Many people find the coastal lifestyle appealing, and if you’re lucky enough to call the seaside home, you’ll have to deal with the elements year-round. The combination of intense sunlight, heavy rain, and high winds, which is so common on the seaside, may influence any window’s life when exposed to lengthy periods of harsh weathering. So, what are the best windows for an oceanfront home?
In extreme coastal conditions, fiberglass frames are a good choice since they are incredibly robust and sturdy. Paired with the correct combination of impact-resistant glass and window style of your preference, you will have the dream view of the ocean from your oceanfront home.
When choosing the perfect windows for your oceanfront home, we advise you to consider the three main factors when choosing the best window. Look at the best frame material and the most robust glass, and do not miss out on styling your home with the type of window you choose. Below we will expand on all three elements so you can make an informed choice.
The Styles Of Windows Available For Oceanfront Homes
Living near the sea may be a dream come true; stunning vistas and breathtaking sunsets are outside your window. However, ocean living has significant drawbacks due to possible or severe weather, which can wreak havoc on your home’s windows. Therefore, choosing the proper window frame structure and style is crucial, pairing that with the best glass options for your environment.
The first selection you need to understand is choosing the style of window you want for your oceanfront home. Below we will go through the different types available on the market, but we will not focus on the 1800+ brands.
The Wide Opening Casement Window
Casement windows have hinges on the right or left side, allowing them to swing open like a door to let light and air through. Because of their excellent ventilation, casement windows are perfect for bathrooms and hard-to-reach spaces, such as over a kitchen sink.
With a single handle crank, casement windows, also known as French Casement Windows or crank windows, may be opened outwards. Casement windows can open all the way, allowing maximum ventilation and natural light to enter the space. You can open your casement window by turning the crank counterclockwise, or you can close it by turning it clockwise.
This type of window seals itself tighter when the wind blows in the direction of the house. In addition, when they are open, they act as a kind of sail to capture the most air volume, directing it into the home. However, to keep them stable and effective, they need to have their hinges and seals maintained.
The Secure Awning Window
Awning windows are like to casement windows, except that the hinge is at the top, not the side. That does not mean you can’t arrange the window to open vertically; it is just a matter of setting it that way. Awning windows are those that extend outward from the bottom, and there is a sliding guide mechanism that prevents the window from opening too far.
Awning screens are situated inside the window to provide additional protection and deter insects. This is an excellent window option when the opening area is broader than tall. The window can also have a cranking feature depending on the manufacturer.
They increase air circulation and keep rain and debris from entering the window from above while offering superb security. Awning windows are traditional, attractive, and have various aesthetic and energy-saving features. In addition, awning windows are an excellent choice for bathrooms, kitchens, and even basements because they are smaller.
The Alternative Hopper Window
Many people don’t know the difference between a hopper and an awning window. They might look very similar when they are closed, but you will notice the difference when they are open. When you open an awning window, the bottom of the sash swings outward from the house. Hoppers, on the other hand, have the window sash open to the inside of the house from the top.
Depending on your use case, both will have an ideal option to allow fresh air to flow into a home while keeping light rain out. Hopper windows are standard in more expansive and obscure locations like basement rooms and restrooms. In addition, a hopper window can enable greater air circulation than a slider or double-hung window since it opens entirely instead of halfway, capturing more airflow.
The Sliding Sash Window
Slider windows are great for letting in the fresh air since they are both practical and straightforward. Once the lock is released, you must slide the sash to open the window and similarly slide it back to close. Using an insect screen on a slider window eliminates the need to compromise fresh air intake while keeping pests away.
Sliding sash windows operate by sliding the sash (moving panel) down an integrated track to open vertically or horizontally. Slider windows give your home a sleek and modern appeal compared to more conventional windows. Single-hung and double-hung windows are typical vertical sliding window solutions. The only thing that splits these two is the number of movable panels.
