No two things affect the appearance and functionality of a home as much as windows and doors. This is because they are its portals—guests enter a home through its front door; a family observes the world through its home’s windows. As poetic as that is, there are as many practical benefits to replacing windows and doors, increasing energy efficiency and curb appeal among them.
“Customers are looking for energy savings, durability and style,” says Al Tiede of Horizon Windows & Doors (www.horizonwindowsatlanta.com). “We like to emphasize that today’s window and door products substantially reduce noise and add overall comfort to your home.”
If your home could benefit from new windows and doors, here are a few of the year’s big trends:
One thing many top manufacturers agree on is that the Craftsman style, which evokes a handcrafted, largely American feel, is here to stay. According to Masonite lead designer Jason Walsh, more distinctive wood grains, especially fir, are creeping up on traditional oak and are an important aspect of the rise of Craftsman-style décor. The Craftsman look also is “increasingly being used in homes that aren’t traditionally Craftsman in appearance,” Walsh says, meaning there’s more room to mesh architectural styles than there has been in the past.
More contemporary styles are also popular. “While traditional style is more rooted in history, contemporary style is a reflection of a more modern, updated aesthetic,” says Eniko DeMarco of AVI, a Marvin Design Gallery (www.avimarvin.com). “Open spaces, large windows and clean lines as well as asymmetrical design schemes are common in contemporary homes.” As remodeling continues its gains in the residential popularity contest, homeowners are opting for elements that give the existing space this contemporary feel, including clean yet bold interior doors, darkly stained woods for dramatic flair and bursts of bright colors in places such as window trim.
When it comes to design, there are other details you can focus on that bring more light in and personalize your space. “You can design a gorgeous bow-and-bay window, which projects from the home to give you some dimension and additional light,” says Criss Maple of Champion Windows, Siding & Patio Rooms (www.championwindow.com). “Garden windows are popular in kitchens that provide shelves for plants. For entry doors, sidelights add a nice designer touch, and there are many styles of energy-efficient decorative glass options available so you can design a look that matches your home.”
Made to last
Though real wood continues to be the most common option when it comes to materials, there are plenty of other durable choices available, including vinyl. “Vinyl replacement windows used to be available in white, white or white,” says Conor Quinn of Quinn Windows (www.quinnwindows.com). “Nowadays, vinyl replacement manufacturers are offering customers options like custom color-matched exteriors, nickel and bronze hardware options, etched-glass designs, grids on the outside of the glass, double- and triple-pane glass and even blinds between the glass.” PVC windows share many advantages of vinyl windows, but they look more like wood, and you can paint them any color you want.
Fiberglass is also a popular choice. Steve Brenizer, product marketing manager for Pella Windows and Doors (www.pella.com), says fiberglass entry doors have experienced a surge in popularity. “Fiberglass entry doors look like an authentic wood door, without the ongoing maintenance needs of wood,” he says. “Plus, fiberglass offers exceptional energy efficiency, weather resistance and outstanding durability to resist dents and dings.”
Metal is also an increasingly popular option, especially with doors. “Currently, it seems like we’re doing more decorative wrought iron work than ever before,” says Carol Simmons of Jennifer’s Glassworks (www.jennifersglassworks.com). “It might have to do with that ‘sweet sense of security.’ They are formidable doors and look good on every home. Hand-forged iron and solid timber with a beautiful finish can’t be beat.” The use of metal in window products also provides a modern look, while oil-rubbed bronze and brushed nickel can avoid the harshness of other materials.
Green is a current buzzword in the window world, primarily because advancements in window and door materials and manufacturing literally guarantee a more energy-efficient home. Regardless of where a family lives, windows with low-E coatings—a layer of silver mist on the inside of the exterior pane that allows for ample daylight while reducing solar gain—keep the interior at a stable temperature.
“Whether you’re trying to keep cool air inside during the warmer seasons or cool air outside during the colder seasons, this advancement in fenestration technology is beneficial to all climates,” says Cathy Leonard of Windsor Windows (www.windsorwindows.com), adding that the most recently developed coating is Low-E 366. “Low-E 366 offers high transparency, low reflectivity and excellent thermal insulation, all of which combine to provide energy-saving benefits. This glazing provides the ideal balance of solar control and high visibility for year-round comfort and energy savings, no matter where you live.”
These advancements add up to long-term cost savings and may even qualify for tax rebates and other incentives. “Replacing windows and doors to be more energy efficient in turn lowers utility bills,” says Hal Lipsky, owner of Window Replacements of Georgia (www.windowreplacementsga.com), adding that energy-efficient windows also increase the overall value of your home.
