There is a lot to think about when in the market for replacement windows. How much do they cost? How will they look with your home's exterior? What style is perfect?
The price of the windows and their appearance are certainly important considerations. But if you want to ensure your investment brings you maximum rewards, comfort, low maintenance, and energy efficiency are crucial factors to prioritize.
In this guide, we narrow down your search by listing features a perfect replacement window should have and the types if window frames to look for.
Read on to learn the features you need to consider when buying.
The best replacement windows are the ones that meet your needs. Use this checklist to help you determine what you need in a new window.
1. Meets local energy requirements
Find out if your area has any regulations regarding the minimum energy efficiency rating of the windows you replace. For example, in North Texas, most municipalities require your new windows to be ENERGY STAR certified↗. ENERGY STAR certified windows typically meet or exceed local requirements for R-value, U-factor and SHGC value.
2. Satisfies color needs
The best window should allow you to match your home's existing colors or choose different colors for the inside and outside of your house. This can help you change the exterior appearance of your home without having to paint it and give you additional design options inside.
Check for dual-color options or color matching capabilities. Also, ask whether custom colors are available and if you can find a woodgrain interior option.
3. Satisfies operational needs
Do you need your windows to open? This is an important distinction in a window since some windows are fixed and cannot be opened at all, while others are operable. Operable windows can either slide or crank in or out and are a great option for ventilating your home. Make sure your windows meet egress rules as needed.
4. Satisfies style needs
Your replacement window should complement the style of your home. For example, if your home has a traditional look, a slim frame might not be right for you. Or, if you prefer contemporary styling, a traditional frame might be out of place because of the wider border.
5. Has a manufacturer warranty
Warranty lets you know that the company is confident in the quality of its product. To make sure you're comparing apples to apples, look over the manufacturer's warranty for each product and as the contractors if they offer any warranties on the labor.
Does the warranty transfer from owner to owner if you sell your home? Is it limited or a lifetime? And what does it cover—is everything covered at no cost or only certain parts?
Energy-efficient windows offer several advantages to homeowners. In addition to saving on utility bills, they provide increased comfort, reduced condensation buildup, and less color fading of furnishings.
1. Good quality window frame
Windows with fusion-welded frames and sashes are strong with a durable design that helps resist air and water infiltration and structural stress.
2. Double pane windows with argon gas or better
Check for the insulating glass, which comprises two or more panes of glass separated by an insulating spacer and sealed to form a single unit. It helps reduce condensation and improve energy efficiency.
Also, check for the gas fill, a special argon gas type between the double pane. It provides superior insulating characteristics.
3. Low-E glass coating
This is a microscopically thin metallic coating on the window glass that blocks ultraviolet light and radiant heat from penetrating your home. Low-E coating doesn't restrict visible light.
4. Warm edge spacers
A window's edge spacer is a U-shaped metal strip used to space and seals the glass from the frame. A warm-edge spacer provides better insulation than a standard metal spacer because it reduces the amount of heat that escapes through the window.
5. Proper installation
A poorly installed window can easily leak air, which will reduce its overall efficiency and cause your HVAC system to work harder to compensate for the loss of heat. The right installation technique involves flashing, caulking and insulating around the window. Flashing involves using a watertight material around the window frame.
The frame is the foundation of the window. It holds everything together and can affect how long your windows and screens last. The frame can also impact the overall appearance of the window.
Know what type of window frames will work best for your home and what you are willing to spend on windows. Here are the types of window frame materials that you can choose from:
The best aluminum windows are made from metal extrusions and have a powder coated or anodized finish. These finishes protect the metal from developing rust or corrosion. If you choose an all aluminum window make sure it has a thermal break, although this is becoming standard they don't all have them yet.
Vinyl is relatively inexpensive, low maintenance and energy-efficient. Vinyl can be hollow or solid. Solid vinyl is more durable, but hollow vinyl allows customization by adding foam insulation filling. Vinyl extrusions are usually available in limited color options but they can be painted. Having your window factory painted is a better option than a DIY paint job, especially for the exterior of the window.
Wood offers a beautiful and classic look but it is expensive compared to other materials like vinyl or aluminum. Although, whole wood windows offer many beautiful advantages they also require more maintenance than windows made from vinyl or other composites.
Fiberglass window frames are stronger and more durable than vinyl, making them ideal for homes in extreme climates. They are also resistant to rot, rust, and corrosion, making them low-maintenance frame material. However, that low maintenance comes at a cost since fiberglass has a slightly higher price↗ tag.
Wood clad (cladding is available in aluminum, vinyl, and fiberglass)
Wood-clad windows have exterior cladding that protects the wood from damage caused by harsh weather conditions. The cladding material used can vary widely between manufacturers. Wood-clad windows are durable and allow the paint to be applied directly to the wood if you need custom colors.
When buying a replacement window, weigh the pros and cons of different window frame materials and panes in the market. The best option will depend on your budget, your home's exterior design and style, energy requirement and what you hope to achieve with your new windows. You can check all the available options at Brennan stores or talk to an expert for more insights.
We don't currently serve your area but do want to help you plan your project. Try our Build & Price tool to get an idea of window & door costs within DFW. Your area may be higher or lower but at least you'll have some idea of the price.
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