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PORCHES & Sunrooms
SOUND CONTROL in buildings
THERMAL EXPANSION of MATERIALS
THERMAL IMAGING, THERMOGRAPHY
THERMAL MASS in BUILDINGS
VAPOR BARRIERS & CONDENSATION in buildings
VAPOR BARRIERS, VINYL SIDING
VENTILATION in BUILDINGS
VINYL CHLORIDE HEALTH INFO
VINYL Siding or Window PLASTIC ODORS
WATER BARRIERS, EXTERIOR BUILDING
WINDOWS & DOORS
In this article series we describe the selection and installation of aluminum or fiberglass windows and doors, and we describe standards and efficiency ratings for modern windows.
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In this article series we discuss the selection and installation of windows and doors, following best construction and design practices for building lighting and ventilation, with attention to the impact on building heating and cooling costs, indoor air quality, and comfort of occupants.
We review the proper installation details for windows and doors, and we compare the durability of different window and door materials and types. This article includes excerpts or adaptations from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction, by Steven Bliss, courtesy of Wiley & Sons.
Introduced in the early 1990s, a few manufacturers now offer windows built entirely of a tough composite called pultruded fiberglass.
Unlike the layers of fiberglass cloth and resin used in boat and car construction, fiberglass window components are made from continuous glass fibers saturated with a thermoset resin and pulled through a heated die in a process called pultrusion. The result is a thin, strong composite that can be formed into detailed shapes and is used in a variety of high-tech applications.
Pultruded fiberglass is noted for its high strength, durability, and corrosion resistance. It is unaffected by temperatures up to 350°F and has an extremely low rate of thermal expansion—about the same as window glass.
Because the frame and glass move at the same rate, temperature changes place less stress on the window frame and glass edge seals. Manufactures claim that pultruded fiberglass will not crack, peel, or warp and is impervious to moisture, insects, salt-air, and UV exposure (Figure 3-6 at left).
Depending on the manufacturer, fiberglass frame components are either hollow or filled with foam or fiberglass insulation. The insulated frames are the most energy efficient on the market.
Most fiberglass frames are shipped with a high-performance baked-on factory finish, and they can be repainted on-site if desired. Installation is the same as for vinyl and other flange-style windows but without concerns related to sagging or thermal movement.
Manufacturers currently offering fiberglass windows include Milgard Windows and several Canadian manufacturers, including Fibertec and Thermotech Windows.
While aluminum is strong, light, and durable, with an anodized or baked-on finish, it has been steadily losing market share since the early 1990s due to its poor energy performance. Fewer than 15% of windows sold today are aluminum, and these are mainly in lower-end housing in cooling-dominated climates.
The poor insulating qualities of aluminum have less of an impact on cooling than they do on heating since the indoor and outdoor temperature difference is generally much smaller in cooling climates. Adding a thermal break can improve the energy performance of an aluminum window, but it still lags considerably behind wood and vinyl components.
-- Adapted and paraphrased, edited, and supplemented, with permission from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction.
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