Perfect Fit: Enhance Your Home with Custom Order Windows


1. Introduction

New windows can bring light to a home with a larger insulated glass pane providing more light than the former window. These windows are built to last and with a lifetime warranty can only stand as a testament to how they will greatly improve your home’s feeling and save you energy costs in the long run.

Custom windows are usually made from all new construction windows that are built to fit a certain size with no existing opening. These windows come in wood, clad, vinyl, metal, and aluminum for construction types. Older homes with storm windows can easily eliminate the exterior storm with a new custom constructed window. This will allow a much easier clean and operate with the twin double hung tilt type windows commonly found in today’s construction.

When you’re looking to improve your home with custom order windows, there are a few things you should know. From the benefits to picking the right window, I will be discussing all that you will need to know before placing your order. Custom order windows typically start around 10-15% more than standard window sizes. While they do cost more than a stock wood or vinyl window, the benefits will outweigh the costs.

Custom order windows, generally referred to as custom windows, have become the first and foremost choice when it comes to home improvement. Finding a properly sized and correctly fitting standard window is becoming more and more difficult. It’s all manufactured almost too well. This is why it’s better to have a window made to fit your home’s exact dimensions. This is not the only reason why people buy custom windows; many are looking to open up window openings to accommodate a bay window or large picture window. Older homes are also in great need of custom windows. Over the years, the house has settled, causing strange window sizes. This is where custom windows come in to save the day.

1.1 Benefits of Custom Order Windows

Up until the early 1990s, mass production was an efficient way to keep manufacturing prices down. The consumer was pleased because he could purchase items at rock bottom prices. Companies like Sunrise Windows, however, recognize the pitfalls of mass production and its impact on quality. Competitive pricing and high quality building materials, such as aluminum or vinyl, make it possible to have windows built to exact specifications at little or no additional cost, ensuring the desired fit for any opening. Custom built windows allow the homeowner to devise the most efficient design, and conserve space for additional or larger windows. And, if you are considering a non-traditional window such as an octagon, arch, or trapezoid, custom is your only option. Installing conventional stock-size windows would require extensive and costly reconstruction of the opening. The benefits of custom-order windows are an invaluable investment in your home.

1.2 Factors to Consider Before Ordering

If the measurements are wrong, there could be serious problems with getting the window to fit. This can be costly and maybe even impossible to correct. Getting the right measurements is crucial. It will save time, money, and frustration. You want to measure within 1/16 of an inch, and you should measure in three locations: the top, the middle, and the bottom of the window. Use the smallest of the three measurements. It may even be best to have a professional come in for measurements. This way, if there’s a mistake, you know it is not on your end and the company may have to correct their errors. A professional may cost a little extra money, but it will go a long way.

Before ordering or even looking for a custom order window, it is essential to know what you are looking for and what will be the best option for your home. There are several factors to be considered in the decision-making process. Firstly, it is of essence to know what your budget may be. The cost to install custom order windows can be quite a bit more than simply buying a pre-made window from a store. It is important to know how much you are willing to spend so you can choose the best option for what you want and what you are willing to spend. It is also extremely important to have the right measurements for the window openings. The most important thing about custom order windows is that they are custom.

2. Window Styles and Designs

Casement windows are hinged to swing inward or outward like a door and are usually operated with a hand crank. Casements are ideal for hard-to-reach areas in your home and come in a variety of sizes. They are the most energy-efficient operable window because the sash closes by pressing against the frame, which also helps to create a very airtight seal. Casement windows are a very popular choice for homeowners, and their versatility in design and function allows them to be used in all home styles. Consider multiple casement windows in a row to add an architectural feel to a room and to let in lots of light. The casement is the most effective style for ventilation since the entire window can open. Because of the sash cranks, casement windows are a great option for areas adjacent to decks or walkways since the window will not blow open and shut from the wind. Additionally, casements are a great choice for basements since we can install egress hinges for an extra wide opening, making it easy to escape through the window in the event of a fire. Egress casements also provide a legal means of escape from a finished basement while adding light and ventilation to an otherwise dark and stuffy space.

