April 29, 2014
Three Little Fixes You Can Make When Prepping a Home for Sale
Courtesy: Roger Rygg, Piller to Post Home Inspections 604-462-7020
For Sale (Almost)
Homeowners make a lot of memories in their houses, and there's no doubt it's emotional for them to say goodbye to their well-loved kitchens and family rooms when they put their homes on the market. Unfortunately, potential buyers will not be charmed by that "lived-in look." As a realtor, you know that they will only see details that need TLC...ASAP.
Here are a few simple DIY projects that you can pass on to your clients. These little fixes will rejuvenate some common trouble areas and make homes more appealing to fussy buyers...something your clients definitely can get behind!
1) Busted tiles are not classy.
Oops. Did an anvil drop on that tile countertop? Tile holds up almost indefinitely to all kinds of wear-but sadly, as you may have seen in your years on the job, tile cracks if something heavy is dropped on it.
What your clients can do
It's relatively simple to replace broken tile: remove the grout, mask the surrounding tiles with tape, loosen the tile, chisel out the pieces, set the new tile, fill the perimeter with new grout and allow the grout to dry. Goodbye, shabby tile.
2) Scratches and dings and gouges, oh my!
We know your client's brother-in-law didn't mean to run into the built-in bookshelves drawer with the recliner. While a droll family memory, there's no value-add for the prospective home buyer, so it's probably best the seller get rid of any and all visible scratches, dings and gouges.
What your clients can do
Minor scratches can be wiped clean with mineral oil, lightly sanded with fine grade sandpaper and sealed with polyurethane. Scratches that penetrate the finish can be filled with a like-colored furniture repair stick. The product consists of wax and putty, and is easy to apply. Follow with a coat of polyurethane.
Not quite a gouge, but deeper than a scratch? Use wood putty in a matching color. Gouges also can be treated with wood putty. Make the repair, let it dry and apply the polyurethane.
3) Counter intelligence?
Bags of groceries, stubborn food stains and the occasional misfire with a kitchen knife are all to blame for clients' laminate or Corian counter surfaces looking scuffed and sad. Fortunately, there are simple solutions that won't leave home sellers with an empty wallet.
What your clients can do
Laminate is a repair-friendly surface: a color-matched repair pen or paste will camouflage most scratches. Be careful not to overfill, and gently sand the excess when dry. The remnants of past meals can be removed using a paste made from baking soda and water. Leave the paste for a few hours and wipe away. No need to rub or scrub.
Minor scratches on Corian can be treated by using a mild abrasive liquid cleaner on a damp sponge, rubbing over the scratch in small, overlapping circular motions, and rinsing with clean water. Encourage clients to wipe the surface completely dry, and repeat if the blemish is still visible. Deeper scratches should be treated following the manufacturer's instructions.
That was easy, wasn't it? With a little elbow grease and a modest investment of time and money, your clients can bring the sexy back to worn surfaces.
April 22, 2014
BEST RENOVATION TO ADD VALUE? INCOME SUITES
What's the best renovation project if you want to add resale value to your home? Most of us would say improving the kitchen or bathroom, but the correct answer is adding an income suite, says Scott McGillivray, a real estate investor, contractor and the host of Income Property on HGTV Canada.
McGillivray was recently the guest speaker at a media event held by Moen Canada to introduce its newest line of faucets and accessories. While McGillivray acknowledged that kitchens and bathrooms are also money in the bank when renovated, he says adding an income suite to a home can offer the greatest returns.
A recent report by Scotiabank says renovation spending has been the fastest growing segment of the housing market in Canada. "Fuelled by rising home prices, tight resale market conditions, attractive financing costs and government tax credits, real renovation outlays increased at an average annual rate of over six per cent from 2000 to 2012," says the report. "This is double the three-per-cent average annual increase in new construction."
The report says Canada's housing market is likely to slow down in the next couple of years, which will also cool the renovation market somewhat.
"Renovation spending tracks sale transactions, given relatively large outlays undertaken by new buyers and, to a lesser extent, sellers preparing their homes for sale. Even so, an expanding housing stock and high homeownership rates should continue to support modest growth in renovation spending," says Scotiabank.
