5 Ways to Get More Natural Light to Dark Rooms

Getting the right amount of light in a room can be tricky. Orientation toward North definitely cuts down lighting, but there are also other factors such as large tree shades and small window openings.

If you are tired of having to turn the lights on even during a bright sunny day, here are 5 most effective ways to improve a room’s natural light:

1. Replacement Windows

A very important factor that determines the amount of natural light in your room is the quality of your windows. If have old, wooden frames, light won’t get reflected properly. Additionally, you might have small or not enough windows in the room. To solve this problem, simply add new windows like the picture window or bay or bow window.

With doing window replacement, you get the opportunity to rearrange your space and allow more natural light to enter in the future. Consider installing sliding patio doors in your living room or a picture window in the bedroom. Whatever you do, always consult with experts before you seal the deal.

2. Mirrors and Décor

Light travels by being reflected. If your room has black walls, dark furniture and no mirrors, it’s no wonder you have problems with natural light. Putting large decorative mirrors in the room will give lighting an opportunity to be reflected and travel around the entire space.

Mirrors also create optical illusions. Every room that has a large mirror across the window looks 3 times bigger than it actually is. Besides using mirrors, you can also play around with other types of décor such as rugs, bookshelves and plants. The lighter the colors, the more natural light will be reflected.

3. Reflective Tiles

When we have already mentioned reflection, we cannot but speak about reflective tiles. Many homeowners have problems with natural light, especially in living rooms. This is why in most homes you will find reflective tiles, glass tables and gold or silver decorations. With putting more shiny surfaces, you get more reflection and thus more light.

4. Change the Window Treatments

Another trick involving window is how you treat them. Of course, we aren’t talking about regular cleaning jobs. The type of window covering you have also influences the amount of natural light. Heavy weight, dark shades block much more sunlight than white vertical blinds.

The best window treatments are those that allow enough light to enter, but block damaging UV rays at the same time. There are many options on the market, but when choosing remember to match it with your aesthetics and choose a lightly colored one.

5. Repaint

Previously we concluded how reflection is the most important thing when it comes to improving natural light. So this is how it basically works: Dark colors absorb light and bright ones reflect it. By painting over your walls, cabinets or floors with baby blue or beige, you will surely get a brighter room.

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What Are The Different Types of Window Treatments?

Finished your window replacement project? Now looking for a neat window treatment design? Look no further, in this blog is everything you need to know about window treatments.

The Basics

The first thing you should know is there are 4 basic types of window treatment: shades, blinds, shutters and drapes. Lots of homeowners confuse different treatment types, the most common confusion being between shades and blinds, but it isn’t something one should be ashamed of, since even the best interior designers can get confused as well.
Finding the ideal treatment for your window is hard and depends on many things, but mostly it depends on the homeowner’s preferences. Do you value privacy more than aesthetics? What kind of style is your home? Do you prefer modern or traditional looks? To help you out, we are going to discuss the 4 basic types and what they can offer to a home:

1. Shades

Probably the most common choice for homeowners, shades come in different colors, sizes and materials. But, what all shades have in common is their way of functioning, opening from bottom to top, they are most practical for maintaining privacy in a home.
The most popular ones are called Roman shades, usually made from fabric. Roman shades can also be made from specific woods like bamboo. A modern variant of shades as window treatments is cellular (known as honeycomb – also opening from top to bottom) and roller. To put the cherry on top, manufacturers also create shades from highly UV resistant and energy efficient materials.

2. Blinds

The number two option for homeowners is blinds. These are more flexible than shades since they are created from slats which can rotate to 180 degrees. This makes them ideal for maintaining privacy and allowing natural light at the same time.
Just as with for shades, there are many variations for blinds as well. However, the 2 basic types are vertical and venetian. In the latter, the slats are placed horizontally while in the former, well…vertically. But the ultimate and most modern blinds are pleated. They are similar to cellular shades because they open from top to bottom, as well as from bottom to top.

