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Window Treatment Basics

Privacy protection

Privacy is obviously important, especially for windows in the front of your home that probably face a street or other public throughway’s. Windows facing more private areas of a fenced yard, on the other hand might not need to provide much in the way of privacy.

Several window treatment designs can provide privacy. Blinds or thick curtains most notably, but privacy can also be attained with use of window frostings or diffusers. These will however obstruct your view of the great outdoors.

Light control

Sunlight and glare needs to be controlled in the bedroom if sleeping comfort is interrupted by light entering through the windows. In a room where sunlight will interfere with TV watching or computer use needs window treatments that are effective in light control too.

Any room with items that can be damaged by the suns UV rays need window treatments that are good at controlling light. Any kind of artwork, antiques, or photographs can benefit from this protection. Even carpeting and hardwood flooring can be damaged by the suns UV rays. Consider this when deciding on a window treatment type for any particular window.

Window tinting can be very effective at blocking UV rays. Other than that, window treatments that open and close easily are preferred – blinds, curtains etc. excel here.

Complementing the rooms decor

The decor of window treatments in any given room is more important to some of us than to others. If decor is not an issue for you, then some simple window blinds are inexpensive and effective at the other two criteria.

If decor is more important to you, then you can have your work cut out for you depending on taste. Curtains are available in almost any pattern and color of material. A little sewing experience can make a DIY curtain project a breeze, or perhaps you know someone who is willing to sew curtains to your specifications, using our preferred material.

Choosing Window Frames

Heat insulation is perhaps the most common reason for getting double-glazing. However, if the frame is not right the insulation provided by double-glazing is lost. The worst conductors of heat and therefore the best insulators are wood and PVC-u. Aluminium is a relatively good conductor of heat and so is not the best material if this is of primary concern.

The protection against sound is another great attribute of double-glazing and their isn’t really a clear winner. The relative sound insulation properties are therefore of lesser concern that those of say heat.

Security is always a concern and here we have a clear winner. Aluminium is extremely strong and is the material of choice where security is of major concern. This explains why aluminium is commonly seen on commercial premises. Wood and PVC-u have their weak spots. PVC-u expands during hot temperatures and the expansion gaps required can become weak points for intruders.

Another area that has a clear leader is appearance. Wooden frames are easily the most attractive frames. The timeless appeal of wood suits both modern and period properties. In particular, for period properties it is almost mandatory to have traditional looking frames and in particular sash windows. The appearance of the properties can be undermined with PVC-u frames or cheap looking fake wood finishes.

Although wooden frames are the most pleasing on the eye they are also the hardest work. Older frames require a significant amount of attention to prolong their life. The newer wooden frames are treated before being shipped to retailers but they still require the attention. Regular coats of protective paints are needed every four or five years. PVC-u and aluminium frame require very little maintenance and can be cleaned with just an occasional wipe with a damp cloth.

Finally, we look at the cost of the different types of frames. Generally speaking, the cheapest are PVC-u frames, followed by aluminium and finally wood are the most expensive. The economic benefits of PVC-u frames combined with their excellent insulation properties go a long way to explaining their popularity.

Clean Windows And Not Leave Streaks

When purchasing a good window cleaning chemical or solution it is usually best to purchase products that are ammonia based. Ammonia based products will evaporate quickly and not leave any residue. Concentrated glass cleaners are great for use in climates where the temperature changes, especially if you are using them outdoors. A concentrated glass cleaner can be diluted with the correct amount of water for the amount of moisture in the air and the ambient temperature. Mix in more water for hot and dry climates and less water for cooler moist climates. By using this method you can really cut down on those window streaks.

Another good tool to use when cleaning windows is a window squeegee. Window squeegees don’t leave lint and can quickly remove any cleaning solution from your glass. Window squeegees come in many sizes and styles. For residential window cleaning a disposable window squeegee is the way to go. Disposable window squeegees do a great job and are very economical. When the rubber squeegee blade starts to break down and disintegrate just throw it away, and purchase a new one. Professional window cleaners and janitorial personal are likely to use a professional window squeegee with a replaceable squeegee blade.

