When you feel drafts blowing through the gaps around your windows, notice condensation inside the glass or see peeling paint, you should take them as serious signs that your home needs new windows.
Window replacement is among the top home improvement projects that can improve both your home’s form and function, making it an important investment. However, to pull off a successful and beneficial window replacement job, you need to carefully plan and decide on each little detail of the project.
One of the crucial things you need to decide on at the outset is the type of replacement windows to get. This may not be as easy as you may think, especially if you’re replacing windows for the first time. To make the perfect choice, you have to consider not just looks, but function, too.
In this article, I’ll share with you the top window types available on the market today. We’ll also go over some reminders to help you make wise, cost-efficient choices. Finally, I’ll leave you with some great tips for finding a window company that could provide you with the right kinds of products and services.
WIDE RANGE OF CHOICES: There are several types of windows to choose from, all of which can help improve your home’s look and performance.
Top Window Types to Choose From
There are several types of windows you can select from based on your preferences, whether according to form or type of operation each offers. Some window styles work particularly well in specific applications or with selected home architectural styles.
- Double Hung – The most common windows found in U.S. homes, double hung windows are characterized by two sashes that slide vertically open and shut. They work with almost any kind of architectural style as their appearance can be customized through grill patterns and variations in width and height.
- Casement – This type of window is hinged at the side and designed to swing out with a turn of a crank. Casement windows are perfect for hard-to-reach areas, such as above a kitchen sink. They are also ideal for installation on higher floors because they are easy to clean.
- Bow and Bay – These are types of windows protrude from the home’s exterior walls. Bow windows typically protrude out in a circular manner while bay windows are more linear and polygonal in form. Both can give any home an air of elegance and grandeur.
- Sliding/Gliding – These windows are designed to slide horizontally along a track. Great for contemporary homes because of their wide expanse of glass, they are also space-savers as they don’t require additional space for swinging in or out.
- Picture – Fixed in place with a considerable glass area which can extend from ceiling to floor, this is the most weathertight type of window. Great for framing a nice outdoor view, they’re also known to let in as much natural light as possible.
- Specialty – Specialty windows come in countless sizes, shapes and designs, and can easily be combined with other window designs.
Some Things to Remember
Aside from knowing which type of windows will look good on your home, there are also other considerations to keep in mind to ensure that your new windows score high in performance as well. Remember the following when shopping for replacement windows:
- Price doesn’t always dictate performance. Many homeowners tend to think that expensive equates with high quality while cheap products are necessarily of low quality. While this may in part be true, your choice should always depend on your needs. If you can find windows that are affordable, yet can offer great quality regardless, they could prove to be a good, even possibly be the best, choice.
- Your local climate needs to be considered. Before you buy windows, make sure they are made for your climate. One of the reasons why you should get your windows from local companies is that their products are guaranteed to meet specific climate-related requirements in your region.
- Energy efficiency values matter. When shopping for windows, make sure you look for the ENERGY STAR® label. Examine the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) label as well: does the product have ratings that are within the recommended range for your region?
- Some additional features may not be needed. Focus on features that add value and enhance the performance of the window, such as double-pane glass, argon gas fill and low-emissivity (low-e) coating. Other features, such as triple-glass panes, could prove to be an additional unnecessary expense.
Finding the Right Window Contractor or Company
New windows, no matter how excellently manufactured and carefully selected, will only be as good as their installation. And more often than not, looking for a window company should really come first as most reputable manufacturers entrust their products only to contractors they have trained and certified.
GO ONLINE: Check out online reviews and testimonials to get an idea about a window company’s performance and reputation.
To make sure you’re hiring a window company that will take care of your investment, follow these tips:
- Consult your chosen manufacturer. If you favor products from a particular manufacturer, check if they have certified window contractors in your area. Get a list, and then proceed to the next tips.
- Read online reviews and testimonials. Once you have a list of manufacturer-certified window companies in your locale, take the time to see what customers say about them.
- Seek recommendations. You may also ask neighbors who they used to have their windows replaced and see if they will recommend a particular window company.
- Request for proofs of legitimacy and certification. When you finally find a promising window contractor, call them for a consultation. Most reliable companies offer this service for free. Make sure to have them bring copies of their business permits and contractor licenses.
CONSULTATION MATTERS: Talking to a window company representative in person lets you learn more about their company and products.
- Ask for a list of work references. Aside from proof of legitimacy, ask for a list of previous customers as well. Call a few of them to ask about their experience working with the window company.
- Inquire about warranties. During the consultation, ask about the products and warranties they offer.
Topmost among your considerations are finding windows that can best complement your home’s style and meet your needs for energy efficiency and comfort, and locating a reliable and certified contractor. If all three are present, you can be sure to have new windows that will give you the best results in terms of aesthetics and performance.
About the Author
Kraig Mackett is the General Manager of Renewal by Andersen® of Northwest Ohio, the region’s exclusive certified source for energy-efficient Renewal by Andersen replacement windows and Andersen® patio doors. His company offers top-quality door and window replacement for homes in the Toledo, OH, area.