With clear views and eye-catching design being top of mind when looking at windows, it’s easy to lose focus on some of the less obvious benefits of quality windows. And we aren’t talking about the glass quality, the design of the frames, opening mechanisms, or even thermal efficiency. There are a host of window benefits coasting under the radar that we unveil below.
With the hustle and bustle prevalent today, sound pollution can be a real problem for a lot of people, especially for those living in more urban areas with lots of traffic, construction noises, and other activity. Although it’s impossible to 100 percent soundproof a home even if all areas of the house (roof, doors, siding, etc.) are equipped with quality insulation, installing windows with sound reduction features like those from SoftLite makes a monumental difference. In fact, many of the same features that add to sound reduction are also excellent for thermal efficiency and have helped our products achieve recognition as ENERGY STAR® “Most Efficient Products” year after year. These features include:
- A tighter seal - Exactly like with air and heat, sound has more opportunity to intrude when the seal isn’t just right. With SoftLite, our windows are manufactured to ensure a tight fit and prevent air infiltration, which also effectively deadens sound significantly.
- Multiple panes - Single-pane windows do little for either thermal efficiency or sound reduction. Adding a second pane helps, but a third pane goes even further at diminishing noise pollution as sound waves are absorbed, reflected, or minimized with each pane of glass.
- Space between panes - The greater the space between the panes of glass, the greater the noise reduction. Heavy gases like argon inserted in those spaces will provide even better results as they work more efficiently at muffling sound.
- Laminated glass - When laminated glass is used rather than standard glass, sound is dampened, and noise reduction is increased.
Have you thought about the curb appeal of your house before? Curb appeal is a real estate term often used to describe a home’s exterior appearance, including the roof, siding, landscaping, and, of course, windows! Researchers have found a significant correlation between a home’s outward appeal and its value at resale. In fact, the 2021 Cost vs. Value Report by Remodeling Magazine and Zonda Media listed 11 of the top 12 highest returning home remodeling projects as exterior projects, including vinyl window replacements at No. 5 with 68.6 percent cost recouped. In other words, investments in vinyl window replacements and other residential curb appeal improvements generate far more value at resale than most interior renovations. So, before you go updating your kitchen or bathroom, stop and consider your windows instead.
How do you maximize your curb appeal? A window’s quality and design play a crucial role as today’s homebuyers require real estate that’s both eye-catching and practical. One of the greatest benefits of choosing SoftLite windows is the plethora of attractive choices. From a host of frame color options, including wood grain finishes that mimic the look and feel of real wood, to a robust portfolio of grid patterns, window shapes, style options, and decorative glass, there’s something for every home that will be sure to match any aesthetic and boost curb appeal.
The exterior of your home isn’t the only area that benefits from quality windows. Did you know that modern, quality glass also prevents the furniture in your home from fading? Low-E (low emissivity) coatings are most known for their specialized ability to halt temperature transference by reflecting infrared light and thereby increasing your home’s thermal efficiency, but there is another less well-known bonus. When equipped with low-E coatings, windows effectively block destructive UV rays that would otherwise significantly damage your home’s furnishings and interior detailing. Without this innovative design, expensive artwork, carpet, furniture, and other items will fade over time due to long-term exposure.
Though tax season has just ended for the year, tax credits for residential energy efficiency have been retroactively extended through Dec. 31, 2021, according to ENERGY STAR. Proven to save energy, improve comfort, and help protect the environment, windows that earn the ENERGY STAR certification are eligible for a tax credit amount of 10 percent of the cost, up to $200, not including installation. It’s important to note that you do not need to replace all windows in your home to claim this incentive, and the new window still qualifies even if it is installed somewhere that a window had not previously been located.
If your home is in a historic district, there may be an opportunity for additional federal historic tax credits (HTC) through the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives program, as outlined by the National Park Service. The program is only available for historic buildings that are income-producing for a minimum of five years, but after that time is up, the owner can move right in. According to Old House Online, 35 states also have their own tax credit programs. Virginia, Texas, and Mississippi, for example, offer qualifying homeowners’ credits of up to 25 percent of eligible rehabilitation costs. While the process to apply for these tax incentives can be time-consuming and tedious, many find the benefits of such an investment are often worth it.
It’s recommended that when renovating with the intent to pursue historic tax credits that you seek a specialized consultant who knows what they’re doing. With similar projects already under their belt, this ensures they have the expertise and intimately understand the HTC process, which can be extensive and quite competitive. For window needs, the consultant may recommend certain grid styles or shapes that are emblematic of the region’s history. In any case, speaking with a professional like those found at SoftLite can help point you in the right direction and help you match your windows to your desired aesthetic.
There are many bonuses and inconspicuous benefits you might not always think about in terms of your windows, but from beneficial sound reduction and boosted curb appeal to UV protection and profitable tax credits, there’s a lot more to them than meets the eye. To get started on your window replacements, contact a SoftLite dealer near you.