European Influences on North American Window Design

European Influences on North American Window Design

Are you considering an upgrade for your windows and doors? The time might be now, but first, we suggest you read our blog: 6 Questions To Ask Before Installing New Windows and Doors. If you’ve read through that post and feel like it is time, the next thing you have to consider is what kind of windows and doors you want to get. Over the past few years, we’ve noticed a lot of European Influence making it’s way into North American window design. We compiled a quick list of reasons for this influence:

European windows and doors are beautiful!

If you’ve already begun shopping around you, know that European window and door designs are unmatched by North American models. Since the European style is not widely known (or recognized) by North Americans, choosing to European Windows instantly adds character to any home.

European windows and doors are versatile!

When researching North American windows and doors versus European windows and doors, one of the first things you will notice is versatility. European designs are much more functional that North American designs - such as the tilt and turn window. The tilt and turn window can be opened two ways because the hardware inside the frame allows the window to be either opened from the top (tilt) or the side (turn).

European windows and doors are more safe and efficient!

European windows have long been praised for their superior safety and energy efficient features. Because European windows are designed to be opened in many different ways, they have multiple locking points and dual weather seals. These elements give them superior air and water tightness, as well as multiple locking points that act as added security. Furthermore, North American windows and doors are either ‘open’ or ‘closed.' Whereas European windows are designed to allow filtered air into a home through the sides, allowing warm air to escape out of the home through the top. So, what’s coming? Well, we anticipate a shift in the industry, with more and more home and business owners looking to European-inspired design and functionality when it’s time to replace their windows. If you’re a residential homeowner who wants to replace your windows and doors with European models, it can sometimes be a challenge. We can assure you that our professional windows installers will help you choose the perfect windows and doors for your home, as well as expertly install them while keeping disruptions to a minimum. If you have any questions for us, please feel free to leave a comment, send us an email, or call to speak with one of our installers. We are always happy to help! Also, if you are looking for an upgrade, we suggest heading over to the planning and design section of our website. Let us help you create your ideal new windows and doors.
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Beautiful high tech windows in a modern room

Are Smart Windows the Way of the Future?

For starters, when you put the word ‘smart’ in front of anything nowadays, you can expect it is certainly the way of the future.  Just like smartphones and smart TVs, smart windows have capabilities far greater than the existing type, it just keeps getting better and smarter.  It’s functionality is pretty much effortless and it is designed to predict human preferences with the slightest touch of temperature.   What is a Smart Window? Smart windows is sometimes called dynamic glass or switchable glass. The technology has been around for almost 20 years and you may be familiar with them in the form of transitional lenses for eyeglasses. However, on a larger scale smart window replacements are made of glass that generally changes from translucent to transparent.  The glass on smart windows can be electronically tuned to selectively block heat, light or glare by quickly changing from clear to tinted. There are several types of smart window technologies that are currently being developed and tested such as,  electrochromic, photochromic, thermochromic, polymer dispersed liquid crystal, and more.  To keep things simple, we’ll stick with considering only the way smart window replacements function compared to traditional window types.  For now, smart windows are activated with an electronic switch, but it won’t be surprising if some type of voice activation is introduced soon! Here are some of the benefits of smart windows:
  • It would eliminate the need for  blinds and shades.  SInce the smart glass can selectively change to provide tint, there would be no need to purchase curtains or custom blinds for your home.
  • Smart windows preserve daytime and nighttime views
  • People can enjoy shading on-demand.  
  • Minimize glare in the room, particularly while watching daytime TV in a room with large windows.
  • They could generate huge savings on heating and cooling costs
  • Maximize daylighting
  • Protecting the colour on fabric furnishings from fading
  • Provides the same level of privacy as completely closed curtain or blinds would
All the benefits seem too good to be true so, what's keeping smart windows from becoming mainstream?  The cost. Currently the market for smart glass is finding it’s way into commercial buildings however, residential smart glass is expected to cost about two or three times as much as conventional glass.  However, similar to other advances in technology, the cost is likely to drop with further research and development into the product.  Remember when you couldn’t get a flat screen TV for under $1000? Now, you could buy one anywhere from $200 and up.   When the cost of smart windows  reaches an affordable rate for the average homeowner, surely, smart windows would be a popular choice when considering window replacements, not to mention it would be a really good investment into the value of the home. For more information on affordable quality window replacements for your home, contact Thermo-Bilt windows and door replacement experts in Toronto at 416-756-0798 or online.  Get a free quote and consultation with no obligation.
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Beautiful windows in an empty room

