Newer homes seem to have a bank of smaller windows spaced closely together
rather than one large "picture" window like you see on 70's ranch style
homes. Instead of one large 8' wide window, they might put in three windows
separated by a group of three 2x6's for framing in about the same space. Is
that just a matter of style, or have they switched for some other technical
reason like better load support or more energy efficiency?
Your in the right neighborhood. Those old windows were probably single pane,
which we don't do anymore, at least in cold climates like mine. Double
glazing really big spans becomes very expensive for a bunch of reasons:
glass has to be thicker, spacers have to be wider.... and then you have to
lift it into place to install it. Also, when the neighborhood kids put a
superball through it, it's way more expensive to replace.
Just compare the price of several smaller thermopane windows, versus one
huge thermopane window...
Also, there is the thing of replacement cost. If a stone, basebball,
hockey-puck, or otehr "toy" goes through a window, it's far less expensive
to repair one smaller window pane, than a whole huge picture window.
I got prices at lowes this afternoon: a good quality 8' w x 5' h vinyl
thermopane unit with 2' horizonal sliders on either side, low-e, argon is
$448. Three 29" w x 5' h units with two single hung and one solid was $513
total (that surprised me). The u-value for the whole unit, frame and all,
was the same for the large unit and the small, single hung units. The small
solid one was a little more efficient. So price for the three smaller
windows together is $65 more, but would be a little more energy efficient,
but kind of a wash I guess. I'm not at all sure I understand how the
efficency ratings work though.
I have to hope they fling the superball through one of the sliders :) Maybe
it is just replacement cost and style then.
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