Moen Canada, which conducts research on the changing market twice a year, has no concerns that the renovation market is slowing. Garry Scott, the company's vice-president, wholesale marketing and brand development, says 84 per cent of Canadian homeowners say they did some kind of renovation work in the last 12 months, and 66 per cent replaced a faucet.
"The renovation market is not slowing," says Scott. "It's going to continue to stay strong or even pick up. Seventy-six per cent of those we surveyed say they are planning a renovation in the next six months."
Moen's research also says that 58 per cent of homeowners say they will "never move" out of their current homes, although many of them will. The research also says that most homeowners say they renovate to improve their lifestyle.
Even if you are not selling your home immediately, adding an income suite allows you to increase your equity while using rent from the suite to help pay off the mortgage. Many homeowners are also using the suites to create space for their multi-generational families. McGillivray says the number of multi-generational households has increased by 20 per cent during the last 20 years.
Kitchens are second on McGillivray's list of best renovations to add to the value of your home, with bathrooms a close number three.
"The kitchen will make or break a house sale for many people," he says. For those on a budget, he says refacing kitchen cabinets and replacing the fixtures are a way to add value without spending a lot of money. For those with more cash to spend, the trend to open-concept kitchens is "only getting more popular," he says.
Updating a bathroom to add value can be a one-day job if you install a new vanity and accessories to update the look, he says. Second bathrooms can be created in small spaces, but not all renovations are a good idea.
"I've seen a shower unit placed right in the middle of a bedroom. That is not adding value."
McGillivray says reglazing or replacing a bathtub is a good way to add value. Free-standing bathtubs have also made a comeback. In Moen's latest offerings there is a collection of freestanding tub-filler faucets. Scott says the tub fillers are designed to be "considerably more secure than others on the market, eliminating that ‘wobble' that often accompanies floor-mounted units."
Adding fixtures is number four on McGillivray's list of best ways to add value to the home. "It can be simple, like changing door hardware or a faucet or a light fixture."
He says when potential buyers are touring a home, what they touch and smell in the home is important. They will notice if they have to touch a grungy faucet or open a door with a loose handle.
"When do-it-yourselfers want to know what they can do on a budget, I tell them that changing out the fixtures and accessories can make all the difference." He says a great renovation can turn people off if "there's a 24-cent light switch cover with paint all over it." Potential buyers may wonder what other parts of the renovation have been finished in a sloppy manner.
April 16, 2014
Inspection needed even when buying new condo
BY MARILYN WILSON, OTTAWA CITIZEN JANUARY 31, 2013
Many buyers think it's unnecessary to hire a building inspector before purchasing a new condo.
Photograph by: Chepko Danil , Fotolia.com
Many buyers think it's unnecessary to hire a building inspector before purchasing a new condo. Prospective owners often assume a condo building and their unit of interest is fine and everything is to code and working properly. While this is usually the case, purchasers still need to protect themselves against those rare occasions where a problem exists.
A friend of mine, for example, moved into a newly constructed condo where someone had inadvertently dropped a piece of plywood down the chimney flu, blocking it off. When the new owner lit the fireplace, smoke backed up through the unit.
Although the condo corporation took care of the fireplace, the owner was responsible for the smoke cleanup. A pre-purchase inspection would likely have avoided this problem as the offending piece of wood was within view of a casual look up the chimney.
I have sold many condos where buyers think they do not require an inspection, but every condo should be inspected by a certified building inspector.
Remember: It's a good idea to put a building inspection clause into your offer. And it's important to find a building inspector who is familiar with condo inspections. He or she will be cognizant of the types of problems to look for and of condominium building codes and regulations.
"What does an inspector check in a new condo? Isn't this a waste of time and money?" I am asked this all the time.
An inspector will make sure your hood fan exhaust is properly connected. He will ensure that the electrical system is to code, in working order and adequate to meet any special electrical requirements you might have. Windows will be inspected to see they are installed properly and to regulation. A good inspector will also check the common elements to see if any owners who moved in before you have inflicted damage to the halls or elevators.
Is the garage constructed to code with adequate drainage to prevent flooding, winter road-salt spalling and excessive humidity build-up? An inspector will check the drainage in the garage and your parking spot. You want to make sure when you open your trunk to take out your groceries you are not always standing in a puddle of water.