Sliding sash windows are popular in situations with limited space, such as close proximity to the window or external pathways. They’re a traditional solution that’s remained popular due to their adaptability, durability, and scalability. The only drawback is that the horizontal track needs debris removal and cleaning for adequate movement.
The Single Hung Window
Most homes from a few decades ago will probably have single-hung windows. A screen would keep insects out on the exterior, while the bottom glass could be opened by simply pushing it upwards. The top sash is a fixed window that cannot move. In addition, Single-hung windows are also more sturdy since they have a static meeting rail in the center of the frame.
The Double Hung Window
The sashes of a double-hung window open in the same way as a single-hung window, except the double-hung sashes are independently moveable. Alternatively, both window sashes can open to half their full extent or within the frame. The window sashes can also have a tilted feature allowing you to tilt it inward for easier cleaning or removing the pane.
Easy cleaning, versatility, and security are just a few benefits of installing double-hung windows in your home. The up-down window is another frequent name for this style.
These are standard features in many American homes, especially those built before World War II. The bottom pane of a double-hung window lifts to reveal the opening. In harsh weather, sliders may not be the most outstanding solution because of the potential for air penetration between the sliders.
A Perfect Picture Window
When most people think of an oceanfront home, we think of standing at a large window looking at the sunset over the ocean. A picture window is the best style to achieve this vision. Large, fixed panes with low-profile frames optimize your view via picture windows. Unfortunately, fixed panes can’t be moved or opened since they aren’t movable.
Picture windows let in plenty of light and provide the appearance of more space in living rooms and family rooms. Even though they are airtight, non-opening fixed glass panes, they provide excellent energy efficiency. Glass and gas-filled interiors are especially significant in bigger units since they often do not open. In addition, they give the illusion that your space connects with the outdoors.
When paired with casement or double-hung windows, you may open and close those windows to allow fresh air in as needed.
Combining Different Styles To Have The Best View Possible
Bay windows are similar to bow windows in that they are projection windows, which means they extend from the exterior of your home. Beautiful on the inside and out, bay and bow windows charm a home’s façade and interior while also increasing curb appeal. There are several styles, features, advantages, and possibilities from which to pick.
A bay window consists of a vast picture window flanked by smaller windows on either side. Other side windows may be fixed picture windows like the one in the middle of a combination of casement, awning, or sliding styles. With both sides having operable windows of the picture window, you can still get enough airflow to your house.
As the name implies, a bow window extends beyond the façade of your house. To span the width of the window opening, a bow window consists of three, four, or five windows of identical size. Casement and fixed picture windows are the most common types of individual windows flanking a center picture window. This creates the impression that the room’s interior is larger and more spacious.
Natural light can enter the home through a bow or bay window’s many panes. You’ll be able to enjoy vast ocean vistas and more light and air into your living area with the additional windows.
The Best Frame Selection For Your Oceanfront Windows
The second part of the window selection is what type of material you would like on your home and whether that would be a good fit for the ocean climate and elements. When considering window replacement or installing new ones on a freshly built house, it’s critical to understand the advantages and drawbacks of each type of window frame material.
The Traditional Wood Frame
Aluminum and vinyl can’t compete with the natural beauty of wood windows. But, if you want your home to have a more traditional, clean design, wooden windows can be your option. Wooden windows have a timeless appeal but require more upkeep and may have issues throughout their lifespan.
Unfortunately, there are not many advantages to having wooden frames on the coast. One of the best advantages of installing wooden frames is their excellent insulation properties. However, the beach’s climate does not fluctuate much, negating this advantage. Another benefit of using wood windows is that they won’t rust, which is essential in humid climates.
Here are some of the disadvantages of wooden window frames at the coast:
Wood rot: Wood tends to rot if not treated regularly. Wood rots more quickly as it ages, so even if your wooden windows endure for decades, they may eventually need to be replaced. Fungi flourish on damp wood, causing it to rot or deteriorate. Fungi thrive in conditions ideal for their growth, including high humidity and a warm temperature like you get at the coast.
