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Design Decisions

There are many choices to be considered while doing a remodel or new build project. It can be quite overwhelming at first when presented with all the possibilities there are to choose from. Brands, styles, materials, colors… it’s a seemingly endless array of decisions. And while it can be fun to choose a style you’ve always wanted, it’s important to consider whether or not the style you choose is practical. Since weather in Wisconsin can range from -30 to 90+ you want to make sure that you choose products/materials that can withstand such a variety of temperatures and weather conditions. We’ve compiled some information on Wisconsin appropriate materials.

Windows are connection between outdoors and indoors. A way to keep our eyes on the skies from inside. A way to let natural light in and give a feel openness throughout our homes. But windows can also be a source of heat/cold conduction. They can be a source of drafts, unwanted heat from the sun or cold from a bitter winters night. So here’s the scoop on windows-the bigger the area of glass, the more sunlight you bring in and the more potential you have for heat/cold conduction. So keep size in mind. Windows are made well these days, and with quality glass you can eliminate most if not all of the heat/cold conductance factor. Below is a list of window materials and how they hold up. Listed from our top picks down.

- Fiberglass: Is stronger than vinyl and a bit more expensive. Is not affected by changes in temperatures and is resistant to mold, moist, and sunlight. Due to its strength and resistance, fiberglass is our top choice.

- Vinyl: Provides both heat and sound insulation and requires little maintenance. Most often comes in the color white, but can be painted.

- Aluminum: Allows for maximum light due to its thin frame allowing more glass surface. Conducts heat out of the home and is prone to condensation.

- Wood: More often used in historical buildings/homes and when the owner really wants the natural wood look. Wood is very sensitive to changes in temperature and moisture. Is prone to mold, warp and rot. Hardwood windows require a coat of oil, while softwood windows require a paint or finish and maintenance coats.

Door are the next connection between outside and in. A way to get from room to room and also a way to protect our homes while we are away. Door can also be a source of drafts and unwanted heat/cold conductance. The material your doors are made of can make a difference! Once again, listed from top pick down.

- Fiberglass: Strong and resistant, again makes for a top pick! It can even be stained to look like wood. They have an insulated core adding protection from the elements.

- Wood: Once again, requires upkeep and is prone to changes in temperature and humidity. However, is more versatile and can be customized easily.

- Steel: Extremely strong and can help keep cool winds from drafting into your home. However, if dented it is very hard to remove the dent.

*It is important to remember that the material used around windows and doors is important as well to make sure you get a tight seal.

These are not all the options available to you, but some of the most commonly used. Choosing a material that is right for your area is a sure way to get the most out of your remodel or new build. So while you’re making a million decisions about your project, don’t forget to take into consideration materials as well as design!

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