3. Curtains

The gentlest window treatment out there is drapery. Choosing a curtain is surely more complicated than choosing blinds and shades. There is ton of fabric available and each material has its own characteristics, including weight which also contributes to the overall aesthetic.
From café curtains to ones operated with pushing a button, curtains are the richest window treatment when it comes to options on the market. The sense of elegance they bring to a room cannot be replaced by anything else. But, what they have in beauty, they lack in privacy. This is why homeowners usually combine them with other treatments or choose heavyweight combinations of different curtains.

4. Shutters

This window treatment is not always, but can be combined with either curtains, blinds or shades. Commonly found in traditional homes. The best shutters are those with authentic and historically rich designs, adding a unique flare to the interior of the home.
This window treatment is placed inside of the window and it is usually made from wood or vinyl. The thick material works amazing for privacy and on extremely hot/cold days it keeps more air on the inside of the home.

About PM Windows

PM Windows and Doors Kitchener Waterloo is your top choice for replacement windows and replacement doors.

How Often Do You Need to Replace Your Windows?

Thinking about doing window replacement? Smart move! This renovation project has one of the highest returns on investments. Tons of homeowners are deciding to freshen up the windows since they learned how a window determines energy efficiency, comfort, and market value. But, when should one really replace the windows? To help you out, here are the basics things you should know about this home upgrade:

The Factors

Each window is different and so is each home, thus “when to replace” may be a difficult question for answering. However, there are factors that influence every type of window and determine its efficiency. Some windows work best in colder climates, while some in hotter. Some frames last 25 years, while some only 15. Everything you should know about these factors will be presented below. But before you read, check the warranties to see your window’s age since it is of utmost importance!

Frame Material

A window frame can be made form lots of things. However, there are 4 most popular materials: wood, vinyl, aluminum and fiberglass. When it comes to age fiberglass deserves the first place since it can last to approximately 50 years. Vinyl has the second place with a lifespan of 40, while wood slightly less with 25 and aluminum with the last place, lasting maximum 18. These numbers vary because to achieve maximum lifespans, the windows should be in an ideal climate, properly installed and manufactured, and regularly maintained.
The better the company you hire for installation, the more your windows will last. Also, wood requires regular maintenance because of vulnerability to termites and rot. So if you haven’t been cleaning it lately, don’t expect it to reach 25. Another important thing is replacing the windows after surviving a severe storm. The window may have lasted the storm, but it put maximum effort to do so, resulting in extreme damage on the inside.

The Signs

If you checked your window’s age and you learned that it is quite young, don’t put your mind at ease. This is because severe weather conditions, massive mold growth or problems with the drainage systems can cut those numbers in half. So having a malfunctioning window, even before its end date, isn’t that uncommon. Check these warning signs to see whether you need immediate window replacement or repair. Schedule a free consultation to check the true condition of your windows:

  • Cracks & Rot
  • Draftiness
  • High Electrical Bills
  • Termites & Pesticides
  • Window Leaks
  • Poor Soundproofing
  • Faded Furniture Around the Window
  • Scratched Glass
  • Frequent Interior Condensation

About PM Windows

PM Windows and Doors Kitchener Waterloo is your top choice for replacement windows and replacement doors.

What do Window Energy Ratings Mean?

Many people have probably told you to only purchase energy rated windows. And those people are right, the safest window for your home is the one with high energy ratings. But what do these rating truly signify? To help you out here is some information:

What are They?

Window energy ratings or WER are basically points that a window gets after it has been tested for efficiency. And as usual, higher points means better quality. The rating is done with specific algorithms for calculating solar heat resistance, air leakage, visual transmittance and so on. After a window has been tested in a special laboratory, it gets a specific amount of points, then it is placed on a scale from G to A (G being the lowest and A the highest). Another important thing you should know about these ratings is that the whole window is tested, not just the glass or the frame, but the window as a complete entity.