Wood swells when wet: Any object expands and contracts through warm and cold phases. The same happens to your windows. However, the fluctuation between winter and summer temperatures is notably different from coastal to inland. Fortunately, many people love the coast because of the temperate climate.
When a wood frame contracts or swells, it causes small cracks to form in the coating and the caulk applied to the window frame. These tiny cracks then allow water and air to penetrate the structure causing the wood to become damp and, in turn, causing rot.
Maybe the temperature fluctuation is not that severe, but you will have wind, rain, and a lot of sea spray at the coast. These can wear down your window protection over time, and you have the same rotting issues.
Termites: Unfortunately, termites are one of the greatest threats to wooden frames. There are so many species of termites that we will not go into the specifics of each one and how they affect different areas and seasons. Consult your local pest control companies for specific preventative measures for termites.
Wood may last a lifetime with careful maintenance, although many other frames can only last a few decades. Therefore, we would not recommend wood frames for the coast unless you are willing to spend a lot of time and money preserving them so they can last a lifetime.
The Cost-Effective Vinyl Frame
Customers in coastal areas frequently choose vinyl frames since it is the least expensive alternative. When vinyl got invented in the 1920s, it became one of the most widely used construction materials, and especially today, when it comes to window frames, they are trendy. Vinyl is impervious to mildew, rot, and other contaminants. Termites and carpenter bees, which may dig into a wood frame and devour or build nests in it, do not like vinyl.
Vinyl windows are a fantastic choice for coastal houses because of their high moisture resistance and low maintenance. In addition, because of their high R-Value and honeycomb construction, they are highly effective at conserving energy, but this is again not too relevant for coastal climates. Exterior finishes keep up quite well over time since they do not have paint that can deteriorate.
Vinyl-framed windows might cost as much as half as little as their wood-framed counterparts. In addition, lighter colors retain their color longer because they are less susceptible to heat absorption than darker hues. Therefore, it’s advisable to use a neutral color for vinyl windows. Vinyl has a limited color selection compared to aluminum or wood, and you can not paint it effectively.
Another factor to consider when choosing vinyl frames is the varying quality of the final product. Many companies are pushing inferior vinyl frames that do not stand up to the elements. Choose a reputable dealer if you consider using a vinyl frame product. However, vinyl’s resilience diminishes over time, and when it starts deteriorating, it is difficult to fix.
Below is a video on how to fix a hole in a vinyl frame.
The Popular Aluminum Frame
Aluminum frames are robust and immensely popular. They may be one of the best frames for rainy and humid climates because they fulfill tight coastal construction requirements in hurricane-prone locations. An aluminum window’s tensile strength (the most significant stress it can withstand before failing) is approximately 8 times that of a vinyl frame and comparable to that of a fiberglass frame.
Because they are susceptible to condensation, the finish has a 10-15 year lifespan before corrosion sets in and the finish begins to erode. We do not recommend uncoated window frames due to the lack of durability in the finish of an aluminum frame. As with any other aluminum product, continuous exposure to moisture and salt causes the finish to deteriorate over time.
Corrosion of aluminum-coated items is expected after 10-12 years. To get around this dilemma, you can request a marine-grade powder coating that will extend the life of your frames for decades. However, this corrosion will not cause a structural issue but will influence the product’s appearance.
Regarding aluminum windows, there are only a few nitpicky details to remember. Although many colors are available, you cannot paint over coated aluminum effectively. Also, remember that repairing aluminum windows isn’t as easy as repairing timber windows. Aluminum windows are susceptible to scratches and dents from bumps, and you cannot paint over them. Thus, any damage or scratches should get restored by a specialist.
We recommend aluminum frames only when you marine powder-coat them for your coastal environment. These powder-coated frames are a fantastic product if you want to maintain them in peak shape. It offers an additional level of protection from the weather. It may last up to 35 years with little or no upkeep, and it helps minimize maintenance costs while improving seawater resistance.
