Supplement to the Federal Way Mirror, Auburn Reporter, Covington Maple Valley Reporter and Kent Reporter
March 20, 2015 
 March 20, 2015
Need a New Roof? We Got You Covered.
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• Window Replacement 253-363-8280 • Repairs 800-270-7544 LICENSED • BONDED •INSURED • Decks TRISTE1903P7 & TRISTI*931QH • Siding • Roofing 1901 Center St. Tacoma www.tristate.pro Financing available with $0 Down See what people are saying on guildquality.com John Holum & Family President of Roofing Contractors Association of Washington
March 20, 2015 
How to safely hire a Washington roofer A home improvement project such as new roof, siding, windows or gutters is very exciting. Spring has sprung and the time has come for home transformations to begin! The work performed on your home will transform its appearance and add value to your home. It is a very rewarding experience in most cases IF you take the proper steps to make sure you hire the right contractor for your project. In a day and age when 80% of local contractors go out of business in the first two years and labor warranties are voided, it is of the upmost importance to prequalify your potential contractors. As a responsible local home improvement contractor we have put together a list of questions and instructions you can follow that will help to ensure you have a positive contractor experience.
Are they licensed, bonded and insured? It is critical that your roofer carry these credentials. If they do not have the proper insurance you will be legally responsible for any injuries that take place on your property. Ask them for a copy of their current insurance. Most contractors will not have a problem providing this information. You can verify a company’s credentials on the L&I website at: http://www.lni.wa.gov
A very good question to ask your potential contractor is if they have a physical office or legitimate place of business as many work out of their garage or rent a month to month storage locker. If they have a physical office this indicates that they are financially sound and have the financial capital to operate a substantial business. It also shows a level of permanency and long term commitment from the contractor. A business that operates out of a truck has a much easier time closing their doors if things are going wrong. They also do not have the financial responsibility of making sure they keep their office payments up to date so the chances of them missing in action increase. A lot of times you can also verify this on the Labor and Industries website as many will just have a PO Box number as their address.
Check online reviews from various sources including manufacturer sites. Fortunately for us all we live in the era of unfiltered online feedback. Review of sites such as Google, BBB and an independent site like GuildQuality.com have detailed reports on local contractors and the level of performance they provide for their customers. Some of the most credible review sites are certified contractor programs from industry leaders such as GAF, the nation’s largest roofing manufacturer. They provide a customer review report to each homeowner to find out how their contractor partners are doing. Those results are posted on the roofers master elite page. Checking each of these resources will provide a very well rounded idea of how consumers felt about their experience with a particular roofer. Another valuable referral source is thru the Roofing Contractors Association of Washington which you can reach at 253-282-9823 and ask for good roofing companies to pick from.
How long have they been in business? Industry statistics show that 80% of roofing contractors go out of business in their first few years. What does this mean to you? If a contractor is not in business they are no longer responsible for their workmanship warranty. Simply put, you are not covered. When hiring a roofing contractor in Washington State you should make sure they have been in business for at least 5 years. At the 5 year mark a contractor has proven they can operate a business and have navigated through the challenges that sink many other companies. Do they have a list of references from previous customers that you can check? There are many different types of roofing. Some contractors have crews that specialize in all types of roofing while others might lack experience with certain material types. If you are having material such as wood shakes, metal roofing, concrete tile or slate put on your roof it is very important that the potential contractor can provide you with a list of jobs that they have successfully installed with this material. Does the contractor have a legitimate place of business?
As a local roofing and exterior home improvement company we feel responsible to make sure every homeowner is protected. We hope you find great value in the information we provided. If you have an upcoming roofing, siding, window or gutter project please consider contacting us for a no obligation project estimate. You will find our sales staff to be both well informed and courteous. Thank you for considering us for your next project! Best wishes from our family to yours. John Holum, President TriState Roofing President Roofing Contractors Association of Washington
 March 20, 2015 
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March 20, 2015 
Welcome to Tile Lines… What project are you working on?
