Today, Americans are staying home for both the short and long term. As the main residence doubles as a “staycation” home, fixing up the fixer-upper has become a bigger priority. Window replacement has taken on a new dimension in importance.

“Economic conditions are forcing many consumers toward maintenance and improvement of their current homes, and they’re now focusing on practical vs. extravagant changes with an interest in quality products that will last,” says Craig Blomker, replacement marketing manager for Andersen Windows.

“Consumers are reengaging in home improvement projects,” says Kathy Krafka Harkema, corporate public relations manager for Pella Corporation. “They are starting to dream again and are tackling to-do lists that may have been put on the back burner.

“We’re seeing renewed interest in stay-at-home entertainment features like home theaters. Replacement windows that include room-darkening shades are a favorite option for media rooms … or bedrooms,” says Harkema.
“When customers replace a window in either of those rooms, they tend to replace with a larger or composite window but they still want to maintain control of natural light and privacy,” she says. Pella Designer Series windows feature blinds that are fitted between the panes of glass, and room-darkening blinds are one of 25 color and style choices.

Guardian Industries offers ClimaGuard SatinDeco, an energy-efficient glass product with an acid-etched, translucent quality. SatinDeco glass is manufactured using a unique acid-etching process that is permanent and durable. Acid is applied to the glass surface, actually dissolving part of the glass, resulting in a smooth, flat surface that disperses light. Guardian SatinDeco is available in combination with any of the company’s ClimaGuard Low-E glass products. ClimaGuard residential glass includes five Low-E products designed to meet specific solar- and energy-control needs, as well as ClimaGuard SPF for UV protection and ClimaGuard LamiGlass for sound protection and safety.

The DreamGlas Gallery Collection from Thermal Industries is a series of insulated vinyl replacement windows featuring decorative glass patterns with the look and texture of traditional stained glass. Thermal Industries created DreamGlas to help preserve the structural integrity and historical value of original building designs.

To allow natural air to flow without the annoyance of insects, Marvin Windows and Doors offers a concealed retractable screen on its Ultimate Casement line. The screen glides into position when it is needed and folds into the jamb when it is not. The retractable screen is available on the crank-out Ultimate Casement and Ultimate Awning.

When the screen is not in use, it is virtually indistinguishable from the window frame. The Hi Transparency screen is made from a fiberglass material that is tear- and dent-resistant.

The extruded screen frame from Simonton Windows features a newly designed water management system and integrated lift handles. The frames can also be color matched for a customized look with a window. “This durable screen frame features strong, staked corner keys that significantly reduce the tendency for a typical screen to warp, bow or distort,” says Joshua Wagner, product manager at Simonton Windows. Lift handles are integrated into the product’s profile and nested springs help ensure easy operation. The extruded screen comes standard on several Simonton replacement, new construction and impact-resistant products.

“We’re seeing more and more customers that are interested in architectural shapes, such as eyebrow, half round or eclipse, to differentiate and customize their home [moving away from white rectangles],” says Chris Pickering, vice president of marketing for Ply Gem Windows. “Windows are becoming an essential style element of the exterior of the home. Combined with products like siding and stone veneer, architecturally styled windows can make a big impact on the exterior look of the home. Adding windows or increasing the amount of windows in a home design can also help achieve a unique look.

“Expanding on that trend, exterior window colors are making an impact in the window remodeling market,” adds Pickering. “Color trends vary in the Eastern and Western United States, so Ply Gem looks to anticipate customer demand by offering color options exclusive to these regions. Combined with expanded exterior color offerings, incorporating interior wood grain laminates and SDL (simulated divided lites) into window design also enhance the look of windows both inside and out.”

Consumer Awareness

Combining the green properties of fiberglass with customer desire for real wood, Milgard now offers its Essence Series of windows and doors. “The awareness of fiberglass is increasing dramatically,” says Maureen Faccia, Milgard director of product management. “I think that’s because it’s a more green product combined with its design flexibility and energy efficiency, and a wider acceptance in the architect and design professional community.”

Milgard’s Essence Series of products feature fiberglass exterior and wood interior. Milgard has developed a patent pending system that virtually guarantees that water will stay away from the wood interior. Milgard offers the Essence Series in 15 different colors in lead times of three weeks or less.

“With the Milgard proprietary paint process, our fiberglass holds dark colors well and will be certified to the AAMA 623 standard for coatings on composites including fiberglass,” adds Faccia.

