Every room in the house has unique requirements when it comes to choosing the right replacement windows. Kitchens, in particular, need a good balance between form and function. Replacement window company Renewal by Andersen® of Eastern NY shares an in-depth look at the key design considerations when choosing replacement windows for your kitchen.
What to Consider When Choosing Kitchen Windows
The kitchen is considered as one of the most humid areas in the house, along with the bathroom and laundry area. Frequent cooking releases moisture, grease, and other particles into the air, which can cause damage and discoloration unless vented properly.
To achieve effective ventilation, there should be two openings in a room. One vents the warm and moist air, while the resulting pressure pulls fresh air through the other window. For large kitchens, a couple of casement windows can achieve this effectively, but other styles such as sliding and double-hung windows will work, as well. Opening two windows for about 15 minutes a day can dramatically improve kitchen air quality.
A range hood should not be considered as an alternative, but rather a part of the kitchen’s ventilation system. Having ventilation as a design requirement means fixed windows, such as picture windows, are not suitable for this purpose.
As a certified replacement window contractor, Renewal by Andersen is required to make sure that every installation conforms with both local and international building codes. One that you may already familiar with is windows as a means of egress, but this is only required for any type of room used for sleeping purposes. A minimum safe distance from the cooktop to the window may also apply. If you are not familiar with such building codes, working with a certified contractor like us can help ensure compliance.
The ideal kitchen lighting setup is a combination of natural light from the windows, ambient evening lighting, and focus lighting for tasks such as food preparation. Using windows as the primary source of lighting during the day—also known as daylighting—has several considerations of its own.
For example, south- and west-facing walls tend to get more sun and can bring the maximum amount of natural light. South windows allow softer light, compared to west ones, which tends to allow direct sunlight into the kitchen. Choose window styles with large glass areas, and have them installed on the wall that allows your preferred natural lighting type.
If you prefer lots of natural light but don’t care much for the solar heat it brings, make sure you check the energy performance labels. Look for windows that have low U-Factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) values, with high Visible Transmittance (VT) values. The first two measures how much heat passes through the windows, from ambient heat and solar heat. Visible Transmittance, on the other hand, measures the visible light that comes through. The higher the value, the better.
High Performance™ Low-E4® glass packages, featured in every Renewal by Andersen window replacement unit, makes these features possible thanks to its low emissivity coatings and an insulated double-pane assembly. This means you can enjoy the benefits of natural lighting in the kitchen without worrying about the heat and fading that comes with direct natural light.
Your kitchen may be adjacent to a busy area, such as a footpath or a patio. You will not want to have a casement window in there, as someone can bump into the open sash. Space-saving window styles such as sliding or double hung windows may be more suitable. This can be less of a concern if there’s shrubbery or other feature that puts a considerable distance between the exterior wall and the footpath.
A bay window can provide additional seating, which can be considered important if you have limited kitchen space. These projecting windows can be styled into a banquette that can be used as a breakfast nook. It can even replace your dinner table and let you reclaim precious kitchen floor space. Depending on how the bay window is built, the space under the seat can also be used for storage as an extension of your existing kitchen cabinets.
Renewal by Andersen replacement windows are available in several interior colors and finishes, including stainable pine, oak, and maple, as well as pre-finished white. These options give you more flexibility in choosing the right finish that matches your kitchen cabinets.
You may already have heard of the work triangle as a kitchen design consideration. The most-used area in the kitchen consists of three areas: the refrigerator, the sink, and the prep area. There are specific measurements that we won’t go into, but basically, any two points should be no more than two steps apart. In a busy kitchen, these steps can save time and make one more efficient. Operability is a fairly common kitchen window installation consideration for these areas, as one should be able to easily open and close a window when needed.
More homeowners are preferring to grow their own cooking herbs indoors instead of packaged ones at the grocery store. In addition to being convenient and economical, an herb garden at home guarantees a constant supply of fresh herbs within reach.
Garden windows are fixed custom windows that look similar to bay windows, except with more glass at the top. This window style is ideal for growing herbs that require lots of sunlight, such as basil and oregano. Garden windows are fixed windows, it won’t deprive the plants of needed moisture, which, as we discussed earlier, is abundant in kitchens. When choosing a spot for garden windows, don’t forget to factor in the aforementioned considerations regarding ventilation and location.
Lastly, while privacy isn’t as big a concern as curb-facing windows, kitchen windows nevertheless need to provide privacy when needed. Window treatments are the go-to solution; however, for situations that require constant privacy, frosted or textured glass is ideal. This is why we at Renewal by Andersen offer obscured glass options in addition to clear ones. With these design considerations, you should be able to come up with the right kitchen window designs.