The replacement window industry is huge. Haven't you received post cards and even a phone call about upgrading your roofing, windows and siding? Last week I got one of these phone calls and my home is less than 10 years old. In this article we'll illustrate some of the ways you can reconfigure your windows. If you're going to invest in replacement windows, why not increase the amount of natural sunlight coming into your home?
Benefits of Bigger Windows
Do you feel like some of the rooms in your house are too dark? Have you got great views outside your home and wish you could enjoy them year round, not just when you're lounging outdoors? There are many benefits to large windows:
- More natural sunlight can change the mood of a room, and make you feel better. However adding more light to bedrooms might have a negative impact on sleeping according to the BBC.
- Allow more ventilation with larger window openings, or windows that are easier to open and close.
- Enjoy the outdoors more from great views to looking at your garden, along with the beauty of nature.
- Provide a beautiful focal point for any room, so you don't have to find a piece of art or furniture to fill that role.
- Increase your home's value and curb appeal, for when you sell your home.
- Keep your home comfortable with lower monthly utility costs when you pick energy efficient windows.
When you're getting replacement windows anyways, it's time to sit back and consider if a few bigger windows will make a difference. Take time to walk through your house one room at a time, and consider where it might make sense to change the location of a window or make it larger.
Sometimes you might simply want to change a window style. For example, one house with great views of a lake had these six tall, narrow windows where a single picture window would provide much better views.You should start by deciding from inside your home, which windows to change but don't forget to consider how they'll look on your home's exterior.
What's involved in making windows bigger, or even replacing a window with a sliding patio door? Don't get confused by the different parts of the window (Anatomy of a Window). The window sits inside framing that's called a rough opening and that will need to be larger too. Because windows (and exterior doors) are part of the outside supporting walls that support the second floor or attic, it helps to understand the framing around a window.
- A new header (top of the window) and rough sill (bottom of the window), will need to fit the new window width.
- New horizontal trim boards (above and below the window) outside the drywall will need to be replaced, and sometimes you'll have to replace the vertical boards too, to insure they match.
- Curtain rods will need to be extended, or exchanged for wider ones.
- Window treatments if covering the window's width, from blinds to curtains will also need to be replaced or modified for added width.
A change in window style will affect the cost of your replacement windows, higher or lower. Window prices if you make a window wider or taller, may not cost any more because window pricing is typically constant up to 101 “united inches or UI”, with an added charge per inch over this. You calculate UI = width + height, so a 2 x 4 ft window is 6 ft or 72 united inches. So if you're going from a 2 x 4 ft, double hung window up to a 3 x 5 ft window (96 united inches), the cost should be the same and if it's not, I might suggest moving on to another company.
Ideas for Larger Replacement Windows
So where might you add new and/or larger windows? There are many possibilities, including the following:
- Dark entryways and hallways can be made more welcoming.
- Clerestory windows over existing windows bring in more natural light as the sun rises and sets.
- Windows over the kitchen sink can be made larger vertically, or horizontally if you can spare the storage space.
- Windows in older homes are smaller, so they're great candidates for being replaced with larger windows.
- Windows in dining, living and family rooms that were designed for furniture, may be candidates for floor to ceiling windows.
- Larger bathroom windows can maintain privacy with stained glass or similar alternatives.
- Bedrooms used during the day by children, for home offices and/or hobbies may benefit from larger windows.