Home Improvement FAQ
Questions about windows:
- What are various windows made of and what will work best for me?
- Is it better to use stock-sized windows or custom-made windows that fit my wall openings?
- Is there any difference in how window frames and sashes are assembled?
- When I replace my old windows, can I change to a different style?
- Aren’t all window manufacturers essentially the same?
- What about strength, protection and noise reduction?
- Do WeatherGard windows require a lot of maintenance?
- I have been reading about different test results on windows. How should this impact my buying decisions?
- What is more important in saving energy, the frame or the glass?
- What should I know about energy efficiency?
- Will WeatherGard windows be a good investment?
- How does Vinyl compare to Fiberglass as an insulator?
- Vinyl vs. Fiberglass – how do they compare in cost?
- Are fiberglass windows a dangerous health hazard?
Questions about vinyl siding:
- How does vinyl siding compare with other siding materials?
- What can be done to improve the appearance and durability of my
- Isn’t it less costly to just repaint my home?
- Are there any other materials that are better than vinyl?
- How does the cost of vinyl siding compare to the added resale value it provides?
- What exterior design options do I have with vinyl siding?
- My home is partially brick and partially wood siding. Can I still use vinyl siding?
- Is vinyl siding really as durable as everyone says?
- If painting isn’t required, how do I maintain my vinyl siding?
- Is one season better than another to have my new siding installed?
Questions about doors:
Q: What are various windows made of and what will work best for me?
The four most common windows available today are wood, aluminum, fiberglass and vinyl.
Aluminum windows are strong and can be made into complex shapes, which is why they are most commonly used commercial and high rise applications. However, aluminum windows are not an ideal choice for your home because they have a high thermal conductance, meaning that the aluminum framing is a very poor insulator. Furthermore, most aluminum windows are painted, and this paint can chip or scratch easily.
Wood is the most traditional window framing material and can be milled into various complex architectural shapes. However, the downside to wood windows is their maintenance—wood windows require costly and time consuming paint every few years, and are prone to absorbing moisture, which will cause your windows to not operate properly or even worse, rot!
Fiberglass windows, which are designed to mimic the look of wood, also have the same costly maintenance issues associated with wood windows. Since the fiberglass resins used in the pultrusion of fiberglass window framing materials have no ultra violet (UV) stability, all fiberglass windows, like wood windows, require regular painting. Furthermore, the fiberglass framing material, which is structurally very brittle, can crack and chip very easily. Also, fiberglass windows are mechanically fastened, as they cannot be welded, and will eventually leak at the corners.
Vinyl, and more specifically, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is used in window framing materials, is a very versatile material with superior insulating characteristics. Vinyl window frames are maintenance free, as they will never require painting like fiberglass windows and cannot rot like wood windows. Since vinyl window framing materials are extruded, the color goes all the way through, and there is no finish paint or stain coat that can fade or deteriorate, meaning vinyl windows will never need painting and won’t show scratches, ever! That’s why vinyl replacement windows have become the most popular and logical choice for window replacement today.
At WeatherGard, we recommend vinyl framing for replacement windows. Over the years, the engineers at WeatherGard have reviewed many new window designs and technologies, and have taken the best features from everything available to design the 700 Series vinyl replacement window. This 700 Series window uses commercial grade vinyl, making it the strongest and most energy efficient product available for window replacement. Made in Michigan and sold factory direct, the 700 Series vinyl replacement window is so strong that WeatherGard has installed them in high rise apartment complexes and so energy efficient, that they meet Energy Star 6.0 standards and qualify for utility company energy rebates.
Q: Is it better to use stock-sized windows or custom-made windows that fit my
You should always prefer custom-sized windows to stock-sized windows. Stock-sized windows come in limited incremental sizes, which means you will have to find a stock sized window that most closely fits your replacement window opening. Most times, it’s hard to find a nice fit, and you will have to spend extra money on extensive carpentry work both inside and outside your house to make the windows fit properly. WeatherGard’s commercial grade vinyl replacement windows are custom made to your specifications, and can be manufactured to exactly fit your existing window opening, as WeatherGard builds them to any size you want within 1/16 of an inch. Unlike most window manufacturers, WeatherGard does not charge any more to custom manufacturer your specific sizes for the best window fit possible. Call WeatherGard now to get prices on your custom-sized window replacement project! 1-800-377-8886.
Q: Is there any difference in how window frames and sashes are assembled?