On these types of squeegees when the rubber blade starts to disintegrate you can just replace the rubber, retaining the original handle and channel. Professional window squeegee handles are made from many different materials such as stainless steel, plastic and brass. Brass will usually hold up better than other materials and won’t rust. Window squeegees come in many sizes ranging from 12 inches to four feet. Some companies have tried to produce window squeegees over four feet but they are too hard to control and are too heavy for one person to use. Most professional window squeegees come in three sections, the squeegee handle, the squeegee channel, and the squeegee blade.

Window washers are great for cleaning stains on windows such as bugs, bird droppings, and tar. Window washers are basically a semi abrasive towel attached to a handle and shaped like a window squeegee. The pad or towel on a window washer is usually made from cotton enclosed in a nylon net. The nylon netting is made to quickly remove the toughest of stains.

Choose Window Treatment Hardware

First evaluate the window and the window covering that you’re planning to use. Will the design be installed inside or outside of the window frame? Each design is different for each window application. An inside mount requires a pole or rod which fits within the widow frame. Ideas include a basic traverse rod, ceiling mount rod, a swivel rod, and a tension rod. The outside mount design has no restrictions. Is your window treatment moveable or is it stationary? With the stationary treatment you could try the continental rod or pole with finals. With the moveable treatment the traverse rods work the best. What also influences your decision is whether you will see the hardware or not. If you would like to show off your hardware, a poll with finals will be your most decorative option. If your hardware is to remain unseen, the traverse rod will do the trick – it will allow easy movement of the curtain and tuck below a cornice or valence.

Make sure you plan ahead where the operating controls will be located. Usually you place the control on the side with the best access and least visibility. If you’re operating a cord and wand system, have both on the same side of your treatment. For corner windows, so they don’t look cluttered, have the cord system on the right for the right window, and the other on the left side for the left window.

Double Glazed

How are double glazed windows energy efficient, or at least more energy efficient than a single paned window? Each layer of glass and surrounding air space reradiates and traps some of the heat that passes through thereby increasing the window’s resistance to heat loss, thus they have a higher R-value than single paned windows. Double glazed windows are the best option for areas that require a high insulation value and you do not have to worry about the air in them; in factory-made double glazed windows, the air between the glass sheets is thoroughly dried and the space is sealed airtight, eliminating possible condensation and providing superior insulating properties. This is great for a few reasons. One it means your windows insulate well, but two, it means that if you windows have an air leakage, you will be able to know almost immediately because you will get condensation between the two panes, which will indicate the problem.

It is not common for double glazed windows to have problems, they are usually well made, and the air space between the two panes of glass remains airtight. However, improper installation, or damage to the window can cause the seal to be broken.

What else should you consider when ordering your double glazed windows? Well, for one thing you can get double glazed windows in a variety of glass types, and for regions or climates that get a lot of heat, or a lot of cold, a Low-E glass product is your best option. The properties of a Low-E glass product are such that it will reduce heat loss but admit solar gain. High solar gain Low-E glass products are best suited for buildings located in heating-dominated climates. Low-E glass products like double glazed windows is also the product of choice, or in other words, the most popular window product, for passive solar design projects. This is because the performance attributes of double glazed windows made from Low-E glass, in relation to other Low-E glass products which have been developed to reduce solar gain, are much higher.

Double glazed windows are great for the energy conscious, as they will reduce the cost of wasted energy in your home. However, even if you are not energy conscious they may be the right window type for you. The glass is strong and sturdy, and difficult to break, not to mention that there is the added bonus of not having to immediately replace the window should the outer pane crack or break. Because there are two panes you will still have a barrier between you and the outside world, and this will allow you time to shop for a new window, or be able to afford a new window before having to replace it.

Double glazed windows offer many advantages over single paned. Double glazed windows are not hard to find, and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. You can even have them custom made to fit your home should it be an odd size. So, when you are out window shopping, don’t look past the double glazed, look through them!