Windows and Exterior doors | Rough
plumbing HVAC & gas lines |Rough
electrical | 4-way
There are several options when choosing exterior doors
and windows for your home. Doors and windows are a
important design element to your home. They are also
important because much of your heat loss can be attributed
to doors and windows. Security is also an important
issue. Make your selection based on your priorities.
Installation is usually done by the framers and this
should be specified in the contract.
Wood- Wood is the traditional material for doors.
Solid wood doors are beautiful, strong and add character
to your home. The disadvantages are that wood needs
maintenance. Staining and finish will wear and need
recoating every few years depending the climate and
use. They can warp over time but if properly sealed
that usually isn't a problem. Solid exterior wood
doors are usually the most expensive.
Steel exterior doors are very popular. The doors are
skinned with steel and have an insulated interior.
They are low maintenance, resist warping, provide
good security, and have fairly good insulation values.
Steel doors are also a good value for the money. The
disadvantages are that steel can rust in humid areas,
and can be dented easily although the damage can be
repaired with auto body filler.
Fiberglass doors are a new trend in building, and
gaining popularity fast. They have all the advantages
of steel but almost none of the drawbacks. They don't
rust, they won't dent, and they have a good insulation
value. The outer skin can also imitate the texture
of wood doors. Fiberglass doors are generally more
expensive than steel, and often comparable to the
lights- When deciding on a front entry, side
lights (windows) are a popular combination with the
door. The door assembly will come with sidelights
attached and the rough framed opening accommodates
the whole unit. Choose a front door assembly that
will add to the character and design of your home.
Wood- Although wood windows are the most expensive
choice. They are often the best too. They have a low
U value (better insulation) because wood is a good
insulator. They are generally made of pine or hemlock.
Wood windows are beautiful but they cost two to three
times as much as vinyl.
Generally the best value for the money. Vinyl windows
have good insulating value and are inexpensive. They
are generally available in white off-white and light
brown colors, white is the least expensive.
about the same price as vinyl you can purchase aluminum
framed windows. Aluminum windows are durable, but
poor insulators compared to wood or vinyl windows.
They are not popular in many areas because aluminum
is not a good insulator.
combination/aluminum-Most of the combination
windows combine wood interior with a vinyl or aluminum
exterior. Generally these windows are found on custom
homes. Price is similar to wood windows. The exterior
is very durable because it is clad with aluminum or
When purchasing windows there are upgrades that can
be purchased to improve their performance. Here are
the most popular upgrades.
E- low E windows are windows that have a
film sandwiched between the layers of glass. The film
reflects heat into the house during the heating season,
and block UV rays in the summer, keeping the house
cool. Low E film costs about $15-20 extra for an average
window but is well worth the money..
Gas- window panes filled with argon gas have
a better insulating value than air filled panes. However,
some experts argue that the gas will dissipate over
time and lose its effectiveness.
pane-modern residential windows are usually
double pane, meaning that two layers of glass are
bonded together with a 1/2" gap between them.
This gap greatly increases the insulation factor of
the glass. Triple pane windows have three layers bonded
together, resulting in two separate gaps . They are
better insulators, but quite a bit more expensive.
-State that your framer will install exterior doors
-If the framer is providing exterior doors and windows,
include brand, model and type of windows in the specs.
-Specify the type of membrane to seal or shield around
the windows. "Ice and water shield" is a
-Inspect the reveal on the inside of the door. The
reveal should be equal along the top and sides of
the closure strip from the outside. Inspect the top
and the side edge (latch side) from top to bottom,
no gap should be present.
installation instructions from the window manufacturer.
Windows that are improperly installed will void their
-Windows are easily stolen if left unsecured. Have
the windows delivered the day that they will be installed.
the windows stored in an area that they won't be easily
exterior doors are installed you must protect them.
Cover front doors and sidelights with cardboard or
foam or they will get damaged.
sure your framer puts a 2x4 for temporary support
under the threshold to prevent damage.
the windows arrive, remove the screen and store them
in the basement or elsewhere. Screens invariably get
damaged during the construction process.
-Low E film is a good option. Gas filled panes are
-Shop around for the best pricing.
-Often window manufacturers have specials on "seconds"
or windows that were made to the wrong size. As long
as they are warranted, they might be a bargain.