Roof Windows

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Roof Windows
Roof Windows
Other Names
Replacement Roof Windows, Ridge Roof Windows, Remote Control Roof Windows
Roof windows add increased light to a room by covering an opening in the ceiling with a glass pane or a series of panes.

Homeowners who want to add natural light and ventilation to a room may install a replacement roof window in a sloping or slanted roof. A roof window adds a unique look to a room design and provides the option of infusing light and air into a room which may otherwise not have adequate ventilation. Homeowners may also like the look of a replacement roof window which adds an aesthetic appearance to the home's exterior and interior.


[edit] Roof Window

Roof windows are windows which are installed in a sloping roof. There are several options for a replacement roof window, including operable and non-operable roof window alternatives. Roof windows can operate through either a pivot mechanism or with opening hinges which are attached to the top of the window sash. Roof windows allow natural light to stream into a room and are a good window option for a room which cannot otherwise get enough light.

Ridge roof windows are roof windows which are exclusively installed in high, difficult to reach places. They are operated by remote control.

[edit] Characteristics

Many people confuse the roof window with skylight windows. Roof windows are generally a larger window alternative than a skylight and have the added option of retracting a portion of the panes to increase the air flow. Roof windows are often included in a home's original construction. However, whenever the roof's framework and slope allow for the inclusion of a roof window, a homeowner can easily add it to the home's design features. Prefabricated window inserts allow for the installation of a roof window in compatible wood-frame roofs.

[edit] Placements

Roof windows are a suitable window alternative for any room where the homeowner wants to increase the flow of light and, for operable roof windows, air.

[edit] Room Options

The replacement roof window presents an attractive addition to a home's central rooms such as living rooms, kitchens, dining rooms and family rooms. Roof replacement windows may also be included in the design of a home's smaller, private rooms including bedrooms and home offices. Roof windows may be installed over a stairwell to add light and a spacious feeling to the area.

[edit] Roof Egress Windows

Roof windows can serve as egress exit windows when installed in lofts or attics. In such cases, casement roof windows are installed which open fully and allow for an easy emergency exit in the event that such an escape is needed. Egress exit windows must meet local building codes which detail the sizes and opening options that such windows must feature.

[edit] Rows

Roofs may include rows of roof windows including two or three rows of windows which include several roof windows in each row. A low pitch roof can feature roof windows which are located only a few feet off the room's floor.

[edit] Roof Window Operating Alternatives

Homeowners have four replacement roof window operating options. These include casement roof windows, non-opening roof windows, top hung roof windows and pivot roof windows.

[edit] Non-Operable Roof Window

A non-operable roof window consists of a fixed pane of glass which is enclosed by the window sash and installed in the outer frame. Non-operable roof windows are appropriate in homes where the homeowner does not want or need the window to vent. These windows are generally a lower cost replacement roof window option because they don't include the added cost of the window's operating mechanism.

[edit] Casement Roof Windows

Left-opening or right-opening casement roof windows are frequently chosen as egress emergency exit windows in low pitch roofs. These windows open easily by push or crank and provide the needed escape option for attic or loft bedrooms. Local building codes mandate minimum sizes for egress roof windows.

[edit] Top Hung Roof Windows

Top hung replacement roof windows have hinges which attach the top of the window sash to the upper frame of the window. The window swings outward. These top hung replacement roof windows operate with a crank when the window is accessible to the person standing in the room or, for high roof windows, by remote control. Many top hung windows retain their centre-pivoting hinge and ventilation flap for cleaning purposes.

[edit] Pivot Windows

Pivot roof replacement windows have pivot mechanisms attached to the middle of the window sash. These pivots connect the window sash to the window's frame. Using a remote control or, for low roof windows, a crank, the homeowner can adjust the window to the desired opening. The window rotates so that one half of the window sash swings inward while the other half swings outward.

[edit] Shapes and Sizes

Roof windows are available in rectangular or square shapes in a wide variety of sizes. Sizes of roof replacement windows can range from 24 inches in length or width and larger. The size and shape of a roof replacement window will depend on the size of the roof and the room below. Smaller roof windows measuring from 12 inches in length or width are often installed in rows, including two or three rows of roof windows which are placed one above the other.

[edit] Colors

There are a variety of glazing options for the glazing of a roof window's panels. Glazing may include either transparent or translucent glazing or a tinted glazing option. Replacement roof window tint alternatives include opal, bronze and blue hues, Clouded privacy glass is also available for roof windows.

[edit] Weather Resistance and Energy Efficiency

A quality replacement roof window offers excellent resistance to the weather's elements. Homeowners expect that the roof window will provide adequate thermal insulation in order to prevent heat transfer between the room below the roof window and the outdoors. A well-insulated roof window allows for a comfortable room temperature without excessive energy costs. Homeowners should review the replacement roof window's glazing and framing components to guarantee that the window will provide the best value for the investment. Replacement roof windows must also feature good weather-stripping to properly seal the window.

Energy efficient windows are a more expensive window option but the long-term energy savings convince many homeowners to purchase these windows. According to the National Fenestration Rating Council which rates the energy performance of windows sold worldwide, homeowners should aim to purchase windows with a U-Rating of 30 or less. Replacement windows which display the Energy Star have been reviewed and judged to provide an energy efficient window option.

