Windows blog archive for Interstate Roofing, serving the Portland & Vancouver area. We offer residential, commercial, new and repair. Call 503 684-5611

Creative Skylight Design: Letting Some Light In

Pick the prime skylight spot to bring sunshine to your home.

A correctly placed sunlight will add a great layer of ambiance to your homeA skylight gives any home a luxurious touch, and these fixtures don’t have to be complex or fancy to serve the purpose of letting in light. When you know how to pick the best position for a skylight installation, you can maximize illumination and enjoy natural brightness any time of year.

The Best Spots for Skylight Placement

The basic answer to the question of where to put a skylight is wherever your home receives the most direct sun, but there are other things to consider. For example, it follows that the more light you get, the more heat comes with it. Installing a south-facing skylight brings in a lot of ambient heat in the winter, but you might regret it come summer when the temperature outside is making your house unbearable. By contrast, a north-facing light will keep you cool during the summer but isn’t very good for warming things up in winter. East- and west-facing skylights bring in light in the morning or the evening, respectively. Both provide warmth along with illumination for part of the day.

You can control the way the light diffuses by placing your skylight in particular areas in the ceiling. A traditional central shaft provides even lighting throughout the room. Positioning the shaft on a section of sloping roof directs light toward the nearest wall and bounces it back into the room to amplify its effects.

Other Design Considerations

  • You can ensure maximum brightness from your skylight by taking advantage of other design elements:
  • Paint the shaft a light color that reflects the sun or choose a model that comes with a reflective coating
  • Size the shaft according to how many other windows are in the room for balanced lighting
  • Choose a location that directs the light where you most want it to go

Skylight shape doesn’t have much effect on illumination, but it does impact the look of the room. Round and oval have a soft appearance while traditional square and non-traditional triangles and diamonds add an angular design.

Now that you know where you want to put your skylight and the types of designs that are available for it, are you ready to tackle the job of installation? Let the pros at Interstate Roofing take care of it for you. Contact us for a free quote or give us a call at 503-684-5611. There’s a lot of measuring, cutting and placement work involved in getting a skylight to look just right, and you can rely on our professional staff to work out all the details.

Cold in the Winter, Hot in the Summer

Are you sick of watching your home’s energy bills skyrocket during the winter and summer? Although the Portland-Vancouver area enjoys pleasant transitional seasons, winter’s chill and summer’s heat are constant threats to local household budgets and home energy efficiency. Fortunately, there are several cost-effective steps you can take to reduce your heating and cooling bills without investing in costly new technologies.

Leaking Air, Leaking Money

Many older homes suffer from poorly sealed windows, under-insulated attic spaces and drafty doors. Energy-saving retrofits typically focus on three key areas: attic insulation, window replacement and whole-house weatherproofing. Let’s explore each of these in turn.

Keep It Comfortable with Affordable Insulation

Home energy efficiency depends on a variety of factorsAccording to the EPA and the administrators of the federal government’s EnergyStar program, homeowners can save as much as 20% on total heating and cooling costs simply by adding new insulation to their attics or updating existing insulation within their homes’ walls. This translates to total energy bill savings of as much as 14%.

What’s more, Oregon and Washington both offer additional rebates that may cover part of the cost of installing blown-in insulation in your attic. When it’s done by a professional, the installation process is fast, effective and non-disruptive.

Replace Outdated Windows

Window replacement is another important step. Like attic insulation, energy-efficient windows routinely attract federal and state tax credits. Modern windows use effective sealing technology to keep warm air inside during the winter and outside during the summer. In fact, the newest generation of energy-efficient windows doesn’t even require a second storm window to function properly. Instead, modern windows contain insulating buffers between “inside” and “outside” panes. Many models last for years, so you’ll enjoy ample returns on your modest investment.

Simple Weatherproofing Tips for Year-Round Comfort

Other weatherproofing steps may be even easier. Fireplace inserts effectively insulate your home’s chimney column and reduce heat loss through the roof. Programmable thermostats allow you to control how much heat or air conditioning your home’s interior receives at any given time. Meanwhile, costs for energy-efficient heating units and solar panels have plummeted over the past decade.

Interstate Roofing: Your Indoor Temperature Control Source in Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA

These aren’t the only things you can do to reduce your home’s heating and cooling bills as well as its impact on the environment, but they’re a great start. At Interstate Roofing, we’re proud to help homeowners across the Portland-Vancouver area put more of their hard-earned funds back in their pockets. If you’re ready to transform your house into the efficient, cash-saving envy of the neighborhood, give us a call at 1-800-ROOF-270 or contact us online today.

Windows to the World

When you like the appearance of a building, what strikes you? When you don’t like the appearance, what is it that you don’t like? Often it’s the windows. Windows are an important architectural element of a structure. The size, shape and placement of windows affect both the exterior appearance of a building and the feeling of the interior. Windows provide ventilation and are a factor in heating and cooling a building. The material of construction, glazing, size and orientation affect how much energy, air and light enter through the opening, glass and frame.

Window Shapes and Sizes

There are many types and shapes of windows. Some can be used on any building, but others are designed to enhance a particular architectural style. For example, bay windows—double-hung windows with decorative glass and grilles—are characteristic of Queen Anne style buildings. A negative reaction to the windows on a building is usually because the windows don’t complement the architectural style in shape, size or material.

Tips on Replacing Windows

If you’re remodeling and want to replace windows, it’s important to consider how new windows will affect street appeal and the light and movement of air inside. To open up a dark room, enlarging windows or adding glass doors will let in more light and air. Natural light has a positive effect on people inside a building, including increasing employee productivity and improving students’ grades. Ease of operation is also important when you install new windows.

Window Materials

There are several types of materials used for frames including vinyl, wood and aluminum. Each has specific thermal and aesthetic properties. Wood is the classic frame material. It’s a good insulator but is more expensive and requires maintenance. Vinyl is less expensive, easy to maintain and comes in a number of shapes and colors, including those that simulate wood. Aluminum is a poor insulator but is lightweight and does not require much maintenance.

Window Glass

Window glass transmits light, but also allows heat to enter or escape a building. Energy-efficient windows can reduce the transfer of thermal energy by using double or triple glazing, coatings that control heat transfer or tintings that reduce solar gain. Energy efficiency in glass is described by U-Factor, or how well the glass keeps heat in, and solar heat gain co-efficient (SHGC), or how well the glass blocks solar heat.

Retrofitting Older Windows

Old windows often leak around the frame and are made with single-pane glass, which is not energy efficient. Replacing old windows with new ones that have better thermal efficiency will save energy. Retrofitting older windows with double or triple panes and caulking around the frames may also reduce heat loss or heat gain.

Interstate Roofing is a family-owned business that has served the Portland, OR region since 1988. If you need window repair, we can help. If you need new window installation, we can recommend a range of styles and materials suitable for your building and budget. Contact us online or call us for an evaluation and free estimate. (503) 684-5611