We’re a family-owned retail tile and stone showroom located in Kent, Washington. We provide a wide range of quality products to homeowners, designers, and contractors from Seattle, Tacoma, Kent, Renton, Auburn, Federal Way, and the greater King County area. We have a great selection of porcelain tiles, granite and marble tile for floors and countertops, travertine tiles for showers, floors, and backsplash projects. We can help you order solid surface countertops in granite, marble, and quartz. We have many decorative glass, metal, and stone tile and mosaic options on display. In-store designers can assist with ideas and product selection and answer many installation-related questions. We stock many installation supplies, including thinset mortar and grout, as well as shower waterproofing kits such as Wedi and Schluter Kerdi. Unlike the big box home improvement stores, we deal exclusively with tile and tile products; so we have consistently better selection, better information, and better customer service. Stop by today and see what’s in store!
Over 1OO,OOO tile options, and we’ll help you find the perfect one. Our new retail showroom is open to homeowners, designers, and contractors.
We offer complimentary in-store design assistance and professional installation advice.
Stop by to see thousands of products: from durable floor tiles to sleek shower tiles, from decorative accents for kitchen backsplashes to beautiful granite, marble, and quartz for your countertops...
Whether you plan to install your new shower, floor, or backsplash yourself or if you’re just supervising, we have the experience and the knowledge to guide you through your project!
S Kent Des Moines Rd Willis St
Open Mon–Fri 7–6:30, Sat 9–5
1531 Central Ave S Kent, WA 98032
S 277th St
Central Ave S / E Valley Hwy / 83rd Ave S
Start your Project & Get Inspired! Allow us to guide you through your next tile or countertop project! Whether you need a kitchen countertop with a coordinating backsplash or are replacing your bathtub with a walk-in shower, we can provide installation advice, design assistance, and one of the biggest selections of tile and stone in the Northwest. We offer complementary design assistance! Our talented staff can help you choose the right tiles, countertops, and decorative pieces to fit your style and your home. We also have numerous in-store design boards, product samples, and idea books that can help with the design process. Frequently Asked Questions about our Products: Why can’t I buy any products on your website? Tile and stone can look extremely different on a computer screen than they do in real life. We strongly recommend you see the color and feel the texture of a tile in person before buying. Choosing a product that you’ll live with for 10+ years without seeing it in person is like buying a new car without taking it for a test drive! We may, in the future, sell non-design items such as thinset and tools on our website and have them available for delivery or in-store pick-up. Subscribe to our quarterly email newsletter, to keep up to date on our latest website and product developments. I found a tile/stone at another store. Can you order it for me? More often than not, yes! We work with over 30 different tile distributors, hundreds of tile manufacturers, and can order over 100,000 tile and stone products. Contact us with the name of the product and when and where you saw it, and we’ll be able to tell you if we can get it and how much it would cost. However, if a man-made product has been discontinued, is exclusive to another retailer (such as a Home Depot or Lowe’s), or is unavailable in our region, we might not be able to order it. When looking for natural stone products from several different sources; so even if Company A stopped carrying a product, Company B might still have it. We always recommend seeing a sample of the current batch of any natural stone material in person, due to the high variation inherent in the product. The stone sample you saw three months ago might look very different from a current sample from the exact same company or quarry. I have a tile I’m trying to match, can you help? We’ll certainly try! At least once a week, a homeowner comes to us with a broken piece of tile from a damaged shower or an old floor and asks if we can order it or something like it. Occasionally, we can track down the manufacturer and order more of the exact same tile. But if the tile is out of production or completely unavailable, we’ll let you know up front and recommend alternatives. Submitted by Darrell Helbling, owner of Tile Lines, website www.tilelines.com.
 March 20, 2015
Why Customers Choose ProTect Painters? We are ProTect Painters, a full-service, interior and exterior painting company. We believe in helping others fully realize the pride and joy of home ownership. We, not only treat our customers like family, ProTect Painters treats your home like it was our own, by finding the right color that represents you and your space. We’re professional painters that never cut corners in delivering unparalleled quality - YOUR home is our showcase. What makes ProTect Painters different? We always do what we say we are going to do! We’re proud of the Top 5 reasons why customers choose ProTect Painters:
1. Gift of Time: ProTect Painters manages the entire project from beginning to end. 2. Upfront Pricing: A detailed plan. No hidden costs. 3. Color Consult: Our painting professionals provide the right color for your surroundings. 4. Flexible and Reliable: Experienced in working with your schedule. 5. Communication: Always knowing what’s happening and when.
