If you’re wondering what to look for when buying windows, consider everything windows do for your house. They provide natural light, outside views, insulation and security. The best windows for any home will provide all of these benefits while blocking out wind drafts and UV rays. A window must also be fully functional and easy to open and close properly with no physical strain on your part. Below we document some tips to help you in picking windows for your home.
Reasons to replace your windows
Most window and construction experts agree that homes with cheap, poorly-performing windows can almost always benefit from window replacement.
Beyond efficiency concerns, windows in poor condition can contribute to water leaks, humidity problems in the home and even pest infestations. Cracked window panes, non-operational windows and rotting frames, sashes or sills on wood windows are all good reasons to consider a replacement.
Windows that don’t open or shut completely or that are weak or loose because of improper maintenance or damage are good candidates for replacement. And if your home has windows that don’t open, consider replacing them with operable windows that can serve as exits in case of emergency.
Picking windows for your home
Many variables will affect your decision on what kind of windows to get. The following window buying guide covers five key factors you should consider before making that choice.
When it comes to choosing windows for your home, the first thing to determine is which frame material would best suit your needs. There are many factors to consider with each material, such as the appearance, durability and insulation qualities. Overall, you have four framing materials to choose from when you select a set of windows:
Ultimately, your choice in a frame material could depend on the age and design of your home. If you live in an older house with a classic architectural scheme, wood would probably be the most appropriate option. If your home was built within the past two decades, fibreglass or vinyl might be the more aesthetically suitable choices.
The next thing to look for when buying windows is the style. Different styles of windows provide varying degrees of natural light and ventilation. Overall, windows come in styles that slide either vertically or horizontally, or that tilt outward from the top, bottom or side. Typical options include:
- Single-hung windows
- Double-hung windows
- Sliding windows
- Casement windows
- Awning windows
- Hopper windows
- Bay windows
- Bow windows
- Fixed windows
The best windows for home use are designed to block the passage of air between the outside and a home’s interior. This way, your house remains more comfortable throughout the hot and cold seasons each year. When hot weather strikes, the right kind of windows will help block out heat and insulate coolness. When cold weather strikes, solid windows help seal in warmth and prevent the passage of outdoor coolness. Today’s energy-efficient windows are made with two panes of glass. Between the two panes, the window is treated with a transparent Low-E coating that protects the glass and helps block out unwanted temperatures.
Ease of use
Of the many things to look for when buying windows, one of the most important factors to consider is the ease of use. A window should open and close easily with no special physical exertion on your part. Over time, a window can become more difficult to open and close due to the expansion and contraction of the frames, which is caused by changes in seasonal temperature. Therefore, it is essential to have a window that is best equipped to resist these effects.
Many factors affect the cost of a new window. To anticipate how much you are likely to pay, consider the quality, type and size of the window you have in mind.
One factor that will somewhat determine the amount you are liable to pay for a new set of windows is the brand of the window. Some brands are known for their exceptionally high quality and therefore sell for higher prices than competing brands.
Another factor that will affect the cost of a window is the quality. If a window line has been tested for durability against a range of temperatures, impacts and water exposure, it is bound to be a more reliable product than a window that fares poorly in such tests.
The material used in a window will also affect its price. Generally, windows made with wooden frames are priced higher than their fibreglass and vinyl counterparts, which in turn cost more than most aluminium-framed windows.
Finally, the size will also help determine the price of a window, as larger windows require more glass and framing materials than their smaller counterparts.