The inspector will check the condo's exterior envelope to see if it has adequate drainage and if it will deter ice buildup. Since the balcony is both the exterior element in which you will spend the most time and is also a source of liability (e.g.: ice buildup or water-damaged tiles blowing down onto the cars below), it will be examined carefully for potential problems.
Inspectors will check the roof and any air conditioning units located there, the security gate to the garage and many other things you would not think to consider.
The biggest factors are plumbing, electrical, heating and wiring. These must be to code, meet regulations and be suitable to accommodate any special requirements you, the buyer, might have. To further emphasize, a recent inspection revealed an ice buildup problem that, if not caught by the inspection, would have cost the buyer, along with the condo corporation, $20,000 to correct.
Definitely not a nice housewarming present.
Arkadi Abramovitch of Artech Home Inspections told me recently that technology has changed a lot in the past few years and this has helped to ensure buyers have a positive buying experience. Arkadi, along with many inspectors today, uses infrared equipment to check for moisture buildup in or behind the walls or ceilings, which would not normally be visible.
Inspectors check the exhaust systems for bathroom ventilation fans and kitchen hood fans that have sometimes been blocked inadvertently. A memorable condo inspection Arkadi had was when he found two Tim Hortons cups in a kitchen ventilation exhaust system.
It's better to find out before closing on your unit than to try to fix the issue (and be reimbursed) later. Ask the inspector specifically for his or her impressions of the common areas as they may or may not do this if they aren't asked specifically.
By now, I hope you are sold on the need for a building inspection for a new condo and it should be evident that this applies even more to a resale condo.
When first considering a resale condo, it's a good idea to ask residents (if you know any) about previous problems with the building. When you request a building inspection, ask the inspector to address specifically these areas. (Of course, you are going to have both your lawyer and your insurance agent review the status certificate before signing off on the purchase.)
On the flip side, I encourage sellers to get a pre-inspection before their property is listed for sale.
Marilyn Wilson has been selling real estate for more than 23 years and owns Marilyn Wilson Dream Properties Inc.
April 13, 2014
HOME DECORATING FOR MASS APPEAL: CHOICES YOU MAKE MAY AFFECT YOUR HOME SALE
One of the advantages of owning your own home is the ability to decorate it and make structural changes the way you like. However, when it comes time to list and sell that same home, those changes may help or hurt you depending on what you have done to the house.
When it comes to homes listed for sale, being unique can be both a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing if what makes the home unique is appealing to most. For instance, the only lot with a larger than normal backyard.
It's a curse, if the home is unique because of its outrageous color, or incredibly small storage space.
If, for example, a two bedroom home was remodeled to remove a closet and make the room a den or study, this could negatively impact the home because it will appear to many buyers that while the room can be used for sleeping, it's not practical because it lacks a closet. Many buyers will see this as a flaw. While they might appreciate space for a den or office, it's better to not remove the closet because then when it comes time to sell it, the den can be shown as both - an office or a bedroom.
Wood floors offer a timeless appeal to the masses. Yes, some may not prefer wooden floors but, generally speaking, most buyers will appreciate them. They also know that they can easily cover up the wood with their own area rugs to keep the home cozier-appearing in winter months. Wood floors, kept in good condition, can create an anti-aging look. Over the decades they hold their appeal.
Slightly worn furniture. I don't mean worn as in the baby threw up on the sofa. Rather, I'm referring to pieces of furniture that have slight imperfections. These imperfections can actually enhance the furniture. Instead of being seen as an eyesore, this style, sometimes called "distressed",is often coveted and more easily assimilated into current decor because any slight imperfections are perceived as "the way the piece was meant to be" rather than a flaw.
When you buy something that must be kept precisely perfect like new in order for it to look good, think of a white rug. You're in for a difficult road to keep it in its original pristine condition. Chances are that rug will be tossed out in the not-too-distant future. However, it sure looks good in the model home pictures where no one is walking on it!
Custom-designed, built-in furniture that's meant for a specific piece of technology such as a computer or a TV can limit your home and its appeal. During the period in which the TV actually fits in the built-in cabinet, it may have mass appeal. However, because we are in rapidly changing technological times, the danger is that your beautiful custom built-in furniture may not fit future TVs.
