Ready to Replace Your Windows?
Windows play an essential role in any home, allowing vital natural light to enter your living space and offering appealing views to the outside world. But what if your windows are a source of concern? Should you replace them?
Depending quantity and quality, it can be an expensive upgrade. According to Angie’s List, replacement windows average $175 to $700 per window, plus installation fees. Custom windows are substantially more costly.
Reasons to Replace
Beyond improving your home’s appearance, several circumstances may warrant new windows, including:
Energy performance – If your windows don’t provide a tight seal against the outside environment, you’re paying a premium to heat or cool your home. The savings enjoyed by lower energy bills could more than offset the cost of replacing inefficient windows.
Maintenance – Over time, windows may develop water leaks that lead to rotting frames, sashes, or sills. Moisture may accumulate between the panes, or the glass may have cracks. These are good reasons to replace one or more windows.
Safety – Non-operational windows pose security concerns. Windows that won’t close completely could make your home more vulnerable to break-ins. On the flip side, windows that won’t open completely may prevent you from escaping during an emergency.
Window frames are made from many different materials. The most popular options include:
Vinyl – Typically, the most economical choice, well-constructed vinyl windows offer excellent energy efficiency. Color and size options, however, may be limited. While vinyl is maintenance-free, it may be vulnerable to sun-fading, especially in extreme weather conditions.
Wood - Today’s wood frames are usually clad in aluminum or vinyl on the exterior, eliminating any need to paint them. Wood is one of the most popular window options, although it may not be the best choice in rainy or humid climates.
Aluminum - Aluminum replacement windows have declined in popularity, but can still be found. They are maintenance-free and remain a good option in damp climates.
Composite – This type of frame uses various wood products mixed with polymer plastics. They mimic wood but may require less maintenance.
Fiberglass – Using a manufacturing process similar to composite windows, fiberglass frames are made from glass fibers and polyester resins. They’re more expensive than many other types of frames, but for good reasons—extreme energy efficiency, strength, and durability.
When researching your replacement windows, be sure to consider what’s inside the frame.
Single-pane windows are notoriously energy inefficient. If you have an older home with single pane glass, your windows are putting more strain on your heating and cooling systems.
Double-pane windows use two panes of glass with air, argon, or krypton gas placed between the sheets of glass. This “dead space” dramatically improves a window’s insulating properties by reducing heat transfer from the inside to the outside, and vice versa.
Triple-pane windows add a third sheet of glass. They cost significantly more than double-pane windows and are more energy-efficient, but the improvement in energy performance is not as substantial as upgrading from single- to double-pane glass. Triple-pane windows will, however, dramatically reduce outside noise.
Additionally, there are other glass-related decisions to evaluate, including the type of gas that is inserted between window panes as well as various coating options.
Whatever type of window you decide is the best for your home, be sure you find an installer with excellent reviews and references.
Replacing your windows is a significant financial investment, so be sure to perform your due diligence. It will go a long way toward ensuring you will be happy with the result.