How New Windows Can Improve Home Security

Style and efficiency are typically the main things people consider when planning on replacing their windows in their home.  Well, how about safety and security?  Making the decision to replace your windows is an important decision. When making this decision, you should not only consider the energy efficiency, style, and design of the windows but also the level of security it provides.  You should inspect the windows and doors in your home often to ensure they are not showing any signs of damage to the window itself, the casing, or the frame,  Any signs of damage to the window, the casing, or the frame could mean your home is vulnerable to unwanted guests and is probably not as energy efficient as you need it to be. Did you know that windows are the weakest point of entry in the home?  When you’re ready to consider replacement windows, you should contact a windows and door replacement expert for your inquiries.  They can help you choose a highly secure window type without distracting from their appearance at all.  With the right information, securing your home with replacement windows doesn’t have to be a big budget project. Lock Mechanism One of the first things you should ask about is the lock mechanism and how it works.  The lock should be quite easy to function and most importantly it should provide you with complete peace of mind that it’s going to do a great job of keeping out intruders.   Reinforced Glass Burglars tend to choose the path of least resistance.  You can install an invisible security window film that makes them a lot more difficult to break.  
  • Tempered glass is one of the best ways to reinforce your windows because it is much more durable than traditional glass.  It’s a little more expensive than traditional glass however, it does provide added security and is the least expensive option for reinforced glass.  
  • Laminated glass is another great option.  It consists of a layer of vinyl between two sheets of regular glass.  To break through this type of reinforced window, the intruder would have to strike the window multiple time in the same spot, also creating a lot of noise and disruption.  The intruder is likely to run off or get caught before they could even penetrate the window enough to create an opening.
Casement Windows Casement windows function with a crank on the inside of the window.  They open and close similar to the motion of a door.  These types of windows are considered the most secure type of window because, with no way to turn the crank from the outside.  If a casement window is closed tightly and locked, it’s pretty much impossible for an intruder to enter through this type window.  No added hardware or external lock is needed to make this window any more secure that how it’s already built. Double-Hung Windows This is a classic style window, it slides vertically up and down.  This type of window has two operable sashes which allows you the option of opening the upper sash for ventilation.  Typically this would be the preferred window type for families with small children because it is the safest and most convenient for ventilating air into the room by opening only the upper window, the part that is unreachable for children.  When the lock is engaged, it holds both sashes in place so they cannot move.   For more information on replacement windows to improve home security, contact Thermo-Bilt windows and door replacement experts in Toronto at 416-756-0798 or online.  Get a free quote and consultation with no obligation.
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Beautiful white bow window fitted in a bright living room from the inside looking out