As technology evolves, things like TVs change drastically. Remember, how big a space you needed just a few years ago for a television set? Today, flat screens are the norm but eventually we might simply beam our TV screen onto an empty wall from our mobile device. Then that custom-built TV storage may simply be in the way.
Keep your decorating and remodeling to timeless styles and you'll increase your home's mass appeal among buyers.
April 13, 2014
CHEAP AND EASY BACKYARD UPDATES FOR YOUR HOME
Written by Jaymi Naciri on Saturday, 12 April 2014 5:13 pm
With warm weather comes the desire to spend time outdoors. And the desire to make our outdoor area a little prettier and more usable. Backyard design can get pricy, especially if you need a complete overhaul. But you can also create a fanciful space on a budget with a few tips and tricks.
Nothing adds ambiance like a warm, crackling fireplace. The same could be said of adding a fire feature to the yard.
Thankfully, they can be inexpensive and easy to incorporate, whether you want a wood-burning version, which can be found for around $100 or a gas firepit that will cost you a couple hundred dollars more.
Create a true outdoor room with a pergola or gazebo. Having one built will cost you several thousand dollars.
Or, you could got to your Big Box store or a retailer like Walmart or Costco and find an array of options with hard or soft tops, in varying sizes.
This 10 x 10 metal gazebo is just over $1,000 at Lowe's and creates an elegant space for dining and lounging out of the sun's glare.
Sit on it!
Chairs seen better days? Don't toss them out! They can be easily updated by throwing some new cushions on top. These from Target are only $37.
If the table needs some attention, a can of spray paint and a little elbow grease can make it look brand new. You can see a tutorial here. Don't stop there with the painting. Krylon makes a special spray paint for plastic, so if you have run-of-the-mill plastic chairs or planters, you can turn them into something special with a bold spray of color.
Water, water everywhere
Having a pool is the dream of many a homeowner. But many a homeowner can't (or doesn't want to) pony up between $40,000–$100,000 to build one. A hot new trend is making it possible to have a water feature at a fraction of the cost, even in a small yard. It's called the "spool," and "it's taking over the swimming pool industry," said ecopump. "You may be asking, ‘What is a spool?' It's simple -- a pool and spa combined to create a relaxing, backyard oasis. Spools typically measure 10 to 16 feet long and 6 to 8 feet wide, so they're much smaller than the average swimming pool, but larger than an average-sized spa."
Boring floors getting you down? If you like the look of stone but have a tight budget, stained and stamped concrete may be a way to go for your patio.
Staining concrete can give it a whole new look and is something you can do yourself. Stamped concrete can mimic the look of more exotic - and expensive - materials but at a lower cost. "A stamped concrete patio gives you the look and texture of a stone patio for a lot less than the real thing -- up to 50 percent less than the cost of natural slate or limestone," said Houselogic."
That's not all. Stamped concrete can mimic brick, cobblestones, cracked earth, and weathered wood. Add a bit of fun with leaf patterns, animal shapes, even dinosaur footprints. Best of all, a stamped concrete patio is low-maintenance: The "stones" won't settle over time, creating uneven surfaces, and there are no grout or joints that can open up to let grass and weeds sprout."
April 7, 2014
HOMEOWNERS ADVICE: USING COLOR IN HOME DECOR
To develop your interior color scheme, the color wheel is a good place to start. Learning how colors are created and what effect they have on you can be useful in helping you set the ambiance you want for your home.
If there were only 12 colors in the universe, choosing a decorating color scheme wouldn't be difficult, but it's the millions of variations of the color wheel that complicate matters. The impact colors have on how you want to feel is largely due to how much chroma or intensity they have. The more chroma or pigment a color has, the more intense it is.
A highly saturated hue or color is energetic, attention-grabbing, and bold. Hue is another word for pure color, the point at which any color is at its clearest. See: color-wheel-artist.com
If you add white, you soften the hue, cool it down and turn it toward a pastel version of itself, otherwise known as a tint. The less chroma you have, the lighter the tint. Tints are like the early buds of spring - youthful, delicate and gentle.
When you add black to any hue, you deepen and darken the color, which is known as a shade. Shades tend to be rich, mysterious, and sophisticated.
A tone is composed of a hue with added grey, or a blend of white and black. Tones tend to be neutral, relaxing and comforting. Think of the expression "toned down."
