Windows Now Offer More Than a View

Windows have taken on a new image. No longer are they just a way to let in sunlight or provide a view.

A proliferation of new shapes, sizes, styles, designs and technologies offers all sorts of possibilities, some available for the first time. Bay windows, half-circles, rake tops, stacked windows, octagons and greenhouse windows are among the dozens of designs in the market today.

Materials and finishes are virtually unlimited, including everything from aluminum to wood to vinyl, or a combination of materials, and colors are just as varied.

Where energy is a factor, dual-glazed and triple-glazed panes provide excellent insulation, at the same time keeping outside noise where it belongs. A recent performance study by the Davis Energy Group of Davis, Calif., determined that in an average 1,384-square-foot home the annual energy savings from double-glazed windows versus single-glazed windows ranged from 17% to 33%, depending on climate zone.

Now that window manufacturers are offering so many new window shapes and sizes, homeowners are requesting geometric-shaped windows that will create drama and expansive luxury for interiors, as well as adding beauty to exteriors. Windows are being used to bring light into volume spaces, expand views--or in some cases, restrict a view--and add charm to all kinds of architectural styles.

In view of increasing concern over unwanted intruders, today's windows and sliding glass doors are tested for forced-entry resistance. Windows and doors that meet national standards are elibible to bear the certification label of the California Assn. of Window Manufacturers.

Decorating with windows is posible today because manufacturers have taken homeowners' needs to heart. A wide variety of decorative and functional options, unavailable as recently as a year ago, can now be chosen.

Your local window outlet can be a big help in providing decorating or remodeling advice and the sales people will be happy to explain the growing list of "window words" that shoppers are likely to encounter, among them, grids and muntins, insulated and tilt sashes.

Now that the rainy season has arrived, so have roof leaks, with their accompanying ugly ceiling stains. There is an inexpensive product that can remove those stains with little effort and without the need of a professional.

It may be found in home improvement stores, hardware stores and paint stores under several brand names. Basically, it's white-tinted pigment shellac, a synthetic primer/sealer.

You might find it under the name Zynolyte or Z-lac or other names usually starting with a Z. It comes in spray cans or conventional paint cans--the spray can is the easiest to use and makes for a smooth cover-up.

The product is recommended for covering areas stained by water, fire, smoke, grease or other foreign matter. The one I purchased from Builders Emporium cost $4.

According to the label, it can be used on plaster, drywall, masonite, wood sap streaks, stucco and more. But you want to be careful not to breathe the vapors.

Open windows and doors before spraying. A painter's mask would be a good idea.

The shellac should be applied to a dry surface with as many coats as seems necessary. Drying time is about 45 minutes.

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