Window Replacement Buying Guide

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When it comes time to replace your old windows, don’t choose just any replacements. Choosing energy-efficient models, such as fiberglass windows from a reputable manufacturer like Beechworth, can pay off tremendously. Not only will they look nice on your home, but they will help you save on utilities and repairs.

Don’t undermine the importance of windows when it comes to designing your home. Whether a home is old or brand new, windows have a great impact on both the interior and the exterior of a home. Replacing and upgrading windows is a project area that investing in the well-constructed products will matter. Sure, it may seem costly up front, but in the long run you will be grateful for the energy savings and continual improved aesthetic of your home. For example, high-performance glass windows are energy-efficient and help keep your home at a comfortable temperature, therefore reducing your heating and cooling bills.

Looking for window manufacturers that have an Energy Star label ensures that the product you are investing in is high-quality and coming from a top manufacturer. To earn this certification, windows must meet strict government-approved requirements to qualify. So, look for this telling label to make sure that you are getting the windows you deserve.

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is another important rating to pay attention to if you are shopping for windows. Like Energy Star, they are based on rigorous energy-efficient requirements; however they also measure a window’s ability to withstand extreme weather conditions. An NFRC-rated window is expected to perform through temperatures between -20°F to 180°F and in wind speeds up to 155 mph.

If you are in the market for new windows and the window shopping has you feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry! We have created a guide to help direct you. If you don’t know which window options are right for you and your home, check out our guide below on which style and material will work best for your home.

There are three key areas to consider when choosing new windows: material, design and the right selection for you.

Window Materials

Choosing the window frame material for your home does more than offer a polished look. It influences the thermal characteristics and the physical properties such as material thickness, weight and durability. Some of the most popular standard window frames options are:

Wood – Wood-framed windows are popular for their aesthetic value and are solid in a variety of shapes and sizes. If they are maintained well, they can have a long lifespan. For the energy-conscious homeowners: they are energy-efficient with a high R-value thermal resistance rating.

Wood clad – If the critical up-keep is too much maintenance with wood-frame windows, then wood clad frames are the best of both worlds. They are often made from vinyl or aluminum-clad wood, offering the appearance of real wood. You can keep the wood look inside while having improved weather resistance outside.

Fiberglass – Another option for the wood appearance with low maintenance is fiberglass.  Fiberglass window frames excel in extreme weather conditions. They never expand or contract in high heat or freezing cold. They are a beneficial choice for both performance and aesthetic appeal.

Aluminum – Aluminum windows are a less expensive option than wood and are lightweight, strong and durable. With aluminum you trade in the style of wood as well as their performance. Aluminum windows can be prone to mold growth from condensation.

Vinyl – Vinyl windows, on the other hand, are moisture-resistant. They are also a lower-cost option than wood. Although they cannot be painted, they are available in a large variety, so you don’t have to sacrifice style with these.

Composite – Composite window frames are made of a blend of plastic and organic materials, which results in a fairly strong and energy efficient window. With composite window frames you are able to achieve the specific look you are going for. Most often you can custom order these window frames, so style isn’t an issue.

Window Design

Now that you have a better idea on which material will suit your home best, you need to think about the design of the window. Different types of windows have different operating mechanisms. In other words: the way they open and close. Sashes or movable panels form a frame and hold the panes of glass.

Single-hung This window type features a single frame with two sashes where one of the sashes slides up and down.

Double-hung  Much like the single-hung version, this window type has two sashes and a single frame, but both sashes slide up and down.

Casement – This design is hinged like a door which means the window opens from the side. However, there are top-opening casements as well which use a cranking knob to open them.

Sliding – Sliding windows operate horizontally along an often plastic or metal track. They feature two sashes and one or both of them can be opened and closed.

Awning – This design opens outward from a top hinge and typically has one panel of glass. Awning windows usually appear in conjunction with another window style.

Hopper – A hopper style window is typically used for basement ventilation. They are bottom hinged and top-opening.

Clerestory – This design is made to admit the most natural light and is usually set in a series along the top portion of high walls.

Rotating – Rotating windows are popular for frame views because they feature all glass panels that pivot partially open from a central axis. They are designed to tilt on a horizontal or vertical axis.

Arched – Arched windows are also known as radius windows. They are usually fixed in place but do sometimes come in operable styles. The design features a square or rectangular body and a typically half circle top.

Bow – A bow window protrudes out from the wall at the exterior rather than sitting flush with the hose. It is composed of many same-sized glass panel windows.

Bay – Similar to the bow window, the bay window also protrudes from the wall, however it is made up of two angled side windows and a one large central window.

Yes, there are a lot of designs to choose from. But don’t be too overwhelmed, that’s good news! That means that whatever your need is or your style taste, there’s something out there for you and your dream home.

Now that you know more about materials and designs on the market, the final step is to complete your window shopping by making your window selections.

Selecting Your Windows

While the design of a window may be the most exciting part of shopping for windows, selecting one(s) that work for the architecture of your home is most important. You want to choose the size and proportion that makes sense with your home.

If you are successful, your home will look and feel symmetrical and balanced. Without taking the time to really plan, you may end up with a home that never quite feels and looks right.

It’s always a great idea to contact a professional when going into the market for new windows. This way, you have someone to consult on with questions, but also someone to help guide you to making decisions that keep with your home’s structure while still pleasing your style and your budget.

One thing that is great to remember is that a “standard window” doesn’t mean a “boring window.” After all, function is the key component to quality windows. Style comes next. When it comes to splurging, function of fashion is always the smarter way to go.

The last bit to consider when you are buying your new or replacement windows is to consult a professional. While going at it yourself is completely doable, working with a professional in the window business will always result in knowing the exact type you need and that it will fit into your home properly. Overall, hiring a reputable company to install your windows will help reduce the potential to need to fix them in the future.