The Important Factors

As mentioned before, windows get Energy Ratings based on specific calculations. When a window is up for testing, these 5 things are of utmost importance:

  • U-value: This value signifies the resistance to heat loss. The lower value, the better window since you don’t want the heated air on the inside to exit through your window on a cold winter day.
  • R-value: Unlike U-value, R needs to be higher. This value signifies a window’s ability to absorb and retain heat. The best windows have high R and low U values, providing an amazing atmosphere for saving up on the electrical bills.
  • SHGC: This is an acronym for solar heat gain coefficient or the amount of solar radiation a window transmits. The ratings are from 0 to 1, with lower numbers signifying less transmission. Windows with high SHGC are placed in rooms facing North because there, the amount of natural light is limited and insufficient.
  • VT: Another acronym, but for visual transmittance. Expressed in percentage, VT represents the amount of visible light transmitted through a window. If the percentage is lower, less light will enter your home.
  • Air leakage: The name speaks for itself since Air leakage represents the amount of air leaked through a window. The higher the numbers, the more unwanted air loos through a window.

What about Energy Stars?

If you have heard about Energy Ratings, you have probably also heard about Energy Stars. These are marks given to a product only if it exceeds a certain point limit. For instance, if the window exceeds a score of 5, it gets an Energy Star. This point limitation varies from country to country and while in Canada a window must exceed 6, in the USA only 5. (These numbers are only used as an example, for getting the point across, they aren’t true). Many products can get energy stars, including kettles, water heaters, laptops, and even buildings.

About PM Windows

PM Windows and Doors Kitchener Waterloo is your top choice for replacement windows and replacement doors.

What is the Purpose of Low-E Glass?

The quality of a window’s glass is of utmost importance. These days homeowners are obsessed with window replacement & upgrade since studies show the positive influence quality windows have on energy efficiency and home functionality. If you have an old wooden window with single pane glass and without Low-E coatings, you don’t have a properly insulated home, resulting in higher electrical bills, higher UV damage and significantly reduced comfort.

What is Low-E?

Window glass has the main role in heat transfer between your interior and the outside environment. Glass absorbs heat and reflects as little as possible. This results in disruption of ideal temperatures on the inside. To solve this problem, experts invented Low-E which stands for low-emissivity. This is a coating applied to the window glass. Its main role is to catch solar heat from the outside and reflect it, not letting it enter the home. Low-E reflects interior heat on the inside as well, keeping temperature forces separated and with minimum interaction.

With having Low-E glass, you maintain ideal temperatures at home, increasing efficiency and reducing the need for additional heating and cooling systems. The best Low-E windows retain heat, but also provide a comfortable amount of natural light on the inside.

Types of Low-E

There are 2 main types of Low-E glass: hard coat and soft coat. Each is applicable in different environments. For instance, hard coat works best for extremely cold climates since it lets some radiation pass through and heats up the house. The soft coat is recommended for hot or hot-to-cold climates, providing maximum UV protection and heat retention. The first one is also known as passive, while the second as solar control.

  • Hard-coat: A pyrolytic coating applied to the glass ribbon, fused with a glass surface. The manufacturing process creates a highly durable and strong connection.
  • Soft-coat: MSDV means magnetron sputtering vapor deposition. It is the process of creating soft-coat low-e. The coating is applied to the glass before it is cut. This Low-e is more solar efficient than hard-coat.

Additional Ratings

When choosing a window, one must not focus only on Low-E since its functionality depends on other values and glass characteristics. Here are some of the glass efficiency ratings you should know:

  • SHGC: When looking for Low-E glass, you should also mind SHGC. It is an acronym for solar heat gain coefficient and it represents the amount of solar radiation a window lets pass through. Higher numbers are better for homes facing North since they need maximum heat gain, while low numbers are those enabling minimum transmission of solar heat.
  • VT: This rating represents visual transmittance. It is expressed in percentage and the higher numbers, the more visible light entering a home. Usually, when purchasing Low-E, you will find that most of them have low VT ratings.
  • U-value: This rating stands for resistance to heat loss. If the value is lower, your home will be warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
  • R-value: Unlike U-value, R-value needs to be as high as possible to keep a healthy living environment. It stands for the ability to absorb and retain heat.

About PM Windows

PM Windows and Doors Kitchener Waterloo is your top choice for replacement windows and replacement doors.

