingles on Rooftop

The length of time that you can expect you roof to last depends on many things. The materials that create the roof and the weather that the roof will have to withstand both can drastically change how long you can expect your roof to last. Here is a quick walk-through of nine different roofing materials and how long you should expect them to last once you install them.

Short-lived

One of the most common types of roofing material that a Newport Beach commercial roofing contractor sells is asphalt shingles. These are in use on just about any house you want. They are cheap, fire resistant, and easy to repair. They do however only last between fifteen and thirty years which is pretty short for a roof. Continue reading

Best Windows for a Media Room

Traditional Design

Traditional Design

The living rooms and dining rooms are a staple of most Baltimore area homes and, in the past, a family’s time got spent there. Television, video games, and even board games got played with the children to stimulate their imaginations. Technology has continued to get better every year and designers have began to build media rooms to include a few of your family favorites. Your media room welcomes natural light that is able to enter when finished. Continue reading

Popular Window Treatment Designs

Historical Windows

Historical Home Window

So what are the current trends in window treatments?  The key words are simplicity and minimalism with an emphasis on crisp, clean lines. Gone are the days of heavy draped effects using jabots and swags, tab curtains or gathered valances. Let’s break down the different types of styles and current trends.  Some of the terminology may be new to you……but so are the styles.  Google the terminology you are unsure of.  It will most likely give you an “in-depth” description.

Layering

While layering is popular, the overall look remains clean and the palette is usually consistent for both treatments.  Blending colors rather than contrasting ones work best when you want to layer treatments. Any type of blind can be used under drapes for a layered look.

Pattern is hot

When you look through new fabrics you are bound to notice that textures and patterns abound. You can’t go wrong with geometric patterns, trellis designs, large scale florals, bold colors, whimsical motifs etc.

Banding

Vertical or horizontal banding is very popular.

Wider Drapes

Overall, drapes are getting longer and wider to accommodate the trend to make windows appear larger in scale. Lush materials like velvet and silk add to this look.

Tone on tone

The window treatments in the room below are simple, harmonious with the walls, and allow the view and the room to shine.  When deciding the color of your drapes you should first consider the look/feel you want in your space.  If you want restful choose solid color with texture and keep to the color tones in the room.

Longer, looser pleats (5-6 inches)

While on a recent trip to Europe I noticed that pleats are getting softer and longer to provide a more contemporary and less formal feel in a room. You can’t beat pinch pleated drapes.  They continue to be the industry standard for elegance. Pinch-pleated drapes characteristically retain their shape, maintaining a consistent appearance opened or closed and they hang beautifully.

Cleaner look in headings

The inverted pleat (back pleat) is a favorite; it is a soft but tailored look for modern decor.  It has been replacing pinch pleat styles when a more clean contemporary feel is required. Lighter colors and tone on tone add softness to home decor.  Grommets have been around for several years and are definitely still in vogue.  While some grommet drapes can look very informal, it is possible to have a more styled look too.  The banded grommets below are a great example.

For grommets to look “lush” you need at least 7 or 8 folds at the top.  That means purchasing two sets of ready-made panels or have custom fully closing ones. . If you plan to open and close grommet panels daily be warned that you will spend a lot of time fiddling to adjust them so they hang nicely.

Updated Sheers

Yes, sheers are still popular but they are a world away from the fussy, frilly and lacy ones that the word sheer brings to mind. The “new” sheers have subtle iridescence and are interwoven with unexpected materials, or have embossed or printed patterns or contemporary headings as in the room below.

Roman Shades

Roman shades continue as a favorite for contemporary homes.   Who can resist their clean lines and the options for amazing patterns?  Because they are a flat construction the fabric needed is much less than full drapes.  This allows you to upscale your fabric choice and make a real statement. Their flat surfaces are almost picture like and work especially well in kitchens, eating areas and bathrooms.

