Window Replacement Basics: The Search for a Better Window
Last Updated on March 23, 2022 by Kravelv
No matter how durable and reliable the windows originally installed in your home are, there will eventually come a time when they will get damaged and show signs that they need to be replaced. In this post, you’ll learn some important info and tips that will help you find the better–if not the best–replacement windows for your home.
When choosing windows, you will most probably consider aesthetics first–and you should. Your windows should match and complement your home’s architectural style and emphasize its good features. Additionally, windows can also serve as focal points, giving your home an interesting accent.
However, window style is more than just about looking beautiful. Your choice should also be based on what function you intend for your windows to fulfill, as well as where you are planning to install them. For instance, do you want more ventilation? Will you be installing the window in a high-traffic area? Your new window should take these into consideration.
LOOK AND FUNCTION. All window styles offer their own sets of advantages in terms of beauty and performance.
Common window styles include:
- Single and Double Hung. Both of these window styles have sashes placed vertically. However, the two differ in such a way that in a single hung window, only one of the sashes is operable, while both sashes can be opened in a double hung window to allow optimal airflow for ventilation. These windows work well with both classic and temporary home styles.
- Casement. These windows are hinged at the sides and usually swing outward. They easily open with just a turn of the handle, making them ideal for installation in hard-to-reach areas, such as over a kitchen sink. You can find casement windows with designs for both modern and traditional home styles.
- This type of window slides along a horizontal track. Because they typically have large glass panels, they provide great views and lighting. They are also great for contemporary homes.
- Bay and Bow. Both of these window types protrude outward. Bay windows have a polygonal shape and is usually composed of three panels: a fixed window in the center and operable windows at the sides. On the other hand, bow windows have a more curved appearance, made up of at least four windows. They generally look better in homes with classic styles such as Victorian and give maximum views and light, and even extra storage and seating spaces.
- Specialty and Custom. These are the perfect options if you have special window requirements in terms of design, size, and shape. As these types of windows can be customized, they can be made to match any home style. They can either be fixed or operable, so the possibilities are endless when it comes to ventilation, views, and natural lighting.
When buying new windows, carefully choosing the glass is very important. After all, it’s the biggest part of a window, with a unit’s performance in terms of insulation and overall energy-efficiency largely depending on it.
ENERGY-EFFICIENT GLASS. Carefully selecting a window glass so it meets region-based criteria will help keep indoor living spaces comfortable all year.
Ideally, look for window glass that has the following:
- Double-pane construction. In windows, two glass panes are better than one. It’s this double pane construction that gives windows the ability to offer better insulation.
- Argan gas fills. Compared to regular air, inert gases like argan stunt heat transfer better, boosting a window’s overall energy efficiency.
- Low emissivity coating. Low-E coating is a microscopically thin layer of metallic oxide that prevents harmful ultraviolet and infrared rays from passing through window glass. This helps keep passive heating at bay without compromising visibility and light transmittance.
- Impact-resistance coating. This type of coating makes a window glass resistant to impact and extreme weather conditions.
- ENERGY STAR label. The presence of this label means a window has passed stringent standards of energy efficiency.
- NFRC label. Ratings by the National Fenestration Rating Council detail a window’s particular capabilities. Aside from simply being a sign that a window has been properly assessed, an NFRC label is a way to determine if a window is the right choice depending on ratings specified for climate areas.
The Frame Material
HIGH-QUALITY FRAMING. The frame plays an integral role in the window’s energy efficiency. A durable and reliable frame also translates to a longer-lasting window.
Windows may be made mostly of glass, but the frame is also of equal importance. Aside from being responsible for a window’s form, the frame also plays an integral role in the window’s insulative ability and, consequently, its energy efficiency. A durable and reliable frame also translates to a longer-lasting window.
Today, homeowners have different window frame material options, allowing them to choose the best one for their needs and budget. Here are three popular options that can give you the best bang for your buck:
- Wood. Wooden windows offer classic appeal and warmth. The material may have been the traditional window material of choice for centuries but it remains a popular option among many homeowners today. Reinforced and enhanced wood windows are also available nowadays, offering the same beauty and efficiency with the added benefit of maintenance ease.
- This material is known for being very durable and easy to maintain. It also offers an aesthetic advantage as fiberglass is usually painted and finished to look like wood. Fiberglass windows are resistant to practically everything, including extreme heat and cold, and are also highly energy-efficient.
- While vinyl is widely known as the most budget-friendly frame material available on the market today, it also requires very minimal maintenance and can mimic the appearance of wood finishes while offering considerable strength and resistance to the elements. These make vinyl windows cost-effective as replacements.
The Manufacturer and Contractor
When you base your search on the reputation of a manufacturer, you can already rest assured that the windows you’re getting are of great quality. Not only that, you also get to enjoy comprehensive product warranties.
To make the most of quality windows, however, it would be best to work with a contractor certified by your chosen manufacturer to install their products. Aside from having the typical the qualities that one would look for, such as being licensed, permitted, experienced, insured, and bonded, certified contractors are specifically trained to handle and install the manufacturer’s window products, offering you an assurance of quality craftsmanship. Their training and certification also allows them to offer special warranties reserved by manufacturers for their contractors’ customers.
Indeed, there are a number of things that must be put into consideration when selecting replacement windows, and taking the time to learn about the basics gives you what you’ll need to find a better window for you and your home. Should you require assistance, don’t hesitate to give your local window expert a call.
Nelson Contracting LLC has worked hard to create a solid company with a foundation in trust, integrity and best business practices. We strive to provide you with the most satisfying experience possible as we exceed your expectations for your construction project.