Absolutely. A window’s weakest point is at the corner. You can either choose replacement windows with mechanically fastened corners, which use a combination of fasteners and adhesive (your typical “screw and glue” windows), such as fiberglass windows or wood windows; or you can choose fusion welded windows, which use a specialized heating process to adhere the corners like WeatherGard’s fusion welded windows. Mechanically fastened corners, which are used on many cheap windows, often can’t hold up to the pressures of a house resting on them. That causes the corners crack and separate, creating large gaps in your “energy efficient” windows. WeatherGard’s windows are fusion welded at the corners using state of the art machinery to overcome these problems. The two adjoining pieces of the frame essentially become one. That means an airtight, watertight seal for the life of the window, and more energy savings for you. Also, our computer controlled welding process ensures that the window frame and sashes will be perfectly square. Insist on WeatherGard’s fusion-welded Windows to protect your home.
Q: When I replace my old windows, can I change to a different style?
Certainly. No matter what style or combination of styles you choose, WeatherGard can custom-manufacture it all for you. We can replace several consecutive double hung windows with larger horizontal slider windows, and add a bay or bow window in place of a large picture window.
Q: Aren’t all window contractors essentially the same?
Most definitely not. The vast majority of window contractors buy windows from outside sources, sometimes foreign, and mark up the windows to resell to homeowners. At WeatherGard, we manufacturer our windows in our factory in Oak Park, Michigan where we have for over 25 years, allowing us to sell our windows to the public at factory direct prices. At WeatherGard, our replacement vinyl windows are made with materials and components made exclusively in the United States and Canada, something we take great pride in.
Q: What about strength, protection and noise reduction?
You should look for a window that offers both superior strength and energy efficiency. WeatherGard’s computer-controlled process ensures a perfectly square window sash and mainframe with superior strength. And for exceptional energy efficiency, a full interlock at the meeting rail helps protect your home against the elements, or unwanted intrusions. In addition, our insulated glass unit traps dry air, creating an exceptional comfort barrier. Moreover, homeowners with WeatherGard windows say there’s a noticeable reduction in the amount of noise that enters their homes. A full interlock system at the point where upper and lower sashes meet helps stop air infiltration while providing an additional barrier against unwanted intrusions.
Q: Do WeatherGard windows require a lot of maintenance?
Because our frames and sashes are made of vinyl and not wood or fiberglass, you will never need to paint your windows. Wood windows and fiberglass windows require regular maintenance and painting. WeatherGard windows won’t stick, like many existing wood windows that have been painted over numerous times, and both top and bottom sash on our double hung windows tilt in for easy cleaning. All you need is some glass cleaner, like Windex, and cloths or paper towels and your windows will look new for many years for come.
Q: I have been reading about different test results on windows. How should this impact my buying decisions?
Looking at a windows testing data is a critical element in determining which replacement window is best for your home. However, consumers should beware, as many window contractors make unsubstantiated claims about their windows and how they perform. At WeatherGard, all of our windows have been tested by an independent, nationally-certified lab to ensure that every Series 701 replacement window is engineered to provide the optimum in energy savings by the National Fenestration Rating (NFRC) Council and for strength and structural integrity by the American Architectural Manufacturer’s Association (AAMA). WeatherGard’s replacement windows meet the Energy Star requirements for all climate zones.
WeatherGard is an official NFRC Certification Program Participant. Smart consumers should insist on seeing authentic NFRC and AAMA testing reports on a particular window before purchasing, and not rely simply on marketing literature or brochures put together by window contractors and remodelers.
Q: What is more important in saving energy, the frame or the glass?
The glass is the most important factor in energy efficiency as approximately 85% of a window is the glass. WeatherGard uses the latest technology, incorporating the Carindal IG spacer system. This state of the art spacer system has a no-metal design, which reduces condensation forming on the window, thereby minimizing mold growth. Furthermore, WeatherGard windows are manufactured with energy efficient, 1-inch thermal-pane glazing with double strength glass which provides superior thermal performance. The patented titanium Low-E glass we offer is standard in all of our windows and is designed to keep your home comfortable year round. WeatherGard’s titanium Low-E glass works by sending heat back to its source. Therefore, in winter, the low-E glass keeps the heat generated by your home’s heating system inside your house, and in the summer, it keeps the heat generated by the sun from entering your home. This results in a more home as well as reduced heating and cooling costs. Low-E glass also helps prevent the fading of drapes, carpets and furniture fabrics by rejecting much of the sun’s damaging, ultraviolet rays, without blocking the light.
Q: What should I know about energy efficiency?