Metal Blinds Return

Who thought we would see resurgence in metal blinds?  It’s begun and is driven by the popularity of stainless appliances, other metals especially bronze in 2012 and an industrial style loft living.

Window Replacement in a Historic Home

Historical Windows

Historical Home Window

If you would ask some historians about window replacement in a historic home, they would answer you loudly…..”don’t replace but instead repair it”. The windows (as well as the milled woodwork) in an old house are indicative of the era it was built.  Just because the windows look inoperable, don’t give up on them quite yet.  Take a crack at trying to determine how to fix them and how much it will cost.  You are undermining your love of historic preservation if you don’t attempt it.  If you do swap out windows, the Historic Society may take the designation from you turning it into just another old house.

Restoration

A window restoration can include repairs, glazing, weather stripping and possibly the addition of an outside storm window.  The window should work as it was designed in the period it was built.  Sash windows were the norm in historic homes.  Generally speaking, the cost to repair an old sash window is on par with a high end sash replacement.   The biggest enemy with using the old windows is energy loss through drafts or the deterioration of weather stripping if there even was any.  You may want to have an experienced window restorer in Baltimore explain the best way to take a sash window apart.  If they are painted shut, use a painters “5 in 1” tool and a utility knife to score the paint where it has formed a seal from multiple paintings.  You may find damaged wood when you are scoring.  The damaged wood will eventually need to be dug out and filled in with an epoxy.  A historic window can be made thermally efficient by the installation of an outside storm window. Wood is a better insulator than metal so the addition of the storm window will get a higher efficiency rating that a metal replacement with the same outside storm window.   After you have completed the restoration, there are a few simple things to do.  Make sure you regularly examine the window for structural failure that you thought was corrected.  If you have found any issues, remedy them as soon as possible. Continue reading

Types of Window Glass

Energy Efficient l

Energy Efficient label

There are multiple types of window glass on the market.  Just because you have a broken window doesn’t mean you have to replace it with the exact type.  Look at it as an opportunity to upgrade to the current products being used.  The majority of homeowners do not replace a functioning window but instead wait until they have no choice. The final decision must take into consideration your climate and types of weather.  The Baltimore area experiences multiple seasons so your selection will be different than if you live in the south.  Below we will go through a variety of different types of glass along with their features and functions.  All windows now a days are energy efficient (some more than others) so I won’t continually ad in the “energy efficient” tagline to each one. Continue reading

Window Replacements and Privacy

Glass Block Window and Privacy

Glass Block Windows

Having a window in your bathroom is a plus.  You don’t always have that option if your bathroom is not located on an exterior wall.  When you can incorporate natural light into your bathroom design, there are many styles of windows and window treatments to protect your privacy and still let the sunshine through.   You must consider the design, cost, look, and function when making a replacement selection.  So when you are remodeling your bathroom (or just updating) keep the following types of windows in mind. Continue reading

Tips for Remodeling a Historic Home

Roofing a historical home

Historical Home’s Slate Roof

To remodel a historic home, you have to be extremely dedicated to this project and be interested in the history behind the home and the time era it was built and maintained.  Research other homes of that era.  This will take research on the internet or by talking to historians.  It’s not like you can take a drive and look at homes built within the past 20 years.  If your house is historic, chances are there are other ones in the neighborhood that are very close to yours.  After all, the people that bought the other historic home have the same goal as you do………to preserve and restore.  That being said, talk to your neighbors and share ideas. 

Home Interior

 Get to know what makes the home unique in terms of architecture, materials used, and design of construction. Be realistic about the costs you will incur.  If it truly is historic, chances are that many of the crucial necessities to live in it may be damaged or not work at all.  Assess heating, plumbing and electrical first, since these are likely to be outdated and costly to replace.  Updating the electrical wiring and HVAC are 2 items that will certainly require attention to your budget.  You will need to install wiring that meets current building code.  Best to get a license electrician in Atlanta to perform this job.  To get to your wiring you will have to take down the walls to the studs or lath.  Be mindful of the walls you are taking down as you want to make them look as close to what they originally looked like. Do your best not to use drywall.  If you must, use wall board and consider adding a texture to it simulating the old surface.