How to Tell it is Time to Replace your Home’s Windows

Not sure if it is time to invest in replacement windows? Maybe your reasons are aesthetic. Upgrading an old look can have you falling in love with your house again. Replacement windows can also add to the value of your home. It may be easy to tell if your windows look old, but you may feel less confident about understanding the functional reasons for installing replacement windows. If so, look for these clues around your home to help you determine whether or not you should make the switch to new windows. Visible Damage The first indication you may need replacement windows is that your current windows are not looking their best. Over time water may warp your window’s frames or cause the wood to rot. You may also find cracks in the window’s seals. These issues can have a serious impact on the functionality of your windows. If the seal is cracked then your window’s functionality will be diminished, driving up your heating bills in winter and cooling bills in summer. Warped frames make opening and closing your windows frustrating and complicated. In some cases, even unsafe. Windows often function as an emergency exit. The absolute last thing you want in a fire or flood is to be trapped by a faulty window. At a certain point investing in replacement windows becomes a matter of investing in the safety of your home. Your window’s locks are another safety concern. It is easier to get a good night’s sleep if you are confident your windows are structurally sound with working locks. Repair Bills Repairs can be a hassle and over time the costs associated with repair – tools, parts and labour – can add up to more than a set of replacement windows. This is especially true with older windows. Depending on the age of your windows, replacement parts may become harder and harder to find. You may have to throw in the towel and opt for new windows instead. Draft Broken windows will let in a draft, making heating and cooling your home more difficult and expensive. Finding a draft isn’t always as obvious as you may think. Whistling is a good indicator that your window is not insulating well. If you don’t hear whistling but still suspect a window is letting in a draft, light a candle and hold it in front of the suspected area. A draft will cause the flame to flicker. Installing draft reducing replacement windows saves you money on your energy bill and keeps you comfortable. Fading If you notice fabrics, (like your curtains, your couch) or artwork around your home looking less vibrant then your windows might be the culprit. Different types of windows block different amounts of the sun’s harmful UV rays. Single-pane glass does the poorest job of stopping these rays and if you notice severe damage to your belongings this could be the reason. Older houses also tend to have single pane glass. When researching replacement windows consider where you keep valuable furniture and heirlooms. With these tips you’ll be better equipped to make a decision about whether it’s time for a window repair or to install replacement windows.
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Condensation on the inside of two newly fitted casement windows

Why is there Condensation in My Home’s Window?

Foggy windows obscure your view and if left unchecked, the condensation build up can spoil more than that. Excessive condensation can lead to structural damage. The window’s frame and sill can warp and begin functioning poorly. You could even be so unlucky as to develop a problem with mold and mildew. It may be especially frustrating if this happens after installing replacement windows throughout your home. Ironically, condensation on the inside of your windows is a good sign. Condensation occurs when warm air meets a cold surface, moisture from the warm air becomes liquid again. Your replacement windows reduce drafts and so indoor air retains more moisture. As humidity increases, so does condensation. This type of condensation is actually not a problem with your windows – but an issue with the ventilation in your home. Instead, when it comes to your windows what is more concerning is finding moisture between window panes. A double paned window holds a layer of gas between the two panes of glass. Condensation occurs when the window’s seal has broken, air has been allowed in and it condenses on the interior of the window’s two panes. This is when you window has failed and you should consider replacement windows. How does this happen? Your windows work harder for you than you know. That gas in between the window panes expands and contracts as it heats up during the day and cools down at night. This temperature fluctuation creates pressure and that pressure is one factor in causing the window’s seal to break. Windows on the sunnier side of the home experience wider temperature swings and therefore, experience more stress. How can I tell if the seal is broken? Seeing the moisture build up is not the only way to detect a broken seal. There is another visible sign that the moisture causes. It leaves calcium on the glass in the form of a white film. This film usually indicates a broken seal and is particularly unsightly. Issues with a broken window seal may be harder to detect on windows located in the shade. Condensation usually occurs after the window has been heated by direct sunlight. Why do I need replacement windows? The condensation obscures your view, which is reason enough to replace your windows. For some, the view is the best part of their home. Replacement windows add value to your home by replacing the irritating condensation and unpleasant calcium build-up that may spoil one of your property’s best selling-points. Water droplets carve grooves into your window through a process known as riverbedding. The water follows narrow paths and over time erodes the glass to create visible grooves in your window. If you see this happening, then you should replace your windows right away. Condensation between your window panes or riverbedding are signs that your windows are not functioning as they should. Your windows should insulate your home and provide a barrier to cold air, but a broken seal prevents your windows from performing this task effectively. Installing replacement windows will keep your home running efficiently and affordably.
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Beautiful white sliding windows fitted in a living room from the outside looking in

