When it comes to home improvement, you might tend to mentally categorize projects with labels like Practical, Aesthetic, Long-Term Value, Resale, and more… “Practical” projects, for example, might include essential repairs, while “Aesthetic” updates involve ultimately unnecessary (but immensely satisfying) tweaks to the appearance and curb appeal of your home.
Every now and then, however, a project comes along that can neatly slip into every one of those categories. It’s practical, adds long-term value, creates aesthetic appeal, and is a satisfying, worthwhile upgrade.
When Should You Upgrade Your Windows?
From shingles to bathtubs to kitchen sinks, the materials available for your home today are becoming better and more advanced than ever before. Windows are certainly no exception.
If your windows are older than 15 years, or you’re experiencing larger utility bills than seem right or normal, a replacement is likely worthwhile. And, if you have wooden windows that are warped or painted shut, it is certainly time for an upgrade. You and your home will appreciate the change!
Why Upgrade Your Windows?
Here are a few key reasons to keep in mind:
- You’ll enjoy a drastic improvement in efficiency.
- Increased resale value – you can often recoup 80% of the installation cost when you sell your home. That, combined with the money you save each month on utilities, makes it a homerun.
- There are options that will perfectly match even historic homes; don’t be afraid of ruining a classic style or injecting an unauthentic element into your older property.
- Newer windows are easier to clean and maintain.
- They look phenomenal! New windows add tremendous curb appeal and “wow factor.”
Which Window Material Should You Choose?
This is an important question to ask, especially since windows are a good-sized investment, and one you will be living with for quite a while. It’s worth making sure you capitalize on the opportunity to switch to a material that will work for you and your home.
As much as we wish we could hand you a specific answer to this tough question, your answer is going to be different than someone else’s. Much is dependent on your own specific home, goals, and budget. To help you in the process, however, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of a few of the most popular window options.
Pros and Cons of Vinyl Windows
Vinyl has exploded in popularity over the last couple of decades, and recent advances in their quality have made them a viable option.
- If they are Energy Star rated, you can expect a nice, tight, efficient window
- Low maintenance
- Very budget-friendly
- Installation is often quite simple (for a reputable professional)
- These complaints are not heard as frequently as they once were, but issues with discoloration and sagging used to be fairly common
- Lots of variation in quality – take the time to talk with your home improvement professional and research the manufacturer you are considering
- Not a lot of style variation to choose from
Pros and Cons of Wood Windows
- The classic look and style that authentic wood offers
- Wood may be associated with older homes, but it is still an extremely efficient material that insulates effectively
- Installation is quite simple for a professional
- With the right care, a wood window frame will last a lifetime (and beyond)
- The need for painting and ongoing TLC
- Vulnerability to insects and pests (again, properly protecting with paint is essential)
- The number of options can be overwhelming
- Wood is also susceptible to warping if exposed to high amounts of moisture (this is most often an issue for coastal properties)
- Wood frames typically have a higher return on investment, but they do also cost more out of pocket
Pros and Cons of Aluminum Windows
Photo by AgnosticPreachersKid, from Wikimedia Commons
- Light and strong
- Extremely low maintenance and durable
- Advances in quality have made today’s options much more viable than those of recent decades
- There a lot of color options on the market
- Quality can vary substantially – do your homework!
- Not the most energy-efficient option unless they are equipped with a “thermal break”
Even though replacing windows certainly is a financial investment, the returns more than balance the scale. The next step is to find a local, trustworthy professional to help guide you through your options and install the very best for you and your house.