Many homeowners knowingly or unknowingly attract birds to their home. Some people love having them in their yards and feeding them. But this simple pleasure can be life threatening to birds that often fly into glass windows.
Glass windows are invisible to birds, and birds may fly into them as they try to reach potted plants on the other side. The glass may also reflect the sky or vegetation, causing birds to fly into them. One study suggests that these types of accidents are so common that over one billion birds die each year in North America from hitting glass windows, walls, and similar structures.
Fortunately, you can help save the bird population by reducing the threat your home windows pose to birds. First, you should identify your hazardous windows, which may include large picture windows, windows with feeders, or windows that join at 90-degrees. Look at the windows from outside your home, if you see any reflection of the sky or foliage, those windows are a risk to birds. Follow these tips to make your windows safer for birds.
Mark Your Windows
Use tempera paint or soap markings to deter birds. These markings should be spaced apart 4-inches vertically and 2-inches horizontally on the outside of the window. You can also use other paint patterns to make the glass visible to birds.
Apply Stickers to Windows
Apply stickers, decals, masking tape, mylar strips, sun catchers, or other sticky objects to the exterior surface of the window. Use close spacing and cover as much of the glass surface as possible, so the transparent areas appear too small for the birds to fly through. You could also apply long-lasting bird tape.
Hang Bird Savers
Consider hanging Acopian Bird Savers or Zen curtains, which are closely spaced ropes that function in a similar manner to tape or decals. They come in great designs that also help to beautify your windows.
Consider placing mosquito screens or netting on the outside of the window so it’s tight enough to cause birds to bounce off before hitting the glass surface. The mesh should be small so birds don’t get their heads, legs, or wings entangled.
Use Window Covers
Consider installing exterior shutters or interior vertical blinds that remain closed when the rooms are not in use, or awnings/sunshades to prevent reflections that may attract birds.
If you are remodelling your home, you should consider working with your window and door company to employ strategies that prevent birds from flying into windows. For instance, you may use one-way transparent film that makes the window opaque from outside but offers a clear view from inside.
Choosing the best glass for your windows requires careful consideration of multiple factors, including light penetration, appearance, and energy efficiency. While the aesthetic appearance of your windows is largely a personal choice, determining the best choice for energy efficiency and light penetration requires that you consider the climate in your region, the orientation of your house, the window’s proximity to obstacles that provide shade, and many other factors. So, which glass is right for your windows?
Many areas have standards and building codes that govern the different requirements for glass type, depending on where it will be used, its height above the ground, and other factors. For instance, the type of glass used in the bathroom should prioritize safety and privacy. For rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, you may need to consider etching, labelling, or other markings to prevent people from walking into the glass.
When you need to strike a balance between privacy and natural lighting, in spaces such as the bathroom and the laundry room, you should consider using a type of obscure glass, such as Satinlite.
If you are certain that you want to control the opacity of your windows before they are installed, you can purchase glass tinted with metal oxides. To control the transparency of your glass after installation, you may need to apply an adhesive film. Alternatively, you can purchase laminated glass with interlayers between the sheets of glass for added sun protection or privacy.
For most homes and office buildings, you should consider using glass with the manufacturer’s base level of tint for the windows. This improves the solar performance of the glass and helps with glare and privacy during the day.
There are two key energy ratings to consider:
The U-factor, which measures the ability of the glass to prevent heat inside your home from escaping.
The solar heat gain coefficient, which measures the ability of the glass to block heat from the sun.
For rooms with large windows facing west, you should consider using higher performance glass, such as laminated low E glass with a high solar heat gain coefficient. However, this option may reduce the amount of visible light penetrating your home, affecting the appearance of your interior.
New glass technology allows you to keep your interior warm during cold weather and cool during hot weather, without compromising on light penetration or transparency. For windows that open outside the frame, such as fixed casement windows, you may need to choose a suitable type of screening to maintain a suitable level of privacy and security.
Your front door is more than just another entry door. It keeps out intruders, protects your home’s interior from extreme weather, and helps to make your home attractive to guests.
Homeowners love steel doors because they address all of these issues. Other common entry door materials such as wood and fibreglass also have their own strengths and weaknesses, but could steel doors be better than wood and fibreglass doors?
Steel doors are the obvious choice for homeowners prioritizing security and durability. Steel doors are much stronger than fibreglass or wood doors. They can’t be kicked in and are extremely hard to bend.
Steel doors conduct heat, which means that they may feel cold or hot depending on the ambient temperature. That said, many steel-coated doors that contain high-density polyurethane foam to prevent heat transfer are Energy Star certified. Other equally energy-efficient steel doors come with hardwood or oak moldings inside for improved insulation while providing strong security.