3 Things to Know When Looking for the Best Window Replacement Companies

When planning home renovations, windows are an important factor, especially if you’re renovating with energy efficiency in mind. There are a number of different models on the market that can help to properly insulate your house, cut down on drafts as well as outside noise. When choosing new windows for your home, because of all the choices out there, it’s best to approach your decision with basic things in mind. You want to get the right windows for your home that will do what you need them to for the best price. Are your current windows old? Are the frames rotting away? Then you may want to pay special attention to the material of your new windows and pick something with a little less upkeep that will last a long time. Vinyl windows are a good option because of their durability. If you’re more concerned with energy efficiency, then you’ll want to look into the different types of window coating which help improve your insulation. Whatever your needs, here are some things you should know when looking to replace your windows at the best price per window. 1. Price Doesn't Necessarily Indicate Performance Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to spend more to get more. You can pay less for top quality windows. Depending on the type of window you’re looking for, you may find that you don’t need to spend top dollar to get what you need. You’d be surprised at some of the great quality windows that are affordable. The best option is to look at consumer reports and see which windows tested the best - it isn’t always the most expensive. 2. Match your windows to your climate Climate is an important consideration. Living in Canada, you’re not going to want to choose a window that has poor insulation or doesn’t seal up tightly since we spend the majority of our year in the cold. 3. Energy Efficiency When looking for windows consider the Energy Star rating. There are two numbers that are important specifically to choosing a window with our climate in mind. The first is the U factor, which is usually between 0.20 to 1.20. The lower the number the better the window is at keeping heat in. The second number is the solar heat gain coefficient which is between 0 and 1, and indicates how efficient the window is at keeping out heat from the sun. The higher the number, the better the window is at letting heat in, which is better for people who live in colder climates. 4, Don't Overpay on Options When looking at options, it’s best to choose based on what will bring the best value. Upgrades can easily add 50 per cent or more to your base cost. For instance, Low-E coatings improve efficiency, but adding triple glaze probably isn’t necessary as well, unless you live in extremely cold climates. There are also options that will help make cleaning your windows easier, let more light in, etc. Choose the options that you really need to save yourself money by opting out of the rest. There are a lot of window choices and options out there. Consider what elements are most important to you when making your choice. Whether it’s energy efficiency, a low price per window or noise and UV filtration, do some research before choosing the right windows for your home.
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The anatomy of a window explained with lines pointing to the part of the window

The Anatomy of a Replacement Window

Choosing to replace your windows is an important first step towards improving your home. You’ll need to consider the type of window installation, the best type of Energy Star rating for your needs and of course which type of window material you’d like to use. All these decisions will come down to the goals for your home when replacing your windows. To make smart choices you’ll need to do your research first and understand the anatomy of windows and the elements of a window installation. Let’s break it down and look at what each part of the window does so you have the knowledge you need to choose the right window for your home. Window Frames The window frame is one of the most important elements of a window, it’s like the window’s skeleton. Frames provides the structure for the rest of the window. If your current frame is still solid you may not have to replace it, however, if your current frame is starting to rot than you will definitely need to replace the window frame as well as the window itself. Cladding is a protective covering placed over the frame of the window and comes in several different materials. It’s important to know about each type of cladding:
  • Fiberglass is a very low maintenance frame material that is cost effective and can be made to match your home’s architectural style.
  • Vinyl is one of the most energy efficient types of window frames because of its tight fit and ability to trap air. Vinyl also require less maintenance than wood since it is UV resistant and usually costs less than wood.
  • Aluminum is an effective material for your window frame because it is long lasting, durable, low maintenance and usually the least expensive material.
Instead of cladding you can also use wood for the covering around your window frame. Wood can’t be beat for its natural beauty. When the right wood is used you get a very solid frame full of details you can’t find in other materials. Wood does tend to be more expensive and requires regular maintenance since it’s vulnerable to sun, rain and rot. Sash The sash is the part of the window that moves. In some window models the sash tilts, allowing for easier cleaning. Insulated Glass This is also known as double glazing or in some cases, triple glazing. The space in between the glass panes is filled with either air or an insulating gas such as argon. Despite the name, Consumer Reports suggests that insulated glass isn’t the most cost effective way to insulate your windows. You’re better off making them airtight over paying extra for insulated glass. Low-E Coating Low-E coating stands for low emissivity glass and refers to the coating of the glass pane with a layer of material that minimizes the amount of ultraviolet and infrared light passing through the window. Glass by nature is not a very good insulator, manufacturers coat the glass with a Low-E coating to improve its ability to insulate. Grilles Grilles are the decorative patterns placed on glass and they come in many different styles. When considering purchasing new windows it’s important to understand the different parts of a window so that you can make an informed decision during your window installation. Contact the experts at Thermo Bilt to learn more about choosing the right windows for your home.  
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Beautiful ceiling to wall window-panes illuminating a spacious living room

