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Win-win renovations | Retrofit Windows

There are esthetic reasons to upgrade windows and doors. They provide an architectural focal point, define a room’s shape and let the sunshine in while adding curb appeal.

But according to Fran Paull of Windows Unlimited, most homeowners are motivated to change their windows and doors because they are tired of throwing money out the window, literally.

They are interested in saving money on energy costs.

Older homes do not have the type of energy-efficient windows that are available now.

Old-fashioned windows and leaky doors can account for as much as 30 percent of heat loss in the home which increases energy use and costs, not to mention creating uncomfortable drafts in the colder months and unbearable hot spots in the summer.

Energy-efficient windows provide savings on utility bills while increasing comfort and reducing noise levels from outside the home. They have less condensation in cold weather, and allow fewer ultraviolet rays to pass through glazed areas.

Thanks to the federal government’s new tax credit, there may never be a better time to replace windows and doors and to do other home renovations than this year. Homeowners can claim a tax credit worth up to $1,350 on renovation expenses on their 2009 tax returns.

In addition, the ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program provides homeowners with grants of up to $5,000 to offset the cost of making energy-efficiency improvements such as upgrading windows and doors.

Homeowners are also interested in saving their time and energy for doing things they enjoy. They are replacing wooden window parts and casements with vinyl ones that are maintenance free, says Paull.

Windows Unlimited carries Seymour doors and windows, which are made in North Bay. These energy-efficient products are made from 100 percent solid vinyl. They never need painting and are easy to clean. The vinyl is guaranteed to maintain its shape and colour under the most severe weather conditions. A 20-year warranty on glass and lifetime warranty on hardware ensures  satisfaction for years to come.

Paull advises customers to invest in the best quality doors and windows that they can afford.  “If you buy the best the first time around, you shouldn’t have to replace them,” she says.
Windows Unlimited is a supplier of Loewen windows. Paull calls them “the Mercedes of windows.”
Made in Steinbach, Man., Loewen frames and sashes are made with durable Douglas fir, a tightly grained soft wood that has a resistance to moisture absorption, decay and insect infestation. Loewen premium windows have a 20-year warranty on glass and a 10 -year warranty on hardware.

Windows Unlimited has expanded its retail store on Falconbridge Rd. to display sunroom models. Sunrooms and enclosed sun porches have become very popular in recent years, says Paull.

These economical home additions add living space to the home and soon become the family’s favourite room. Northerners want to take advantage of the sunshine as much as they can.

It’s part of the outdoor living trend that also includes outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, and upscale patios furnished with comfy sofas and wicker tables.

Sunspace-screened rooms with vinyl windows are designed to protect from wind, rain, insects and harmful UV rays. These enclosures can be directly installed onto an existing patio or deck or under a previously constructed roof. They are custom-designed to fit the specifications of a home’s architecture and local building codes.

These rooms can be used spring, summer and fall. In addition to sunrooms, Windows Unlimited is offering customers a selection of patio furniture. Paull points to the new Redwell infrared heating systems for sunrooms that heat walls and radiate warmth. These systems hang on walls and are “disguised” as mirrors, artwork or chalkboards.

For most homeowners replacing windows and doors or building a sun porch will be a once in a lifetime experience. Mistakes are costly. So, it’s important to do a little research, and then find a knowledgeable and dependable supplier.

Of course, since Windows Unlimited has qualified and experienced staff–Paull has been in the window and door business since 1986 and the company was established in 1982–it isn’t really necessary to know a bow from a bay window or a Dutch door from a French one.

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