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which to do first

We have an old Jim walter built home that was built in 1977. Over the years we have pretty much left it with no changes.

 We started thinking that we should do some updating  while keeping in mind of doing some things that will also save energy.

here are a few things we are thinking of doing

 new ceiling maybe,suspended,or doing some sort of plywood with grove or 1 by 8 tongue and grove

 with any of these we were going to put 4 x 8 sheets of insulating  material like the 4 x 8 sheets that are like foam or have the aluminium on one side as we do have old 6 inch fibergalss in the ceiling already  

 so this would just add insulation

       We have leaned more on ceiling as it is old and beginning to look bad, it is presently sheetrock  which we would leave up so would doing anything over it cause a rot or mildew problem and would you think we should run a sheet of plastic across it before installing anything.

 2.  storm windows  and doors  as we have two 36 inch outside along with one patio door and roughly 14 windows some of which or roughly 63 x 42  wider than taller ,if we do windows we thought about making some of them smaller.

3  doing new siding on the outside

    now which would you do first for saving energy ,time is not a factor as we are both semi retired

 Any advise would be appreciated or any why we should not do this or that .Give us thoughts even if you think we are going to remotely do something wrong  

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Posted 2011-02-27T18:19:41+0000  by Doc1 Doc1

Hello, and welcome to the community.


It sounds like you are about to embark on a great adventure. I hope that some of the other members on the community might "chime" in as well with their suggestions. 


If the issue is energy savings, then I recommend tackling the window issue first. Seeing that up to 35% of energy loss in a home is around doors and windows, the savings will be immediate.

Consider replacing the windows with a newer high efficiently model.  Most can be replaced from the interior of the home with minimal damage to the interior and exterior surfaces.  Here is a buying guide that can be found at the Home Depot site:


Improve your view and increase 
your home’s energy efficiency with new windows 

In addition to letting in light and giving you a beautiful view of your surroundings, windows are a crucial component in maintaining an energy-efficient home. The type and style you choose, and whether you plan to replace only one at a time or have your entire house done at once, can have a significant impact on your heating and cooling bills. The tighter seals and more advanced construction of many modern windows prevent cold and hot air from escaping and help maintain a more comfortable, consistent indoor climate without wasting energy. New windows also breathe new life into old houses, giving your home an updated look that is both smart and attractive. Consider the following questions to help guide you to a better understanding of how windows can affect your house:

  • What window designs are available?
  • What types of opening mechanisms do windows use?
  • What materials can window frames be made of?
  • How do windows help improve energy efficiency?
  • What steps should you take to properly maintain windows?

Window Design, Energy Efficiency, Materials and Maintenance 

Windows are designed and installed primarily to provide three things: light, ventilation and a view of the outside world. While most windows accomplish all three tasks, some do so in a more energy-efficient manner than others. Windows are generally comprised of a sill, sash, head, jamb, frame and panes. The head is the piece that runs horizontally across the top while the sill is the part that runs horizontally across the bottom. Jambs run vertically up the sides of the window. The sill, head and jambs combine to form the frame, which may be made from various materials, and the sash, in turn, frames the panes. There are a number of window designs available, including awning, casement, picture, fixed and more.

Window Designs: The first decision you’all need to make when purchasing a window is to determine what style is most appropriate for the room where it will be installed. Some of the more commonly used types are awning, double hung, casement, gliding, picture, bay, fixed and storm. Each has different characteristics and, in many cases, opens in a different manner. Consult the chart below to learn more about some of the available options.


DesignsDescription and OperationUses and Ideal Installation
AwningHorizontal window that opens outward, usually using a crank handle.
  • Provide ventilation even during rain
  • Provide ample light
  • Often installed above doors or other windows
Bay/BowSeries of three or more windows that juts outward from the house. The central window may be fixed while the side windows are typically double-hung or casement windows.
  • Provide ample light
  • Offer a wider viewing angle
  • Add style to architecture
  • Make rooms appear more spacious
  • Ideal for use when creating a breakfast nook or in a master bedroom
CasementVertical window that opens outward and may feature locks on both the upper and lower parts. Often opened with a crank handle.
  • Provide ample light
  • Offer a large viewing area
  • Ideal for difficult-to-reach areas, such as over a sink or countertops
Double HungTraditional-style window that opens by raising the lower half or lowering the upper half.
  • Take up little space
  • Ideal for installing next to patios or porches
  • Frames can be used to complement home décor
FixedAvailable in many shapes and sizes and cannot be opened.
  • Used for a variety of purposes from picture windows to small, decorative windows
  • Do not provide ventilation
GlidingA side-by-side pair of windows that slide side-to-side rather than opening outward or upward.
  • Offer a contemporary look
  • Ideal for installation near outdoor living areas
PictureLarge, fixed windows that cannot be opened.
  • Provide ample light
  • Allow for a wide viewing area
  • Do not provide ventilation
StormUsed in conjunction with existing windows.
  • Increase energy efficiency during extreme weather conditions