5 Reasons to Upgrade Your Home’s Windows This Season

Replacing your home’s windows might sound like a big task, but this one upgrade will save you money on your hydro bill, reduce outside noise and add value to your home in more ways than one. Is there any other upgrade that can give you so much? Save money on energy bills One thing’s for certain, your hydro bills aren’t getting any smaller, if anything, they seem to be rising no matter what you do to try to reduce your consumption. Switching to LEDs, reducing phantom power (power used by appliances that are off but still plugged in), even running cold water cycles and doing laundry during off peak hours are great ways to reduce energy consumption. But you’ll get more bang for your buck through hydro bill savings when you upgrade your windows. Window companies have found that air leaks account for 25 per cent of heating costs.  Eliminating these leaks will not only keep your home warmer and more comfortable, it will also help reduce your bi-monthly hydro bill. Stop Drafts You know all about drafts if you’ve ever lived in an older home. As soon as the cold hits you suddenly find yourself steering clear of your windows and doors. Old leaky windows not only rob you of your comfort in winter, they rob you of hard earned cash as well. As mentioned, air leaks account for up to one quarter of your home’s energy loss. That’s a lot of wasted energy! And the worst part is air leaks aren’t the easiest things to fix. You may not always find exactly where the air leak is. The best solution is simply to replace your windows, not only will you eliminate the drafts, but over time your savings will pay for the windows themselves. Make Your Home Quieter Do you live on a busy street? Can you hear the highway in the distance? Ever wonder if there’s an easy way to fix that? Over time, as your house shifts, your windows may slip out of place, leaving tiny gaps that allow sound in. A great way to fix this issue is by replacing your windows and making sure they are tightfitting when they are installed so there are no gaps. If you live in an older house and have single pane windows, adding a double pane with laminated glass can drastically reduce outside noise. New Style Windows Easier to Clean Than Old Windows Old windows usually aren’t just one pane, they’re several. Squeegees? Forget about it! They’re usually too big to fit your windows, meaning you have to wash the whole thing by hand, which can be time consuming, especially if you’re planning to do the outside as well. If you are planning to upgrade your windows, there are newer technologies out there that allow your windows to stay cleaner longer by harnessing the power of the sun’s UV rays. Look for coated glass options. Make Your Home More Attractive Nothing adds to the aesthetic of your home like replacing your windows. Not only does it freshen the face of your home, but it adds value and makes it more attractive to potential buyers as well. Wood frames, which is what most older homes use, may eventually rot no matter how much love you give them. Talk to window companies in your area about the benefits of replacing your windows. Most will offer a free quote. Shop around, then come to the experts at Thermo Bilt Windows, who can help you choose a window that will meet your needs, save you energy and keep your home insulated and warm for years to come.  
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