The Ultimate Guide in Choosing the Best Replacement Windows for Your Home
At some point, most homeowners will need to think about window replacement, which can seem like a daunting prospect. Homeowners need to be informed buyers to determine the need to purchase replacement windows soon or in the near future. There are several necessary steps to take and various options to consider when choosing replacement windows.
At Lakeside Renovation & Design, we understand this, and know that windows are a major design element of your home; they can completely transform it. We want to walk you through deciding to figure out whether replacement is right for you, and if it is, what you’ll want to consider as you start that process.
When is it Time to Replace Your Windows?
You love your St. Louis-area neighborhood, and you love your home. Whether you’re planning on moving eventually or know that you are in your “forever home,” you may find yourself wondering when to replace your windows, especially if your home isn’t brand-new. There are several signs that you should be on the lookout for; here are 8:
1. You feel a draft.
If you know that a window is properly closed, but you still feel outside air entering the room when you are near it, that means that there’s an insulation problem; it could be that you just need to recaulk the window or add a weatherstrip, but it might also mean that it’s time to replace the window.
2. You have an unexplained increase in your energy bill.
If your windows are allowing hot air to escape your home during the winter or cold air to escape during the summer, that is going to lead to higher energy bills, as your heating and cooling systems work overtime to keep your home hot or cold. Pay attention to a rise in your total energy costs; it may be because of your windows. There might be cracks in the frames or poor insulation. If you don’t have energy-efficient windows, you’ll want to consider replacing your current windows.
3. You have difficulty opening or closing them.
Windows that don’t close properly are a boon for intruders. Windows that don’t open properly pose emergency-escape risks. Whatever the reason that a window is difficult to open or close, that’s never something that you want to put off addressing.
4. You notice moisture between the window panes.
Water beads that are in between your window panes (not on the exterior side of the panes) are a sign that moisture has managed to breach the window seal. This means that mold and mildew can easily develop, posing numerous health risks.
5. You can hear outside noise.
Your windows should block out and dull most of the ambient noise around your home. If you’re suddenly hearing every car that goes down the street or every conversation that your neighbors are having while out in their yard, it’s possible that your windows are failing to do their job of properly insulating your home against outside sound.
While you might need to just recaulk the problem window, (weather-stripping can also help), if you’re still having a problem after attempting those fixes, you’ll want to replace your windows.
6. You have old windows.
Windows are meant to last a long time, but the technology has advanced a great deal in recent years. If you have windows that were installed prior to 1970, they are likely single-pane, which means that they do a poor job of insulating your home, and aren’t up to current building standards. Most windows today are double- or triple-pane glass and are energy-efficient.
7. Furniture, window treatments, and carpets have begun to fade:
Windows that are single-pane also let in a lot of the sun’s UV rays, which cause fading. In order to protect these fabrics from continuing to fade, you may want to consider replacing your windows.
8. Your windows are damaged.
The most obvious sign that you should replace your windows is damage to them: Chips, cracks, damaged sashes, and warped frames are all great reasons to replace your windows. Your home’s windows enhance (or detract from) your home’s curb appeal. Replacing your windows will give you peace of mind and will also help make your home look its best.
What are the Benefits of Replacing Your Windows?
Maybe you’ve noticed that your energy bills have increased, and you think it might be because of your windows, but they’ve only gone up a manageable amount. Maybe you don’t mind hearing outside noise, or the draftiest room in your home is one that you don’t spend a lot of time in.
You may be wondering why you should replace your windows, whether they are worth the planning, time, and expense. We want to go over some of the benefits to replacing windows to help you make a more informed decision if you aren’t quite sure whether your windows are ready to be replaced. Replacement windows will:
Make your home safer:
There are glass options that can make your home safer. Tempered glass, for example, is manufactured to break into small, granular chunks, rather than jagged shards when it is broken. This means if a window accidentally breaks, people will be less likely to sustain an injury. Laminated glass has a polymer interlayer that holds the glass together if it is shattered, which provides a measure of defense against intruders.
Increase your quality of life:
We mentioned that moisture between panes can lead to mildew and mold growth, both of which can have serious, long-lasting negative consequences on your health. Replacing your windows ensures that you won’t have to worry about moisture breaching the seals.
Be energy efficient:
We mentioned earlier that single-pane windows don’t provide great insulation; today’s windows are designed with offering superior insulation as a top priority; your heating and cooling bills won’t skyrocket when temperatures are extreme.
Offer noise reduction:
Insulation also means that your windows will keep neighborhood noise out and your home’s noise in. You won’t hear every single car that goes down the street, and you can turn up the speakers during family movie night without worrying that you’re going to disturb your neighbors.
Be easier to maintain:
Cleaning windows can be a pain. Today’s windows are easier to maintain; they are durable, and you can take advantage of features such as between-the-glass blinds, shades, or grilles. These features allow you to spend less time cleaning the windows and more time with your family. They also reduce the dust and other allergens that are in your home.
