Of the many home improvements that you could do to make your house a more attractive home, replacing your windows is one that will make a huge impact. Replacement windows offer an important benefit over new construction windows. Installing new construction windows involves new interior woodwork and repainting the surrounding wall. On the other hand, replacement windows are designed to fit into the existing space where the old windows are. Thus, this latter method is a much quicker and a less costly way of replacing windows.
Advantages to Replacing Old Windows in Your Home
First, replacing windows can help reduce outside noise inside your home, make it less drafty, and improve its overall visual appearance. Modern windows are also easier to clean than older ones, especially ones with bulky frames and screens.
Other important considerations when thinking of replacing windows and doors are the safety factors involved and the condition of the current ones in the home. If your windows presently pose safety concerns, such as not opening, shutting, or locking completely, it could be time to consider replacing them. Windows must often be used as emergency exits, so it’s critical that they operate effectively for this purpose.
Also, if windows are in poor physical condition, this can lead to risks of water leaks, insect infestations, and increased humidity in the home. In addition, replacing windows in a 2,000-square-foot, single-story home which currently has older, inefficient, windows can result in a reduction in energy usage by up to $465 a year.
What to Consider When Choosing Replacement Windows
At one time, all windows were pretty similar and choices were very limited. Frames were always made of thick wood and window panes were made of standard window-quality glass. There was little choice in what windows were made of or how they looked. Today, on the other hand, windows are made from a variety of materials giving you more options regarding what your windows look like and how they operate.
Certainly one of the first important things to carefully think about when deciding on your new windows is the basic design style. There are four common and time-tested basic window styles:
Single-Hung and Double-Hung Windows:
These are among the most prevalent windows found in all types of homes all over the nation. These windows open and shut by sliding the sashes (the frames that hold the actual grass in a window) up or down. Single-hung windows have a fixed upper sash and only the bottom one is free to slide. A double-hung window can open from either the bottom or the top.
Double-hung windows are especially beneficial in homes with small children, as they greatly reduce the danger of kids falling out of the open bottom sash of a single-hung window.
These are large windows that are hinged at the top and opened by pushing them out from the bottom. Awning windows get their name from the fact that, when opened, they look like an awning on a house. These windows are quite popular in coastal areas and are also good for use in bathrooms, where windows don’t need to open very widely.
These windows are opened by swinging their vertically hinged sashes outward, usually by use of a handle or lever, but also sometimes just by hand. These are often used in warmer climates, where you would want a lot of fresh air to enter the house.
This style of window has a sash that slides open from right-to-left (or left-to-right). They are especially useful when there is a limited amount of room outside to swing a window open.
Another crucial consideration is the material that the windows’ frames and sashes are made from. Quite popular materials today are vinyl, wood, and fiberglass. There are also variations including “wood clad” windows. Aluminum frame windows are not as popular, as they are much less energy efficient than the other three primary materials.
Vinyl windows have come to be among the most popular choices with homeowners these days. Though they are usually the least expensive, these windows can be very well constructed and, if properly installed, can provide good energy efficiency for a home.
Their tight framing and well-insulated panes greatly lower drafts. Vinyl windows can give a home a more modern look, but one disadvantage is that they often come with limited color choices. However, vinyl windows require very little maintenance, are very reasonably priced, and can spruce up the appearance of your house.
If having great insulation properties is important in your windows, wood is a good way to go. Wood is very attractive, natural, and is great at keeping out the heat and cold. Wood is, however, high maintenance. Wood must be periodically painted or stained, as well as treated to guard against moisture, insects, and rotting.
Many homeowners find wood windows to be beautiful and well worth the effort and a high-quality product will stand the test of time. Many original windows made of wood are still in great shape, even in older homes.
Fiberglass windows are the top choice if you want to get the most energy efficiency from your windows. Their frames are made from a mixture of glass fibers and polyester resins, like a wood-pulp-and-plastic combined material. Fiberglass windows are usually the highest priced of the three types we discuss here.
However, due to their very high insulation rating, they are great at keeping your home warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and dry year-round. In addition, they are physically the strongest and most durable windows available. They can be painted and resist twisting and warping much better than other types of windows.
Knowing how to carefully choose which windows to replace your current older, damaged, or unsightly ones are important to be sure that you are happy with your choice for years to come. Replacing windows is a notable investment, so carefully consider which type is best for you.