With so many styles and materials, choosing the right windows for your home can be overwhelming. But because windows are a big part of your home, it’s wise to take the time and do the research to find the ones that are right for you. Here is a guide on how to choose and buy windows for your home:
New or Replacement Windows?
If you want to change the shape or size of your current window, then you’re going to install a new window which requires the work of a contractor to complete the installation as it will some carpentry work.
If you don’t want to disturb the existing trim or frame, you can install replacement windows in place of the old windows. Replacement windows are ideal for when the existing frame is still in great condition. Replacement windows are designed to fit right into the existing opening, and while they cost the same as a new window, there’s no added labor such as carpentry or changing the size and shape of the opening involved in the installation.
Once you have decided between new and replacement windows, the next decision is the style or type of window you would like. The most basic and popular types are:
- Single or double hung
- Casement windows
- Slider windows
- Bay windows
- Garden Windows
Window Frame and Sash Materials
Once you’ve chosen the type of window, think about the materials the window will be made from. Here are the main variations you will choose from:
- Vinyl Clad
The material of the glass for your window is much more important than you think and can depend on how you feel about energy efficiency and value. The type of glass you choose could also provide UV protection and can help preserve the interior paint and textiles of your home while also keeping it cooler. There are also options such as Low-E glass that has an invisible layer of material that acts to reduce the amount of heat that can flow through the glass. And there’s even impact-resistant glass that does well under extreme weather conditions. Here’s a quick guide to choosing window glass:
- Single-pane – suitable only in very mild climates but considered outdated in most situations.
- Double-pane – available in several variations with improved insulation and have a sealed air space between the layers to reduce heat loss.
- Triple pane – ideal for cold climate and will provide a reasonable level of sound insulation which is good if you live on a busy street. Double and triple pane also less likely to have condensation issues as the interior window glass will be closer to room temperature.
Purchase and Installation
Before you buy your windows, be sure to measure your wall’s thickness by measuring the jamb width on an existing door or window. Once the old windows have been removed, measure the opening size and be sure to purchase a window unit that fits into the existing opening.
Today with energy costs continually soaring, I recommend a window that is energy star rated, foam filled, uses a spacer that is non-conductive and at minimum double pane glass.