Color and mood
Keeping the effects of hues, tints, shades and tones in mind, colors have the power to energize or to relax you, to annoy you or to soothe you. To choose a main color for your décor, think about how you want to feel when you're in your home.
The main color is what you will use on the largest areas of the home - walls, ceilings floors or furniture.
Do you want your home to be a retreat, a haven? You can try the colors of nature - earth tones of beiges, browns and greens. If you prefer cool colors, try soft hues of blue.
Whatever you choose as your main color, you can punch it up or tone it down by putting other colors around it. You can also control the impact of the color by using it in an entire room or on one wall as an accent. You can control the intensity by changing the hue, shade, tint or tone.
For example, you may choose a neutral beige or tan for your couch and draw attention to it with bright orange accent pillows.
Placing color for effect
Start by choosing the color family you want based on your favorite hue. You may love vivid colors such as fire engine red or royal blue. Imagine the whole room done in your color and you may begin to see a problem - that the hue is simply too intense.
Next, try to imagine an accent wall in your favorite hue. Still too intense? You don't have to give up your signature color. You can always use fire engine red on the front door or a chair seat or in a painting.
Choose whether or not you want the color on the walls to be dark or light, and that will tell you whether or not you want to go in the direction of a tint or a shade.
Darker rooms are cozier and more calming, but they can also make a space seem smaller. If you prefer the drama of a spicy or deeper shade on your walls, you can lighten the effect by painting your doors, trim and crown molding a soft white which will make any wall color pop.
One way you can choose colors for your home is by colors you enjoy wearing. If you feel pretty in pink or handsome in oxford blue, think about using those colors somewhere in your home. You'll enjoy colors more if they're flattering to you as well as to your furnishings.
The beauty of color theory is that you can use almost any color you wish in a home, if it's in the right amounts and appropriate to the architecture or the home and the use of the room.
April 7, 2014
APRIL SHOWERS MEAN 'MONEY FALLING FROM THE SKIES'
You know the old saying. April showers bring May flowers. In some areas, rain is a welcome - and rare - guest right now, as drought conditions across much of the country beget thirsty ground and make it difficult to keep greenery from turning into brownery. But did you know that even if you are only getting a little bit of rain, there are ways to put it to good use in and around your home? And you don't even have to be super eco to do it.
"There's money falling from the skies every time it rains," said Garden Gate Magazine. "Here's how you can harvest your share."
It's all about collecting and storing rainwater.
"Creating a rainwater collecting and storage system is simple," they said. "And every time you use it to replace expensive, chemically treated city water in your garden, you're saving money. Best of all, this collection system is right over your head."
The basic rule of thumb for collecting rainwater is this: "Anywhere falling rain doesn't soak in to the ground, the runoff can be collected," said Garden Gate. That means your roof is the water collection area.
Collected water needs a way to be transported from the roof - that's what your downspouts are for. And water flowing through them needs to be captured. Enter the rain barrel.
"According to John C. Davis, writing in E – The Environmental Magazine, just about any homeowner can collect rainwater, given that the roof and gutters do most of the work," said Gaiam Life. "And since an inch of rain falling on a 2,000 - square-foot roof produces some 1,200 gallons of runoff, one can harvest enough to supply all the water needs of a family of four for about two weeks."
Added Garden Gate: "If you have gutters and downspouts on your house or garage, you have a fantastic system for harvesting soft, clear rainwater for the garden. "The only missing piece is a collection reservoir, otherwise known as a rain barrel."
With the system in place, it's easy use and store water to "quench your thirsty lawn, shrubs, bushes, and flower beds," said Gaiam Life. Experts say greenery can often thrive with rainwater instead of tap water, "which is usually treated with softeners that actually inhibit plant growth."
You can also use it for uses you may not have expected. "If you're motivated to save a little water and re-distribute it on your lawns or plants - or even use it for laundry, dishes or other interior needs - collecting rainwater from your gutters' downspouts is a no-brainer," said Gaiam Life. The lack of minerals in rainwater can be a more efficient choice for hair and dish washing, and "using rainwater for plumbing uses can also extend the life of pipes and water heaters, since the salts added to tap water facilitate corrosion. However, "homeowners should set up a water purification system if they do plan to use rainwater for interior needs."