Terry & Jeanette Koubele
ProTect Painters of Federal Way & NE Tacoma 253-561-8493
ProTect Painters of Covington 253-200-3272
Exterior Painting Preparation Tips for Home Owners Prep and Painting You can make prep work go quickly and smoothly by doing some prep of your own. The following is a helpful checklist to follow to ensure your home’s exterior is ready prior to the ProTect Painters professionals arriving at your home.
• Trim back landscaping to allow painters close access to siding and trim • Move items, such as potted plants and/or lawn furniture, to allow close access to siding and trim • Make sure water spigots are in good working order for pressure washing • Close your windows on pressure washing days • Check window sills for water after pressure washing is completed
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e When you hir ou rs, y ProTect Painte wing can relax kno ing be your home is able li cared for by re ls! professiona
• Have paint colors selected approximately one week prior to scheduled painting • Move items, such as potted plants and/or lawn furniture, to allow close access to siding and trim • Ensure that the painters will have access to electrical outlets • Designate a safe area where the crew can leave their ladders and miscellaneous equipment • Coordinate your painting plans with other potential tradespeople working on your project • Reschedule lawn service and turn off sprinklers while your house is being painted • Unlock windows on the days they are painted – it is necessary to open and shut • Ensure access to doors that will need to be painted, as they may need to be open for several hours on the day they are painted Call TODAY for your free estimate!
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March 20, 2015 
lawn, it can detract from the value of the home. You may have a great living space, but if the outside isn’t attractive, potential buyers may never see the inside of your home. 3. A well-lit exterior can make a big difference. It may not make or break a house, but an exterior that is lit up at night can help draw in buyers. It may make them feel safer while providing attractive lighting. 4. Think about your exterior paint color. While you might love your lemon yellow house, someone else might not. It’s not a deal breaker for most, but it can be for some. Use two paint colors maximum, or you might be turning away potential buyers. 5. Keep your exterior simple. Park cars in the garage if space allows, and don’t overwhelm the eye with plants. These little things can turn off potential buyers. For additional tips, talk to your REALTOR® about exterior staging to maximize your home’s curb appeal. Expert advice coupled with some TLC can go a long way to showing your home at its best. – Marti Reeder, John L. Scott Real Estate.
Spring is starting to emerge this week as the green tips of snowdrop bulbs and crocus show up in area gardens. This means it is time to order seeds, hunt down hellebores to add to the landscape and decide that this is the year you will enjoy your garden more.
it into bloom on a balmy January day but unlike the name implies, I have never seen my Christmas Cheer rhododendron flower during December. You can find this evergreen rhododendron at local nurseries or ask that they order one for you. A plant that cheers in the winter is a great way to
“Spring market ‘not waiting for tulips’, but limited inventory frustrates homebuyers.” (NWMLS) We are entering spring with a severe shortage of homes for sale and we expect that shortage to continue throughout the spring market. Interested in buying this spring? You need to work with an experienced professional to become buyerready more than ever. Thinking about selling soon? I say think about NOW. Read this article about curb appeal and get moving! Curb appeal helps a buyer quickly determine whether or not they want to consider buying a home just by its outward appearance. Let’s look at how it can affect your house positively and negatively. 1. Your home is welcoming to potential buyers. It can help influence someone’s decision to consider your home. Make it look inviting by adding flowers to the front yard, make sure the grass has been clipped recently and the yard is well groomed, and create an appealing entry way. 2. Poor curb appeal can detract from an otherwise attractive home. If you have too much outdoor clutter, a poorly maintained exterior or an overgrown
Time to plan ahead for your spring garden
How curb appeal can make or break your house
A. Yes, forcing newly pruned whips or thin branches from forsythia, quince, cherry and even magnolia will work in our climate and the time to get snippy is now. The trick is to keep the cut branches hydrated so split the stem with a knife or remove some of the side bark on the bottom third of the cut branch to help the harvest soak up the water.
