When designing a home, it's difficult to have both: lots of wall space and lots of windows. Often, we must trade one for the other. However, that doesn't always have to be the case.
In some spaces, it's entirely possible to have both. Installed high on a wall, windows can be used for natural light without compromising wall space or privacy. It's an excellent design solution for walls on the side of a home (no one needs to have such a close-up view of their neighbour), in bedrooms where privacy is a concern or other spaces where wall space is needed (for furniture, art or family photos).
Take a look at how these beautiful spaces get the best of both worlds:
BUILT GREEN Platinum Private Residence in Vancouver, BC | Builder: Blackfish Homes
BUILT GREEN Platinum Private Residence in Vancouver, BC | Builder: Blackfish Homes
Private Residence in Penticton, BC | + More photos
Private Residence in Whistler, BC | Builder: Ario Construction Inc.
Tilt + Turn Windows are an excellent option for basement egress windows. Although egress requirements differ slightly depending on your governing building code, the reasoning does not: in case of emergency, such as a fire, occupants in a room must be able to easily exit.
Large Opening Windows
Custom built to the size you need, the ability to fully open Tilt + Turn Windows into the room (as shown below on the far right) allows you to meet most egress requirements. By turning the handle up, the entire window turns inwards providing a large opening that can be used as an exit in the event of an emergency.
In addition, Tilt + Turn Windows provide excellent security, water penetration resistance and ventilation - three factors you need for basement windows.
Innotech windows are equipped with our exclusive Defender System. The Defender System combines multi-point locks, steel reinforcement and welded corners to provide proven protection from casual break-and-enters.
+ Click here to watch our Break-and-Enter Demonstration
Water Resistant Windows
Regularly tested in-house, by third party laboratories and on-site, our windows are engineered and manufactured to be water resistant. Due to their proximity to the ground, basement windows are often a source of water penetration, costing homeowners thousands of dollars in repairs. The Defender System, combined with three weatherseals, ensures that when closed, Tilt + Turn Windows protect your home from expensive water infiltration.
+ Click here to watch the "Hurricane in a Box" video
Tilt for Ventilation
In the tilt position (as shown in the middle image in the above photo), Tilt + Turn Windows provide secure and efficient ventilation by allowing rising warm air to exit at the top and fresh cool air to enter at the sides - without the need for an open door or second window!
Whether you're building a new home or renovating an exiting home, selecting the right windows for your basement is an important part of building a safe and durable home. For more benefits of the Tilt + Turn Window, click here.
The latest city to call Innotech home is Edmonton Alberta, where we recently opened a new showroom. Albertans now have three choices when wishing to view our products as our windows and doors are also on display in our Calgary showroom, and we also have a dealer in Red Deer. The showroom, located near the Hazeldean neighbourhood, features a selection of fully-operable windows and doors allowing you to experience firsthand the quality and functionality of Innotech products.
Managing our Edmonton location is Dave Swan, a veteran of the manufacturing industry. Dave and his family make their home in Edmonton and they are very active in the community. He would love to get to know you over a cup of coffee, and as an Innotech fenestration expert he is qualified to recommend the products that will be perfect for your home.
The new window and door building code, known as the North American Fenestration Standard/Specification or NAFS, now requires all entry doors to be tested to the same performance requirements as windows. Exterior doors must meet an air and water penetration resistance rating to be NAFS compliant.
Up until now, performance requirements for exterior doors have been either non-existent or disappointingly minimal. The new code requirements is a huge improvement in our industry, as historically, most doors have been the weak link in the performance of a building.
Innotech exterior entry doors have been tested to the new standard and are NAFS compliant. These include single and double inswing or outswing Terrace Swing Doors, single and double inswing Tilt + Turn Doors, and our Tilt + Glide Doors. NAFS is required by the 2012 BC Building Code (2012 BCBC), the 2010 National Building Code and other provincial and municipal building codes.
+ To learn more about the new code requirements, click here
Glenbrook in Calgary, Alberta is quickly becoming one of the city's most popular redevelopment neighbourhoods. Currently under construction in Glenbrook is the contemporary duplex named "Mosman 42" by Campbell Design and Shelby Homes.
The building team's vision is to bring contemporary urban design and quality built homes to Glenbrook. Some of Mosman 42's features include:
- Metal corrugated, acrylic stucco and brick exterior
- European energy efficient tilt and turn windows
- High-security exterior doors
- Double detached garage
- Spacious 9 foot ceilings
- Vaulted master bedroom
- Gas fireplace in living room
- Quartz countertops
- Stainless steel appliance package
- Hardwood and tile floors
- Fully built out basement
- Landscaping package
"We made the decision to design and build Mosman 42 with durable building products," says Tim Saunders of Campbell Design. "Calgary home buyers want homes that not only have all the latest design features, but they also want homes that are well-built, energy efficient and safe for their families."