Enhance your home’s curb appeal:
New windows and windows that are easier to maintain look attractive. They’ll make your home’s curb appeal go up. Replacing windows also gives you the opportunity to choose a style or styles that best complement your home’s exterior and add an eye-catching element that will make your home stand out.
Increase your home’s value:
Enhanced curb appeal increases your home’s value, as do new, energy-efficient windows. If you are planning on selling your home soon, replacing the windows now means that you’ll get to enjoy them, and then you’ll end up recouping some of that cost when you sell your home for a higher value than you would have been able to list it if your old windows were still installed.
Do Windows Impact the Energy Efficiency of Your Home?
Unexplained increases in energy bills are a sign that you may need to replace your windows. Replacing your existing windows with energy efficient windows will help you keep your utility bills low and stable. Heat gain and heat loss through windows are responsible for 25–30% of residential heating and cooling energy use.
Did you know that the average American spends roughly $1,350 on their home’s electric bill each year? This translates to an average consumption of 10,764 kWh (kilowatt hours) annually. Cold or hot air that escapes your home in the summer or winter are kilowatt hours that you’re paying for, but not getting the full benefit of.
When choosing energy-efficient windows, you want to look for the ENERGY STAR® label. Windows that are labeled with the ENERGY-STAR designation typically meet or exceed energy code requirements, and you will save money on your energy bill if you install them in your home. You’ll also want to check out the ratings on the energy performance label from the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) to find the most efficient windows for your needs.
We’re going to talk more about different types of frames momentarily, but it’s important to know that different frame materials will impact the energy efficiency of your windows (along with the glass that you choose).
The energy efficiency of frames
- Vinyl is quite energy efficient, though most people steer away from it because they don’t like its appearance.
- Wood provides fantastic insulation, but requires upkeep, and can warp and sustain other damage in humid climates.
- Wood-clad frames give homeowners the look of wood at a lower cost. Often, people will choose frames with a vinyl exterior and a wood core for insulation purposes, but in humid climates, water damage is possible if the insulation is not tight.
- Aluminum frames are the most sturdy and can stand up to the elements and storms. Aluminum offers less insulation, however, and should be paired with a glass that offers better insulation properties.
- Fiberglass frames are sturdy and strong and have fantastic insulation properties.
The energy efficiency of glass
The climate in which you live dictates the kind of glass that you should have included in your windows. In a cold climate, you’ll want a gas-filled window with a Low-E coating. “Low-E” stands for “low-emissivity.”
The coating enables a window to reflect heat and redirect it back inside when it’s cold outside and to redirect it outside when it’s warmer out. In a warm climate, you should look for windows that have coatings to reduce heat gains from your window.
In a warmer area, you want to pay attention to the glass’ Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC), which measures the amount of solar radiation that the glass allows to pass through it. Obviously, in a warmer climate, you want to look for a glass with a low SHGC.
Other terms to know
- R-Value: This number is the measurement of how well a window resists heat flow, thanks to the gas that is used between the panes for insulation. A higher R-Value means that a window is more energy-efficient.
- U-Factor: This number is the measurement of heat-loss that a window experiences. The lower the number, the more energy-efficient the window is. A U-factor of .25 is great, but any U-factor below 0.4 denotes a desirable window.
What are the Best Materials Used for Window Frames?
There are benefits to the various possible window-frame materials that you can choose from when deciding to have your windows replaced:
People love wood’s natural beauty, which gives it its classic, timeless look. Wood windows can enhance any home and are available in a variety of styles to suit your tastes and your home’s design. Wood windows are also durable and are about 400 times better at insulating than steel windows and about 1,800 times better than vinyl! If they are properly sealed, they are also very easy to keep clean. These qualities combined also make wood windows very cost-effective.
We mentioned some of the benefits of fiberglass earlier. It is a strong, durable, and versatile material. It’s 8 times stronger than vinyl, and can handle heavier panes of glass. Fiberglass is easy to maintain and won’t warp, rot, corrode, or rust. It won’t break down thanks to contact with chemicals or pollution. It also won’t expand and contract as much as other materials because of its low-thermal-expansion properties. We said that replacement windows can do a better job of blocking out sound, and fiberglass is especially good at this. Because of fiberglass’s numerous benefits, installing fiberglass frames will also increase your home’s value.
While not everyone likes the appearance of vinyl, today’s vinyl minimizes peeling, cracking, warping, and fading, and is strong. It’s also easy to maintain and is energy efficient. The variety of colors and styles available means that you’re more likely to find a vinyl frame that you’ll like.
Because vinyl lasts longer than other materials, including wood and aluminum, it has a low environmental impact; it doesn’t end up in landfills quickly! Vinyl is also incredibly affordable, and, with all the benefits that it provides, it’s a fantastic choice for homeowners who might have a less-forgiving budget.
How to Choose the Best Window Style for Your Home?
