Comfort King FAQ
As your trusted Ottawa window and door installer for nearly 40 years, Comfort King Windows and Doors has the information you need to make wise decisions regarding your home. Find answers to many questions frequently asked by our customers. If you need more information – simply call, stop by our showroom or fill out our contact form. We are happy to assist you!
Q: I have condensation on my windows. Why is this happening?
A: Condensation is caused by the humidity level of the air inside your home. The more moisture in the air, the greater the chance of condensation forming on the coolest part of any window (the glass). The colder the outside temperature is, the more likely that humidity inside the room or house will condense on the windows. In general, high-efficiency windows increase insulation and reduce condensation formation.
On high-efficiency windows, sometimes humidity (or dew) will form on the exterior side of the window glass. This happens on rare occasions usually on spring and fall mornings when conditions exist where the exterior side of the glass has fallen below the dew point.
The excellent insulating properties of our windows prevent interior heat from passing through to the outside of the glass which causes a layer of condensation to form. It usually goes away quite quickly as the temperature outside rises.
If condensation forms between the panes of glass (it cannot be wiped off the glass) the seal has broken and the glass will have to be changed. Our Armor® line of windows carries a lifetime warranty against seal failure!
For more info on the effects of humidity on windows or what tips and products will help in reducing the amount of condensation on your windows, please contact us.
Q: How do I know what “handing” my doors are?
A: Handing refers to what side the hinges are on as you look at doors from the outside. Hinges on the left as you look at doors from the outside would be a “left hand hinge”. Handles on some doors (in particularly levers) are “handed” and may not work with doors of the opposite hinging. You can also use this handing to specify how crank-out type windows or casement windows will operate.
Please contact us if you have any questions about the handing of your doors and windows.
Q: What are the types of windows out there? What is involved in replacing my windows?
A: Here is our brief “Windows 101”:
Frames of Windows
Windows can be made out of many types of materials. The 3 most common are wood, aluminum and vinyl (or PVC) windows. By far the most popular choice of frame material for replacement windows is vinyl. It is generally less expensive than aluminum windows and more structurally resistant to warping, swelling or contracting like wood windows. Wood windows are subject to breaking down due to atmospheric conditions like moisture, dryness, heat and cold. Because wood is an organic material it is also more likely to break down or rot whereas vinyl frames will remain durable, resistant to warping and strong for decades. Vinyl windows are also low maintenance when compared to wood windows. There is none of the usually scraping, sanding and staining/painting that is part of maintaining wood windows. As stated above, aluminum windows are usually more expensive than vinyl windows of a similar style. Vinyl window frames are also better insulators than aluminum frames due to the fact that metal is a better conductor of heat than vinyl. Good quality vinyl frames are constructed of many sealed chambers of dead air space. These chambers provide the insulating properties for the window to prevent transfer of heat.
Vinyl is also becoming more versatile when it comes to exterior colour. Vinyl frames were once only available in white on both the interior and exterior. We now have the flexibility of providing a colour exterior on a vinyl window. Custom colours are possible with this new feature for your windows.
Styles of Windows
The style or operation of windows can be broken down into 3 categories: crank type windows, sliding type windows and fixed (or picture) type windows. The crank types of windows operate with crank hardware and the sash opens to the outside. Sashes hinged on the side of the frame are called casement windows and sashes hinged at the top are called awning windows. These styles are the tightest sealing operating windows and the best performing windows in terms of energy efficiency (stopping air and water from entering). Sliding windows operate by sliding either side to side (horizontal slider) or up and down (vertical slider). These windows have the option for sashes that can swing inside for easy cleaning. The fixed or picture type windows are fixed in place and do not open or operate.
Any of these basic styles of windows can be combined together to make combinations such as a picture window over a slider or a fixed window beside a casement. Custom shapes are also available as picture or fixed windows (circles, triangles, elliptical, etc.).
Glass in Windows
The glass part of windows, regardless of frame material, determines how well the windows perform. It is where the most heat and cold is either lost or gained. An excellent performing glass in your windows will:
- Reduce heat loss to the outside
- Reduce cold and heat transfer to the inside
- Reflect back UV rays from outside
- Reduce condensation
- These are the optimal benefits that efficient glass can provide. To better understand the way windows perform, it is helpful to see how the glass is classified.
The most basic glass in windows is single glazed. These are windows (usually slider or picture windows) that have only 1 single sheet of glass around 3 to 5 millimetres thick. This is the least insulating type of glass that can be found in windows.
The second type of glass in windows is double glazed or thermopanes. Instead of just 1 sheet of glass there are 2 sheets of glass sealed together with a spacer bar and sealant. This is a much more efficient glass at blocking cold or heat transfer due to the fact that there are 2 sheets of glass with a sealed airspace between them. In better performing glass, this air space can be filled with denser gasses such as argon to reduce the transfer of heat and cold. Coatings such as Low-E can be applied to the glass on the inside of the space and the spacer bar can be made of a non-conductive material such as plastic or foam. The double glazed glass allows your windows to have optional internal grillwork between the panes.
The third type of glass in windows is triple glazing and is the most efficient type of glass available. There are 3 sheets of glass instead of just 2 sealed together with two sealed air spaces. Any of the options for the double glazed windows are also available for triple glazed windows.
Installation of Windows
A quality installation of your windows is just as important as the quality of windows you decide to install. The windows should be installed in a fashion so that the windows are easy to lock and operate, drain water away from the windows to the outside and are well insulated (foam insulation and silicone caulking).
The two methods of installing windows are the frame tear-out method and the insert method (or retrofitting).
Frame Tear-Out Method
The frame tear-out method removes all of the old windows and wood material down to the rough opening in the wall. The windows are shimmed and insulated in the opening. New inside trim is installed and the exterior is capped with aluminum flat stock and caulked. This ensures that there is new material right down to the frame opening and that the exterior is finished with a maintenance-free exterior. The majority of our jobs use this frame tear-out type of replacement and is the most recommended method in replacement of windows.
Insert Method (Retrofitting)
The other method is the insert method in replacement of windows. This installation involves removing only the old windows and leaving the existing trim and surrounding wood. This method is recommended when the windows have elaborate trim on the interior, or when there is a case that the walls are very thick. The downside of this installation is that the original wood and material are not completely removed and that the windows are installed into the existing openings when the old windows are removed. This method also minimizes the size of the glass in windows. The frame tear-out method results in more glass because the windows are sized for the openings after all the windows and old material are gone, down to the rough opening. The insert method has the windows sized for insertion into the existing framing material resulting in smaller windows and less glass area.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions about windows, doors or the installation process.
Let Us Help You Pick the Best Windows and Doors for Your Project
Comfort King Windows & Doors knows the best windows and doors for any project – and which ones won’t work. Talk to one of our specialists about your unique needs! Call us at (613) 526-4550, or you can fill out our online form.