Is it time to look for replacement windows? Are your existing windows worn-out looking or causing your energy bills to rise?
When our homes’ windows get old and over time they may cost almost as much in extra energy expense as replacement windows would cost you. There are several warning signs to look out for, such as water-damaged or warped wood, feeling drafts even when your windows are closed, decreased noise insulation, and the colors in your nearby furniture and carpets beginning to fade.
If you are starting to notice these things, it might be time to think about installing new windows.
The issue could be that your windows are badly installed or in need of renovation, in which case a window professional (such as James Kate Construction) can advise you on the best course of action.
Before you begin the process of replacing your windows, however, first let’s look at some tips and best practices for doing so.
Things to Consider Before You Choose New Windows
New windows are an evolving technology. If you have an old house with windows which are 20 or more years old, it is likely you could make your house considerably more energy efficient by replacing them.
Windows have to deal with the elements and suffer from facing the hot sun, harsh winds and pounding rain, along with snow and ice. Eventually, your windows will start to suffer and problems will develop.
Whether you need to completely replace your windows or conduct a thorough refurbishment depends upon the degree of damage. If drafts and energy loss are the primary issues, you can try changing the weatherstripping around your windows. That should have a positive effect on the aforementioned issues.
If you believe your windows are damaged so much that they require replacing altogether, consider the fact that there may also be issues with leaks into the foundation or wall cavities. Getting professional advice is always a good idea when it comes to preventing even bigger problems from developing.
Before you decide to go ahead and buy new windows, ask yourself exactly what it is that you need. Do you need a total renovation or just a partial replacement?
Think of how new windows may affect the appearance of your home and its resale value. There are some truly beautiful window options which can enhance the way your property looks, but some will detract from the aesthetic of your home and detract from its value.
New windows are a big commitment, so get everything right the first time in order to prevent any costly mistakes. Think of the best design, the functionality of new windows and your budget.
What type of budget are you looking at?
There are a number of factors to consider before you can come up with a budget for your new windows. The quality, materials used, sizes and quantities of windows, brand names, etc. will all affect the price you pay. Price does, of course, depend on your location too – but you might be looking at between $600 up to $1,000 plus per window. There will also be an added charge for installation.
The best way to know your window budget is to get a few quotations from contractors or suppliers. Many window professionals will be happy to give a no-obligation quotation and you can use this process to screen potential people to carry out the work on your home.
What are your options when it comes to financing your window replacement?
A typical home will have around 10 or more windows spread throughout, and some considerably more. This means that a full replacement will end up being a costly process.
One way to finance your window renovation is by paying it off in instalments, which is usually an option and can help to make life a little easier by sidestepping hefty lump-sum payments.
What are your other options?
- Firstly, you can ask the window installer that you have settled on about finance options, as mentioned above. They may allow you to pay the total off over a few months, or have a long-term credit plan in operation. Check what your options are with your window company.
- Using credit cards may be another option. There are various credit cards which offer a zero-interest introductory rate. This can be an excellent way to get credit without incurring any additional fees for your window replacement project. Just make certain that you have the income in place to pay off your balance before the introductory ends, or you might be liable for paying the full interest rate.
- The last suggestion we have for you is using a home equity line of credit. Using this method, you use the equity you have built up for your home in order to loan money from your bank. They will often offer you a great interest rate and, if this is available to you, it can be a great and secure option for getting affordable finance.
All of these options are viable and can be incredibly helpful when it comes to cutting your immediate costs for window replacement.
6 Other General Tips to Consider When Buying Replacement Windows
There are many things to consider when you decide to undertake a window renovation project. See below for some more generalised tips about making sure you get the job done right.
Know the background of your installation contractor
You need to check that the contractor that you choose is properly licenced and bonded. They should also be properly insured and offer a warranty on their labour and any materials they provide.
You should ask plenty of questions. Ask them about any relevant permits and whether they follow the local regulations and codes. Ask for local references, and check online about their reputation.
The contractor may be spending a significant amount of time working in your house so make sure you trust in their competency and feel comfortable around them.
Understand the window installation process
You need to know exactly what is included when you have your new windows installed.
Cleaning up after installation can be expensive, so check that the removal of masonry and the old windows is included in your quotation.
Check what possible extras you may be liable for, and what happens if any issues such as water in the foundation or a wall crevice are found during installation.
Price should not be the only factor
It is a natural human instinct to want the lowest possible price. Cost is, indeed, an important factor, but you should see window replacement as an investment in your property rather than an expense with no return.
Simply, upgrading windows can have a dramatically disproportionate effect on the value of your property, so it is important to get it right and achieve an impressive effect. A contractor who offers you a cheap quote might not use good quality materials, may rush the work, and might not care that the replacement windows properly match the rest of your home.
A cheap job might end up costing more in the long-term through increased maintenance and energy bills. It might also adversely affect the sales price of your home.
How easy is window cleaning going to be?
This is an important consideration which is easily missed. You can make life easier by incorporating features such as tilt-in sash windows that can allow you to clean outside windows without using a ladder.
Consult your contractor to discuss your options about making after installation maintenance easier.
After-sale service and warranties are important
You need to know the fine details of any warranties. Are you liable for any part of the costs, how long do they last, does it include parts as well as labour, etc?
Once again ask plenty of questions and read the fine print before you sign any agreement. Ask how many times you can request service calls for free.
Look at energy efficient windows
Whatever the climate is in your neighborhood your windows can make a difference to your energy bills.
The US department of energy states that you can save somewhere between $126 to $465 per year by upgrading single pane windows on your property.
It is worth considering energy-efficient windows with double or triple panes, efficient seals, and insulated glass. Although they might cost more to buy and install, they can make some great savings in the long term.
