You shouldn’t rush into the decision to buy replacement windows. You want to make the right decision given the high cost and literal impact of windows has on your quality of life. For example, new windows could reduce your electric bill or update the look of your home. Here are 4 things you should consider when buying new windows for your home. We’ll also explain why these factors are important and how they affect your life.
The Reasons Why You Want to Upgrade Your Windows
The reasons you want to replace your windows will determine the best type of window for your home. For example, aluminum windows have poor insulation. This can be partially offset by having dual glazed windows and low-e glass. Vinyl windows are the most popular choice because they’re cheap. They also insulate well and have smooth operations. Conversely, easy to open windows may not be something you want if you have young children and are shopping for a second story window. In these cases, it is worth paying extra for windows that lock, too, or can be opened without creating a safety hazard.
The only downside of vinyl windows is that they come in a limited number of colors like white and beige. Dark vinyl windows were on the market for a while, but they were withdrawn because they absorbed too much heat. No matter what color the vinyl windows came in, you can’t paint them. That’s one of the benefits of wood windows.
A side benefit of wood windows is that you can paint the new or retrofitted windows to help them blend in, and you can repaint the window sill or frame to make them stand out if that’s what you want. The downside of wood windows is that you have to repaint them periodically. However, that’s a plus if you like to change the color scheme of the outside of your home regularly or want to maintain the historic look of your home. On the flipside, wood windows aren’t very energy efficient, though this can be improved by selecting low-e glass and dual glazed windows.
Fiberglass windows were developed to be the best of all worlds. They offer great insulation, and come in a wide range of colors. If you don’t like the color, you can paint them. The only downside is that they are relatively expensive. Fiberglass windows and aluminum windows are a good choice if you are tired of repainting wood windows or sick of their deteriorating on exposure to the elements.
If you want to let more natural light in, you want a window with more visible transmittance. Choose windows with a higher value. If you’re tired of windows fogging up, then you want one that has lower air leakage ratings and greater condensation resistance.
It’s also important that you work with people who understand your local climate and offer the best solutions depend on your needs. For instance, if you live in San Diego, insulating your home against freezing windows is not a priority, but you might value energy efficiency and low maintenance.
If you’re looking for window companies in San Diego, a company like American Vision Windows could be a great option. They offer a wide selection of wood, wood clad, fiberglass and aluminum frames. They also offer glass windows in a variety of styles that protect your privacy, and you can combine this with features that protect against noise and the blazing summer sun. If you want to learn more about their services and what they can do for you, you can find them here.
The Type of Windows You Have Now
There is a difference between replacement windows and retro-fit windows. Replacement windows are those that replace any existing window. Replacing an existing window will involve cutting back several inches of stucco or siding around the house, removing the flashing paper and removing the old window. The new window is installed, and then the new flashing paper. Stucco or other patching is also put in place. The upside is that replacement windows can be the same size as the new window, and you can put in almost any type of window. The downside is that it is obvious that the work was done.
Retro-fit windows will go into your existing windows’ perimeter frame. The benefits of retrofitting include lower overall cost and the fact that it isn’t as obvious as replacement windows. However, retro-fitting is limited by the type of window you have. Retro-fit metal windows typically have an exterior flange that hides the old window frame. You’ll get a slightly smaller window, but no one else will know it. If you have a wood window, you’ll usually need to replace it with a new wood window. There are a few companies that offer aluminum wraps for existing wood sills, but the quality varies. However, you’re probably not going to get a good look if you retrofit wood windows with metal ones.
The glass used has roughly as much of an impact on the energy efficiency of the windows as the frame. If the goal is to maximize visibility while minimizing energy costs, you want low-e or low emissivity light. The low-e coating blocks ultraviolet light and heat while letting in most of the natural light. This type of window should be your first choice if you’re tired of carpets and pictures fading in your brightest rooms. If you pay a little more, you can get better performing low-e windows. You can also choose low-maintenance coatings for the window glass. This is sometimes called self-cleaning glass, but it only reduces how often you have to clean them and makes it easier to clean when you do so. You may have to opt for tempered glass just to comply with the building code.
Single pane windows are almost never used anymore. The two main choices people have are double pane and triple pane windows. Triple pane windows have far better energy efficiency than double pane, but they cost a lot more. Double pane windows are generally good enough. Some models put argon gas between the two panes to slightly improve their insulation value. A side benefit of double and triple pane windows is how they help insulate against sound. Note that you can choose windows that are specifically designed to minimize noise.
How You Want the Window Glass to Look
Most people are unaware of their options when it comes to window glass, but they may have seen the alternatives to the traditional flat square of glass. Divided lites are a decorative pattern in the window, where the lites divide the glass into small rectangles. True divided lites are seen in most wood windows. This is expensive and harder to clean, but it is authentic. Simulated divided lites use frame material to create the look of divided lites, but it is contained within a single piece of glass. One point in favor of this approach is that it can be done in dual glazed windows using shadow bars. This is more realistic than the use of internal grids. The benefit of internal grids is that they’re lower maintenance than the first two options. Also, you only have to clean a single piece of glass, and you can choose between flat or sculptured profiles.
The Product Quality and Warranty
When shopping for new windows, be careful when you’re offered a warranty. For example, a lifetime warranty may equal ten or twenty years, depending on the manufacturer. Note that dual glazed windows last fifteen to twenty years.
Many manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty, but what they actually do when you have problems varies widely. Some companies provide replacement parts but won’t pay to install it. On the other hand, some companies will cover the cost to repair accidental breakage of the windows.
Do your research regarding the company, too, since the warranty is only worth something if it is backed by a strong, reliable company. A company that goes out of business won’t be able to honor its warranty. A disreputable company won’t honor it, either. Be wary of firms that provide massive discounts, especially if you sign the contract right then.
Take the time to determine exactly what you want and need out of your new windows before you break out your wallet. This is a very important decision that will affect your energy needs and expenses, and the final value of your home, so don’t take this decision lightly.