Doors and windows carry a heavy workload. Not only do they play a significant role in the aesthetics of your home, inside and out, they also shoulder the responsibilities of keeping people out, keeping your family safe, keeping your heating and air conditioning in and keeping the weather out. With that much responsibility, they deserve your respect and maybe some love, in terms of upgrades. Updating your interior doors, replacing your exterior doors, installing or repairing a garage door or even adding new windows and skylights can all be sound investments if done correctly. They key is planning. Connect with local door and window contractors to get free quotes or help plan a project.
Exterior doors must be durable enough to withstand wind, rain, sun, and would-be intruders, yet pretty enough to enhance the overall look of your home. Most doors combine several materials; for example, many fiberglass and steel doors have wood frames. But it's the surface material that most affects appearance, durability, security and price. Wood doors are the most common, but other alternatives are steel (great for security and durability), fiberglass composite (maintenance-free, good for humid climates) and aluminum (custom built). Picking the right exterior doors will pay off in smoother operation, less maintenance and energy savings. Continue Reading
Installing new interior doors is a sure-fire way to brighten your home. If the existing jambs are ruined, out of alignment or are just plain unattractive, install a pre-hung door unit, which comes attached to its jambs with the hinges already in place. These are a bit more expensive but are easier to hang. If your door jambs are in good shape and the door itself is all that needs to be replaced, you can purchase a door blank or slab to replace the one you're removing. This is just the door itself with no associated extras and is less expensive. You can also choose your type of door ranging from hollow-core (least expensive) to solid-core (great for keeping noise levels down and fire retardation).
Windows and Skylights
Skylights add architectural interest, inside and out, and allow natural light to come in through the ceiling. A skylight can be installed just for looks or as part of a passive-solar heating strategy. Do some research and youll find a wide variety of designs, materials and added components. One drawback is that, if installed incorrectly or with poor materials, skylights can leak around the edges or the glass can crack. For that reason, if youre going to have a skylight installed, go high end or not at all.
Conventional windows come in many varieties. The most important factor is weather resistance. More than 20 percent of the heating and cooling losses in the average home can be blamed on windows. Look for windows with the Energy Star label, indicating that they are energy efficient. Windows are rated by U-Factor. The lower the U-factor, the better, and often the more expensive. Paying more for better, more energy-efficient windows should save you a little bit in your utility bills, and that could be significant over time. But if youre into immediate gratification, know that better windows will make you feel more comfortable in your home.
The first decision to make is whether you want to pull open your garage or just use a clicker. Manual garages, though much cheaper and easier to install than their automatic counterparts, are quickly going the way of the passenger pigeon. Thats because of the convenience of the remote control. Its hard to resist. Automatic doors are generally sold separately from the openers, so make sure that theyre compatible. A heavy wood door for a three car garage is going to require significantly more horsepower than a metal single-car variety. Before you shop for your door, make sure you find out permits that are required and whether your neighborhood has any restrictions about colors or materials that can be used. Your contractor should be able to do this for you, but don't make any assumptions.
The cost of the doors will depend on the materials used, the style and the size. Some come with windows, which can add more visual interest, though they can be a security concern. Custom doors of irregular sizes could be significantly more expensive than standard doors. In much of American suburbia, the garage door is the homes most prominent feature, so, if youre planning a replacement, you might want to hire a professional and do it right.
TIP: Ask your contractor about applying weather-stripping to your garage. Its a great way to protect the interior of your garage from the elements.