I just had three more windows in my home measured for replacement. My house came with single-pane windows with the exception of the front window, which while double paned, came with broken seals and were fogging up. In fact, I did not know how badly my view was obstructed until the window was replaced and I noticed it looked a lot different from before, realizing after several minutes that my view was crystal clear!
The windows slated for replacement face the south in my living room and dining area/kitchen. The one in the living room is so damaged, I need a board to prop up the top sash. Both sets of windows are so leaky, a breeze comes through the windows. Yesterday, the wind was strong and cold, and I could clearly feel it in my house.
However, there are more costs than just the windows themselves and the labor to install them. There is also the trim around the window (which needs to be stained and varnished prior to installation), staining and varnishing of the window, and new window treatments. This can add at least 15% cost on top of the cost of the windows alone and depending on your choice, either quite a bit of time on your part or additional expenses. Today, I will cover the issue of window coverings.
When I bought my house, all the windows were covered with neutral-colored blinds--unexciting but functional. However, between the lack of functionality of the windows and the barely adequate window coverings, I had a lot of heat gain in the summer and not enough darkness during the night.
My front replacement window came with a low-emissivity (low-E) coating as I requested. With no tree in front of this East-facing window, my living room heated up quite quickly in the summer. The low-E coating has made a difference, but I also installed thermal-backed curtains as my window covering of choice. They would keep out the unwanted heat in the summer and help protect against cold in the winter. Since my living room also has a South-facing window, I believed the thermal curtains would be useful there even if it was a single pane window.
However, this purchase required me to do more than choose curtains that would work well with the colors in my furniture and that of my wall. I also needed to purchase and install a traverse rod for the curtain. This required a stud finder, measuring tape and a power drill, the most use I have gotten out of my drill since my dad gifted it to me five years ago. This was tougher than I expected, but I did manage to install a large rod spanning a 116" window and one for a 45" window.
With kitchen window replacement looming, I realized I needed to make a decision about with what to replace the cream-colored plastic blinds currently installed. I cringed when I realized the person who installed all these blinds choose to screw them into the wood trim. I refused to damage woodwork in my quest for new window treatments. However, curtains would not work in the space as the window trim is a few inches from a door and from a corner. After a lot of searching on the JCPenney web site, my source for window treatments, I decided on a cordless Roman shade.
I had installed two Roman shades in my bedroom, which really cut down in the light coming into the room. I also knew they did a decent job at insulating the window, but with a cord, it made it difficult to deal with in the tight space I had in the kitchen. The cordless Roman shade seemed like the answer and I chose a light neutral color.
Aside from the time needed to install the new window treatments, there is also the cost associated. If you make curtains or other window treatments, you are likely to save money. As it stands, my window treatments cost between 8-10% of the windows themselves. I chose to buy my window treatments for convenience. Plus, I am not confident in my ability to sew thermal curtains or shades. Window treatments can also be more expensive than what I chose, but I selected items I could afford and fit both my windows and my wall color.
In my second post, I discuss the issues involved with buying new trim (or stripping old trim), staining and varnishing both trim and windows.