WeatherGard windows are constructed with energy efficient, 1-inch thermal-pane glazing with double strength glass which provides superior thermal performance. Low-E glass and other available energy-saving options are available. Low-E glass works year round to keep your home comfortable. In winter, the low-E glass retains the heat inside your home that’s generated by the warm rays of the sun and your home’s heating system. In summer, low-E glass helps block the summer heat from entering your home, keeping it cooler and easier to air condition. Low-E glass also helps prevent the fading of drapes, carpets and furniture fabrics by rejecting much of the sun’s damaging, ultraviolet rays, without blocking the light.
Q: Will WeatherGard windows be a good investment?
Yes, for many reasons. First, our energy efficient windows will lower your home’s heating and cooling bills, providing residual savings for the life of your home. Second, WeatherGard’s replacement windows are maintenance-free, so you will not need to pay to have your windows painted every few years, like you would with wood windows or fiberglass windows. And finally, our warranty is fully transferable, which will make your home more marketable in the event you want to sell it.
Q: How does vinyl compare to fiberglass as an insulator?
If you look at the test results for window framing materials, vinyl is a much better insulator than fiberglass. Traditional “pink” fiberglass, used to insulate the walls and attic of your home, insulates by trapping small air pockets it. However, the pultruded fiberglass used in window frames is so compacted that it cannot trap air and consequently, is not a very good insulator. As a matter of fact, fiberglass window frames transfer cold three to four times as much cold as an equivalent vinyl window frame.
Q: Vinyl vs. fiberglass—how do they compare in cost?
Fiberglass windows cost nearly double what a good vinyl window costs, and they are less thermally efficient. On a cost/benefit or “payback” basis, a person is much better off spending money on an upgraded insulated glass package if they want a premium window that is actually better. We all know that roughly 80% of a windows area is insulated glass anyway. The frame material is of little significance. And, for the 20% of the window are that is made up of the framing material, vinyl is better!
Q: Are fiberglass windows a dangerous health hazard?
Probably not, however, the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has studied fiberglass and has labeled it one of 18 “Priority Safety and Health Hazards.” OSHA also notes that fiberglass dust can cause breathing difficulties. Additional information can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) web site by researching fiberglass.
While health hazards associated with fiberglass windows are not very likely, you want to make sure that your replacement window contractor is properly trained and takes the necessary precautions required to keep you and your family safe.
Q: Is vinyl siding the best choice for my home?
Absolutely! In fact, vinyl siding is the most popular exterior siding product used in the United States today. In terms of appearance, value, maintenance and durability, vinyl siding is hands down the superior choice when compared to aluminum siding, wood siding, face brick, cedar shingles, fiber cement board or stucco. In fact, WeatherGard is so confident vinyl siding, every vinyl siding product we use is backed by an industry best lifetime warranty.
Q: What can be done to improve the appearance and durability of my
Maybe you’re tired of dealing with peeling paint and rotting clapboards. And you wonder, “Will another coat of paint really hide the weather-worn condition of my wood siding? And even if it can, is it worth the cost?” Or maybe you’re thinking about replacing warped hardboard siding… or getting rid of dated asphalt or asbestos siding… or eliminating dented metal siding… or giving a fresh, contemporary look to masonry walls. Then now’s the time to switch to the easy-care beauty of WeatherGard premium vinyl siding. A wide choice of styles, colors and trim options makes it simple to create the look you want for your home–whether it’s a contemporary colonial or a 120-year old farmhouse.
Q: Isn’t it cheaper to just paint my house?
Only if you plan on moving in the next 2 to 3 years… otherwise, vinyl siding is a far better value than painting. Not only does vinyl siding add to the resale value of your home, up to 69% recoupment according to Remodeling Magazine (October 1996), but you will also save on energy from the added insulation vinyl siding provides. When you compare that to the recurring cost of painting your house every few years, vinyl siding is one of the best investments you can make for your home.
Q: Are there any other materials that are better than vinyl?
Not when it comes to siding. Vinyl siding’s outstanding features and benefits have made it the most popular siding material in America today. And because vinyl is the preferred siding for more and more homeowners, it retains most of its installed cost (see previous question for details). It’s the material of choice on new luxury homes… and the first choice for remodeling projects large and small. WeatherGard offers a broad range of vinyl siding products, so you can choose one that’s easily affordable. Plus, WeatherGard vinyl siding never needs painting or staining. It doesn’t chip, peel, dent or rot, so you can forget costly repairs. To maintain a like-new appearance, just rinse occasionally with a garden hose. And WeatherGard vinyl siding offers flexible design options that make it ideal for contemporary homes… and for stately century-old Victorians. You can choose from smooth or grained surfaces; rich, low-gloss colors; and a wide variety of classic siding profiles–plus low-maintenance trim products and accessory options that add to both the beauty and value of your home. What’s more, WeatherGard vinyl sidings are backed by a strong Lifetime Warranty*, so you can count on getting all the quality you paid for. Exceptional beauty. Durability. Economical price. Easy maintenance. Long-term value. Outstanding warranty. If these are your criteria, there’s no better choice than vinyl siding from WeatherGard.