2.1 Casement Windows

Casement windows are hinged on either side of the frame and are opened with a crank or lever. They open outwards, away from the selected room. This ensures that the window will not interfere with curtains, blinds or other interior design decisions. Another benefit of casement windows includes much better ventilation than a typical double hung window because the entire window can be opened to allow a breeze. Their airtight seal when closed also makes them one of the more energy efficient window types. This is because the window presses against the frame to prevent air and often times has a weathertight seal along the edge of the window. Their energy efficiency is helpful in cost savings on utility bills or in the event of trying to sell your home. Casement windows are widely used in Europe and there are many imported hardware options that can give them a unique or rustic look. However, because the windows crank outwards, they are not recommended to be installed above a deck where they may be a hindrance. They are also not the best option to install over a walkway because the open window may be obstructing. Typically they are not recommended for basements either because their screens can be tough to remove for an emergency exit.

2.2 Double-Hung Windows

The versatility and the classic look of double-hung windows make them a popular choice. They are often a great fit for multi-story homes because the sashes can be tilted in for easy cleaning. If you are considering double-hung windows for an area with a walkway or patio, you might want to consider a model with a lower sash which protrudes outside. This can be a nice way to create a small outdoor space where you can sit and read while enjoying the fresh air and the natural light.

A series of double-hung windows can make a memorable statement in your home with their classically elegant look. These windows feature two sashes, which can slide vertically past one another. Many people are familiar with the old-fashioned pulleys and weights that used to be found inside the window casing. Most new double-hung units have these features also because they make the sash easy to lift and keep open, but today you can also find double-hung models with a more convenient tilt-out feature which makes cleaning the windows a breeze.

2.3 Picture Windows

Picture windows are usually considered less functional than other windows because they are typically a large single pane or a large fixed window. However, in some situations, picture windows are more functional than anything else. Picture windows were more commonly installed in older homes. In modern times, many people have moved away from the look of large picture windows. Because picture windows are fixed, they are very energy efficient and usually more affordable than other windows. Picture windows are a great way to open up a room with natural light, which can end up saving on energy costs. The downside to this is that with more light, you will allow more heat in during the summer. In situations such as a view of the lake or in a two-story foyer, a picture window may be the only way to get natural light. Picture windows installed in the second floor picture with a roof below can easily be converted into a balcony door or a small balcony. This can be done in the initial construction phase of the window or at any time after by restructuring the window.

3. Energy Efficiency and Savings

You have searched for ways to improve your home in performance, appearance, and value. Custom order windows provide an ideal solution, allowing you to enhance your home’s efficiency and curb appeal with a single project. The rising costs of utilities have made home energy efficiency one of the most important considerations for home buyers. Efficient windows can lower your annual heating and cooling costs by as much as 15 percent. Multiple factors contribute to a window’s efficiency including window type, glazing, frame, and installation. Frames are excellent insulators and the case for wood window frames has been reinforced with advancements in protection against water and sun damage. New vinyl and fiberglass frames resist heat and cold and are less likely to transfer heat and cold than aluminum frames. The most efficient window glazing today is filled with argon, an invisible gas, or krypton, a gas denser than argon. Studies have shown an improvement in energy efficiency using argon fillings and the benefit increases as the space between the glass is increased. Choosing windows with low-e glass and the right window type for your climate zone could result in maximum energy efficiency. High efficient low-e windows are designed to allow high solar heat gain in cooler climates and lower solar heat gain in hotter climates. This could be the difference of keeping your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer at a lower cost.

3.1 Importance of Energy Efficiency

Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) is the fraction of solar radiation admitted through a window, door, or skylight, either transmitted directly and/or absorbed, and subsequently released into the home as heat. The ideal SHGC varies depending on your climate, but for maximum energy efficiency you should aim to control the source of your heat gain. In warm climates, selecting windows with a lower SHGC can help to reduce air conditioning costs whereas in cooler climates, selecting windows with a higher SHGC can help to heat your home in winter. A product with a high SHGC is a more effective heat source than a product with low-emittance glass with an equivalent U-Factor, where the heat gain can be controlled.