“When selecting home improvement products, including windows, homeowners are spending the time to research products and consequently are driving the most features and benefits for their money,” says Carole Reams, senior marketing manager for PGT.

“Homeowners are requiring more features and benefits in their home improvement selections and insisting on more value in their purchase decision,” adds Reams.

Atrium SafeHarbor is a full line of impact-resistant vinyl and aluminum windows and patio doors. SafeHarbor features a laminated glass system with .090-in. interlayer for impact resistance and outdoor sound suppression. The product’s insulated glass panels range from 3/4 to 1 in. with a warm edge spacer system for improved thermal performance, and its double reinforced interlocks resist weather infiltration. SafeHarbor single- and double-hung models have a block and tackle balance system for ease of movement. SafeHarbor is approved for hurricane impact zones along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts.

Silver Line Windows, now an Andersen company, has introduced flat exterior casing vinyl windows to its Series 3000 product line. Silver Line’s flat exterior casing emulates the appearance of traditional 1×4 wood casing, and is applied directly to the window at the factory for jobsite installation ease. The flat casing, with actual face dimensions of 3 3/8 in. wide, then functions as a “J” channel type siding return. It is available as a single, twin and triple combo unit, as well as on architectural shapes.

“Sustainability is much higher in people’s consciousness nowadays. It’s establishing itself beyond trend to a lifestyle,” says Andersen’s Craig Blomker.

The 100 Series windows and patio doors from Andersen Windows features recycled content that is certified by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) and ranges from a minimum of 18 to 24 percent preconsumer recycled glass and wood fiber content. The product is manufactured using the company’s patented Fibrex material, a sustainable structural composite blend including sawdust and polymer. Andersen 100 Series windows are available in single-hung, gliding, casement, awning and specialty fixed styles in more than 1,200 sizes and can be specified in more than 20,000 combinations.

Gorell’s 5402 Armor Max Plus (AMP) sliding window and 5405 AMP double-hung window recently passed strenuous Dade County impact testing. AMP windows incorporate three panes of glass, two of which sandwich a PVB interlayer. The glass is embedded into the sash to increase the structural integrity of the windows. AMP windows also include Gorell’s SolarControl Max Low-E coating and argon gas fill for thermal performance and energy cost savings. The windows, available in a number of design options, feature smooth white vinyl with dual millwork lines to complement the product’s profile.

“With the incentive of the federal stimulus tax credit, they are asking more questions about high-performance glass options,” says Cindy Bremer, director of marketing for Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork Co., Inc. “As renovation projects outpace new construction projects, homeowners are seeking long-term value in window products offering quality, durability and low maintenance.

“We expect continued focus on high performance, increased functionality, high-quality details and craftsmanship, and a drive toward unlimited options for truly personalized home designs,” says Bremer.

In response to customer demand for larger double-hung wood windows, Kolbe created its Majesta windows. These made-to-order units are available in sizes as large as 6 by 12 ft. with high-performance glass with a range of hardware, colors and finishes. All Majesta double-hung units are custom-made and the balances are matched to the size and weight of the sash, with stile and rail dimensions that are proportional in size. Several types of divided lites are available, as are matching single-hungs, radius and cottage style units. The Majesta window offers a double row of heavy-duty weatherstripping around all sides of the sash, plus a triple-glazed glass option.

Hurd Windows and Doors has introduced its Transcend line of replacement windows. The Transcend wood replacement window and patio door product line promises a high-quality, economical alternative in replacement options.

Two products within the Transcend line — sash kits and the H3 pocket window — allow the existing frame and trim to be left in place. Transcend is customizable, simple to install, and cost-effective. Transcend features Hurd’s ComfortGlaze glazing system, for more energy-efficient windows with Low-E 366 and triple glazing. The windows are available with self-cleaning glass and ClimaGuard SPF for sun control and fade protection.

“Currently, ARRA provides tax credits up to $1,500 for homeowners who replace their windows with qualified energy-efficient windows” says Les Stephens, product marketing manager for JELD-WEN. The “Cash for Caulkers” bill also is expected to provide more incentives for homeowners who wish to replace their windows, Stephens adds.

And if improved living pace, environmental protection and tax credits weren’t enough incentive, simple beautification remains a key driver. “Curb appeal is still just as important to homeowners today,” says Stephens. “JELD-WEN is seeing that nearly half of consumers today regard improving the overall appearance of their home as an important consideration in their decision to replace windows.”

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