Now that the cold season is approaching unshakably, you might have been considering changing your windows. Damaged and run-down ones can pose not only security issues but can affect your overall comfort as well. Even really good quality windows need to be replaced sooner or later and if you’re worried about the cost, consider how much money you’re wasting on heating.
If you want to check if any draftiness is draining your wallet, grab a candle or a burning incense stick and slowly move it all around the frame. If the flame flickers or the smoke moves, cold air is sneaking in through there.
This will be an issue during summer as well if you’re using air conditioning. Even if the frames are doing quite ok, older windows are single-paned and don’t trap the heat inside as well as newer models.
Double-pane windows are also better at soundproofing your home, so if you happen to live in a noisy area, you might be buying yourself some valuable piece and quiet after a day’s hard work.
Whatever your reasons might be, there are some factors to consider when deciding to replace your home’s windows.
#1 How Much Money Are You Willing to Invest in New Windows?
It’s hard to estimate an overall cost as it depends on so many variables: how many you’ll need, what size, if there’s any damage around the frame, what kind of material you want the frame to be, if you want to replace them with single, double or triple-pane and so on. For example, wooden frames are a more traditional option but vinyl is a lot less expensive, and when it comes to a number of panes, the more the merrier but the cost will also increase.
The glass can also be enhanced with glazing and coating or gas fills that form a better barrier against heat transfer. The fancier you go, the more you’ll have to pay. The good news is that in the long run, replacing your worn-out windows will add value to your house.
#2 Window Styles and Aesthetics
Some people decide to change their windows for safety reasons and to improve energy efficiency, but there are those who simply want better-looking windows.
If you’re looking to upgrade the look and feel of your home, there are lots of very stylish options for you to pick from.
Double-hung windows are the most popular style among home-owners as they’re very versatile and can complement both modern and traditional looking residences. They’re also very functional and provide excellent ventilation.
Picture windows don’t open but can be used to add natural light to a room which improves not only the look of the space but the general mood of the people in it.
Casement windows are the ones that can be opened from the side. They tend to offer a slightly larger and unobstructed glass area than their double-hung counterparts but can’t fit an air conditioner and you need to make sure the opening is not obstructed. If you plan on installing a security grill, you’ll need to get one that cranks inwards.
Sliding windows combine the unobstructed view you get from the casement windows with the functionality of the double-hung version, as you can simply slide them open as the name suggests. They’re a very attractive choice for more modern homes.
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#3 Frame Material
While the type of glass and style of the window are important factors to consider, you obviously need to make sure you don’t overlook the frames.
The most widely-used materials right now are wood, vinyl, aluminum, and fiberglass. Let’s take them one by one.
Wood was the go-to material for centuries and many people still prefer this more traditional look and feel, despite the emergence of new synthetic alternatives. Wood can provide adequate insulation, looks very pleasing and gives homeowners the possibility of painting, staining and customizing it the way they see fit.
Unfortunately, it can be quite pricey and it’s not as resilient to the elements, being vulnerable to rot from water and cracks from sunlight/heat.
Vinyl frames are better suited to withstand the impact of harsh sunlight and have become a relatively durable and cost-effective choice. They can’t be painted like wooden ones but there are lots of colors and styles available. Vinyl frames are also good with regards to insulation and are very low maintenance.
Aluminum frames can be painted whatever color you’d like, they’re also not very expensive but unfortunately, they’re not as effective in terms of insulation. They’re quite popular in warmer climates although the metal conducts heat as well as cold.
Fiberglass frames began increasing in popularity around the year 2000 as they were originally developed to make up for the limitation of the vinyl ones. Fiberglass had long been used as a strong lightweight material for manufacturing surfboards, skis and canoes. The price range is still lower than that of wood but more expensive than PVC (vinyl).
#4 Who Is Going to Be Installing Your Windows?
What’s the point of spending all that money on fancy windows if you’re going to hire someone that does a sloppy job installing them?
To find a contractor you can start by asking neighbors, work colleagues or friends for recommendations, then you should probably do a little online research and read about how long they’ve been in business and what other customers have written about them.
Also, check if the employ their own installers or if they work through subcontractors and if they offer a warranty. Another possibility is to hire the same contractor that you made the purchase from and this way you can avoid any finger-pointing if you encounter any problems later. They can’t blame it on the quality if the windows if they’re the ones that sold them to you.
Moreover, an experienced installer should be able to tell you how long the job will take. Don’t let them take out all the windows first and install the new ones after, it’s better if they do it one by one, as you won’t enjoy living in a home with boarded up holes.