U-Factor is the rate at which a window, door, or skylight conducts non-solar heat flow. It’s usually measured in watts per square meter per degree Kelvin and indicates how well a product keeps heat inside your home. The lower the U-Factor, the better the insulating performance.

One of the most substantial benefits of energy-efficient windows is the reduction in the cost of heating and cooling your home. Energy efficient windows can help to lower your energy bills and make your home more comfortable. The energy performance of windows is based on the following factors:

3.2 Choosing Low-E Glass

Low-e glass windows represent the cutting edge of window technology. Low-e glass is coated with a microscopically thin metallic oxide layer. This layer is applied to the glass while it is still in a molten state, and then it is cooled. The primary function of this coating is to reduce the amount of ultraviolet and infrared light that can pass through glass without compromising the amount of visible light that is transmitted. Blocking ultraviolet light is beneficial because it can fade colors and damage fabrics. The same goes for infrared light, it can raise the temperature inside your home. By blocking it, your home will be cooler in the summer. The other great benefit of low-e windows is that in the winter it reflects heat back into the room. In a typical house, you can potentially save hundreds of dollars a year on heating and cooling costs. Plus, your home will be far more comfortable in the summer and winter.

3.3 Insulation and Weatherstripping

Insulation is a crucial element in the energy performance of a window and is mostly invisible, unlike low-e coatings, which are microscopically thin. Insulation is blanket-like material wrapped around the glass to create a thermal barrier. The most common material is still aluminium. However, since aluminium conducts heat rapidly, it is the least efficient material to use. On the other hand, because insulation greatly increases energy efficiency and window performance, a highly insulating window with a poor frame may not perform as well as a less insulating window with a superior frame. Though window technology has advanced significantly over the past few decades, older windows can often be repaired rather than replaced. Often the wood around the glass is in good condition but wood and glazing putty have failed. It is possible to carefully remove the sash and take it to a pro who can scrape off old paint and putty, and apply new putty and paint. If taken care of, the repair can last 20 years. New storm windows can also be added to increase efficiency. However, the best possible energy efficiency comes with a new window that has been properly installed.

4. Customization Options

Fiberglass and cellular composite materials are very similar in benefits compared to wood windows. Both of these materials offer the look of wood windows with the benefits of low maintenance and long-lasting quality. These windows are also very energy efficient. JELD-Wen fiberglass windows are a cost-effective option for consumers and have shown to be the strongest, most durable material available in windows. Wood windows require regular maintenance with regards to painting and finishing. JELD-WEN offers a variety of wood windows with many options to fit your styling needs. Wood windows are very energy efficient and are still a number one choice for many homes due to the natural beauty and warmth the windows provide.

Vinyl windows have proven to be very popular for consumers. The price is usually the lowest compared to other materials; however, the selection of high-quality vinyl windows is small. A large benefit of vinyl windows is the lack of maintenance required. The color in vinyl windows also runs throughout, so scrapes and scratches are less noticeable. JELD-WEN vinyl windows are made with high-quality extruded PVC or premium solid vinyl that is resilient to the wear of everyday life. JELD-WEN vinyl windows also contain multiple air chambers that increase insulation, which is important in the Canadian climate. Finally, JELD-WEN vinyl windows are environmentally friendly, as the windows can be completely recycled into various types of plastic products.

There is no denying the importance of choosing the right material for your custom windows. Options range from low-cost vinyl windows to high-end wood windows. Knowing the benefits and differences between the materials will help you make the right choice. We offer windows in vinyl, cellular composite material, fiberglass, and wood.

4.1 Window Frame Materials

Despite the attractiveness of wood windows, the leading Moorestown Windows are vinyl for its high durability, lower maintenance, and lower price than wood. All-vinyl frame window designs are made to match any specific custom order window size and configuration. The white vinyl windows are a great match on any colored vinyl siding and are now being color-matched in some homes to the interior trim colors. Low maintenance cleaning and preserving energy efficiency on a custom-fit window are added bonuses to a vinyl window.

The all-wood exterior and interior window is by far the greatest option when looking for the most attractive window. Stain-grade wood interior windows create a warm and sophisticated look for any room. Wood is highly versatile as a material to be used for custom-made window frames. It can be configured in all shapes and sizes for an exact fit. It can also be painted or stained to match a room’s colors or a home’s specific decor. Wood windows are also easy to maintain with minimal wipe-down cleaning and periodic sealing.