Energy Efficiency: Heat can pass through windows, whether it’s leaving your warm house to escape out into the cold winter air or entering your home and making it stuffy on a hot summer day. Light passes through them as well, and though it brightens rooms, it can also fade furniture and carpeting. It’s important, then, to purchase energy-efficient windows. Windows with the ENERGY STAR approval will save money on heating and cooling bills compared with units that do not have the rating. Though the ratings used to determine energy efficiency vary depending upon climate, the two most important factors are U-value and solar heat gain coefficient, or SHGC. U-value is a measure of how well a window prevents heat transfer. The lower the value, the more effective the window is at stopping heat from passing through. SHGC measures how much heat from sunlight passes through windows. As with U-value, lower values indicate higher resistance.

  • Double- and triple-pane windows are more efficient than single-pane windows and may reduce outside noise
  • Low-emissivity (or low-E) window coatings minimize the amount of UV rays that can get through glass, letting light in while reducing heat transfer and helping to prevent fading
  • Tinted windows and window shades help reduce fading
  • Make sure windows are properly sealed to prevent air from leaking through
  • Air leakage should be less than 0.3 cfm/ft²
  • In new construction, position windows so they won’t be subjected to direct sunlight during the hottest parts of the day, particularly in warm climates

Materials and Maintenance: Window frames may be made from a number of different materials, including wood, vinyl, aluminum and fiberglass. Wood can be painted and stained to match your décor. Vinyl is generally colored all the way through, meaning that there’s no need to paint it and scratches and nicks will be less evident. Both wood and vinyl are nonconductive and perform well in terms of efficiency. It’s important to keep both frames and windows clean to maintain performance and keep up appearance. Make sure your house is well ventilated to help prevent the buildup of condensation on windows.

  • Use glass cleaners to remove spots from windows
  • Avoid hitting windows with high-pressure streams of water, as they may break
  • Some glass coatings help prevent spots and streaks to minimize cleaning
  • Clean frames with cleansers that are only mildly abrasive, and make sure to test a small, inconspicuous spot first


Skylights and Roof Windows: In addition to conventional windows, another way to add light and create the appearance of space in your home is with the addition of a skylight or roof window.

Stained Glass: If you want to add a unique element of beauty to your home, you may want to consider installing a stained glass window. The designs and patterns from which you can choose are virtually unlimited, allowing you to select a window that suits your décor and personal style.

Weatherstripping: Weatherstripping is essential to maintaining a high level of energy efficiency. Make sure the windows you purchase provide high-quality weatherstripping.

Screens: Having the windows open when the weather is nice is great, but chasing bugs around the house with a flyswatter is not. Screens allow you to enjoy a refreshing spring breeze without having to worry about the buzz of insects interrupting your relaxation.



Posted 2011-02-27T19:22:09+0000  by Kevin_HD_ATL

Let me rephrase this a little,we are looking at energy savings but only from the point that we are doing some updating or fixing up as we have not done anything in years to the house

 The cedilings are really looking dingy and would need paint but we are tired of looking at sheetrock painted ceilings

 The windows are just plain single pain windows that are out of style

 Our living room is a 13 x 26 with two 63x 42 windows . This is why we were leaning more toward the ceiling to do first

 Do appreciate the reply and the info

Posted 2011-02-27T19:34:05+0000  by Doc1

Consider these ideas:


"Lay In" ceiling tile - that comes in variouse styles. a7620630-2df4-4912-b555-e210638eb357_300.jpgimages (23).jpg


Or, try framing out the ceiling to look like a coffered ceiling. Use the light weight wood composite material (made out of PVC) with trim added to inside. Glue them in place with Loctite Power Grab and eliminate having to nail.  Caulk and paint to complete. I have done this and it transformes the whole room.





Of course, tounge and grooved ceiling planks look great as well.


Posted 2011-02-27T20:26:18+0000  by Kevin_HD_ATL

Hello Doc1,


In regards to your question of  "What to do first", you want to replace the windows first, because you mentioned you might get smaller windows, and that would involve making the opening smaller, so then the outside siding will need to cover the new opening that has been reduced.


Once the windows & doors are replaced, then you can have the siding replaced. Most companies that replace windows,  can also install siding as well. Did you know that Home Depot installs wood & vinyl windows, entry & patio doors as well as Siding. You can 1-800-HOME DEPOT to set up a FREE in-home consultation. They will be able to give an estimate for any of the items I mentioned, and if you have a Home Depot charge card you can use it and make deferred payments.


Please let us know if we can be of any further help!

Posted 2011-02-28T16:41:18+0000  by Angelo_HD_CHI
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