Once cut, place the vase of twigs in a cool garage or dark room until you see signs of color from the buds. You can also collecting pussy willow branches and bring them indoors to enjoy this week.
Garden shows and nurseries also unwrap a fresh season of classes and lectures and now is the time to signup. Here are some early season garden questions:
be a 12. Better yet, order a dozen early bloomers and start a winter garden.
Q. Is it too late to prune my roses? I am seeing green leaves sprouting from the branches. T.C., Auburn
Q. In my neighborhood there is a pink rhododendron that I noticed flowering on the same Sunday that the Seahawks won the title. This means it was in bloom in January. Is this another January miracle? Sign me Seahawk Gardener
Marti Reeder REALTOR®, Broker, CRS
Your Award-winning South Sound Real Estate Broker.
A. Keep cheering because the name of the early blooming (as opposed to the hawks who are late bloomers) rhododendron is called “Christmas Cheer” and this compact rhododendron with pale pink blooms is usually in flower by February or March. A bit of mild winter weather can coast
Q. I saw a magazine
article about forcing bare branches of flowers into bloom. They showed how to force forsythia, quince and cherry tree branches. Will this work in our area of Western Washington? When is it safe to cut the branches? A.M., Bonney Lake
A. It is not too late, and it could be a bit early. I usually prune back roses right after Valentine’s Day but you can wait until mid March or even April to prune your roses. Different varieties have specific likes when it comes to how much to prune off but all roses benefit from removing the three D’s – anything dead, damaged or diseased can be cut off anytime of the year. Marianne Binetti has a degree in horticulture from Washington State University and is the author of “Easy Answers for Great Gardens” and several other books. For more gardening information, she can be reached at her website, www.binettigarden.com.
 March 20, 2015
Keep your car. Spring 2015 Trade in your loan.
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Refinancing with us could save you hundreds.* Before high car payments get you down, give us an opportunity Final to help bring them down – with ist great ratesinand no closing costs State Farm ranked “Highest Customer Satisfaction Carrie Kuhel, Agent or hidden fees. by J.D. Power. carriekuhelinsurance.com Among Life Insurance Providers” GET TO A BETTER STATE.® email@example.com I’d love to help you get more out of life – and your life 253-927-9295 CALL ME TODAY FOR insurance. Give me a call to talk about what State 800-362-2672 MORE INFORMATION. Farm® life insurance can do for you. GET TO A BETTER STATE.® CALL ME TODAY FOR MORE INFORMATION.
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The* AARP Automobile & Homeowners Insurance Program from The Hartford is underwritten by Hartford Fire Insurance Company and its affiliates, One Hartford Plaza, Hartford CT 06155. CA license number 5152. In Washington, the are based information from The Hartford’s Insurance Auto Insurance Program customer who became new autoAARP insurance 6/30/12AARP through AARP AutoSavings Programamounts is underwritten byon Trumbull Insurance Company. TheAARP HomeAuto Program is underwritten by Hartford Underwriters Insurance Company. does policyholders not employ orbetween endorse 7/1/11 agents and or brokers. andtheitstraditional affiliates are not 108320 Auto Insurance Program and also provide coverage under Your savings may vary. insurers. Paid endorsement. Theprovided Hartforddata paysregarding a royalty their fee tosavings. AARP forAuthorized the use ofagents AARP’scan intellectual property. These feesthis are Program. used for the general purposes of AARP. AARP membership is required for Program eligibility in most *TheApplicants states. are individually underwritten and some may not qualify. Specific features, credits, and discounts may vary and may not be available in all states in accordance with state filings and applicable law. You have the option AARP Automobile & Homeowners Insurance Program from The Hartford is underwritten by Hartford Fire Insurance Company and its affiliates, One Hartford Plaza, Hartford CT 06155. CA license number 5152. In Washington, the Savings amounts are based on information from The Hartford’s AARP Auto Insurance Auto Insurance Program customer who became new auto insurance policyholders between 7/1/11 and 6/30/12 through the traditional AARP Auto Insurance Program isProgram underwritten by The Trumbull Company. The Home Program is underwritten bythe Hartford Insurance AARPmay does not employ or endorse agents or brokers. AARP and its affiliates are not of purchasing a policy directly from Hartford. Your price, could vary, and you willalso not have advice,Underwriters counsel or