Choosing the Best Window Sizes for Your Home

Wall of windows on sunny afternoonThe windows of your home play a vital role in regulating temperature, providing a beautiful view to the outdoors, and creating ambiance and mood inside the home. Window replacement is a popular way to increase efficiency in your home, add value to the property, and take advantage of advanced materials used in today’s windows.

You have several options in replacing your windows. One option is changing the sizes and placement of your windows to improve the view or make it easier to arrange furniture in your rooms without getting in the way of the windows.

Although the skeleton of your home may prevent some changes in window placement or size, your contractor can tell you if your changes are realistic or whether you might need to stick with a current window size or location.

Standard Window Sizes in the United States

Windows and doors in older homes in America tend to follow standard sizes. Most doors in these homes have a standard height of 6 feet, 8 inches, and the windows in most homes were designed to match that height. With average ceiling heights around 8 feet there are several inches to work with for things like window treatments, frames, and moldings.

Newer homes, on the other hand, often have ceilings that reach 9 or 10 feet. With those heights in play, increasing the size and height of the windows is a common discussion during the design phase of the home.

With an existing home, you’ll probably have to work within one of these standard heights. However, you need not maintain the “standard” 16 inches of space between the top of the window and the ceiling. According to “This Old House,”

Don’t be afraid to set the top of the window clear up to the cornice trim. In fact, the cornice can even function as the window’s head trim, if you plan properly.

The same advice also goes for the space below the window. Many windows sit at a minimum of three feet so as to accommodate furniture under the windowsill, but you can increase the ventilation available from the window if you enlarge it.

Energy Efficiency and Window Choice

You may be aware that some renovations and materials may qualify you for tax breaks, and windows are one of those items. It’s important that you speak with your contractor about the efficiency ratings for your new windows so that you actually qualify for the federal tax credit.

According to the DIY Network:

To be eligible, the window’s U-factor and solar heat gain coefficient must both less than or equal to 0.30. The U-factor gauges the window’s insulation value, and the solar heat gain coefficient measures how well a product blocks heat transfer from sunlight.

Additionally, you may want to consider whether your new windows will accommodate an air conditioning window unit. Depending on the age of your home, you may not have central air conditioning. You do have the choice of a free-standing unit, but if you’re used to installing a window unit each summer, remember to have your windows designed to accommodate this feature.

Understanding the Ratings on Window Types

Modern windows possess two ratings that measure energy-efficiency and heat transfer: the R-value and the U-factor. The window’s R-value measures its resistance to the transfer of heat. A high R-value means high insulation. The U-factor is the overall energy-efficiency of the window. Low U-factor ratings mean high energy-efficiency. These ratings also apply to doors.

Depending on the direction your window faces, you may need to choose a window with a rating that will maximize the light and heat available in the winter. Windows aren’t as good at preventing heat loss or transfer as regular walls, so choosing the right high-performance glazing is essential for maintaining the overall efficiency of your home.

Get Advice On Your New Windows

Is your head swimming with all the choices you have for your new windows? Let Laurence Smith Window and Door help you choose the best windows for your home. Contact us today for a free consultation on your home improvement plan.