Selecting the right windows for your home can be overwhelming. With all the materials, styles, and features available these days, most homeowners wouldn’t know where to begin. Doing some research is crucial before you make a decision.
Choosing the Windows that Are Right for You
You shouldn’t buy just any windows for your home. Instead, take your time when shopping around for windows and choose the right ones for your specific home. Here are some useful guidelines that will help you settle on the best windows for your house.
1. New or Replacement Windows
One of the first decisions a homeowner must make is between new and replacement windows. New windows are usually installed when the homeowner wants to change the size or shape of the current window opening and put a completely new window in its place. This generally requires the work of a professional contractor to complete the installation and surrounding carpentry.
While new windows generally do not cost more than replacement, the additional labor involved adds to the overall price. With new windows, you have the option to completely change the appearance and feel of your home both inside and out.
Installing replacement windows involves removing the old windows without disturbing the surrounding trim or frame. A new window or sash is installed that’s designed to fit right into the existing opening. Replacement windows cost around the same as new windows, but there is less labor involved in the installation, so the overall cost is less.
Replacement windows are a great option when the existing frame is still in good condition or when the trim fits the décor of the home. The savings on labor costs are helpful when budget is a consideration. Depending on the manufacturer, replacement windows can be a stock size, or they can easily be custom ordered to fit any opening.
2. Window Frame Materials
There are a host of window materials that you can choose from when you’re shopping for replacement windows for your home. Your job is to find the window materials that will look and perform best in your home.
Walk through a window showroom or discuss it with your contractor to get a better feel for which window materials will work for your home. Some of the most popular window materials are:
- Vinyl frames do not peel, crack, or fade. It can’t be painted. Vinyl frames are the most common type of window frame. They are moisture-resistant and a good value. Vinyl frames also provide good insulation.
- Wood frames are good insulators and help regulate home temperature and prevent condensation. They can be stained and painted, which results in more maintenance required over time.
- Fiberglass frames are very stable and durable. They can also be filled with insulation to make them more energy efficient.
3. Window Styles
Once you know which window materials you want to use in your home, the next step will be to figure out which types of windows you would like to install. The design of your home and budget will help determine the best style for your home. There are many different types of windows on the market today.
- Single or Double Hung Windows: These are among the most common windows and are found in most homes. Single-hung windows have two sashes, including a bottom sash that can be moved up and down. The top sash is sealed so that air and water can’t work their way into a home.
Double-hung windows look just like single-hung windows, aside from one big exception: both sashes in double-hung windows slide up and down. They can be opened from the top or bottom. These windows are ideal for families with small children as they prevent the child from climbing out the bottom window. With double-hung windows you can:
- Improve the air circulation in your home
- Clean the inside and outside of your windows with ease
- Install a window air conditioner without a problem
- Casement Windows: These windows usually consist of one large sash that’s hinged vertically and opens by swinging out. Usually, a lever or other mechanism is used to open this style of window. They provide unobstructed views, are easy to clean, and provide good ventilation.
- Awning Windows: These windows are hinged at the top and opened by tilting the window out from the bottom. They are also known as crank windows. As their name suggests, awning windows create the appearance of an awning when open.
Awning windows open outward fully, which allows them to provide maximum ventilation and natural light. They work well in places where ventilation is required, such as in a bathroom or kitchen, and are also commonly used in a sitting room, where unobstructed views are desired. These windows are most popular in coastal areas.
- Slider Windows: These windows slide open from side to side and are an excellent choice when there is limited space outside to swing the window open. They offer a clean and elegant look and provide unobstructed views. They go well with large spaces.
- Custom Shaped Windows: These allow for special design options and more natural light to come into your home. These windows are great for hard to reach places such as staircases and top of existing doors.
- Bay Windows. These join three windows together to form one. They usually protrude from the house at a 30- to 40-degree angle. They offer more light, better views, and volume to a room.
- Picture Windows. These are large, fixed-pane windows. Its name describes it perfectly: it gives you a clear picture of your surroundings without obstructions. They are usually inoperable, with no ability to open or close. Therefore, they offer no ventilation but provide excellent energy efficiency.
- Transom Windows. These windows are located over a door’s or window’s transom, which is the beam that separates the top of the door or window from the rest of the wall. They are available in many different shapes and styles, but are always the same width as the window or door.
4. Window Glass
Recent advancements in technology have greatly expanded the choices available in window glass. Besides choosing between double-, triple- or even quadruple-pane glass; you also get to decide on the distance between the panes.
The number of panes of glass doesn’t increase the insulation factor of the window; rather it’s the air between the panes of glass that provides the additional insulation. Most manufacturers today use an inert gas such as argon between the panes that insulate better than air alone.
Low Emissivity (Low-E) Glass: Low-E glass refers to glass with a special thin layer of material on the surface of the glass which acts to reduce the amount of heat that can flow through the glass itself.
Impact-Resistant Glass: It may crack but will not shatter and spread glass shards all over the place. The beauty of impact resistant glass is that under extreme weather conditions it holds up beautifully.
Tempered glass: also called safety glass, is frequently used in windows. It breaks into small pieces when it’s shattered instead of large, dangerous shards.
Laminated glass is designed to stay together when it’s shattered.
5. Match windows to climate
If your home is exposed to high winds and cold temperatures, look for windows that are excellent at low-temperature wind resistance. Your location is a helpful guide in choosing the right windows for your home.
6. Don’t overspend on options
Upgrades can easily add 50 percent or more to the base cost of a window. Focus on features that add value. Low-E coatings improve efficiency, but triple glazing probably isn’t necessary unless you live in an extremely cold climate.
Get High Quality Windows Installed by a Certified Contractor
Regardless of the types, styles and other options you choose, if you don’t have the quality built into them, they won’t look good or perform well. Choose premier replacement windows from Pella or Simonton to get the best results.
Installing windows is a huge undertaking. Tackling the project yourself would require lots of time and cause mistakes that cost extra. Hiring an experienced contractor could save you lots of headaches.
You’ll also need to choose your installation contractor wisely. You can buy the most beautiful windows in the world for your dream home, but if you don’t have them installed correctly it’ll all be for naught.
Banner Construction is experienced with window installation. Our contractors are knowledgeable when it comes to window materials and styles. Contact us today to get started on your search for new windows.