services ofCompany. your agent. Auto and provided dataInsurance regarding theirhowever, savings. Authorized agents can provide coverage under this Program. Yourindependent savings vary. insurers. Paid endorsement. The Hartford pays a royalty fee to AARP for the use of AARP’s intellectual property. These fees are used for the general purposes of AARP. AARP membership is required for Program eligibility in most 1 In The Texas, the Auto Program is underwritten by Southern County Mutual Insurance Hartford ofandTexas General Agency, Inc. Hartford HartfordCTFire Insurance Company and its affiliates are AARP Automobile & Homeowners Insurance fromnotThe Hartford is underwritten by Company, Hartford Firethrough Insurance Company itsbe affiliates, One Hartford Plaza, CA license number 5152. In Washington, the Applicants are individually underwritten andProgram someunderwritten may qualify. 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AARP membership is required for Program eligibility in most 1 In Texas, the Auto Program is underwritten by Southern County Mutual Insurance through Hartford ofnot Texas General Agency, Hartford andYou its have affiliates are states. Applicants are individually underwritten and some may not qualify. Specific features, credits,Company, and discounts may vary and may be available in all states inInc. accordance withFire stateInsurance filings and Company applicable law. the option not financially responsible for insurance underwritten andvary, issued by Southern County Mutual Insurance Company. The Homeagent. Program is underwritten by Twin City Fire Insurance Company. of purchasing a policy directly from The Hartford.products Your price, however, could and you will not have the advice, counsel or services of your independent In Texas, the Auto Program is underwritten by Southern County Mutual Insurance Company, through Hartford of Texas General Agency, Inc. 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Dirty wood-burning fireplaces bring you down? We can help rekindle the flame! Is your old fireplace sucking the love right out of your life? We love fireplaces…but old fireplaces suck. Why? Plenty of reasons: • They’re expensive: Wood-burning fireplaces can waste up to $200 each year in energy costs. Add on another $200 for chimney cleaning, plus some extra cash for wood, and you’re looking at a serious spend. • They’re dirty: Ash, soot, smoke – need we say more? It’s no secret that wood-burning fireplaces are messy – and all the cleaning you have to do definitely diminishes the pleasure of the fire’s glow.
seals off your chimney, which eliminates drafts and lowers your energy bill. Plus, it provides clean and efficient heat and is low maintenance – no chopping, hauling, or cleaning involved, and it turns on and off with just the flip of a switch. And did we mention they look great?
It’s easy to see why a gas fireplace insert is so incredibly attractive. But don’t just take our word for it – come into one of our beautiful showrooms or call for a free inhome estimate and let us help rekindle the flame.
Kent Showroom 21402 84th Ave S Kent, WA 98032 425 251-9447
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• They’re drafty: Open masonry fireplaces are a leading source of indoor air loss, even more so than windows and doors. • They’re high maintenance: You chop the wood, haul it in, light the fire, poke and prod, and…wait. Once the flames finally appear, it’s nearly time to put them out – and then you have to deal with that messiness we mentioned. Face it – a wood-burning fireplace is like an ex-girlfriend: high maintenance. Isn’t it time to upgrade to a newer model? If we had to guess, we’d say your old wood-burning fireplace is probably sucking the romance right out of your life. But it doesn’t have to be that way – and it’s just a matter of a quick upgrade. A Direct Vent gas fireplace insert
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 March 20, 2015
Tips for buying topsoil for landscaping and lawn projects
The Compleat Home Gardener
Spring projects sprout this time of year. March is good time to restore and rejuvenate an old lawn, start some raised beds for vegetables and weed and
mulch the flower and shrub beds to keep out future weeds and conserve soil moisture. These spring projects will require soil and mulch resources – so here is the garden gossip: buying soil can be a dirty business. The sale of “topsoil” is not a regulated industry in our state. It’s time to educate yourself and ask questions before purchasing topsoil for landscape or lawn renovation projects. My mail tells me the biggest
with excellent reputations who have been in business for many years. Here are some tips from successful soil companies that have managed to keep their products weed- and debris-free and their customers happy through the years.