The most common type of window frame material we receive inquiries about is in regards to wood vs vinyl windows. Renaissance Windows and Doors has been providing Moorestown with custom-made all-wood and all-vinyl windows for over a decade. We have also installed numerous wood-clad windows and vinyl-clad windows to our homeowners seeking alternative options.

Moorestown homeowners have such differing styles that no one window is perfect for everyone. Custom-made window frames match the custom-fit windows with versatility, attractiveness, and the longevity of the materials you seek. Our eight different window styles can all be made with custom-designed window frames. These frames can be made in unique configurations, sizes, or ordered in a specific material.

4.2 Window Grids and Patterns

Diamond patterns are very popular with colonial-style homes, while a simple cottage would best be complemented with a two equal panel design with no grid. Custom windows and specific grid designs require that the window be built with the grid between the glass. Double-hung and single-hung windows can have the grid between the glass or on the exterior, but all other window types usually require the grid between the glass.

Window grids have a long history, adding architectural interest to windows for centuries. Initially intended to provide structural support for the individual small panes of glass, today grids are often purely decorative and are available sandwiched between the glass, inside the glass, and applied on the interior or exterior of the window with the metal bars being an additional option. Some homeowners prefer a clear view with no divided light, while others like the look of window muntins or grids and want to replicate the historic look of older homes. Custom window patterns or matching a specific design are often available, though at an increased cost. When considering a grid design, compare the architectural style of your home to the grid designs that are available.

4.3 Hardware and Finishes

Many window and patio doors come in a variety of hardware finishes, allowing homeowners to make a dramatic décor statement and boost the visual appeal of their home, inside and out. Finishes include polished brass, antique brass, bright brass, stainless steel, satin nickel, polished chrome, oil rubbed bronze, and white. Custom hardware finishes may be available upon request, so homeowners should discuss their options with their window sales professional. High-quality multi-point locking hardware is a great option in both single and double-hung windows. This European-style hardware not only enhances the aesthetics of the window but also provides ease of operation and additional security. Other popular hardware options in replacement windows include sash lifts and matching tilt latches. These options are designed specifically for double-hung windows and are used to tilt the window sash in for easy cleaning. Each patio door style has specific hardware options, and there are a variety of finishes available. The traditional sliding patio door has both a reachout lock and a security lock. Reachout locks are found on both the active and the passive door and pull the two doors tightly together to ensure a weathertight fit. Security locks are usually only found on one door and are used to lock the door in place while closed. The swinging patio door system has the most hardware aesthetic appeal with two available finishes: Classic and Estate. The Classic hardware closely resembles the hardware on the Frenchwood hinged door, and the Estate hardware offers a higher-end look and intricate design. The swinging patio door system also offers the conventional reachout lock.

5. Professional Installation

Once the installation is complete, thoroughly inspect the windows to ensure that the job was done to your satisfaction. If you are not present during the installation, have someone you trust perform the inspection. Make sure that the area surrounding your windows has been thoroughly cleaned. Some installers will use old and/or dull blades when removing the old windows along with cutting the new windows to fit the existing openings. This creates excessive dirt and grime. Ask the installers to replace their blades and wash the windows to remove any excess debris. A small amount of dirt is normal and can be easily removed using the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning techniques.

Prior to the installation of your windows, make sure that your installer has an unobstructed path to the window locations. This will protect your interior and exterior furnishings. In addition, remove any alarm sensors from your windows, as well as have them removed and reinstalled by your alarm company if they are hardwired to the windows themselves. Make the installer’s job easier by clearing a path to the windows both inside and outside of the house.

Hiring a professional to install your custom order windows is a good idea. Many window manufacturers do not warranty their products if the windows are not installed by a qualified professional. In the past, poorly installed windows were often the cause of window-related problems. Hiring a professional to install your windows will eliminate that possibility. If you feel confident in your abilities to successfully install your windows and can do so in a timely fashion, by all means, give it a try. In doing so, you may save money on the cost of installation.