The Best Alternative Fiberglass Frame
Fiberglass windows are uncommon compared to the more common materials of wood, vinyl, and aluminum. As a result, the general public still considers fiberglass windows a niche product. Fiberglass, on the other hand, is superior to other window materials in terms of strength, aesthetics, durability, and lifetime, according to industry standards.
To date, fiberglass frames have just recently entered the market, offering a sturdy, low-maintenance structure that is also energy efficient, making it ideal for coastal houses. However, compared to wood and vinyl products which are limited in their durability and strength, using fiberglass frames solves most of their limitations. For example, vinyl deteriorates with time, whereas fiberglass frames do not.
Because the finish coating gets built into fiberglass, it is more resistant to fading in the sun. The fiberglass frame’s inside is typically made of wood, which means it may be painted to fit any decor. In addition, it is possible to give fiberglass the appearance and feel of actual wood by texturing it. Unlike wood, insects don’t infest fiberglass, nor does it rot or decay.
The powder-coat coating applied to fiberglass windows is very difficult to damage. Using heat and pressure during the bonding process results in a long-lasting finish that requires no maintenance. Even though new fiberglass windows do not require painting, the finish can be reapplied if the homeowner chooses to go in a different direction visually. They can absorb paint in the same way as genuine wood does.
Unfortunately, fiberglass windows can be up to a hundred percent more expensive than insulated vinyl windows. If your budget permits, this is our preferred option.
Choosing The Best Glazing And Glass For Your Ocean Front
How the glass is affixed or attached to the window is called glazing. In other words, glazing is what holds the glass in the sash when it gets installed. Once you have decided on the frame type and window style, it is time to choose the right kind of glass next. Of course, the window frames are essential, but what’s inside the frame counts, especially regarding energy efficiency and visibility.
The variety of window glass options has grown significantly due to recent technological developments. In addition to deciding on the number of panes, you must also decide on the spacing between them. An inert gas (typically argon) is generally pumped between the panes to provide better insulation than air alone. The greater insulation given by the window is due to the spacing between the panes of glass rather than the number of panes of glass.
There’s no denying that seashore breezes can be rather powerful. As a result, the glass gets subjected to a force known as wind load, which the glass must resist. Early in the design process, it’s critical to consider this. When determining the best locations for your windows, your architect should consider the structure’s form and the area’s average wind speed.
Insist on an 80-micron thick marine quality paint or powder coating instead of the industry typical 60-micron thickness. This coating will increase the structure’s resistance to salt buildup.
Choose Low-E glass is glass with a skinny, invisible coating substance on the glass’s surface that minimizes the amount of heat that may pass through the glass. This type of glass is ideal when you have a lot of sun shining directly through your windows.
When struck, a glass that resists shattering is known as Impact Resistant Glass (IRG). It’s a testament to the durability of impact-resistant glass that it holds up so well in harsh weather. So a stray beach volleyball or frisbee won’t cause a huge mess if it connects with your windows. We recommend that homes near the seaside must have impact-rated window apertures.
In this regard, you have two choices: One option is installing windows with impact-rated glass, and the other is installing DP-50 windows without impact glass and then adding storm protection. It’s best to go with impact-resistant glass because the cost savings from non-impact glass get offset by the other systems you’ll need to protect it. In addition, installing plywood panels and shuttering up in preparation for a storm is not necessary if you go for impact glass.
If the glass is bulkier and the hardware is of more outstanding quality, the window’s DP rating will rise. A DP50 window, for example, can withstand winds of 170 mph.
With the right mix of impact-resistant glass and the style of window you want, your oceanfront home will give you the dream view of the ocean. Look for the best frame material and the most robust glass, and don’t forget to consider how the type of window you choose will look in your home.
When thinking about replacing your windows or putting new ones in a newly built home, it’s essential to know the pros and cons of each type of window frame material. For example, fiberglass windows aren’t as common as windows made from wood, vinyl, or aluminum. But compared to wood and vinyl products, which don’t last as long and aren’t as strong, frames made of fiberglass solve most of their problems.