Ask if the company does product testing and how often they test the soil. Jami Burke of Corliss Resources is a horticulturist that helps create the compost and topsoil at the indoor compost making operation for Corliss Resources in Sumner. “Our soil is tested quarterly and we undergo strict testing as a registered organic material with the Washington State Department of Agriculture,” he said. “Constant monitoring of the heat and oxygen is key to creating clean, weed free compost.”
Doo on his family farm in Enumclaw and uses only the resources given to them from their organically fed and free range cow, calf and dairy operation. “We have a closed loop system for feeding and caring for our animals,” Gwerder said. “We know our manure-based mulching product will be weed-free because we heat our product to 180 degrees and age it for two to five years. We don’t truck in raw materials so we know exactly what goes into our Moo Doo – it all comes from our organic farm from start to finish.” Learn more about Hy Grass Farms at www.moo-doo. com.
consumer complaint about buying topsoil, bark or compost is that products can be contaminated with horsetail or other noxious weeds. Consumers have also reported having a load of “soil” delivered that is full of large rocks, building debris like nails and sheet rock and even undecomposed food scraps and garbage. Gardeners in Western Washington are lucky to have many vendors of soil, compost and mulches
Corliss Resources also sells topsoil that mixes their weed-free compost with sand and loam and offer both a two-way mix suitable for lawn renovation and a three-way mix for landscaping and garden beds. Learn more at www.corlissresources. com.
Ask what goes into the product and where the ingredients come from. Jason Gwerder makes mountains of Moo
Ask where the product is created and who oversees the operation. Tagro is municipal sludge or biosolids recycled by the city of Tacoma into a mix with sawdust and bark that can be added as an amendment to lawns and garden beds. Tagro is not sold as a topsoil but rather as a product to improve existing soils. Tagro is made on site in Tacoma and is available for pick up or delivery. Donald Boe is the local Tagro expert and explains that creating Tagro is a dual-digestion process that uses beneficial organisms to digest the solids and also a three-temperature heat cycle to remove odor, weeds and other pathogens. Tagro is tested and graded by the EPA and has earned a Class A ranking for exceptional quality. Visit www. Tagro.com.
Consumers should visit company’s websites to understand what they offer. Consumers also need to know that finding occasional clods or dirt lumps, small
pieces or any undecomposed food scraps. All the Dirt on Words to Know: Compost – a soil amendment of well-rotted organic matter often made from collected yard waste. Compost can be used to improve existing soils and is excellent for raised bed vegetable gardens. Two-way mix – usually a mix of compost and sand. This is the best for layering on top of a well-aerated lawn and sprinkling lawn seeds on top for lawn renovation. The sand in the mix means it will drain well and can be used to rake over moss and low spots in the lawn.
berms for trees and shrubs and can also be used for growing vegetables and flowers. Mulch – anything that goes on top of the soil to block out weeds and seal in moisture. In some areas, rocks and gravel are used as a mulch but in Western Washington bark and wood chips are the most common mulching materials. Composted manure Western Washington is dairy country and wellcomposted dairy manure is available from some local farmers for use as a soil amendment and in some cases as a weed-blocking mulch. To avoid weed seeds, the manure should be heated in a pile and aged so it is well rotted. • • •
rocks or a bit of stringy material in a load of compost or topsoil does not detract from the overall quality of the product. What you should be concerned about are visible weeds, especially horsetail, undecomposed branches, fresh manure, cigarette butts, plastic
Three-way mix or fiveway mix – Compost, sand and loam plus, in some cases, sawdust and bark are mixed. This creates a soil that holds water better than a two-way mix but drains better than compost. It’s good for creating planting
Marianne Binetti has a degree in horticulture from Washington State University and is the author of “Easy Answers for Great Gardens” and several other books. For book requests or answers to gardening questions, write to her at: P.O. Box 872, Enumclaw, 98022. Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a personal reply. For more gardening information, she can be reached at her Web site, www.binettigarden.com.
