Are you planning to replace windows and doors? Are you building a new home? You will hear a lot about window and door manufacturers’ claims regarding energy efficiency. But there is more to it!Manufacturers brag about their argon gas filled double pane windows, various glass coatings, tight fitting frames and gaskets to boost energy efficiency ratings – all details that boost the price.
But few pay attention to important window& door installation steps– sadly this includes the majority of US architects.
In the US most carpenters level and secure windows into framed openings and consider handling heat loss. Commonly, insulation contractors either “stuff” the pocket with fiberglass (really silly approach!). Some insulation contractors may foam out the opening. But the foam is generally uneven. Some sections are over-sprayed and need to be trimmed and others are often left with gaps as seen in the image (see upper left corner, for example).
Travel to Northern Europe, birthplace of the Passivhaus concept, and you’ll see careful attention paid to (1) the size of the gap around each window, and (2) the installation of expanding, open cell foam strips so that even the smallest openings are thermally closed up.
Tremco is one of the companies producing a line of foam tape called Exoair Trio which is now available in the US. While this does mean installers have to know how to properly install these foam strips when placing windows into openings, it just makes sense to go this extra step and have windows without drafty chases all around them. Useful u-tube installation videos make this learning curve easier and should overcome installers’ objections.
In construction the devil is always in the details. So, homeowners do not spend a lot of money on windows without taking care of this all important installation detail.