We would like to extend our thanks to Al Jaugelis from RDH Building Engineering for accepting our invitation to host two important seminars on the new window and door building code at our showroom in Kelowna. Over 80 of the Okanagan's leading buidling professionals joined us for the AIBC-accredited seminars entitled "What Building Professionals Need to Know About the New Window and Door Building Code".
The North American Fenestration Standard/Specification (NAFS) is the new building code for windows, doors and skylights mandated by the 2012 BC Building Code (BCBC), as well as the International Building Code (IBC), the International Residential Code (IRC) and the National Building Code of Canada (NBC). NAFS is a performance based standard that attempts to harmonize US and Canadian window and door manufacturing, testing and installation standards to help simplify cross border certification and spefication.
+ To learn more about NAFS, click here
Welcome to the final installment in our series of short articles exploring the damage severe weather can wreak and how Innotech windows and doors help prevent or mitigate that damage. For part one please click here, for part two click here, and part three can be found here.
As this series comes to an end it seems appropriate to look back and review everything it takes to protect a home from inclement weather. From the construction of a window to how it’s installed, the blogs have covered a lot of ground; here’s the short version.
Part one started with a bang – literally – as the importance of impact resistant windows was demonstrated with a video from Innotech’s testing facility:
Impact resistance is important because not only will a broken window allow debris or water to enter a home, but it can also lead to dangerous pressure differential scenarios that can threaten the structural integrity of the whole home.
So how do you make a window impact resistant? It comes down to quality; by utilizing high quality thick glass, combined with well-engineered durable frames and hardware, a window is much better protected against wind or water-driven debris.
Air and Water Tightness
Inspired by the terrible High River and Calgary floods of 2013, part two examined how to create air and water-tight windows. Leaky windows are at best a nuisance and at worst destructive, so windows that keep bad weather outside the building envelope protect not only a homeowner's belongings, but also their wallet!
The video below shows the performance difference between well-made windows, and windows that aren’t built to withstand rough weather. The results are eye-opening:
Window Selection and Installation
Well-built windows with durable glass, frames, and hardware are essential to protecting a home, but they don’t mean a thing if the wrong type of window is selected for a space, or if it’s improperly installed. Using the example of Calgary’s basement egress windows this blog demonstrated that oftentimes the type of window selected becomes very important when dealing with specific spaces. Calgary’s building code contains strict guidelines that make tilt and turn windows the only logical choice for basement egress windows, and choosing the wrong type of window could be disastrous in severe weather.
Even putting the right window in the right spot won’t help if it isn’t correctly installed. Water and air can easily ingress into the building envelope around a poorly installed window, so it’s obvious why companies like Innotech mandate a very strict installation process. A good install should include these steps:
- Ensuring the window is perfectly level
- Installing weather-resistant seals
- Applying manufacturer-approved sealant
- Adhering to proper drainage guidelines
- Firmly securing the window in the opening
Want to ensure your new home is well protected from the elements? We invite you to speak to one of our windows experts – click here to find a showroom near you.
The best products are those which combine outstanding performance and attractive design. Recently, Innotech completed a project in the Okanagan that perfectly encapsulates this principle.
The client, whose riverside home sits nestled amidst pristine first growth forest, wanted to maximize their sightlines and spectacular views. The architect and builder proposed a curtain wall full of windows which would let the homeowner enjoy the views they desired, but this led to some challenges; the home's post and beam construction necessitated making some compromises to the design. Standard windows simply aren't strong enough for this type of installation, and so the curtain wall's fenestration would need reinforcement in the form of additional mullions, adding to the cost of the project and also obscuring some of the view. As you can see in the original drawing below, the windows were to be segmented into nine sections in order to support the weight of the wall.
Thankfully, Innotech windows aren't "standard" - they're built to be the strongest and best performing in the industry. With the windows' superior structural integrity working in our favour we approached the client and builder with an alternative proposal. Instead of nine seperate pieces, Innotech could provide five extra large frames with a simple glue lam beam in between adding the necessary additional support.
Larger windows and less obstruction? The client was onboard immediately. The finished result shown above was a vast improvement over the original plans and the homeowners are in love with their new windows.
If you have a unique fenestration design or question, we invite you to contact one of our product consultants.