As you think about replacing your windows, one of the biggest considerations is going to be which kind of windows you want to install. Are you going to choose windows that are similar to your current ones? Are you going to go with something completely different? If you’ve not had to replace windows recently, you may be curious about current window trends.
There are a variety of window styles to choose from; we want to explain the features of some of the most common types:
- Awning: Awning windows are hinged along the top and are opened upwards by turning a crank at the bottom of the window. They allow for unobstructed views of the outside. They can also be opened in certain kinds of weather (such as rain), because they allow airflow while keeping rain out. (This also means, however, that they need to be cleaned frequently).
- Casement: Casement windows also operate by using a crank, though are hinged along one side, rather than the top. They offer an incredibly tight seal when shut, preventing air leakage.
- Single-hung: Single-hung windows operate by sliding the bottom sash (the part of the window containing the glass) either up or down.
- Double-hung: As the name suggests, a double-hung window allows both the top and bottom sashes to be slid up or down so that you can open the window from either or both the top or bottom.
- Sliding: Sliding (or glider) windows operate by allowing the sash to be slid from side to side, rather than up and down.
- Bay or Bow: Bay windows are made up of three windows that are attached together side-by-side to create a curved shape, while bow windows are made up of four or more windows. These windows protrude outward from the exterior of the home. They allow a lot of light into a space and can make a room seem larger. Many homeowners will install window seats inside of them to provide extra seating or storage.
- Custom or Specialty: You can also choose custom windows in a variety of shapes, for example, half-moon or octagon, just to name two possibilities. Maybe you’d like a large picture window, allowing for a large, open, unobstructed view of your property. Custom windows give your home a unique architectural feature that no other homes in the neighborhood will have.
How Do Infinity from Marvin Replacement Windows Compare to Other Windows?
Leaders in technology and innovation
Infinity windows has long been a leader in advances in the window manufacturing and installation industry.
Infinity windows feature tempered glass, which provides unparalleled climate control. You won’t need to worry about condensation between the panes, and all of the problems that come with that, including the development of mold and mildew.
Infinity windows prevent air leakage so that you’re able to maintain the indoor temperature that you want all year long, keeping you and your family comfortable and your utility bills down. The glass repels solar heat while letting light in—up to 95% of the sun’s damaging UV rays are blocked.
Infinity windows feature frames made from a fiberglass material, Ultrex, which is light and very strong and durable. According to one study, these replacement windows can last up to 38% longer than vinyl frames. The combined benefits from the tempered glass and Ultrex frames mean that Infinity windows exceed ENERGY STAR® requirements.
Easy to clean
Infinity windows are also easy to clean; they open and tilt inward so that you don’t have to worry about sore muscles or the typical risks associated with cleaning windows above the first story of your home.
Why Choose Infinity from Marvin Certified Window Contractor?
It’s crucial to choose the right contractor to install your windows. The window installer is just as important as the window manufacturer, and in many cases they are different. If a window isn’t installed correctly, it will perform poorly and may not be covered by your windows’ warranty.
When installing Infinity windows, it’s important to hire the right window contractor—a qualified window contractor who is experienced in Infinity windows.
A great contractor will:
- Be factory-trained and certified in the installation of Infinity from Marvin windows
- Ensure that the work is done by employees (rather than a subcontractor) to the company’s high standards
- Make sure that window openings are measured perfectly
- Add special sealants to ensure an air- and water-tight seal so that your windows will be able to withstand weather events, and make the most of their energy-efficient properties
- Use polyurethane non-expansive insulation foam, rather than foam that expands and can stress the window frame over time
- Reinstall your old interior trim (if it is still useable) or install brand-new trim that completes the look of your new windows
- Notify you about any damage that is discovered during the installation process
The prospect of replacing your windows might seem daunting, but by knowing what to look for, you’ll notice a problem while it’s easier to manage. If your energy bills are increasing unexpectedly, if you are feeling drafts around your windows, hearing a lot of outdoor noise, or if your windows are getting harder to open or close, these could be signs that you should think about replacement windows.
The benefits of replacement windows are that they can rectify all of these problems (and others!), all while enhancing the beauty of your home and increasing its value, too. There are a variety of frame styles and windows to choose from, so you can take your time to make the selections that speak to your tastes and needs.
Infinity from Marvin windows are a fantastic choice with numerous benefits including energy-efficiency, attractiveness, and being easy to clean. A qualified Infinity windows contractor can ensure that your old windows are removed safely and that your new Infinity windows are installed properly, giving you peace of mind.
Schedule a free consultation with Lakeside Renovation & Design and get a free quote today
Recent Replacement Window Articles:
- How Lakeside’s Design Team Can Transform Your Home with Infinity Windows
- Why Do Infinity Fiberglass Windows Outperform Vinyl and Wood?
- Infinity Windows: Make a Statement with Bold, Black Windows
- How Infinity Window’s Internal Grids Make Spring Cleaning Simpler
- How Can Infinity Double-Hung Windows Transform Your Traditional Home?
- Is It Better to Reseal or Replace Your Windows?