March 20, 2015 
Windows are the #1 source of heat loss By Doris A. Black Windows are one of the most important structural characteristics of a home. They bring in light and beauty but can also be a major source of heat loss in the winter if not maintained properly. To reduce heat loss, inspect and replace any damaged existing windows or use other insulating devices. The most common reason windows leak is because they are old, cracked or missing caulking or weatherstripping. Caulking is made of silicone or latex, an airtight compound used for filling holes and cracks in the window frame and joints between the frame and the wall. With age, caulking deteriorates and should be replaced when it crumbles and cracks. To remove old caulking, use a putty knife to pry it clear of the frame, taking care not to damage wooden frames. Clean and dry the surface areas before reapplying caulk. Manufacturers recommend applying caulk when temperatures exceed 50 degrees. Colder temperatures will prevent the caulk from adhering and sealing properly. Weatherstripping is used to form a tight seal between a moving and stationary part of the window, such as the sash and the frame. Narrow weatherstripping can be purchased in vinyl, foam or rubber.
Leaky windows waste energy and ultimately dollars for the homeowner. The holes or cracks in your framing or caulking can be so miniscule that they aren’t visible to the naked eye. But there is one surefire way to locate the air leaks around your windows. After removing draperies and other flammable objects from the window area, light a candle and slowly work your way around each window frame, holding the candle about three inches from the frame. Watch the flame flicker as it passes through air currents. This method is especially effective on a windy day when strong currents of air are forced through the tiny cracks and holes. Once the leaks are located, reducing or eliminating them can greatly improve the energy efficiency of your windows. Knowing the style of windows you have may also help you determine where cracks are most likely to be found. Double-hung windows, where the upper sash and lower sash are moveable, are the least energy-efficient style because there are so many surface areas where a tight seal is difficult to achieve. Horizontal sliding windows are similar by design and therefore just as prone to being drafty. Louvered and casement windows are moderately airtight because of their compression seals. They open with a hand crank, are easy to operate and provide good ventilation. Compression seals are twice as air tight as the sliding seals of double-hung or horizontal sliding windows, a fact to keep in mind when purchasing new windows.
When installing new windows seems to be the best option, knowing the construction characteristics of different types of windows can help you choose which ones to purchase. Manufacturers rate the energy efficiency of windows by R-values. The R-value represents the window’s ability to resist heat flow. Window R-values can range from a low .09 (very drafty) to over 3.0 (very airtight). The higher the R-value, the less heat loss will occur. For example, single-pane windows have an R-value of 1.0 (not good).
• Frame construction and installation. Window frames can be constructed of one type of material or a combination of materials. The most common are: wood, vinyl, aluminum and fiberglass. Wood frames have the highest R-value, but also require the most maintenance (painting, staining, etc.). They are likely to rot and swell if not maintained properly. Vinyl frames are virtually maintenance free and have moderate R-value, but are not as strong as wood, although
Several factors determine a window’s energy efficiency: • Glazing material. Although most windows are designed with clear glass, many homeowners opt for windows with special glazes to enhance the energy efficiency of their homes. For example, heat-absorbing glass uses solar energy to increase energy efficiency by 45% and windows with low-e (low emissivity) glass coatings reflect 40% to 70% of the heat that is normally transmitted through clear glass, keeping the heat inside where it belongs. • Number of layers of glass. Double- or triple-pane windows have layers of space between each pane to resist heat flow. The more layers, the better insulation. • Amount of space between panes of glass. Too much or too little space between panes can allow too much heat transfer. The highest-rated windows have air space between 1/2” and 5/8”. If the space is filled with argon or krypton gas, as in high-efficiency models, the insulating value increases further.
they can be reinforced with steel bars. On the low end of the price scale are aluminum frames. They have the lowest R-value and are prone to condensation, but are strong and ideal for custom sizing. Fiberglass frames have excellent R-values, can be expensive to purchase, but will not rot, warp or corrode. When choosing multiple-paned windows, consider the spacing material used to separate the panes. Metal is most often used but it is not very efficient. Look for a brand that uses foam separators, nylon spacers or other insulating materials between the glass inside their windows to give the highest consistent thermal resistance. Make your home more comfortable and affordable this winter by locating drafty windows, repairing broken seals or installing new windows with a high R-value rating. Then sit back and watch the utility bills drop.
 March 20, 2015
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