Your health is also important, and another window trend right now is blinds that are placed between panes of glass to create a dust-free space. “With allergies becoming more prevalent, putting blinds between two panes of glass eliminates the gathering of dust on your blinds, and it also increases the insulating value of the window or door,” says Tim Beattie of Pella Southeast (www.pellasoutheast.com).
In the end, window and door replacements are one of the best investments you can make in a home, whether preparing it for years of personal use or for resale, and there are more innovative, energy-efficient options than ever before. All you have to do is choose. “Our favorite remark, which we have heard on several occasions, is, ‘I wish I had done this sooner!,’” Tiede says.
Windows and Doors Products
|▲ Pella Fiberglass Craftsman Double Entry Door
This door represents two of the top trends in doors this year—the Craftsman style and the use of fiberglass. Pella’s high-performance double entry door features Craftsman’s characteristic dentil shelf, mahogany wood grain and a rectangular transom for additional light.
|▲ JELD-WEN Tilt and Turn Window
This innovative window from JELD-WEN offers functionality and high-end appearance. Inspired by European design trends, the window has side hinges like a typical casement but can also push out like a hopper window. Real wood and a number of customizable options make this one of the most versatile products of 2012.
|▲ Masonite West End Melrose Door
This interior door is designed to add contemporary chic to any space. Masonite reports that as generations X and Y increase their purchasing power, window and door styles have to keep up by incorporating bold lines and clean looks—two things Masonite’s West End collection does well. The Melrose door features strong horizontal lines and comes primed white and ready to paint.
|▲ Hunter Douglas Duette Architella Honeycomb Shades
These warm but contemporary window coverings can boost the performance of even the most energy-efficient window. The shades use a patented “cell-within-a-cell” design to trap air and reduce heat loss through windows by up to 40 percent. In summer, heat gain is reduced by up to 80 percent. With 180 color and fabric combinations, these shades can add to any home.
|▲ Windsor Pinnacle Select Windows
The perfect choice for a luxury look, Windsor’s Pinnacle Select windows are real wood and designed to be truly dynamic. Set apart by a thicker sash and wider stiles, the windows come in clear select pine, natural alder or Douglas fir and can be crank-operated or push-out. They are a high-performance window on the market that are unique in their elegance.
|▲ JELD-WEN Custom Reclaimed Douglas Fir Windows
One of the most eye-catching ways to recycle is by incorporating reclaimed wood into your home. It’s beautiful, it’s rustic and it’s one-of-a-kind. JELD-WEN’s reclaimed Douglas fir windows are versatile too, fitting many architectural styles and accommodating various glass and hardware selections. Douglas fir is a hardy wood and much of JELD-WEN’s salvaged product comes from snow fencing, which was chosen to withstand harsh conditions.
|▲ Paragon Coordinated Entry System
To really increase curb appeal and impress guests, Paragon’s entry doors and storm doors can be bought as part of a package. Add an eye-catching centerpiece to your home by coordinating colors perfectly or choosing complementary tones that set off your home’s façade. Doors come in a variety of materials and designs.
|▲ Marvin Ultimate Glider Window
Window and door manufacturer Marvin recently released its smoothest operator yet: the Ultimate Glider window, designed for ease of use with an ergonomic handle and a patent-pending sash-removal system to make cleaning as easy as ever. Materials include bare wood interior, aluminum-clad exterior and a satin taupe lock handle.
|▲ Royal Overture Folding Door
This folding patio door from Royal Building Products maximizes views with its slim-line design. Made from metal-reinforced vinyl, the modern door series accommodates high-performance glass—allowing it to be Energy Star certified—and comes in various multi-panel configurations.
|▲ Champion TimberBond Windows
Increasingly homeowners want the look of wood without the cost or maintenance. Champion TimberBond windows are one option that marries the warm appeal of English oak or cherry wood with the efficiency of vinyl. All Timberbond windows also feature Champion’s high-performance Comfort 365 glass, which will help protect carpet and drapes from fading.
|Kolbe Lamboo Windows
Bamboo offers a unique aesthetic that when paired with its status as a rapidly renewable resource—meaning it grows quickly and therefore isn’t depleted by harvesting—makes it an increasingly popular choice. Kolbe’s windows and doors are available in Lamboo—laminated veneer bamboo—offering homeowners a low-maintenance but durable new material.