One of the most unique characteristics of a historic home is its woodwork.  The moldings and staircases were beautiful pieces of art in the older homes.  This is truly the signature of a skilled carpenter.  Try to find a cost effective way to get the woodwork looking as close as possible to the original design.  It will be very costly to have a woodworker create an exact replica of the wood designs used during that time period so use current wood moldings in a way that are reflective of the ones used at that time. 

Home Exterior

When new homes are built, it’s planned by an architect and a builder at the same time.  That part hasn’t changed whether it is new or ones from 100 years ago.  When restoring your old home, everything should remain to scale the way it was originally built.

When looking to replace a slate roof, do some research on the expected longevity of the tile used on the roof?   Do regular maintenance.  Maintenance in this case would be close visual inspections.  Since you DO NOT want to climb on the roof, you may want to use a pair of binoculars to get that close up look.  If you see signs of deterioration or broken slates, get in touch with a roofer who specializes in slate roofs.  Get multiple quotes and inspections.  Shop around for a slate restorer.  Some will be cheaper than others.  Ask your neighbors how they restored theirs and who they used. 

Try to re-use the old wooden windows.  You will probably have to replace the glass (which is an easy fix and not extremely expensive) but will not be able to find a new frame built with the same style as the wooden one.  Use the wooden frame as long as possible.  Only you can be the judge on when to replace them with ones built with new material.  If you have a window with leaded glass, check to make sure all the mosaic pieces are solid and held in place.  If one piece of glass comes loose the rest of the pieces may also shift making the window irreplaceable.

New Jersey’s Historic Preservation Office, located within the Department of Environmental Protection, brings expertise in a variety of fields essential to preserving historic resources.  You can contact them for rules and guidelines to follow in your preservation.

How to Get More Privacy in Your Home?

Curtains

Window Drapes

One of the common problems in some areas such as Baltimore is that the houses are situated so close together that there doesn’t feel like there is any privacy at all. With neighbors so close, many feel like they want to duck past the windows in order to not be seen. There are many different types of window treatments to chose from that can offer a higher level of privacy.

Window Films

Window films adhere to the interior surfaces of the windows and can come in a wide variety of opacities. Frosted films can contain glass dust which will mimic real the look of real frosted glass. They are available in different colors and patterns as well and some are even designed to look like stained glass. There can be other benefits to using this type of window treatment as well. Along with added privacy, they can block UV rays as well as prevent energy loss and solar heat gain. When peel-and-stick varieties are properly applied to the window unit, they can last for years. But when the homeowner is ready for a change, the film is easy to remove. Window films which use adhesive are a permanent solution because they cannot be removed. They will last the length of the glass and will have even better energy saving properties. Some designers have made decorative adhesive window films which add beauty while providing additional privacy. Continue reading

Types of Window Glass

Replacement windows

Windows

Deciding to purchase window replacements is just the first step. There are several other things that must be considered such as the style and size of the windows. One a Baltimore homeowner chooses the style that they want to use; they will also have to determine the type of glass that will be used in the replacement window. Varying climatic conditions and exterior designs of the home can be determining factors when homeowners are making these important decisions. There are several different types of window glass to choose from and knowing the benefits of each can help homeowners choose which is best for their home situation.

Safety First

Laminated glass has safety features built in to its design. This type of glass is constructed by putting a plastic interlayer between two sheets of glass. Both pressure and heat are applied which creates a solid and permanent bond so that the two glass pieces work together as one sheet of glass. This design creates a solid structure which will not shatter into pieces if it is broken. Instead all the little fragments will continue to stick to the plastic interlayer. Another reason homeowners prefer to purchase window replacements with laminated glass is that it provides reduction in both noise and transferring of air. Continue reading