For wood doors, beauty is their strong suit. Homeowners can choose from natural-finish doors to custom designs fabricated from mahogany, walnut, cherry, oak, pine, fir, and maple, among others. But steel doors are also attractive as they are easy to paint and customize. Since steel doors l last a lifetime, you can change the appearance of your doors after a few years to give your home a fresh look.
Fibreglass doors provide superior wear and tear resistance compared to steel. Plus they can be stained or painted. But steel doors don’t warp or crack, and any dings or dents can be easily fixed. Most steel doors are made from high strength 20-26 gauge steel that will never crack, rot, or warp, ensuring life-time protection. Galvanised steel is resistant to rust, corrosion, and scratching.
Steel doors are also the most affordable option. Even a high quality steel door with premium hardware and sidelights will still cost less than a wood door system.
There’s a reason why steel doors account for nearly half the market. They are extremely reliable in terms of weather resistance, security, and maintenance. In addition, they are fairly inexpensive. But to ensure that you get a quality entry door, only work with a reputable manufacturer who doesn’t compromise the materials, weatherstripping seals, threshold interlocks, or paint work. Also check that you are getting an Energy Star certified door for energy savings and comfort.
Replacing your patio doors sounds like a simple DIY project. Most doors, after all, come in a standard size. You simply need to find a door that fits the opening, fix the hinges, and you have a new functional door.
It should be a straightforward, step-by-step process, yet it is not unusual for do-it-yourselfers to:
Install their replacement patio doors in backward. This can compromise the security of your home.
Install the door incorrectly. Modern doors feature new technology that improve insulation and energy efficiency. Poor installation can lead to unnecessary leakage that wastes this technology
Accelerate door wear and tear. Poor installation can cause precipitation to settle in areas where it should drain easily, increasing the risk of rot and other damage.
Destroy a new patio door. You could accidentally damage the door during installation by rough handling or by letting a glass door drop to the ground.
Injure themselves during the installation. Many issues can arise including accidental cuts, slips and falls, and stepping on sharp tools.
To protect yourself and your investment, here are some things to avoid when replacing patio doors:
You need to take proper measurements to ensure a proper fit that does not allow heat to escape or let in cold air. But forcing a larger door into a small frame can damage the door and surrounding frame and walls. Make sure you use the right tools, such as measuring tape and a leveller for accuracy.
Using the wrong hardware
The basic tools for a patio door installation include a drill, a leveller, and a screwdriver. But there are other pieces of hardware to consider. For instance, using very small hinges and screws that can’t handle the load can cause the door to shift and sag. The lack of balance can strain the hinges, jambs, and door frame and cause the entire structure to weaken.
Not checking that the door jamb is flush with the door opening
Skipping this single step will cause you to face serious problems almost instantly. The jamb should be positioned flush against the walls around your door. If it sinks below the surrounding walls, you may need to use a jamb extender to ensure the right position. Conversely, you may need to plane it down if it protrudes too far. Make small adjustments to avoiding overdoing it, especially when planing.
You can skip the hassle by getting your patio doors replaced professionally. If you choose to do it yourself, make sure you follow the installation guidelines. Make sure you install the shims and hinges the right way and that the measurements and levelling are perfect.
If you have a regular door leading to your backyard, you should consider upgrading it with a modern patio door replacement that offers expansive views, provides natural light, optimizes ventilation, and adds style and beauty to your home’s interior and exterior. Getting a patio door can dramatically impact your enjoyment of your home. From improved security features to better access to your outdoor space, here are five reasons to get a patio door sooner rather than later.
- Added Security
There are different types of patio doors, including Tilt & Slide doors that feature a steel-reinforced frame, as well as a multi-point locking system to secure your door at several points around the frame with a single turn of the handle. With enhanced security, you can have peace of mind when sleeping at night or while away on your summer vacation.
- Easy Outdoor Access
During summer, your outdoor space becomes a valuable extension of your house, where you spend most of the day and host your guests. Installing a quality patio door can provide easy access to your deck, patio and backyard, effectively connecting the interior and exterior.
- Boost Natural Lighting
You can install custom patio doors with a large glass surface area to let in as much natural light as you want. Sunlight brightens your interior space; highlights the colors, design elements, and furnishings; and makes the mood livelier. Moreover, the large, unobstructed view of your yard makes the space appear larger than it is.
- Lower Energy Costs
Patio doors, with their large glass surfaces, can help to reduce your heating and cooling bills year round. With new glass technologies, such as gas fills, low-E coatings, and spacer systems, modern patio doors offer outstanding thermal performance to keep your home cooler during hot days and warmer during the cold days. Just remember to choose Energy Star certified products to maximize your comfort and energy savings.
- Superior Customization
Whether you choose swinging patio doors for their classic look, or sliding doors to save on space, you can customise every detail of your door to match your home’s design. From decorative hardware and custom colours for additional beauty, to tempered glass options for extra security, to blinds fitted between the glass for privacy without the hassle of maintaining window treatments, patio doors offer unmatched flexibility to make the investment worthwhile.
