Archive for the ‘Replacement Windows’ Category

Dressing Up Your New Zen Windows: Shutters And Blinds

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

If you’ve just done a tremendous favor for your home and its occupants by investing in a top-quality replacement window or glass door installation by Zen Windows Austin, then congratulations! But now you’re probably wondering what you can do to further enhance and show off these beautiful products. For that, you may need an introduction to the fascinating world of shutters and blinds. Yes, we know you’ve seen them everywhere, but actually selecting and installing them involves a few basic considerations.

Shutters, blinds, or both? Centuries ago, the words “shutters” and “blinds” were used interchangeably, sort of: Solid-panel shutters were called shutters, while louvered shutters were called blinds. These days we reserve the term “blinds” for interior structures that can be pulled up or down with a cord, as opposed to interior shutters which are fixed to a frame. Both shutters and blinds have slats that can be rotated by a control rod, letting you determine how much light you let in (or how many prying eyes you keep out). Swinging glass doors can also be fitted with interior shutters in a variety of colors.

If you’re just concerned about light control and privacy, then blinds may be all you need to enhance your windows or glass doors. But if you also want to beautify your windows while protecting them against the elements, then you should purchase exterior shutters as well.

Measurements matter. Proper fit is critical if you want good-looking, functional shutters and blinds. For starters, shutters must be measured so that they’ll fit inside the window frame perfectly when closed. But you also need to consider the “throw“, or swing angle, of the shutters when they open. Ideally, the shutter’s edge should line up slightly outside the inner edge of the casing when open – not on the casement’s inner edge or outer edge. The inner edge of the shutter should also have approximately 1.5 inches of standoff from the casement, instead of leaning flush against it.

Measuring your blinds is equally important, otherwise you’ll end up with part of your window uncovered, or with a ridiculous-looking blind that hangs loosely beyond the bottom of the window frame. But cutting blinds to fit is a tricky business because your window dimensions might not be perfectly even, or the house may have settled imperfectly. You may need to make multiple measurements, followed up with a bit of final trimming after the blinds are installed.

Appearance matters too. Many homes have non-functional exterior shutters attached purely for aesthetic value. That’s fine as long as they actually look like shutters – but if you tack them up at uneven distances, or in an unrealistic relationship to the frame, they’ll just look goofy. Additionally, make sure the shape of the shutters matches that of the window (take note, arched-window owners). Why advertise the fact that your shutters are just for show?

With a little thought and planning, you can give your terrific new Zen Windows the stylish setting they – and you – deserve. Have fun!

3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Do Your Own Austin Window Installation

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

Everybody’s good at something, whether it’s cooking five-course meals or eating five-course meals. And just as those blessed with a “green thumb” can apparently do no wrong in a garden, there are people with a natural gift for do-it-yourself home improvement projects. If you were practically born with a hammer in your hand, congratulations. Not only have you found a hobby you love, but you’ve probably saved quite a bit of money in labor costs over the years as well. You might even feel completely at ease with the idea of performing your own Austin window installation. But while we’re obviously biased on the subject here at Zen Windows Austin, allow us to point out some reasons you probably shouldn’t try it.Before And After

1. You may buy the wrong products for the job. To a general handyman or amateur builder, a window is a window – apart from selecting the right shape and dimensions, you can’t really go too far wrong. But the problem is, you can. Sure, you can probably find a basic window that fits the wall space, and you may also be tempted by an irresistibly low price. But you may end up regretting your decision over time, especially if that cheap window does a typically poor job of insulating your home against heat and cold.

Do you know how to choose among double-paned or low-E windows? Are you well versed in U values or other measures? Do you understand the pros and cons of different types of windows, such as casements or awnings versus picture windows? If the answer to any of those questions is no, then you need the advice of a professional window installation company.

2. You might install right over a lurking problem. Your home brewed window installation went perfectly as far as you could tell; the whole thing seemed like a no-brainer for someone with your natural DIY skills. Unfortunately, a little more brain, a closer eye, and some experience might have come in even handier in catching that patch of mold working its way through your drywall. Oh, and all that lead-paint dust you kicked up? You probably shouldn’t have done that. Oh, and about those signs of termite infestation….

You get the point. Professional window installers can spot those red flags and let you know whether you need to have other kinds of work done in your home before (or alongside) your window installation. Moisture-related mold trouble is especially common near leaky windows – exactly the type of conditions that might prompt a window replacement.

3. Where’s your labor guarantee? Your new windows might carry a generous manufacturer’s warrantee – but what guarantee do you have on your own labor? When you let a professional install your windows, you’re protected against any deficiencies or mistakes in the work performed. Our Zen Guarantee covers parts and labor for the lifetime of your windows, and when you need repairs, we’re there for you. So when you’re ready to install a new window, put those tools down and pick up the phone to contact us!

The Lowdown On Low-E Glass

Friday, April 17th, 2015

If you’re like most homeowners, you want as much control over your internal/external temperatures as possible, not only for your family’s comfort but also for the sake of your utility budget. It’s one thing simply to stuff a bunch of insulation inside solid walls, but what the heck are you supposed to do about your windows? Glass is a great material for transferring heat and cold from one side to another – which is exactly what you don’t want. Well, here at Zen Windows Austin we have a couple of different strategies for dealing with that issue. We can set you up with double-pane, argon-insulated windows, or we can install windows containing low-E glass.

Low-E GlassLow-E glass is fascinating stuff, but how it’s made and how it works requires some explanation – starting with the name. “Low-E” is short for “low emissivity“, and emissivity is the amount of radiant thermal energy (a.k.a. heat) a substance allows to pass through it. Think of reflectivity as its opposite. The more reflective a surface is, the less emissivity it has and vice versa. Normal, non-tinted glass has an extraordinarily high emissivity rating of 0.91. Shiny metals such as aluminum and silver, however, have emissivity levels at or below 0.02.

Can you see where this is going? Low-E glass has been coated with a transparent, unbelievably thin layer of silver or tin oxide particles. This layer acts just like the shiny surfaces of a Thermos bottle. It reflects heat radiating outward back inward, preserving the interior warmth of your home on cold days. It also reflects incoming radiant energy to bounce that heat away instead of allowing it to get in, keeping your home cooler on those hot Austin days.

There are two different methods for making low-E glass, and which type of glass you choose will have some influence on the results you get. Passive low-E glass is produced through a pyrolytic process in which a tin oxide coating is fused onto large sheets of manufactured glass before the glass has been cooled and cut into specific sizes. MSVD low-E glass is made by a different process known as magnetron sputtering vacuum deposition. A silver-based layer is added to the already-cut glass and then sealed inside another layer of lamination. The low-E layer or layers can be added to face one direction or both directions, providing one-way or two-way effects.

What’s the bottom-line difference between passive versus MSVD glass in terms of temperature control? Passive low-E glass will have a higher U value than MSVD low-E glass, meaning that it does a better job of keeping warmth in than keeping it out. (This makes it great for cold climates.) MSVD glass is also called “solar control” glass because its strength lies in the opposite direction; it has a higher solar heat gain coefficient, which makes it more effective in blocking incoming heat from the sun’s rays than passive low-E glass. Zen Windows Austin can help you choose the right low-E glass for your Austin window replacements – just ask!