Interested in harvesting your own rainwater? Check out these resources to help you learn more about where to buy barrels and learn how to build your own on this video below:
April 4, 2014
Prices up slightly as home sales stabilize across Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley
Tue Mar 4, 2014 11:44am PST
Home sales in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley continued to stabilize in February while prices rose slightly, according to statistics that real estate boards released March 4.
Metro Vancouver had 2,530 home sales in February, which was 17 fewer than the 10-year average for the month of 2,547 but 40.8% more than in February 2013.
Active listings fell so the sales-to-active-listings ratio rose 4.9 percentage points to 18.9% in February compared with 14% in January.
“Home buyer demand picked up in February, which is consistent with typical seasonal patterns in our housing market,” said Sandra Wyant, who is president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).
“We typically see home buyers become more active in and around the spring months.”
The benchmark price for a Metro Vancouver home increased by about one-third of 1% to $609,100 in February compared with $606,800 in January. The REBGV includes most of the Lower Mainland as well as Squamish and Whistler
The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board includes North Delta, Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford and Mission in its statistics and saw a similar pattern.
The benchmark prices for a Fraser Valley home rose about 1% to $558,100 compared with $552,500 in January.
There were 1,102 home sales in the Fraser Valley in February, which was 21% more than in February 2013. Listings inched up 3% year-over-year so the sales-to-active-listings ratio rose three percentage points to 13% in February up from 10% in January.
“The last time we saw an improvement in the market this early in the year was two years ago when we ended up having a solid, steady market from February through to mid-summer,” said FVREB president Ray Werger. “It’s too early to predict whether this year will be similar, but for now sales are up and the average number of days to sell a detached home is one week faster than it was in January.”
April 4, 2014
Sales and prices edge higher for Metro Vancouver homes
Wed Apr 2, 2014 11:19am PST
Sales and prices for Metro Vancouver homes edged higher in March, according to statistics released April 2 by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).
The REBGV counted 2,641 residential property sales in March, which is 12.5% more than the 2,347 properties that transacted in March 2013. It is also a 4.4% premium over the 2,500 homes that changed hands in February.
March's sales, however, were 17.2% below the 10-year sales average for the month, which is 3,190 sales.
Prices also rose – both year-over-year and compared to February.
The REBGV pinned the benchmark home price for the region at $615,200. That's 3.7% more than the benchmark price of $593,100 in March 2013. It is also higher than the REBGV's benchmark price of $609,100 in February.
Fueling this stability is a constant sales-to-active-listings ratio, which stayed flat from February at 18.2%.
"We continue to see steady and stable market conditions across the Greater Vancouver housing market," said REBGV president Ray Harris. "There has been a consistent balance between home seller supply and home buyer demand in our marketplace over the last year."
April 3, 2014
Update Your Windows for Good Looks, Efficiency and a Better View
Houzz Contributor.Steven Corley Randel has practiced architecture in California...
The impact of windows on architecture can be underestimated. While their primary purpose is to provide natural light, ventilation and protection from the elements, they significantly contribute to the character of a house. Modern windows are designed to be more energy efficient while functioning as trim, punctuation marks, statements of quality and expressions of style.
Update your windows for style and energy efficiency.First step:
Become familiar with the architecture of your house
. If you have questions about the aesthetics of your windows, ask an architect or a designer who frequently specifies windows in his or her work.Who to hire:
There are usually local businesses in every area that deal in well-known window brands. Some businesses may even manufacture their own, which might give you more design flexibility, but may not offer the thorough warranty that major brands do. Local dealers usually handle installation as part of the price you pay for their windows. If you are making openings larger, your project will be more involved, and you may need the help of an architect, a structural engineer or a general contractor.Project length:
To replace and update all of the windows in a house is a big project. Allow yourself several weeks to research and plan, and several more weeks to have the windows made and delivered to you. Unless you are making openings larger, or even smaller, the windows can be set into place in a few hours. Touch-ups and trims on interior and exterior finishes can add a few more days of work depending on complexity.
Types of Windows
Windows can slide, lift, drop, swing or stay still. Certain architectural styles consistently employ specific materials and types of windows to help define their aesthetic. Imagine, for example, a window in a colonial
house versus one in amidcentury modern
In a colonial the window punctures the wall and is usually divided into smaller panes of glass. A midcentury modern house may have a section of fixed picture windows from floor to ceiling across one entire side of a room, so that the windows themselves form a wall.Fixed and picture windows.