For your patio door replacement, you can choose from a wide range of sliding and swing style doors to fit your home’s style. Different patio doors will open up your home in different ways. Also consider adding a screen to allow for proper ventilation while keeping insects and vermin out.
As the trend towards eco-friendliness continues, many homeowners find themselves following certain “green” recommendations blindly—such as replacing doors and windows—based on the assumption of reduced energy costs and a lower carbon footprint. But what exactly does it mean to get an Energy Star certified product?
When it comes to identifying energy efficient windows, it makes sense that thicker glass would serve as a better thermal barrier, giving you better control of indoor temperatures. Indeed, double- and triple-paned windows are significantly more energy efficient than single-paned windows. But there are several other technologies that make Energy Star certified windows energy efficient. These include:
- Low-E Glass Coating
Low-emissivity (Low-E) refers to a special coating applied to glass to block up to 90 percent of the sun’s direct radiation. During summer, low-E glass helps to keep the sun’s UV heat out, which reduces your cooling costs. During the cold winter months, low-E glass helps to prevent heat generated indoors from escaping, which reduces your heating costs.
There are a number of alternatives to low-e glass coating, such as tints and reflective coatings applied to the exterior of the glass or between windowpanes to increase their thermal efficiency and reduce your heating and cooling costs.
- Gas Fills
Double and triple-paned windows are usually filled with an inert gas—argon or krypton—to improve their thermal performance by reducing heat transfer between your home and the outside environment. Injecting inert gases between two glass panes does not reduce the transparency of the window, as the gases are clear. The gases are non-toxic and odorless, so they don’t pose any risk to your health. Krypton is mostly used to fill small spaces of less than 0.5-inches, while Argon works best for standard 0.5-inch glazing, because it’s cheaper.
- Low-Conductivity Spacer Systems
Spacers refer to the structural polymer foams placed between two glass panes to improve the energy efficiency of windows. The edges of the panes represent one of the most susceptible points of heat transfer in your windows. Today, manufacturers place low-conductivity spacers around the edges of each glass pane to reduce heat conduction. They also provide a better seal to improve insulation and protect against moisture penetration.
- Non-Metallic Frames
Since metal is a good conductor of heat, windows with metal frames tend to increase your heating and cooling costs. Using non-metallic frames made from wood, vinyl or fiberglass can prevent heat loss around your windows and lower your energy costs.
- Replacing Your Windows and Doors
Replacing old windows with Energy Star certified products can help to provide a comfortable living environment while reducing your energy costs. If you are planning on replacing your existing windows, choosing energy efficient windows can provide great savings in the long-term and increase the value of your home.
Fixed casement windows are the preferred option for modern homeowners looking for beautiful, secure, and energy efficient windows. Double-hung windows offer similar benefits, but are more common with traditional, cottage-style homes.
Here are a few differences between the two window styles:
Double-hung windows are quite versatile and come in a range of designs. These windows feature two movable sashes – a top and bottom one – that slide up and down to meet your ventilation needs. They can also tilt inwards for easy cleaning from the inside. Casement windows are hinged on one side and open like a door using a crank that is fixed on the inside.
Both window designs are easy to operate. For double-hung windows, most homeowners prefer to slide the bottom sash up and down while the top sash remains closed. These windows feature a spring-loaded balance that helps to open the bottom sash, while gravity helps to close it. To open casement windows, you simply turn the lever and push the window outwards.
- Efficiency against drafts
Double-hung windows are designed to fit snugly in the side tracks, leaving no room for air intrusion. However, you should ensure that a good seal is used along the top to keep drafts out. Casement windows provide excellent protection against air intrusion because the window sash presses tightly onto the window frame when closed.
- Care and maintenance
Both sashes of double-hung windows can tilt inwards for easy cleaning of all sides from the inside, but you need to adjust them properly afterwards to avoid drafts. This is particularly helpful when cleaning windows on the top floors. However, it can be a bit challenging to clean the screen that is fixed outside the window.
The exterior of casement windows can only be cleaned from outside the building, which may require you to use a ladder. However, screens are easier to clean as they are fitted on the inside. During routine cleaning, you may need to occasionally check and tighten the mechanical lever, as well as the multi-point locking system – if installed.
- Ideal use
Double-hung windows are energy efficient, can be used in combination with other window styles, and can be installed in areas with limited space or obstacles on the exterior as the sashes move up and down as opposed to outwards. They are also more secure, as you can open the top sash and keep the bottom one closed if you have small children. Casement windows are, however, more energy efficient, less prone to drafts, and easier to maintain.
Which one is right for you?
High quality windows from reputable manufacturers, whether fixed casement or double hung, can be highly energy efficient if professionally installed. When purchasing new windows, you only need to identify the infiltration rating that best fits your needs and choose a design that complements your home.