House Savvy

Choosing Windows & Doors WiselyCompare Style and Performance

What’s Hot?  Thin Window Frames in Dark Colors

The desire for seamless connections between indoor and outdoor spaces drives the thin-frame trend for windows and patio doors.  A narrower frame means more glass area—maximizing natural light inside the home with less visual obstruction.  Dark frame colors, especially black, are another trend not likely to abate any time soon.  For entry doors, the hot style is to have no added embellishment or frame around the glass.

Ratings:  Know Your Lows and Highs

The good news is—you don’t have to choose between taller, wider windows and broader expanses of glass and energy efficiency, comfort and performance.  Window manufacturers continue to roll out windows, doors and skylights with advanced engineering and technology that make modern fenestration products vastly superior to older ones.

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) labels provide a reliable way to determine a window’s energy properties and to compare products.

The lowest number is the best number for the U-factor rating (how much heat energy is lost or gained) and lower is also better for the solar heat gain coefficient, SHGC,  (the amount of solar heat transmitted.). Energy Star National Version 3.1 requires U-Values of .30 or less for the North Texas climate zone and a SHGC of .25 or less.  The NFRC label may also rate air leakage, assuming proper installation, expressed in units of cubic feet per minute per square foot of frame area (usually ranging from 0.1 to 0.3).

The sunlight transmittance ratings expressed on NFRC labels indicate the ability of glazing in a window, door, or skylight to transmit sunlight into the home.  Visible transmittance (VT) is expressed as a number between zero and 1, with a higher VT transmitting more visible light.  Light-to-solar gain (LSG) is the ratio between SHGC and VT to gauge the relative efficiency of different glass or glazing types in transmitting daylight while blocking heat gains.  You’re looking for a higher number on LSG to give you the most light transmitted without adding heat.

Some labels will also show condensation resistance (CR), indicating how much moisture can build up on a window’s surface, measured on a scale of 1 to 100.  A window with a higher value is more resistant to condensation.

The Bottom Line:  Think big, go thin, choose a frame color that makes a statement and compare labels when selecting new or replacement windows and doors for your home.

Quaker Timberline™, a hybrid product, blends an exterior architectural aluminum frame with a natural wood interior.
Classic Craft® Founders Collection™ Mahogany-Grained Arch-Lite Double Doors feature glass built directly into the door to mimic historic wood doors with the superior benefits of fiberglass.
NFRC operates a voluntary program that tests, certifies, and labels windows, doors, and skylights based on their energy performance ratings.
Contact the sponsor of this page, Manorly Concierge Home Management, to discuss a home management plan that meets your needs or the latest in home styles, maintenance, and best construction practices to consider if you plan to remodel your home or build a new one
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