Window replacements are a major investment that can cost you anywhere between $8,000 – $24,000 depending on which type of windows you choose. Whether you have worn out windows or simply wish to upgrade your existing ones to enhance the look of your home, you definitely need to pick the best ones that suit your home’s style and your preferences.
We’ll discuss the different types of windows and the other things to consider when replacing your old windows in this article.
Why Replace Old Windows with New Ones
When it comes to replacing old windows (and anything old in a home, in fact), nobody does better than Nicolet Curtis. Watch her TV show “Rehab Addict” to learn how she brings back life to old homes! Truth be told, windows are prone to a lot of wear and tear. It doesn’t matter how good the quality of your windows is, they would still need replacing in the near future. Replacing them will be your only option if you experience the following:
- Cranky hinges, mechanisms making them difficult to open and shut
- Rotting wood windows
- Hardware replacements aren’t available due to outdated window styles
- Broken glass or fogging double pane glass windows which need to be replaced
- Leaks that can no longer be addressed by placing silicon every time that drafts are always a problem
Repairing may be an option but still may cost you more over time. Buying new windows, on the other hand, maybe a bigger investment but with the advancement in window technology, the options seem to be overwhelming.
New windows (all types of windows) offer the following benefits:
- Improves the overall look of your home
- Increases its value
- Low maintenance and easier cleaning
- Energy efficiency resulting in savings of about 2-3%
- Fewer drafts
- Smoother operation
Types of Window Frames
Vinyl window frames
Vinyl is by far the most popular among all types of window frames with 67% of the market share. Combining both durability and low cost, vinyl is the usual choice for homeowners and builders. It’s made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) it is tough and impact resistant, with hollow chambers that serve as good insulators. Practically low maintenance does not have to be painted, does not fade or rot. Usually available only in white or tan.
Aluminum window frames
Aluminum is also an economical alternative that is also durable, lightweight, easy to handle, corrosion resistant and low maintenance. It comes in clear anodized or bronze anodized frames. A drawback is that aluminum is a poor insulator against heat and cold.
Wood window frames
Wood as compared to other options is more costly and not as durable because it is susceptible to rotting, insect manifestation, it also requires regular maintenance and painting. On the plus side, wood provides excellent insulation against heat and cold, also comes unfinished which allows more room for customization and choice of color. A favorite too of discriminating homeowners who prefer the beauty of natural wood.
Clad-wood window frames
Clad-wood, on the other hand, is wood with a durable, low-maintenance exterior jacket or cladding made of aluminum or vinyl that comes in different colors and is more expensive than wood alone. The wood framing prevents the transfer of heat and cold with the protection of cladding which is very effective in preventing the wood from rotting over time.
Fiberglass window frames
Fiberglass has been gaining popularity over recent years due to its durability and is maintenance-free. It’s quite expensive and is somewhat in the same price range as the high-end wood windows and double that of vinyl. It is stronger than vinyl and won’t crack, rot or warp and provides very good insulation. Usually available in dark colors, fiberglass can easily be repainted if you decide to do so later on.
Types of Window Glass
After selecting the window frames, the next step is to identify what glass you would like to be used for your home. Again there are several options for you to choose from such as the following:
Double-Pane or Triple Pane
Photo by Kozuch, from Wikimedia Commons
Double-Pane or Triple Pane are high thermal glass that is filled with gas usually air or argon gas that are placed in between two or three layers of glass and provides the following benefits:
- Great insulation which reduces heat loss
- Prevents condensation
- Energy efficient resulting in savings
- Prevents frost from forming at the bottom of the window
Low-Emissivity (Low-E) glass has a special coating that allows most of the light in while blocking the infrared portion and has the following benefits:
- Keeps interiors cooler on a hot day
- On a cold day, it can keep in interior heat prevents escaping through the glass
- Reduced the ultraviolet(UV) light from the sun entering the house which helps protect carpets and furniture from fading.
Insulated Windows are either single or double-paned that have one or several low-emittance coatings that:
- Energy Efficient
- Keeps house cool during summer and warm during winter
- Reduces noise from outside your home
Low-maintenance Coatings or “self-cleaning” glass which helps windows stay clean for longer and makes cleaning it easier.
Tinted Glass uses a glaze that will react to heat causing the glass to change in color. This absorbs the heat from the sun rather than reflect the energy into your home. The bronze and gray are popular tints for the glass. Your privacy, security, and safety are assured when using this.
Reflective Glass is usually used in very warm regions as it reduces solar radiation and helps minimize ultraviolet damage at home.
Impact-resistant Glass is popularly used in hurricane risk zones where glass could fall and shatter due to the strong impact. This type offers:
- More often these are used for exterior storefronts, stair railings, roof glazings balconies, and curtain walls
- This kind of glass is strong enough not to break up into sharp pieces but rather it remains intact when shattered. In the event that this breaks up, the tiny pieces are held into place by an inner layer
- Security against thieves
- Excellent UV protection
- Noise reduction
Different Window Styles
Having seen which materials there are in the market, you would now have to decide which style best suits your needs and your home. Once again there are several styles that you may choose from:
Double hung windows
Double hung windows open vertically where both sashes can slide either way. Screens can be installed outside the window frame.
Horizontal Sliding Windows
Horizontal Sliding Windows slide open horizontally and allows for good ventilation.
Louvre Windows have a series blades that tilt to be open manually using a handle, lever or remote control.
Skylights and Roof
Skylights and Roof are perfect for allowing much more sunlight into the house.
Bifold Windows are concertina style with two or more panels folding onto themselves. Retractable roll down flyscreens may be added.
Casement Windows are hinged at the sides and open outward, with screens on the inside and they offer some ventilation advantages in some situations.
Awning Windows are hinged from the top and opens outward and available in a variety of shapes and sizes and are good for wet weather.
Bay Windows offer a bigger window perfect for a coffee table or breakfast and makes a room look.
Finding a Contractor for Installation
Photo by pixnio
Since windows are a huge investment, labor costs will normally be almost equal to the cost of materials. You need to hire experts who have had extensive experience in window installation. Once you have given your home a facelift, expect that your home’s value will increase and it will take some 20 years or so before you go to another window project.
By this time, you may have already consulted an expert or contractor to get ideas for your Window Project and show them your choices. Check that all the materials you are ordering have warranties and that they are not damaged when delivered to your site.
Still don’t have a contractor to help you replace your old windows?
You can look for a professional in our directory of well-experienced and trusted contractors in your area. So, enjoy the view!