There’s nothing more satisfying than looking out the big, bright windows of your home. Well, except if your windows are nothing close to bright… If they look like their best times are behind them, it’s time to think about replacing your windows. Let’s help you get some spanking new windows for your home, shall we? Here are some of the factors you’ll want to consider.
Frame it Right
Your new windows will need to be framed in a material that suits both your budget and home’s architectural style — all while being energy efficient. Let’s take a look at your options:
– Wood: Wooden window frames offer the natural look that most homeowners prefer. You can choose to have them painted, varnished, or stained, depending on which style best suits your decor. The windows could last several generations with proper care. On the downside, well-built wooden frames tend to be pricey, and maintenance can be a little too demanding in some climates.
– Vinyl: It might not have the stately allure of a stained hardwood, but vinyl’s a solid window framing option. More so if you’re working on a tight budget; vinyl frames are cheaper, longer lasting, and don’t require as much maintenance. You could even leave them unpainted bare if you wanted to, but direct sunlight exposure might cause them to fade. Be sure to choose frames made of pure (as opposed to recycled) vinyl.
– Fiberglass: Fiberglass windows have become very popular in recent years, thanks to their superb energy efficiency. The frames are comprised of foam cores encased in a mesh of glass and resin fibers, a pairing that keeps heat loss down to a minimum. Fiberglass also has very good weather tolerance, and thus doesn’t need to be painted or coated — although, you can have your windows finished in a faux-wood skin. Just keep in mind that fiberglass is a rigid material that doesn’t tailor easily; installation will definitely be more expensive.
– Aluminum: This silvery-grey metal has excellent conductivity, which is about the last thing you want in your windows. Aluminum windows are notorious for causing massive heat losses in winter months, and corrosion might be a problem if you live near a saltwater body. Still, aluminum frames can support large expanses of glass without being too hefty themselves — a unique attribute that may come in handy in some locations of your home.
– Wood-Clad: This option is well-suited for homeowners who want the flexibility and energy efficiency of wood, but without the maintenance. Wood-clad windows have frames made of solid wood, with an aluminum jacket on top to keep off termites and the elements. They’re very good-looking and durable, but installation costs can be prohibitive.
– Composite: You might think of this as an attempt to leverage the benefits of wood, vinyl, metal, and fiberglass in the same window frame. If well-designed and crafted, composite windows will bring huge energy savings while requiring little-to-no maintenance. This, combined with their eco-friendliness, might be enough to offset the hefty upfront expense you’ll incur.
Choose the Right Glass
Like with frames, there’re various types of glasses you can choose for your windowpanes — each of which has unique attributes. A Glass Express glazier can help you to choose from any these:
– Float Glass: This is just a fancy term for an ordinary sheet of glass; a large panel formed by pouring molten glass into a flat mold. No one makes windowpanes with this grade of glass — well, not anymore. But it’s a starting point from which other options will be crafted.
– Laminated Glass: A laminated windowpane is made by pairing two or more sheets of float glass with resin layers in between. This gives it the ability to resist shattering under impact. Laminated panes are ideal for homes in hurricane- and tornado-prone locations.
– Tempered Glass: It’s also possible to strengthen a single sheet of glass through intricate heating/cooling techniques. Tempered glass is the result of one such process. It’s harder than normal glass but will break into tiny pieces under hard impact. Though rarely used in residential settings, tempered glass might be necessary if you have a floor-to-ceiling (or just any significantly large) window in your home.
– Low-E Glass: You want panes that offer just as good weatherproofing as they do impact resistance. Low emissivity glass has a special coating that blocks UV radiation from the sun, thus prolonging the lifespan of your furnishings. Be sure to install Low-e panes in areas that get a lot of direct sunlight, especially your south- and west-facing windows.
– Insulated Glass: The most thermally efficient windows on the market today have two or three layers of glass in their panes. The spaces between these panes are usually filled with insulating gasses like krypton or argon. This gives them a very high heat gain co-efficient, but at the cost of added heft and potentially expensive repairs if a pane breaks.
Other Important Factors to Consider:
– Budget: Good replacement windows needn’t be expensive but be sure to choose the best option available in your budget range.
– Installation: Along with the purchase price, you also want to consider how much it’ll cost to have your windows installed. Shop around for quotes if the seller doesn’t provide installation services.
– Warranty: Finally, you will want to choose a company that’ll promises to address any problems that may occur in the near future (2 years at the very least).