Fixed windows, called picture windows when larger, do not open. Since no screen is required, the view through such a window is unobstructed. Fixed windows are frequently combined with other types of windows. A picture window centered between two operable windows is great for capturing a view while allowing breezes in.
Nearly all contemporary window units are constructed with dual glazing — two sheets of glass set about half an inch apart — to help insulate the home.
The sash is the frame of the window that holds the glass in the larger frame of the whole window unit. Sashes can be fixed or operable, and you may have a single window unit with both an operable sash and a fixed sash.
The pane is the section of glass in the window. Windows have either a single pane of glass or multiple panes of glass. Manufacturers may simply cover a single pane of glass with an applied grid to simulate the look of a multipane window. They also simulate multipane windows by sandwiching a grid within the double glazing. When the panes are actually separate, as in traditional styles, they call it “true divided light.”
The reason you usually find multipane windows in traditional architecture is that historically, glass was expensive and produced only in smaller pieces. To get a larger window, many panes of glass had to be combined. Since glass is now abundant in many sizes, the choice for more or fewer panes is purely aesthetic.
Sliding. Sliding windows are usually the least expensive operable window and have been widely employed in recent decades. Most are configured with one fixed sash and one sliding sash. The operable sash simply glides over the fixed sash to open. The screens are mounted and accessible from the exterior.
Mitred. As an aside to this topic, mitered windows, as seen in this bedroom next to the sliding window, are two sheets of single glazing mounted to form a corner. This is usually done to take advantage of an important view. Expect this to be on the expensive side of window improvements. Structure must be taken into account.
Single or double hung. Hung windows are either lifted up or pushed down depending on their configuration. On a double-hung window, both the top and bottom are operable. Single-hung windows have a top and bottom sash too, but the upper sash is fixed.
In double- and single-hung windows, screens are mounted on the outside. You can often tell if it is a single-hung window if only the lower half of the window is screened, as in this photo.
If you usually leave your windows closed or you live in an area with minimal flying insects, you can remove the screens. Windows look better from the outside of the house without screens on them.
Casement. A casement window swings open similar to the way a door opens. Most manufacturers build them with a knob and a handle; you crank the sash into the desired position. Screens are mounted and accessed from the interior of a room. This often makes the appearance of a house with casement windows very handsome.
Awning. You open awning windows by lifting outward and swinging up. You could think of them as horizontal casement windows. Their screens are mounted and accessed on the interior.
Compare the awning windows of these two houses. You can easily see that this type of window can work in a traditional or modern house.
Glass block. More of a translucent wall than a window, glass block remains popular as a good solution for spa-inspired bathrooms where natural light is desired but privacy is a concern. Of course, real glass block is not operable, though there are manufacturers who make a simulated glass block window out of acrylic that can be opened.
Glass block suits modern architecture best. It can be used in more traditional styles but can be difficult to assimilate into that aesthetic. It will make a significant impression, so it should be used sparingly and with careful placement.
We are all familiar with the raw-aluminum-framed, horizontally sliding window found in many 20th-century dwellings. We are also familiar with wood-framed windows that we fondly associate with older houses.
These two materials are still in common use, but steel, vinyl and fiberglass are additional options, and any of these materials may be used in combination. For example, you can windows framed in wood that’s covered with a lower-maintenance material such as aluminum.
This window wall needed a sturdy frame to support the large expanse of glass; the architects chose steel.
What Do New Windows Cost?
Lower-quality windows made of less-expensive materials can range from $100 for small ones to
$1,000 for large ones. Better materials increase the price quickly. Expect to pay at least $250 for a small, better-quality window and up to $2,000 for a larger one.
In one recent project of mine, we replaced circa-1979 aluminum single-glazed windows with double-glazed fiberglass windows and French doors on a 1,600-square-foot house. There were four 5- by 5-foot casement windows, a fixed picture window of about the same size and two French doors, one with two panels and one with four. The results were stunning, and it cost around $22,000, including installation and finish work. Materials From Lowest to Highest Cost
Type of Window From Lowest to Highest Cost
- Glass Block
- Single hung or double hung
- Glass Block