These six tips are sometimes overlooked, but are all essential to help you make the right choices when installing your replacement windows.
What Are the Different Materials, Styles, and Types of Windows Available?
Making the right choices when replacing your windows is vital. The materials you choose matter as certain types of window frames can cause problems under certain conditions.
An example of this would be that aluminium frames sometimes have issues with condensation forming which can eventually lead to water leaking into the surrounding walls, which can be very expensive to fix.
Choosing the correct type and style of window is also essential so that it matches the rest of your house and will increase its attractiveness and overall value.
Another factor to consider is that the right type of replacement window can help increase security. Adding window locks, bars, etc. can help burglar-proof your home.
You can choose between vinyl, wood, steel, aluminum, glass block, or fiberglass. There are also windows available which feature a combination of these materials. Windows that provide better energy and weather protection tend to be more costly, but offer savings in the long-term in energy and maintenance.
Let’s look at some of the options available to you when replacing your windows.
These windows are made from an impact-resistant PVC and feature hollow insides which help with improving condensation and heat loss issues.
They are generally an excellent choice but you should be aware that cheaper models have issues with warping under extreme weather conditions which can lead to air leakage. They also cannot be pained and darker coloured PVC frames can fade in the long-term.
Wood is still the most popular material for window frames. The good part is that they can look stunningly beautiful and they do not conduct the cold or have condensation issues in the same way other options do.
Wood can, however, swell and drink due to harsh weather and it will fit over time if it is not sufficiently protected. They usually come unfinished so they can easily be painted to fit in with the surroundings of your home.
Cladded Wood Windows
Another popular option is a wood frame with a vinyl or aluminium cladding on the outside. These look attractive and help protect the frame, allowing for years of maintenance-free use. They’re a solid, practical and functional option when it comes to preserving your windows.
This option is durable and easier to handle and thinner than wood. They are a great option to reduce condensation and heat loss.
They have a nice finish which protects the aluminium from corroding, although this can be an issue in coastal areas in the long-term due to the salty, moist air.
Steel is a great option to help protect from harsh weather. It’s more durable than wood or aluminium but can be an expensive option.
Due to price considerations, steel windows are rarely used for homes, but if you have the budget, they will provide you with a long-lasting, attractive, and low-maintenance option.
Glass Block Windows
Glass block is an attractive choice which allows plenty of light to pass through and can be used in both exterior and interior walls. They offer no ventilation but can be installed in many designs and offer different levels of privacy whilst being resistant to moisture damage.
Types and Styles of Window
Next, you should consider the various types and styles of windows available. It is important that they match aesthetically with the rest of your house, bring in plenty of natural light, provide security, and that they provide the easiest possible maintenance and cleaning.
Below are some popular options.
These are side-mounted in hinges and hung singly or in pairs. They offer great ventilation and easy cleaning as they fully open.
Tilt-Turn and Double-Hung Windows
These have a classic appearance and offer excellent ventilation control. They can be adjusted for easy cleaning.
These might have one or more fixed panels in addition to other panels which can slide along the horizontal tracks which hold them in place. They have limited ventilation as only half can be opened at one time.
Horizontal sliders are space-saving as they don’t swing in or out, so no extra area needs to be allowed for.
Bay windows are a series of three windows with a centre window flanked by two others which return to the building at an angle.
They are great at letting in light and offering a better view than a standard window.
Jalouse or Louvered Windows
This option features several parallel panes of glass which open together. They allow for excellent ventilation, but they are drafty and not particularly energy-efficient.
There are so many choices to make when you decide to replace your windows. The internet can be a helpful tool to help you decide what are the best choices for your home, and discussing your options with a window professional is always a good choice.
Types of Glass to Consider
There are plenty of options to consider when it comes to window glass. The type of housing, window design and location can all factor into making the best choice.
- Single-paned glass is considered old-fashioned and is now only used in very mild climates or for outside buildings such as sheds or garages.
- Double-pane windows are now far more common and have reduced heat loss due to the sealed air space between the two layers of glass. They come in various types such as with an invisible coating of metal or featuring an insert gas to provide added insulation.
- If you live in an extremely cold climate you might wish to consider triple-pane windows. They are sealed with a mixture of gases and provide greater energy efficiency than double-pane.
Another advantage of double and triple pane glass is the excellent level of sound insulation they provide. This is an essential consideration if you live in a built-up area or on a busy street.
These types of windows also tend to have less issues with condensation.
Your glass salesman can recommend the best type of window for your situation.
Final Thoughts on Buying Replacement Windows
There will always come a time when your windows develop issues. Deciding on whether to renovate existing windows or buy replacements can be a difficult call to make. There are arguments in favor of both since refurbished wooden window frames can look stunningly beautiful but a more modern solution will probably be more energy efficient.
You need to take your time when considering replacement windows as their cost can vary widely. Making the right choice is essential as replacement windows can have a dramatic effect on the resale value of your home. It is often a worthwhile investment to pay a little more to get the job done perfectly.
There is a wide range of types of window design, materials, and glass to choose from. It is worth discussing your options with an experienced window professional as they will have seen it all before and have valuable input as to what will suit your home.
Lastly, you need to measure the investment in buying top of the range windows against the money that you can save with the increased energy efficiency. In some cases the extra expense is hard to justify as the savings in energy costs would take many years to repay the investment.
Define what you want to achieve when you buy replacement windows and find the most cost-effective way of achieving that while maintaining quality.
While completely replacing the windows on your property might seem a huge undertaking, it is worthwhile if at the end you have a house with increased value, better energy efficiency, and increased noise insulation.