Signs That You Need to Replace your Patio Doors

With time, materials deteriorate and lose their functionality. Your patio doors probably aren’t made of stone so they should be replaced as soon as they reach their age limit. Depending on the framing, they last from 15 to 30 years. If you aren’t sure about their age, just ask them with inspecting each detail for signs of possible damage:

Uncomfortable Drafts

Want to sit on the couch next to your window or patio door, but that uncomfortable draftiness is just too difficult to ignore? Well, the quality of your windows and doors determines the quality of insulation and proper heat transfer. So, the first sign for window and patio door replacement is draftiness. Besides creating an uncomfortable living environment, unwanted drafts increase the energy bills as you start turning on the heating system more often.

Worn Outlook

People say that age isn’t an issue, but it definitely is for doors and windows. Some patio entrances which are made from wood might not be in need of replacement, but of a simple repainting or clean up. Nonetheless, giving that worn out look some attention will provide you with new information about the condition of your patio doors. Bad weather conditions and insufficient maintenance usually shorten the lifespan of insulation material resulting in worn out looks and scratches or cracks.

Moisture Levels Rising

From basement floods to leaky roofs, water has sure provided a lot of hassle for homeowners. One of the damages that water can do is increase humidity levels, therefore, mold growth and allergies or asthma attacks. If even one of your doors and windows isn’t doing their job right, wall cracks and leaks will start invading your home’s foundation making it weaker than one could ever imagine. So you should do patio door or window replacement if you find water leaks, cracks or mold around the frames and interior condensation on the glass.

Difficult to Operate

Doors are made for being easily operated, that is one of their main qualities and if yours don’t, immediately contact the experts to check what sort of damage has occurred to them. Sometimes we can tight the seal a little bit too much and if done frequently it can result in loose locking systems. Another reason why your patio doors are difficult to operate is dirt and debris build-up. Before you decide on a replacement, make sure you thoroughly clean them.

Eager for Change

Apart from reducing practicality and comfort, patio doors can also reduce on aesthetic value. If they don’t compliment the home the way they used to – it is time for a change. Renovating entrances is also good according to feng-shui as it lets new fresh memories to enter your home and therefore life. If your budget is tight at the moment, a simple repainting job will do the trick and keep your interior up to date.

About PM Windows

PM Windows and Doors Kitchener Waterloo is your top choice for replacement windows and replacement doors.

Why You Should Consider Replacing Your Windows

Window replacement is something we keep on hearing about. It has become a reality slap for homeowners as they continue to discover the benefits of replacing old and poorly functioning windows. Here are 5 reasons why you should start thinking about window replacement.

1. Safe From Harm

With time windows can start to lose their primary qualities. Wooden windows last to about 15 years, while vinyl ones can reach 40. No matter the type of window, each of them is affected by aging which results in loosening up, rotting and tons of unseen scratches. Apart from losing their insulation quality, old and malfunctioning windows can become a safety hazard for homes. Windows with loose locking systems make it easier for intruders to fulfill their maleficent dreams. Poorly functioning windows also decrease safety from storms, difficult weather and UV rays damage.

2. Foggy Glass

There is a possibility that you have malfunctioning windows if window condensation is common for your household. There are many reasons for having fog on the window glass. Some of them are high humidity and climate change. They don’t pose a threat to your home’s insulation and can easily be solved with humidifiers. But with time glass can break on the inside and cause air to be trapped between the panes.  This is why other causes and problems such as faulty sealant and window type require glass and window replacement.

3. Saving Money

It is widely known that the type of windows you have in your home determine the amount written on your energy bills. High energy bills indicate that it’s time for window replacement since windows have a key role in sustaining ideal room temperatures. No heating technology can save you from poor insulation if your windows keep on letting unwanted hot air exist and cool air enter the living area. While you are doing window replacements, keep in mind window characteristics as R-value, U-values and Energy Stars which provide you with information about the window’s energy efficiency.

4. Noise Reduction

The most beautiful things about a home are calmness and privacy. With the exception of curious granny’s, no one wants to hear their neighbors rattle on a relaxing Sunday afternoon. Not many people know, but bad soundproofing happens because of low quality windows. They can stop absorbing unwanted outside noise and start letting it pass through and enter your private living areas. This is common for old windows or poorly installed ones.

