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Choose The Perfect Windows For Your Home

November 16, 2015

Are your windows old and falling apart?

Do you wish your house had great curb appeal?

Or do you want to reduce your heating and cooling cost?

If you considered replacing your home windows for these reasons then it’s time to replace them with a new or replacement window.

There are so many windows, windows styles, materials and features the available to buy that it makes it impossible to choose the right windows. We are going to explain the different types of windows and window styles so you can get a better idea of which one is the correct one for your home.

replacement windows type

Choose The Perfect Windows

Replacement windows or new windows

How do you know which one you need, a new or a replacement windows. Here are the difference between the two:

Buying new windows

The only time you need a new window is when you change out an old window and replace it with a different size or shape, for which you will need to replace the surrounding materials.  In this case you would hire a contractor to do the installation and the surrounding carpentry.  Even though new windows do not cost more than replacement windows, hiring contractors to do the additional work because you’re tearing out sheet rock, frame, siding and you need to paint and match the area you’re working on, the labor on that work adds to the overall price of the new windows. And the advantage of installing new windows is that you can change the look of your house.

Replacement windows

Installing replacement windows involves removing the old window without disturbing the surrounding trim or frame then replacing them with a window and sash that were custom-built to fit into the existing opening. Both windows cost the same but there’s less work to be done replacing a window then to install a new window which would bring the cost down.

If the frame is in good condition and the trim is still attractive and you do not want to change your decor, then replacement windows is your best option.  Some manufacturers may carry a window that fits your home perfectly but in most cases they have to custom make each window so they fit perfectly to perform to their specifications. This means that the window buying process will take longer, from the time they come and measure your windows to the time they finish installing it. This is the only disadvantage of buying a replacement windows.

Window types and styles

Let’s talk about the different types of windows and styles once you decided to buy new windows or replace your windows. Here’s are the most basic and popular types:

Single hung windows

Single hung windows are made with the bottom sash that slides upward and the top sash is permanently fixed.  There’s also a tilting option on single hung windows which makes it easy to clean the outside of the window.  But cleaning the exterior of the top face is quite difficult on a single hung window. Single hung windows cost less than of all the window styles because the top sash doesn’t need a balancing system. So the pros would be that is low cost and the cons would be that it’s low performance, and usually lacks the energy efficiency of other windows.

Double hung windows

On double hung windows both the top and the bottom sashes open, and if it’s a tilted option the sash tilt inward to enable easy cleaning of both the exterior faces of the bottom and the top sash. What makes them great is that they do not take up any interior or exterior space which makes them the perfect choice for small rooms, porches and patios room or when you do not want a window to get in the way. The pros would be they’re good for small rooms or areas and they have traditional styling which will match many old homes plus the easy to clean. The cons would be the type of material they’re made from which makes them difficult open or close.

Awning windows

These windows all hinged at the top and opens outward and the glass protects the window like an awning, to provide ventilation even on rainy days. Often used in basements because they let light and air in when they are installed high on the wall. Sometimes they’re placed next to a picture window to provide more ventilation. The pros would be that they are small and they can be installed in small areas to provide good ventilation. The cons would be that they’re difficult to clean.

Slider windows

Sliding windows have either one side that opens by sliding or both side open through sliding sashes. In some models you can lift up the sash and pull them out for easy cleaning. On the tilt and slide windows option, they both pivot and slide to allow for easy cleaning of both the interior and exterior surface from inside the house. The main disadvantage on this type of window would be that they’re prone to leakage and they’re difficult operating.

Window frame and materials

The material of window frame you choose has a significant bearing on the price, appearance and durability. The other major impact would be on the thermal characteristics of the windows. The windows UV factor is incorporated into the properties of the frame and the glazing. The frame properties has a significant influence on the performance of the windows because it takes up to 10 to 30% in area coverage of the window.

Let’s talk about the most often used materials on a window:

Wood Windows

Wood window frames are very well insulated but perform differently in different environments, they tend to swell in the summer weather and shrink in the winter weather. Up-keeping these windows is a primary concern because there is constant sealing, staining and painting if they were degrading. Wood windows are prone to rotting, and they get also weak structurally which makes them less durable.  Another version of a wood frame window and one that is built better is a wood clad window either made from vinyl or aluminum, they create a weather resistant surface. They require lower maintenance and retain their attractiveness longer then normal wood windows. But if they’re not sealed correctly between the two materials they will allow the wood to rot.

Aluminum Windows

Window frames are made from all aluminum are lightweight, strong and durable, making them relatively low in maintenance. But the biggest disadvantage of a window frame that is made of aluminum is it’s high thermal conduction.  Aluminum like all metals will conduct heat and cold which is not energy efficient.  Aluminum windows are not great insulators; so if energy efficiency is one of your primary concern these windows would not fit you’re needs.

Vinyl Windows

Vinyl frame windows are like vinyl fencing, in recent years they have become the most popular choice among homeowners. Vinyl window frames are made from a compound – a recipe that different manufacturers invent and so their performance can vary from one manufacturer to another. The main reason why vinyl windows have become so popular is that they are virtually maintenance free. They are also very affordable, looks great and provides excellent insulation.

There are a large variety of designs and windows types available to suit any style of homes, but what you choose in the functionality you need will decide the cost and performance of the windows.

Window glass options

Like the window frame themselves the window glass have many options to choose from.  Technology in the window industry has increased which makes the choice available for window glass more confusing or exciting depending on how you look at it. You can choose between single, double, triple, quadruple pane glass with your window even down to the distance between the panes. But the number of panes a window has does not dictate its efficiency, only the air between the panes does.  That’s because it’s filled with gas and depending on the gas used, the efficiency is varies.

Low-E Glass

Low E glass refers to the layer of material on the glass surface that is there to reduce the amount of heat that can flow through the glass, that process is assigned a number for its efficiency rating.

Impact resistant glass

This type of glass is strong and maybe able to be broken with enough force but it will not shatter which makes them great for environments where there are heavy storms or for someone who needs a security window.

That’s it, those are some of the most popular options for a window, window frame and glass. As a rule of thumb, quality windows costs more, you get what you pay for. You can always ask your window installation expert or the manufacturer of the windows you’re interested in about the options, they will be happy to explain in full details of the capabilities and performance of those windows.