5.1 Hiring a Qualified Window Installer

Beyond that, look for a professional with vast experience in window installation. It is recommended that you call some of the references provided, but to be certain you’re getting objective information, try to get the names of some past customers from the company rather than those provided as references. Experienced installers who do quality work shouldn’t have a problem with this. If an installer gives you names of customers from more than a year ago, this could be a red flag, as it may indicate that they haven’t done much work recently and their skills could be rusty. On the same note, try to avoid hiring an independent contractor who’s done nothing but install windows for the last few years. Independent contractors who are skilled in all aspects of carpentry, not just window installation, will be more well-rounded workers. This is beneficial because window installation is often but one small aspect of larger home improvement projects, so it’s quite possible that other areas of the wall surrounding the window will need to be repaired or replaced. A well-rounded carpenter can do this.

Because it’s an important step in the process and will have a tremendous impact on the overall satisfaction with your new windows, it’s important to take the time to be certain you’re getting a qualified professional to install them. Start by making sure your installer is certified by the American Window and Door Institute ( Installation that meets industry-recognized standards is critical, not only for the performance of the products, but also to ensure they will function as intended. Therefore, it is recommended that you only hire window installers who are certified by AWDI, a relatively new organization founded to train installers and to provide a certification system as a means for homeowners to identify installers who have been properly trained.

5.2 Preparing Your Home for Installation

While custom window replacement companies will perform a walk-through of your home before installation to look for specific issues, as a homeowner, being aware of what needs to be done before installation will help you prepare for this big event. Clear all pathways in and out of your house, as well as work areas around your windows. Remove any wall decorations, curtains, blinds or window treatments. Custom window installers will move what is directly in front of the window; however, moving wall decorations and window treatments will ensure their protection during installation. Although installers lay drop cloths around all work areas, it is still a good idea to remove all small items from around windows and to remove anything fragile or valuable near work areas. If you haven’t quite purchased the new window treatments you were looking to get, now is the time to do it as you will not be able to reuse existing window treatments with a different size window. A good habit to get into and maintain is to review all window warranties of new installations and items cleaned, prepped prior to installation, and anything in the immediate area. This will avoid faulty warranties for damage that was already there.

5.3 Post-Installation Maintenance

For casement windows, adjustments are also minor. If a unit is difficult to lock, simply turn the two screws on the lock striker plate either in or out to reposition the plate up or down to achieve proper alignment with the lock. Any hinges that need adjustments can be moved in or out to adjust the sash position using the same screwdriver that was used for the lock striker adjustment. Keep in mind that the tilt-pac and sash replacement windows have been set at the factory for proper operation and should not need adjustment.

If your window continues to bind using these methods or if raising the sash is too difficult, you may need to adjust the jamb by slightly bending the jamb inward. This can be done with a pair of pliers while being careful not to damage the window. Although this may sound complicated, remember that this adjustment is rarely necessary and only takes about five minutes to achieve a properly operating window.

Test the window after making these adjustments. If the window binds, readjust the pivots to level the sash. If after doing this, the window still binds, lower both pivots and center the sash in the window. This will allow the sash to operate to a certain extent, but the centered sash position is the best location for sash operation. Now try raising and lowering the sash to see if the newly centered position alleviated the binding.

To adjust a double-hung window, simply remove the screen and with the window open, use both hands to move the window up or down. On the sides of the window, there are two “drive-in type” pivots that can be turned clockwise to raise the sash or counterclockwise to lower the sash. The key to this adjustment is to make small movements and to raise or lower both sides equally. If you raise one side more than the other, you’ll bind the window in the jamb.

When the installation is complete, shift your attention to caring for your new windows. Double-hung units should move up and down while casements should open and shut easily. For the easiest operation, some adjustment may be necessary.

6. Warranty and Customer Support

Customer support should always be factored in as a means of damage control. If the problem with a window cannot be covered by warranty for any of the said reasons above, customer support will be the alternative to an unsatisfactory end. The company should be contactable through means of a residential address, toll-free phone number or email, and response times are relatively fast. This can be another mirror of the company’s stability. If the address is the only means of contact, then odds are the company is small time and the problem cannot be solved. The best case scenario is that the problem can be promptly solved with an over the phone diagnosis, with a follow-up house visit. This is another situation where it is beneficial if the company is still around in the distant future.