5. Style Change

A common motive for doing window replacements is simply making a change and refreshing an aspect of your daily routine. Change is always beneficial as it teaches us different methods of appreciating life. Planting a new flower in the garden can make your whole week filled with excitement. The same goes for window replacement. Changing the frame of your view will inspire other changes, ones that you might have never imagined.

About PM Windows

PM Windows and Doors Kitchener Waterloo is your top choice for replacement windows and replacement doors.

Benefits of Replacing Your Windows

Just like every part of your home, windows sometimes need to be replaced. Whether it is because you are moving into a new house or because you decided to renovate your old one. Change is always good and here is a list we made with some benefits of window replacement.

1. Reduced Energy Bills

Windows have life spans too because with time their functionality dwindles. Old windows usually have loose or rotten frames, scratched glass, leaks, pesticide problems and are less energy efficient. By replacing your windows as soon as possible, you will be getting the newest mechanisms and materials for increased functionality. New and modern windows will stop the cool breezes from entering your home which in the future will reduce those high energy bills.

2. UV Protection

Windows with poor or thin glass absorb less light and sound. If not properly filtered before entering your home, UV lights can cause severe damage to furniture, carpet and artworks. They will also make it harder for you to relax or read a book. While replacing your windows choose a glass that will prove as the best light and sound insulator for your home. Usually, those windows have double or triple panes which are filled with air instead of gas.

3. Increased Home Value

Window replacement is one of the home renovations that add to your curb appeal. Buying and renovating a home is the biggest investment you’ll be making in your entire life. Do not miss out on window replacement as it gives extra security, aesthetic value and energy efficiency for your household. When choosing your windows try to keep in mind the nature of your home. Each type of windows is suitable for different types of houses and living areas.

4. Increased Security

Buying new windows and ensuring their proper installation is a safety measure above everything else. Windows which have cranking systems tend to be safer. Another important thing is the type of glass your window has. You don’t want having windows which are easily breakable. Besides safety from burglars and intruders; mind your emergency exit plan. The type of windows that your home has should depend on that exact plan. You don’t want being stuck in a certain room and having an awning window as the only option for an exit.

5. Low Maintenance

As time goes by, technology develops and today we have the best material for windows, ever! The moto of the 21stcentury is less maintenance and longer lifespans. The materials from which your windows are made determine the amount of time you have to spend in their cleaning and renovating. For instance, did you know that vinyl framed windows don’t require repainting? They are also immune to rot and bad weather conditions. Investing in new windows will save you up on some extra spending you’ll need to make for renovations and repainting projects.

About PM Windows

PM Windows and Doors Kitchener Waterloo is your top choice for replacement windows and replacement doors.

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Let’s begin with a primer on what Low-E glass is. PPG provides a more intense description of Low-E glass at In a nutshell, the coating in Low-E glass minimizes the amount of ultraviolet and infrared light that can pass through glass without compromising the amount of visible light that is transmitted. The coating can be applied as a hard coat where the top surface is heated to almost melting and the coating is injected below the surface. This glass can be easily handled after it is cooled. The coating can also be applied on the surface of room temperature glass. However, the coating cannot be touched after it has been administered. This is a process utilized by Cardinal Glass. The soft coating is available in three layers, 180 (single), 272 (double) and 366 (triple). Each additional layers reduces the amount of ultraviolet and infrared more which provides fade resistance. At the same time, the solar energy from the sun is reduced thus providing cooler glass surfaces which is beneficial in the summertime. However, the drawback is that, since glass performs the same all year round, cooler glass surfaces will also prevail in the wintertime. In Canada, where more of the year is spent heating our homes than air-conditioning them, multiple coated glasses can prove to be a disadvantage. The beneficial passive heat from the sun that would help warm our homes in the winter is being blocked by these multiple coated glasses. This fact is supported by the substantially lower Energy Rating numbers ( as specified by Energy Star ) for multiple coated glasses in comparison to single coated glasses, whether soft coat or hard coat. My advice is to select a multiple coated glass like Low-E 366 if you have rooms in your home that are unbearable to be in because of excessive summer heat or that fade resistance is extremely important to you. Select a single coat glass such as a hard coat or 180 if you want to retain the benefit of passive solar heating in the winter.