Windows are a central design element of every home. A strategically placed window can frame the outdoors like a Rembrandt; a poorly placed window, on the other hand, is as valuable as a velvet Elvis.
Design experts at Andersen Corporation, the nation's brand-leading window and patio door manufacturer, say there are many factors to consider in maximizing a window's many benefits — view, natural light, ventilation and energy efficiency, as well as an architectural statement. They offer these tips to consumers who are considering building a new home or tackling a remodeling project:
A Room with a View
What kind of view does your existing home offer, or will your new home offer? It goes without saying that homeowners want to maximize the best possible views their home provides. Many are choosing to do so by designing what Andersen calls feature windows. These are combinations of venting and non- venting windows in a special design that often becomes a room's architectural centerpiece.
Of course, not all rooms have beautiful views. In this case, homeowners may want to place awning windows high in the wall or install venting roof windows. Such windows still provide privacy, natural light and excellent ventilation, particularly on warm summer days, and many window manufacturers offer electric window operators for awnings and venting roof windows.
What Will the Neighbors Think?
Remember to take into consideration what window placement is going to look like on the outside. What seems like logical window placement from the inside may have a hodgepodge appearance from the outside.
To avoid an architecturally unsightly exterior design, make sure the tops of windows line up with each other on each level of the home to maintain the horizontal plane. The same is true of vertical alignment; windows should line up vertically with those above and/or below them.
Get Out the Compass
Maximum daylighting and energy efficiency depend in part on your region's climate, where you place your windows in your home, your home's architecture and the landscaping surrounding it.
For example, south-exposure windows work best in summer if there is foliage that provides shade or if the home's roof has large overhangs. North-exposure windows, by comparison, provide shaded, even light throughout the day. Windows placed on the east and west sides of the home allow for lots of light, along with even, shaded light, at respective times of the day.
Convenience, Convenience, Convenience
If you're installing windows over a sink, countertop or an appliance, keep in mind that you don't want to lean forward and lift. Casement windows crank open, so they are easy to use in these locations.
You can open double-hung and gliding windows without consuming exterior space. This makes these window styles ideal for placement near adjoining walkways, porches or patios.
A Few Reminders
- Work with design professionals or ask a contractor for examples of his work before proceeding.
- Continue a visual theme by duplicating the size and shape of larger windows with combinations of smaller windows.
- Accentuate a gable — the peaked side or pitched end of a home — with an arch-top or gothic-style window.
- Coordinate the windows' interior trim with the rest of the interior trim.
The Andersen® brand is the most recognized and most used brand in the window and patio door industry. For a local dealer, more information, or a copy of the Andersen 20/10 limited warranty, visit www.andersenwindows.com or call 1-800-426-4261, ext. 3018.