Sometimes a warranty isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. Don’t be lured into a false sense of confidence in the product just because you have a piece of paper saying it’s guaranteed. This could be detrimental. A company offers a warranty with the intention of never having to honor it. If they can outlast the length of the warranty in time, then they never have to replace or repair anything free of charge. Always consider this when judging the reputation and stability of the company you buy from.

Vinyl windows should not leak air, and insulated glass should not have any problems for 20 years. Nor should the hardware fail within 20 years. This is the minimum it should be guaranteed by the company you buy from. Vinyl windows are almost maintenance free, barring physical damage such as scratches, it should retain color and finish for its entire lifetime. Any damages from the aforementioned should be covered by the warranty with replacement parts. When window shopping always try and get the sales rep to be specific about the length of warranty for the entire window. I have experienced sales reps tell me it is warranty for 20 years, only to find out that’s only the case for the hardware, regardless of the actual life of the window. The longer the warranty the better. This indicates that the company has faith in their product and will very likely be still around in 20 years to honor the warranty. A lifetime warranty would be the best case scenario.

6.1 Understanding Window Warranties

The warranty on a window is there to protect your investment. The things to look for in a window warranty are whether the entire window is covered or only certain parts, how long the warranty is good for, and if it is transferrable to the next homeowner. In terms of warranty length, a lifetime warranty with a company that has been around for a while is as good as it gets. Unfortunately, in the home building products industry, warranties are often used as a sales tool and are not a good measure of the actual quality and durability of a product. An example given by Foster is wind and impact resistant windows which last longer and deflect the incident which would cause a warranty claim. This is critical because some warranties are pro-rated and only cover a small percentage of a product for a short amount of time. Unfortunately these warranties tend to feature less customer support and no pro-rated warranty is a good one. In the event that something goes wrong with a window, and a customer gets locked into a confusing and drawn out warranty claim with little company support, it may be time to purchase a new window from another company. This last point leads us into the next section on customer support and service, and is indicative of the window industry as a whole. High quality and long lasting windows will have problems if they are not installed well or if the wrong product is put in a certain place where it is not durable. Window manufacturers know this and Foster found that a company will usually bail out of the technical support and checking a failed window to determine the product’s weakness if it costs too much money, irrespective of the warranty.

6.2 Customer Support and Service

Unlike most home renovation contractors, the majority of window manufacturers, such as Milgard, Marvin, and Andersen, want to convey the message that the improvement of a customer’s home is the main pillar supporting the company. This being the reason, the full extent of what these companies have to offer cannot be genuinely expressed until the customer has actually filed a complaint or request concerning the windows. An insider for Northwest Window Alliance, which is a group of window dealers located in the Pacific Northwest, shared this view when he said, “It’s when the problems come out that one window stands out over another. Every window will look good in the showroom and perform well when it’s first installed. It’s several years down the road that the customer finds out what they really purchased.” At this point, installing windows is a thing of the past, and any company that truly values their product will offer intelligent and experienced solutions to any problems that may arise. This may involve sending a highly knowledgeable representative to assess and solve the problem onsite, or it may involve simple step-by-step guidance to a customer who is willing to tackle a small repair on his/her own. In any case, what’s important is that the company complies with the customer’s wishes and expends an effort equal to the value of the windows provided. This somewhat personal attention is what newer window companies are striving to give. An example cited by Steven Selbrede reflects his experience with Accurate Window and Door. He indicated that because of the particularly high level of service provided by their representative, it seemed that the person was being hired solely to solve the problem at hand. In addition to the effectiveness and skill used to solve problems, the act of simply getting in touch with the company is something that should require minimal effort from the customer. Unfortunately, it is common at present for large manufacturers to offer little more than an 800-number, while some smaller companies may have disconnected phone lines or out-of-date contact information. Hurdles such as these only serve to frustrate a customer who is already faced with a window problem. And for this reason, Selbrede admits, “If the customer has to chase after you, the service is poor.”


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