Having a window or a number of windows in your home upgraded or replaced can mean a bit of an investment. Most homeowners will simply want to get the replacement project out of the way, and usually want to spend as little as they can doing so. However, picking out replacement windows isn’t as simple as that. Consider this: Since windows have a typical life expectancy of 35 to 50 years, you’ll have to live with your choices – good or bad – for quite some time.
Choose the right window replacements, and you can improve your energy efficiency and reduce your household maintenance costs significantly, while keeping your family safe, secure, and comfortable. If you make a bad choice, you’ll be stuck with the consequences: high maintenance expenses, discomfort in your home, a lack of adequate security – and the list goes on.
There’s more to selecting a replacement window than you may have been aware of. Choosing the most suitable replacement window starts with a good understanding of what your home needs. This means carefully evaluating your various window options against your personal needs and preferences before picking out the ones that best match what you seek.
As a home improvement expert, I see people make the wrong window choices all the time, often because they don’t know any better. While by no means exhaustive, here’s a list of the top six things you should avoid doing when you’re considering a window replacement project:
1. Make cost a primary consideration.
The cheapest windows will perform as well as the more expensive ones, won’t they? No, they won’t. To avoid the potentially costly mistake of picking windows based solely price, thoroughly research specific brands and models being offered before settling on what can give you the best value for your money. Do stick with brand-name windows from manufacturers who have been, and are bound to remain, in business for many more years to come. This way, even if the company who installed your windows goes out of business, your warranty on parts and service will remain valid.
2. Fail to consider life-cycle costs.
Your initial costs are only part of what your windows will truly cost you. More important, and more likely to have a bigger impact on your pocket, are life-cycle costs. These include all costs associated with owning and operating the windows, such as maintenance, painting, cleaning and energy-efficiency.
3. Fail to Consider Other Replacement Types.
The temptation is always to simplify things and just replace existing windows with ones of the same type and style. However, by doing so, you’ll miss opportunities to reduce energy and maintenance costs that come with newer, updated window designs.
4. Overlook the Intangibles.
Personal comfort is one intangible, yet important aspect that is often overlooked when picking out new windows. Poorly chosen windows or the misplacement of windows can lead to more hot spots, drafts, glare and poor visibility in the home. You need to consider the tasks being performed and choose windows (and glazing, too) that are suitable for the activities that take place in the home.
5. Poor Scheduling
Window replacement is a disruptive process. There’s the dust and dirt occupants will have to deal with, and there’s the furniture and equipment that needs to be moved away from windows. The window opening you make is bound to open the home to the outside elements during the project’s duration. You need to schedule your project around weather conditions, as well as around the guidelines set by the window manufacturer. For instance, caulking in cold weather is a bad idea because it may not adhere properly to surfaces.
6. Fail to Hire Pro Installers.
If you don’t pay close attention to who will be installing your windows and what their level of expertise is, you could be selling yourself short. What a shame it would be for you to buy good windows only to have them installed wrong. Not only will your windows fail to work as they should, you could void manufacturer warranties by getting inexperienced installers to do the job.
There is no universal best replacement window. However, with a good understanding of your specific household needs, you can avoid most of the mistakes made in window replacement projects. A successful installation will not just improve your home’s energy use; it will also reduce maintenance expenses while providing a secure and comfortable living environment for your family.
Shaine Miller is in charge of Renewal by Andersen of Columbus marketing efforts, where she seeks to create awareness on proper home repair and maintenance among homeowners. Writing is one of her truest passions; she finds joy in sharing her thoughts and knowledge to her readers.