We’re about to have our first hard freeze of the year here in Oregon and that has many of us scrambling to “batten down the hatches” in our homes and gardens to ensure our loved ones will be warm for the winter. Whistling windows, sticking front doors and slippery front stoops all make for a less than cozy winter experience.
With that in mind we thought we’d offer a handy Step Guide to a Warmer Winter this year.
1. Warm up Your Windows.
The single pane traditional double hung windows in many of our older Portland homes provide very little insulation value. We like to say they have an R-factor of zero, which means the cold comes through those windows as easily as if it were an empty hole. No wonder you are shivering, right?
What can you do to address this? Here are 3 good options:
Restore & Weatherstrip your Existing Windows. Fix broken and rotten window parts, restore function to the ropes and pulleys and clean out the tracks so your windows operate smoothly with out sticking sections or gaps. Add weatherstripping to ensure your windows are wind and watertight.
Add Storm Windows. Did you know you can buy historically accurate wood storm windows with insulated glass that will vastly improve the insulation value of your current windows while still maintaining a classic look on the exterior of your home? Each storm gets custom fitted to your existing window openings and can be removed in the summer as needed.
Replace Your Existing Windows . Often, the most economical way to improve the insulation value of your windows is to replace your current windows with new wood or fiberglass “inserts” or “tilt-pacs.” These options allow you to install new product into the existing window frames, making them cheaper than a whole window replacement or restoration. Often you can match the existing look of your windows while improving operation and energy efficiency.
Which to choose? Ask the experts. Your Carpenter on Call Team member can help you identify whether restoration, storms or replacement windows are the best option for you.
2. Insulate your Attic.
Most of your home’s heat escapes through the attic. Adding insulation can have a huge impact on the warmth of your home (and your energy bill!) While you are at it, consider insulating your heating ducts to be sure more of the heat you are paying for winds up in the rooms rather than escaping through the walls.
3. Tune Up your Front Door.
Sticking or warping doors can leave gaps for wintry winds to whistle in. Give your front door a tune up to be sure the hinges are adjusted properly, the lockset works smoothly and any warping or sticking areas get repaired. Add weatherstripping and a door sweep to ensure a tight seal when the door is closed.
4. Fall Proof Your Front Stoop.
Wet weather, moldy leaves and chipping paint can leave your front steps slick, shabby and worse for wear. Add a fresh coat of paint to your entry area and consider adding non-slip paint or rubber treads to your stair steps to prevent visitors from slipping.
5. Cozy Up Your Color Scheme.
A fresh coat of paint may not literally make your rooms warmer, but it can definitely make them a more welcoming place do be during the long winter months. Choose the room you spend the most time in and choose a bold and welcoming hue- studies have shown that color of your walls can actually warm up your family’s mood.
6. Finish Your Basement.
Create a cozy escape from the winter gloom by turning your basement into a family fun space. This Arciform client transformed their basement into a dry, cozy and welcoming space by adding some insulation and painting the exposed ceiling and concrete floor to look more finished. A custom carriage door designed by Versatile Wood Products partitions off the unfinished laundry area while carefully placed artwork conceals a few necessary utility panels.
Ready to warm up your home for the winter? Our Carpenter on Call Team will be happy to help you identify which of these projects will make the biggest difference for your home.