Have you reached that point where you’re tired of obsessively checking the home energy use? You’ve exhausted all the stop-gap solutions and are ready to take the plunge and replace all the windows in your home.
Because drafty isn’t a good look.
But this isn’t something we do often, so most of us aren’t experts. Fortunately, you can brush up on everything you need to know about buying replacement windows in mere minutes.
You’ll learn everything you need to know right here in this guide.
Window Styles Maximize Curb Appeal
Today, most homeowners opt for the most energy-efficient window, but style can also be a major consideration. For example, if you own a mid-century colonial, you’re probably going to want to stick with double-hung windows. To an extent, your replacement windows should coordinate with the style of your home. And if you aren’t sure about style, simply stick with what you’ve got. Choose the same style of window that you already have installed.
Window Types Can Maximize Energy Savings
The type of window you choose can impact curb appeal, usability, and energy savings. So it’s a rather important decision.
You’re probably aware of the standard and bay windows, but did you know that there are actually window types to choose from.
But don’t worry, these are usually simple decisions. As we go through this list, you’ll quickly see which windows might be appropriate for which areas of your home.
These are your classic windows with fully operable upper and lower sashes. These windows can also have sashes that tilt inward to make it easier to clean.
The single-hung window is almost identical to the double-hung with one difference. The upper sash is fixed, so you can only raise and lower the lower sash.
These windows move horizontally instead of vertically. They’re popular choices for kitchens, bathrooms, and basements where there isn’t enough room for a standard double- or single-hung window.
You’ll usually find accent windows in small spaces like above a doorway or in an attic peak. Accent windows are typically decorative and fixed, meaning that they don’t open.
Glass block windows
Glass block windows are designed with break-resistant glass that provides some privacy, so you can’t see through them very well. This is a popular option for the laundry room or near a bath or shower.
You can add storm windows to single- or double-hung windows to add insulation and energy efficiency of the window.
Awning windows are designed to allow you to open the window without letting rain inside, so they have a sash that tilts out from the bottom.
Basement hopper windows
If you have a basement in your home, there’s a chance you have a basement hopper window. This is a small window that can tilt inward to increase airflow to the room. These are usually found very low to the ground on an exterior wall.
Projection and bay windows
These are windows that extend further from the home. Bow and bay windows are two types of projection windows. The bow window is similar to the bay window, but it doesn’t extend quite as far from the home.
The picture window is a fixed window that’s typically a large size and offers an unobstructed view of the outside.
Casement windows feature hinges and open outward.
This one is rather self-explanatory. Skylights are windows in your ceiling that allow you to see outside of the home.
Frame material translates to energy savings
You know this project will save you money on your energy bills, but how much money depends on a great deal on the type of window frame you choose.
In this section, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about window frame to make the best possible decision for your needs and budget.
Aluminum is a common choice for replacement windows because it’s an extremely economical choice, resistant to corrosion and require very little maintenance. One issue with energy efficiency is aluminum can conduct cold more than other window frame types.
Wood is another popular choice because it’s very attractive and doesn’t conduct act as a conductor for heat or cold. The challenge that wood provides is that it requires maintenance and is prone to rotting.
Clad wood windows provide all the same insulating properties of a wood frame, but the outside is clad with aluminum to prevent rotting.
Fiberglass is probably the best option in terms of insulation, but it comes at a greater cost than vinyl window frames. Fiberglass window frames can even be made to look like wood, and you can paint these frames in any color you’d like, and you don’t have to worry about molding or rotting. These frames are also more cost-effective than wood, so fiberglass is seeing a surge in popularity.
Vinyl windows are becoming the most common choice for replacement windows because they offer enhanced insulation and an attractive look while maintaining a low-maintenance profile.
Single or double pane?
We can’t discuss replacement windows without addressing the issue of single or double panes. This has a substantial effect on the window’s energy efficiency, so it’s a crucial choice.
In most cases, double-pane windows are going to be the best choice. You will spend a little extra upfront when compared to single-pane windows, but that expense will pay off in the extra savings on your energy bill.
The only time you might want to replace your windows with single panes is if you live in a completely temperate environment (which is extremely rare) or if you truly can’t scrape together the money for the upgrade and also can’t wait.
If your windows are obviously letting a draft in – especially if you live in an area with extreme temps – you will be better off replacing your windows with single-pane than not replacing them at all. But even still, if you’re at this crossroads, you may want to try a few stop-gap options to help buy you time. You can get a plastic window insulation kit from your local home improvement store to help you get through the harsh weather and save money for the double pane windows.
When you’re ready to replace the windows in your home, there are a few things you should know. Fortunately, this guide covers the basics. Now, all you need to do is find a window and door company you can trust.
You should be able to ask all the questions and feel comfortable with your purchase.
Remember, this is an investment, so the company you choose will make a major difference. For this purchase, you’ll want a company with more than 10 years in business that guarantees their work. This way, you can have some assurance that they’ll be around to honor that lifetime guarantee that was so appealing from the start.
Before you even set out, use this guide to help make some preliminary decisions. From here, a good salesperson should be able to guide you through the rest of the process, including measurements, budget, and timeline.