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How to Select the Right Replacement Windows
for Your Home

See also: Decision Making

After considering the idea of making some repairs to your home’s windows, the decision is made to invest in new ones. Since you’ve never had to select new residential windows before, the task may seem a little intimidating. You can depend on a reputable contractor to offer plenty of support. It’s also possible to educate yourself on a few basics and determine what you want in the way of new windows.

Put the following tips to good use, choose the right window replacement company, and you’ll do fine.

Understand that a Higher Price Doesn’t Automatically Mean Superior Performance

One of the first things that must be done is ridding yourself of the idea that a higher price per window means that the quality is superior. There are a number of reasons why the price may be inflated, none of them having to do with the function and durability of those new windows. In fact, there may be very little to distinguish a higher-priced window from a similar one that happens to be less expensive.

While you may need to operate within the limits of a budget, decide up front that you will concern yourself more with the quality of the windows and consider the cost secondary. You;’ll be surprised how many options you still have, even if you do have to be mindful of the cost.

Standard Versus Custom Windows

You’re not sure what’s meant by standard versus custom windows. While there are other factors, the one that is likely to mean the most to you has to do with the window measurements.

Standards windows are available in sizes that are considered to be the most common. If your home was built in the last thirty years, the odds are high that all the windows are standard sizes. When that’s true, they will require little to no alterations during the installation process.

Custom windows are another matter. With older homes in particular, the windows may or may not be similar in size. Even two windows in the same room that appear to be the same may be off by several inches. If that’s the case, most or all of the replacement windows will have to be altered or even specially manufactured in order to work.

Before preparing a quote, the contractor will measure each window. The results will make it easier to ensure that whatever windows you choose are a perfect fit.

Consider Features but Only the Ones That You’ll Use

Windows come with many different features today. You don’t have to invest in windows that include all of them. A better approach is to focus on windows that include features you ill actually put to good use.

If you like the idea of tilt sashes that make it easier to clean the insides and outsides of the new windows, by all means opt for that feature. Homeowners who are not particularly interested in tilting sashes should not go for this option.

Why limit yourself to window features that you can envision using? Additional features typically mean an increase in the price per unit for each window. That’s fine if you will make use of the feature; if not, all you’re doing is wasting money.

Make Sure You Know the U-Factor

The U-factor tells you how well the windows protects you from the outside climate. Specifically, it measures the rate of heat transfer. An acceptable range would be somewhere between 0.25 and 1.25  Btu/h·ft²·°F.

How do you decide what’s the best U-factor? Something in the lower end of the range indicates that the window offers better insulation and therefore more protection from air seepage and drafts. A lower U-factor may cost a little more, but it will pay for itself in terms of lower energy consumption and greater comfort.

And the Energy Star Rating

The Energy Star rating indicates that the windows meet at least the minimum requirements set by the federal government. The scale uses a format of 1-100 ratings. A good rule of thumb is to remember that a higher rating means that the overall energy consumption needed to heat and cool the building is lower.

In other words, windows that have an Energy Star rating of 90 will do a better job of keeping energy costs lower than windows with a rating of 75. It’s up to you to determine the score range that you’re willing to accept.

Window Glass: Double or Triple Pane?

Contemporary window designs are outfitted with double or triple pane glass. This refers to the number of layers of glass used for each pane. Depending on the typical weather conditions in your area, one may be preferable to the other in terms of providing the right amount of protection from the elements.

For most homeowners who want new windows in Aurora, double pane glass will do nicely. You can go with triple pane glass, but it won’t provide a lot in the way of additional benefits. If you lived in an area with harsher weather conditions, the triple pane glass would likely be a better choice.

Choose the Materials Wisely

The fact that you have wooden windows now does not mean you have to buy new windows made with the same material. You owe it to yourself to find out how aluminum and vinyl windows compare to their wooden counterparts. What you’re likely to find is that something like vinyl windows compare favorably with wood and in some ways happens to be superior.
The contractor can help you explore the merits of each choice and this will make it easier to settle on the material that will serve you best.

Be Open to a Different Window Style

Just as you’re not locked in with using the same material, there’s no reason to assume you have to stick with the same window style. Feel free to explore other styles with the help of the contractor. A professional can often point out multiple styles that would work with your home’s design.

Remember that the goal is to select new windows that will provide excellent performance and last for a long time. Take your time, weigh all the options, and make sure your choice includes everything that you want. Doing so will ensure that you get the most benefit from those new windows in the years to come.

About the Author

Matt Reed lives in Toronto, Canada. He is a freelance writer and editor, tech geek, and stay at home father.