Homeowners who are purchasing new windows for their remodeling project may also save additional funds when they purchase Energy Star replacement windows through government tax credits and rebates. These rebates are available on both the federal and state level and offer additional incentives for remodeling with energy efficient windows.

[edit] Framing Materials

The type of framing materials used in the window's construction will impact the level of thermal insulation and weather resistance that the window offers. Replacement roof windows are available with vinyl, aluminum, composite, fiberglass and wood clad frames.

[edit] Fiberglass

Fiberglass is a more costly replacement roof window framing alternative but it has an excellent record for durability. Fiberglass is estimated to be eight times stronger than vinyl, with hollow parts built into the frame which are filled with insulation. Homeowners can paint fiberglass windows but there is no need for any maintenance and the windows don't lose their effectiveness if the paint wears away. Fiberglass frames experience minimal contraction and expansion, placing less stress on the glass within the frame. Fiberglass frames are narrower than frames made of other materials and they offer a window with more visible glass area which increases solar gain.

[edit] Aluminum

Replacement roof window aluminum frames are a less expensive replacement roof framing option than most other framing materials. Aluminum windows don't require maintenance because they are manufactured with anodized or baked-on finishes. Heat may drain out through the frame and sash of an aluminum window because aluminum conducts cold and frame. This creates a build-up of moisture which condenses on the interior surface of the frame. Homeowners should check that the aluminum frames are equipped with thermal breaks which separate the interior and exterior surfaces of the roof window which increases the frame's energy efficiency.

[edit] Wood Clad

A number of window manufacturers offer wood clad replacement roof windows which provide the aesthetic look of a wood window on the interior frame while offering a weather-resistant framing alternative on the exterior frame. The cladding which covers the window's exterior is either vinyl or treated aluminum. This exterior cladding protects the wood frame from rot or warp. Wood clad windows offer the excellent thermal insulating capabilities of a wood window together with the weather-resistant properties of the exterior cladding.

[edit] Vinyl

Vinyl framing is durable, inexpensive, maintenance-free and energy efficient. These advantages make vinyl replacement roof windows a popular choice for many homeowners. Vinyl roof windows are available in a number of different colors though it is not possible to paint them. Some homeowners decide against vinyl windows because the material is heavy, making it impossible to make a thin vinyl roof window frame.

[edit] Composite

Composite replacement roof windows have frames which are created from a blend of materials. Composite roof windows may include wood windows with vinyl or aluminum cladding or fiberglass window frames with an interior wood frame. Replacement roof windows are also available with a composite frame which is produced from a blend of wood chips and recycled plastic. These frames are maintenance-free and do not rot or warp, though the homeowner may paint the frame if he so wishes.

[edit] Glazing

When selecting a replacement roof window the homeowner must review the window's ability to provide adequate insulation and resist heat transfer. A variety of glazing options increase the energy efficiency of a roof window which, in the long run, can save the homeowner anywhere from 7 - 14 percent in energy costs every year over the lifetime of the window.

[edit] Strengthened Glass

Laminated or tempered safety glass increases the window's resistance to possible break-ins. This is a consideration for replacement roof windows which are installed in a low pitch roof and are accessible to people on the outside of the house.

[edit] Multi-Panes

Multi-pane glazing units offer increased resistance to heat transfer and offer a higher level of thermal insulation. Many window manufacturers recommend that the windows include an insulating gas which is pumped in between the panes. These gases, either argon or krypton insulating gas, is inserted between the window panes while the window is still in the factory. The panes are then sealed in the window sash which ensures that the gas cannot escape.

[edit] Low E

The angle of a roof window does not allow for curtains, shades or shutters to keep out the sun's rays so the Low-E coating can provide this protection for replacement roof windows. Low-E coating is a microscopically thin, virtually invisible, metallic or metal coating which is applied to a window's pane. The coating of oxide reduces the U-factor by suppressing radiative heat flow. This layer blocks a significant amount of radiant heat transfer which lowers the total heat flow through the window. The Low-e coating is transparent to visible light. Different options for low-E coating are available which provide different levels of effectiveness. These alternatives have been designed to allow homeowners to choose a Low-e coating for a high solar gain, moderate solar gain, or low solar gain. Customers must order the Low-E coating as an optional custom order which is applied to the window before the window leaves the factory.

[edit] Self-Cleaning Panes

Many manufacturers offer a self cleaning roof window coating as a standard addition to roof replacement windows. This coating is particularly helpful when the roof window is installed in a hard-to-reach location.

[edit] Accessories

A variety of accessories are obtainable to increase the functionality of replacement roof windows. Roof window accessories include screens and operating hardware.

[edit] Screens

Screens are a standard item which are included on a order for an operable roof window. Screens are available for top hung and casement roof windows. The screens clip onto the inside frame of an outward swinging top hung roof window or an outward swinging casement roof window. If the replacement roof window is an inward swinging window, the screens will clip onto the outside of the window.

[edit] Hardware

Hardware is available for operable replacement roof windows. Hardware includes cranks and handles. The hardware may be ordered in either a standard hard plastic or as special order bronze or brass hardware.

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