Window Buying Guide

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Replacing your windows periodically offers a host of benefits to homeowners. Not only can they give your home a fresh new look and appeal, the benefits of new windows include it can go a long way in adding value to your home and reducing your energy costs.

The world of replacement windows has a lot to offer. There are various features and materials to consider when deciding on what kind of windows to buy. Each offers different benefits, so you’ll need to determine what your needs and preferences are and allow that to guide you as you make your decision.

In addition to researching the options on the market, you’ll need to enlist the services of a reputable company that specializes in home window replacement to ensure your windows are installed correctly.

Knowing when replacement windows are necessary for your home can be a little tricky, so we’ve put together a list of some common signs that let you know when it’s time to buy new windows.

Why Should I Install New Windows?

This is a question many homeowners ask themselves. Why spend money on new windows for your home if there aren’t any obvious signs of damage? While it may seem like an unnecessary venture, investing in new windows is a good idea for several reasons:

image of corner window design
  • Upgrading Your Home
    You may be amazed at how installing new windows can boost the appeal of your home. Not only in terms of adding value to your home, but new windows can give your home a facelift. With so many window styles to choose from, installing new windows may be an excellent way to spruce up your home’s exterior.
  • Lower Energy Costs
    The temperature of your home should be comfortable all year round. Keeping the home cool during the summer and warm during the winter is the goal for most homeowners. With temperatures varying drastically from season to season, having quality windows is critical. By replacing old windows that are letting outside air seep in and installing new ones that are high-efficiency windows, you can reduce your energy bills. You may be surprised at just how much you can actually save. Energy-efficient windows will keep cool air in during the summer and hot air out during the winter – keeping the air where it belongs.
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  • Durability & Low Maintenance
    Certain types of windows offer greater durability than others and tend to require very little maintenance and upkeep. Examples of these are modern PVC windows and mPVC windows. The secret behind their durability is the materials used. These windows don’t require sealing or painting. So, in essence, there is no maintenance needed after installation. The only things you will have to do to the windows on occasion is cleaning them and lubricating some of the movable parts.
  • Noise Reduction
    Another valuable feature many modern windows have is noise protection. This is hidden within the sealing of the window and it keeps out exterior noise by making it harder for it to transfer through the windows. This is good for people who live in areas where noise an issue or in neighbourhoods close to a highway or other external noise.
  • Greater Security
    Windows that do not function properly pose a danger to members of your household. For security reasons, you want to make sure that all your windows are operating correctly and don’t malfunction. Moreover, windows on the verge of falling apart can attract intruders. They can also be hazards in the case of a fire or other emergency.

Types of Window Installation

The two types of window replacement out there are the full-frame and retrofit installation. Homes that were built after 1970 tend to have windows that were installed using the full-frame option, whereas, homes built prior to this time have windows fit using retrofit installation. A window installation contractor can help you better understand the difference between the two, or help you determine which method was used on your home. They can also advise you on which of the two options is the best for your needs.

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  • Retrofit window installation
    When this type of insulation is performed, the existing window frame is left as is. Oftentimes, this is done either to maintain the aesthetics of the home or to preserve the integrity of the frame. While this is a cheaper option, it does not give you the full benefits of removing and replacing windows because you’d be a little limited in sealing options. Windows designed to reduce noise or keep outside air from entering the home rely on specific sealing materials and options that cannot be applied in this type of installation.
  • Full-frame installation
    With full-frame replacement windows, every part of the existing window is removed and replaced. This includes hardware, extensions, brick moulds, casings and more. While this tends to be a more expensive endeavour, it does allow you to rectify any of the issues that you had with your previous windows. This also allows you to take full advantage of all the benefits modern windows offer like saving energy and noise reduction.

How to Select the Right Window Material for Your Needs

A variety of materials can be used to make windows. The materials used are what usually determine the price of the window you choose. Some important factors to consider when choosing the right window material for your home is the weather, your budget, and what features you would like your windows to have.

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Awning Windows

These replacement windows have the appearance of a fixed window but actually open from the bottom using a crank mechanism. They can be left open despite the rain and are a perfect option for bathrooms and kitchens because they allow ventilation.

Bay Windows

These windows can be the combination of several window styles, most commonly fixed windows and casement windows. They are large, which makes them a favourite for many homeowners. Bay windows are also popular because their size makes a room appear bigger. One thing to note about these types of windows is that some bay models allow air and water to seep in because the window unit has parts that are screwed together. Now all bay windows are this way; others have a seamless frame, so it is important to know which kind you want for your home.

man carrying a window

Casement Windows

These windows are also known as crank windows because they have a crank mechanism similar to awning windows. They can be opened from either the left or the right side and extends to a 90-degree angle to allow for easy cleaning.

Double Hung Windows

If you need to save space and want durable windows that are energy-efficient, double-hung windows are a great choice for you. They slide up or down and work well in a room where the length of the window is greater than the width. They also allow for an AC unit to be placed securely in the window. This type of window is popular in older homes. A less complex window design is the single-hung window.

Double Sliding Windows

Another good option when a window is needed in a room but space is an issue is double sliding windows. They are often used as basement windows and are a good alternative to crank windows. However, when comparing the two, double sliding windows have a disadvantage in that they don’t have a tight seal like crank windows do.

What to Consider When Choosing Window Options

There are various cosmetic features that you can select from to suit your liking like colours, types of glass (which can affect how much privacy the window provides), and grilles.

Window Grilles

Window grilles are the decorative panels that divide the larger sheet of glass into smaller panes and are available in various colours and styles. They tend to be popular with homeowners that have traditional-style homes. Types of window grilles include contour, diamond pattern, partial covering and rectangular.

Replacement Window Quality

Another thing to keep in mind is quality. Many homeowners are concerned with the cost to replace windows. While it can be costly, skimping on quality and opting for the cheapest windows you can find is not a good idea. More than likely, you will end up spending more money in the long run because you’ll probably have to replace the windows sooner than expected due to damage, or they will allow outside air to seep into the house, increasing your energy costs.

Window Installation Price and Budget

If your budget is tight, you may choose to do some of the work yourself, depending on the type of replacement window. Part of this would be knowing what window material to choose and what window frame to install. With some research, you can learn how to install a vinyl window and successfully do it on your own.

Moreover, the cost to replace windows can be quite expensive, so you may want to get a window installation warranty for the work. This way, if something goes wrong with the installation or the job isn’t done well, your warranty will cover the cost of reinstallation.

Finding the Right Window Installation Contractor

When considering replacement windows, you’ll want to make sure you have a professional replace them for best results. While DIY projects are possible and can produce good results, a window installation contractor can help you make important decisions about the windows most suitable for your home. They can also guide your decision by informing you about trends in the market.

With so many window companies out there, make sure you take the time to research the best one for you. Word of mouth is an excellent way to find reputable contractors in your area. Ask around and find out who other homeowners have hired in the past. You can also check window installation contractors’ online reviews. Sites like Homestars can give you an idea of what to expect and which contractor to hire.

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