Q: How does the cost of vinyl siding compare to the added resale value it provides?
In terms of adding resale value to your home, vinyl siding is one of the best investments you can make. In its annual survey of project cost versus added value, Remodeling Magazine said that “the highest payback comes from projects that give an older home the same features that have become standard in new homes.” Exterior improvements such as the installation of vinyl siding also make a home more attractive on the market. According to a real estate agent interviewed by Remodeling, “Things like new siding and new windows will not add dollar for dollar value… (but) they will cause the house to sell quicker for more money.” Another point to keep in mind: if, like many homeowners, you add insulation to an older home at the same time you’re having vinyl siding installed, you add even greater value and market appeal to your home.
Q: Am I limited to certain designs with vinyl siding?
Absolutely not. Vinyl siding gives you numerous design options. At WeatherGard, we have a variety of styles and finishes, from an oak grain dutch lap, to a more contemporary matte finish clapboard . WeatherGard’s siding installers are all VSI certified Vinyl Siding Institute, and are true craftsman than can work with you to create any look you desire for your home.
Q: My home is partially brick and partially wood siding. Can I still use vinyl siding?
Sure. Vinyl siding is extremely versatile and can be used with just about any exterior building material–brick, cinder block, even natural logs and field stones. If you have special installation concerns–such as running vinyl siding along a natural stone chimney, for example–talk to your WeatherGard sales representative. He’s probably handled a similar installation in the past. If he hasn’t, he always can get detailed installation instructions from a WeatherGard technical specialist. As a homeowner, that’s important. Because it means you’re working with a professional team–a qualified contractor with a knowledgeable, experienced technical support group behind him.
Q: Is vinyl siding really that durable?
Yes it is. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), the material used to make vinyl siding, is so durable, it is used to make automobile components, medical devices, flooring as well as our Commercial Grade vinyl windows. It is perfect to use on the outside of your home as it will never crack, rot or warp like wood siding. And since PVC is extruded as one solid color, you will never need to paint.
Q: If painting isn’t required, how do I maintain my vinyl siding?
It’s simple. There really is no maintenance, just occasional cleaning. Ordinarily, the cleaning action of a rainfall will be adequate to wash your vinyl siding. However, vinyl siding and soffit should be washed periodically by hosing with a garden hose and clear water, particularly in those areas not exposed directly to rain. If you desire to do a more thorough cleaning, or where high soil collection conditions occur, use a soft-bristled, long-handled washing brush. It attaches to your garden hose and makes washing your siding easier. Do not rub vigorously. This may create glossy areas over the vinyl siding finish. For hard-to-remove dirt, such as soot and grime found in industrial areas, wipe the siding down with a solution that’s recommended by the manufacturer. If you wash the entire house, start at the bottom and work up to the top, as less streaking will result. It is important that immediately following all washing operations, the entire surface be thoroughly rinsed with fresh water from a garden hose.
Q: Do you install vinyl siding year round?
Absolutely. WeatherGard is an experienced vinyl siding contractor, and our professional, VSI certified installers have years of experience installing vinyl siding in all sorts of weather conditions.
Q: How do fiberglass doors compare to steel doors?
This is the most commonly asked question we are asked when it comes to entry doors. The answer is…it depends. Quality wise, WeatherGard uses state of the art designs and materials for both of its steel and fiberglass entry doors.
WeatherGard Fiberglass Entry Doors are a better option if you are looking to imitate the deeply rich stained look of wood. Our fiberglass doors are molded with a rich grain that has a deeper embossing than steel.
WeatherGard Steel Entry Doors are a better option if your primary concern is strength and security. WeatherGard steel doors all use 20 gauge steel skins, 72% thicker than standard 20 gauge steel, and are injected with a commercial grade polyurethane foam. Also, unlike most steel entry doors that use wood edges, which can compromise your security, all WeatherGard steel entry doors have a steel edge, keeping you and your loved ones safe from unwanted intruders.