After years of exposure to weather and wear, old drafty windows fail to insulate or operate properly. Replacing fogged, rotten, or cracked windows with new energy-efficient models improves your home’s appearance, comfort, and value. However, selecting the right new replacement windows involves evaluating types, materials, costs, and installation.
The options like vinyl, wood, fiberglass, double-hung, casement, and fixed panes seem endless. Doing homework on replacement window basics helps you make the perfect selection for your needs and budget. Read on for a guide to choosing ideal home replacement windows for maximum long-term quality and performance.
Consider Functionality And Home Style
Evaluate how new windows need to operate and match your home’s aesthetics. Do you prefer traditional wood double-hung windows or sleek modern casements? Frame material and opening style should fit your architecture.
Double-hung windows with two movable sashes allow versatile venting options, but casements provide unobstructed views. Go with efficient casements if maximizing light is your priority. Also, consider easy cleaning access for styles like sliders or awnings.
Add grids if desired to match existing window panes. Choose painted, stained, or laminated finishes to coordinate with your interior decor. Don’t default to basic white – select replacement windows accentuating your home’s style.
Compare Frame Materials
Wood, vinyl, aluminum, composite materials, and fiberglass comprise most replacement window frames, each with pros and cons. Light yet strong vinyl resists weathering but can discolor over time. Authentic wood offers charm but requires maintenance.
Fiberglass provides the aesthetics of wood minus the upkeep but comes at a higher cost. Composite blends like vinyl-wrapped wood mix durability and beauty. Consider how to frame materials to align with your priorities.
Talk to local window experts to learn which materials withstand your area’s conditions best. Evaluate options like vinyl-clad wood for the perfect hybrid of low maintenance and appealing aesthetics. Select durable, attractive frames suited for your climate and home style.
Assess Operating Mechanisms
New windows operate via sashes that slide horizontally or vertically on tracks. Consider functionality – do you prefer sliding windows, hinged casements, or the flexibility of double-hung sash windows?
Casements crank open, allowing full, unobstructed views and airflow. Double-hung windows move vertically for versatile venting options. Horizontal sliders can’t ventilate when it rains, making a tremendous fixed-picture window option.
Try out operating different window types in the store. Choose mechanisms matching your preferences and lifestyle.
Determine Optimal Glass Features
Energy efficiency and soundproofing rely primarily on your window glass selection. Look for double or triple-pane glass filled with argon or krypton gas to prevent heat transmission through the panes.
Tinted glass provides additional insulation from UV rays. Specialized coatings like Low-E further limit heat and glare. Laminated glass dampens outside noise penetration. Read up on glass upgrades boosting efficiency and comfort.
Take Accurate Window Measurements
Installers need exact measurements of existing windows when ordering replacements. Measure the width from the inside edge to the inside edge across each window’s top, middle, and bottom to get the narrowest width.
For height, measure inside the frame from top to bottom on the left, right, and center. Note smallest dimensions – new windows should be slightly smaller to ensure a perfect fit within existing frames after installation.
Ask About Installation Options
Windows can be installed one of three ways – full frame replacement, inserts, or pocket inserts. Full frame entails removing everything down to the studs and installing the new window into the uncovered opening.
Inserts involve a new window fitted directly into the existing frame. Pocket inserts add a new window inside the old frame, creating double panes. Consider noise, energy use, and other implications to select the correct installation method.
Get Multiple Professional Estimates
When getting estimates, provide the window measurements, frame material, and glass preferences. Be wary of quote variations beyond 15% for the exact specifications. Ask detailed questions about why window replacement costs differ.
Get at least three written estimates from reputable local installers. Compare warranties on windows and installation workmanship. Read online reviews and ask if you can see finished window replacement projects. Price alone shouldn’t guide your decision.
Beware extraordinarily cheap deals, which often result in shoddy, unusable windows. Prioritize quality materials and experienced installers to ensure satisfaction. Don’t automatically choose the lowest bid.