Types of Window Replacement
Any homeowner thinking about replacing their windows should have a little background information to help them in the decision making process. There are many different types of window replacement to choose from, with different materials, styles, and glass options. Replacement windows come in materials like wood, aluminum, fiberglass and vinyl. Different styles of windows from casements to double hung will offer different performance and aesthetic properties to think about. Don't just assume because you have a certain style in place right now that your replacement has to be the same. And the glass itself presents a set of options. The different types of window replacement definitely give homeowners something to think about as they go through the decision making process. Read more about these types and learn about the variety of options you have to choose from.
Window Frame Materials
There are four major materials that can be used to manufacture a replacement window. These four types are wood, aluminum, fiberglass, and vinyl. Each material has its own strengths and drawbacks for usage in manufacturing. Some are stronger than others, and some more aesthetically pleasing.
Wood windows have been around for a long time, and today's wood replacement window is more durable and long lasting. Wood is beautiful, stainable and paintable, and can be adapted to any interior or exterior color change. It is a great choice for curb appeal, but does have its drawbacks as well. Wood is extremely high maintenance. If you are not careful with it and take great care of it, wood will not last as long or perform as well as some of its counterparts. And wood is expensive. For projects on homes where you do not expect to live for very many years, it is not highly recommended because of its high cost. But if you are willing to swallow a large bill and put some work in keeping it up, wood does make a beautiful window.
Aluminum has been around in window replacement since the 1950s, and it continues to be a good choice for durability, lightweight strength, and low maintenance performance. The strength of aluminum allows for slim sashes and frames that are inconspicuous and unobtrusive. This material is very easy to clean and keep looking nice. It is one of the easiest types of replacement windows to maintain. But many people do not like the way aluminum window replacement look. Some actually have it in their minds that today's aluminum products look just like their post WWII ancestors that came out over a half century ago. The truth is that their aesthetic appeal has greatly increased. But some simply prefer the look of wood. (Later we'll discuss the option of using a wood clad vinyl window.)
Fiberglass is relatively new to the scene, and has not yet caught on in terms of widespread popularity. Among the types of window replacement, it might be the one with the best combination of insulation value, resistance to moisture and durability. Fiberglass is easily painted and long lasting. But it is very costly. It's an appropriate choice for long term investment, but not so much for those who are trying to flip a house or regard their current home as a stepping stone.
And finally we come to vinyl. Vinyl is by far the most popular of all types of window replacement as far as material is concerned. Vinyl is extremely durable and requires virtually no maintenance. It is very economical, which is the major reason why it is so popular. If you are looking for a cheap window, vinyl is probably your best bet. However, many people do not like the look of vinyl. For this reason, wood clad vinyl is an option that some people take advantage of for a combination of low cost and aesthetic beauty.
Styles of Windows
There are several different window styles as well. Some people think that they are bound by the previous style they had, but this is not entirely true. While there are cases where only one style of window will work, there are many others in which a different style would bring new life into a room by adding extra natural daylight, increasing ventilation, or simply adding to the beauty of the room.
An awning or hopper (inverted awning) window is hinged at the top or bottom and crank opens to the outside of the house. Casement styles swing to the side. Each of these types of window replacement let in a lot of natural light and they are excellent for inside ventilation. They also tend to seal better than double hung types. However, there are obviously issues with exterior clearance since these styles crank open to the outside of the home.
Other types of window replacement include double hung or other window sliding types. They do not have any clearance issues unlike crank types of replacement windows. But they do not seal as well as these other types of window replacement, so they tend to be draftier, especially in cold areas.
Types of Window Glass
Just like there are material and style differences in the different types of window replacement, there are also different types of glass. The choices you make on glass for your replacement window installation might be as important as any other choice you make in terms of energy savings. Different types of windows or windows in different areas of the house might call for different types of glass.
Some window glass comes with low e coatings, and double or triple paned glass for extra comfort and lower energy costs. Reflective or heat absorbing glass makes certain types of window replacement very appealing for certain areas of the home. It's great for a window facing south that gets a lot of direct sunlight throughout the day.
Single pane glass is the cheapest but will allow a lot of heat to escape through any of the different types of window replacement. Most every replacement window today is a double or triple pane. Triple panes are the best at keeping out drafts but are also the most expensive. Double panes tend to sell the best among the different types of window replacement because of their balance between cost and performance.
There are similarities and differences among the different types of window replacement. There are differences in material, style and glass to think about as you prepare to embark upon this important home remodeling project. Some replacement types are more expensive than others, and others are more suitable for certain applications than others. It is important to make sure you that you have a thorough understanding of all of the different variables so that you end up with a well developed idea of what you are looking for as a homeowner.
A window job is a somewhat complex and expensive project to undertake. Before you spend a single dollar, make sure you are aware of all of your material, design and glass options so that you end up with the window you really want and not just the one some sale person has pressured you into choosing. Learn more about types of window replacement, and choose the one for you.
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