According to a recent article in the Financial Post, pre-fabricated homes are soaring in popularity due to innovative technologies that have significantly improved the quality and the performance of modular homes. One such technology that is turning heads is Canadian made BONE Structure – a high-performance light steel construction system that is versatile, durable and eco-friendly.
The first BONE Structure home in BC is currently under construction. Nicknamed the Februar House, the two-storey, flat roofed private residence overlooking Okanagan Lake is dream home come true. The Kelowna homeowners invested many years of research, including a trip to Quebec to tour the BONE Structure manufacturing plant, prior to selecting the BONE Structure construction system.
The contemporary Februar House is designed and built by Kelowna-based Bauhaus Designs and Thomson Dwellings. A first for both firms, the Februar House is an exciting project that demonstrates the design versatility and high-performance of the BONE Structure construction system for homeowners seeking a durable and energy efficient home.
The Februar House also features a host of other green building technologies, including German engineered windows and doors by Innotech. Delivering exceptional air, water and sound resistance, Innotech windows and doors are the perfect fit for the high-performance building envelope. Together with the BONE Structure construction system, the home delivers unparalleled R-values making it one of the most energy efficient homes in the province.
Welcome to part three of a series of short articles exploring the damage severe weather can wreak and how Innotech windows and doors help prevent or mitigate that damage. You can read part one here and part two here.
In parts one and two of this series the main topic was how windows and doors can be built to keep severe weather at bay. But the most well engineered windows and doors in the world won’t help if the wrong type is selected or if they are incorrectly installed.
How to Select the Right Window
Any window or door can be at risk during high winds and heavy rain, but basement egress windows are particularly vulnerable during stormy conditions. As this video demonstrates, a leaky basement window can definitely be cause for concern:
That homeowner is lucky the leak didn’t affect his electrical wiring!
Most areas’ building codes explicitly mandate the size, shape, construction, and operation of basement egress windows. For example, in Alberta the building code states that:
- “The window referred to in Sentence (1) shall provide an unobstructed opening of not less than 0.35m² (542.5 in²) in area with no dimension less than 380mm (15in)”
- “When a window required in Article 184.108.40.206 opens into a window well, a clearance of not less than 550mm (21.7”) shall be provided in front of the window. Where the sash of a window pens towards the window well, the operation of the sash shall not reduce the clearance in a manner that would restrict escape in an emergency situation.”
These regulations mean that the type of window selected for an opening becomes very important. Basement windows are typically wide and short in height. They also often open into the window well. The implications for the window type are critical:
- Casement: Cannot normally be used, as the max width is about 36” and combined with the short height it will not provide the clearance area needed.
- Awning: Typical awning windows are not allowed as they opens low to the ground and don’t provide the necessary clear opening area.
- Single/Double Hung: Not enough clearance for them to operate properly.
- Sliding: The most common choice for basement windows, however a large rough opening in necessary as well. Also, sliding windows are the least secure, and the least air and water tight.
There is another option for basement egress windows that are much more resilient in the face of severe weather (not to mention security!):
- Tilt & Turn Windows: The inswing of the window means it can accommodate almost any size opening, and the size of the window well is irrelevant. Plus, tilt and turn windows have been proven to resist air and water better than other styles (see part one and part two).
All too often homeowners choose beautiful expensive windows for their home, but outfit their basement windows with lower quality sliding windows. This mistake often doesn’t become apparent until it’s too late, and the owners are faced with large repair bills. Choosing the right windows for the right space can save financial pain in the long run.
Window Installation Matters
So once the correct window type has been selected, it’s just a matter of putting them in the openings, right? Well, it’s not quite that simple; a high quality window installed improperly can perform worse than a cheap window installed properly. A reputable window and door manufacturer will ensure that their products are installed to exacting standards by providing extremely thorough installation instructions.
A properly installed window has the following characteristics:
Surrounded by weather resistant seals
Manufacturer approved sealant applied to all four sides
Proper Drainage Measures in Place
Firmly attached to the building interface with manufacturer supplied anchors
These steps ensure that water and air stays out of the building envelope. A properly installed high quality tilt & turn window (like the ones manufactured by Innotech Windows + Doors) will last for years, and potentially longer than the walls around them. Builders who use our windows often remark that it takes longer to install our windows than our competitors', but the final quality is well worth it.
Properly selecting the right window for the job, and then installing it properly – two important factors in winning the battle against the elements. If you’re not sure which window is right for your project, why not talk to one of our fenestration experts who can guide you to making the right choice; click here to contact us today.