Choosing the Best Replacement Windows

Jan 11 2013

If you are like most people, you are concerned about your home's value, both now and in the future. Regardless of how well you maintain your home, you would probably agree that certain repairs are unavoidable. This is especially true regarding windows, as even the best quality units will eventually wear out and require replacement. It is never wise to procrastinate when the time has come to replace old drafty windows with new energy efficient models.

Fortunately, finding the most suitable replacement windows is not as difficult as you may think, and this task can be accomplished with minimum stress. Understanding how replacement windows are made will help you select the most suitable model. There are several options from which to choose, and you should comparison shop before making a final decision. Be sure to consider heating and cooling costs, as well as the windows curb appeal, and other decorative considerations.

Window Frame Options
replacement windowsWindow frames can be found in various materials, but the most common are vinyl, fiberglass, aluminum and wood. Hybrid frames are also available, which are a combination of two of the aforementioned components. The most common hybrid model is the vinyl-clad aluminum frame, which combines the strength and longevity of aluminum with the insulating properties of vinyl.

Fiberglass and aluminum are regarded as the most durable of the four options, and offer the best longevity. However, vinyl and wood are better insulators. The decision you make will depend on factors such as the climate in the area where you live, and how much abuse to which the windows will be subjected.

Style Considerations
Replacement windows can be found in numerous styles, but picture, casement, or double hung windows are most often used in residential dwellings. The casement style window is one of the oldest models in existence and has been around for over a century. These models swing out from the side, similar to the way a door opens. Fixed windows, also called picture windows, feature a solid state design and do not open to the outdoors, but this provides an unobstructed view of your property, hence their name. Double hung windows are arguably the most popular replacement windows, and you open them by lifting or lowering the bottom or top pane.

Choosing a Pane
Once you have selected a style and frame, it is time to choose the kind of pane you prefer. Replacement windows can be found with single, double or triple panes, which are typically made from low-e glass. Double and triple pane models often contain argon gas, which is a harmless insulating gas that can be placed between the panes for additional energy efficiency. Depending on where you live, triple pane windows may not be necessary. However, single pane windows are not recommended, as they offer little insulation. You may find, as most people do, that double pane windows are an ideal choice. However, you should choose the model that best suits your needs, regardless of the current trend.

You may have numerous objectives in mind when embarking upon home improvement and custom remodeling projects, but eliminating old, drafty windows in lieu of energy efficient units is an ideal place to start. Additionally, any project that adds value to your home is a worthwhile endeavor.

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