Nothing provides your home with as much light and life as your windows. Windows play an enormous role in protecting your home while also making it a pleasant space. The right kind of window can provide your family with natural light while also protecting your assets, so when you are looking to replace your windows, it’s important to find the right ones.
We understand that replacement windows are a major invest for any homeowner, so knowing what to look for in a window is essential. Here are 5 factors to know before making the commitment on any replacement windows.
1. When to Repair vs. When to Replace
Knowing the difference between when it is time to repair your windows and when it is time to replace them can save you energy and money as a homeowner. Replacement windows are a big investment so repairing a window that can still be repaired can save you money. But on the opposite end of the spectrum, trying to repair a window that needs to be replaced can create a world of problems and ultimately damage your home in the long run.
Age is a major factor in determining whether to repair or replace. The newer the window, the more likely a repair is possible. The older the window, the more futile any repairs become. Another thing to look for is leaking. A major function of your windows is protecting your home from the outside world. If a window allows water into your home, it’s simply not doing its job and should be replaced. A window without leaks has a better chance of being repaired. Rotting and splitting in the frame is another key factor in determining replacement. If a window is rotted, it’s time to replace it.
Once you know it is time to replace your windows, learning the benefits a quality replacement window can provide will help determine what kind of replacement window your home needs. Some of the best benefits to look for are:
- Energy efficiency – One of the top places that heat escapes your home is through your windows. Finding replacement windows that are energy efficient will help to lower the amount of energy used, keeping your home the perfect temperature while also saving you money on eclectic bills.
- Look – Windows are not just for looking through. In all truth windows are seen both from inside of your home as well as from the exterior. Therefore, finding aesthetically pleasing windows will give your home a fresh interior and exterior look simultaneously.
- Durability – Your new window needs to last. After spending the money on replacement windows, you won’t want to turn around and purchase a new set of windows in two years. Look for a product that will last and protect your home.
- Warranty – No window is ever perfect, so finding one that comes with a quality warranty can save you a headache and give you peace-of-mind. You should also ensure that your contractor provides a warranty on labor and installation.
3. Window Terminology
Learning window terminology will help you determine which windows perform better and what factors are worth a little extra money. Here are some key terms to know:
- R Value – This term demonstrates a window’s energy efficiency and how well it resists heat flow. The higher the r value, the greater the energy efficiency.
- U Factor – Rather than heat resistance, the U factor measures the amount of heat lost by a window. The lower the U factor the better the window.
- Visible Transmittance – This term references the amount of light that passes through the windows. A higher visible transmittance means a window lets light pass through while helping to minimize damaging radiation.
- Spacer – This is the space between panes of glass in a double or triple pane window. The space is filled with a safe glass that prevents heat loss.
4. Glass Options
Choosing the right window for your home requires a knowledge of window glass. Not all glass is the same. Windows are designed with specific types of glass to provide a variety of benefits and a range of prices for home owners. While there are many forms of glass on the market, here are some of the most common forms:
Double pane windows differ from single pane in that double-pane windows have two glass panes divided by a spacer that adds insulation, preventing heat loss. A single pane merely has one sheet of glass with no added insulation.
Low-Emissivity Glass (Low-E) was designed to minimize the amount of radiation and ultraviolet light entering a home. While it can never fully keep out these elements, it does reflect a higher amount of these harmful elements.
Tempered Glass is actually toughened glass. Both thermal and chemical treatments create a form of safety glass. If this form of glass ever breaks, it will crumble into chunks rather than smash into sharp, jagged debris.
5. Frame Options
The market is filled with a plethora of frame options. Each frame has its own aesthetics and benefits. Keeping each of these in mind will help match a window with what your home needs.
Vinyl frames are extremely resistant to the elements. Vinyl can be designed to mimic wood framing, but remains water resistant and low maintenance.
Wood frames are typically more susceptible to the elements, but can last for years with proper sealing and attention. It is also hard to match the natural beauty of true wood frames.
Fiberglass frames typically contain air cavities that can be filled with insulation to help with energy efficiency. Fiberglass is extremely durable and aesthetically pleasing.
Aluminum frames do not insulate well. They require extra insulation between the frame and the glass. They are, however, extremely durable and virtually maintenance free.