What to Look For

What to look for in entry doors:
  • Foam weatherstripping wrapped in rubberized nylon: Doesn't lose its shape.
  • Solid-brass hinges: Won't rust.
  • Thick jambs (5/4- or 6/4-inch): "You're going to hang a heavy door on them," Tom says. "They'll be taking a lot of abuse."
  • White oak or aluminum sill: Stands up well to constant foot traffic. Mahogany and cherry are also good choices.

What to look for in windows:

  • Low-e glazing: The transparent, heat-reflective metal coating adds 10 to 15 percent to a window's cost, but reduces energy loss by 30 to 50 percent.
  • Energy Star label: Shows that a window meets threshold efficiency for a given climate zone, based on standardized tests of actual products.
  • Stainless steel spacers with a thermal break: Unlike old-style spacers between the panes of insulated glass, these prevent conductive heat loss around pane perimeter.
  • Tilt-in sash (on double-hung windows): Allows easy cleaning without climbing a ladder.
  • Sash made with solid wood or plastic composites: Stronger than all-vinyl construction.

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