Window Replacement Resource Center
We provide support to homeowners in selecting replacement windows and replacement window installers. Our site provides you with in depth information to help you make decisions about window pricing, longevity, window style and architecture, replacement window efficiency, hardware, and all other options.
Our network of window replacement contractors are prescreened and licensed, wherever required. They use many of the top brands including Pella, Marvin, Milgard, Harvey, Jeld-Wen, Andersen and others. Within these brands they use various lines depending on the need of each individual homeowner.
Replacement Window Benefits
- Lower heating & cooling costs
- Elimination of drafts
- Increased home security
- Blocking of harmful UV rays
- Easier cleaning with tilt in windows
- Reduced noise pollution
- Updated hardware for a fresh look
- More natural light and a better view
- Reduced fading of furnishings
- Replacement rotting wood before it causes further damage
Getting the Best Price on Replacement Windows
New windows are an investment that pays off over time with lower energy costs and greater comfort inside your home. Use these tested tips from our customers and installers to lower the total cost of your new windows:
- Get multiple quotes from local installers
- Compare overall value in order to get the most for your money
- Find the right replacement window brand & options for your budget
- Finance new windows
- Replace a few windows every year
- Use tax refunds to buy replacement windows
- Research energy efficiency tax credits
Replacement Window Materials
New windows lower electric and gas bills through new technology and advancements in materials. For instance, aluminum and steel conduct hot and cold air. Traditionally, these materials would allow what is known as transference along the metal, so the the heat or cold from outside would transfer to the inside of the home.
Today, manufacturers use thermal breaks, which stop the transference and keep your home at it's optimal temperature using less energy. The thermal breaks are plastic pieces installed in the metal. These metals are very sturdy and therefore will stand up very well to anything mother nature can throw their way. For that reason, metals are clad, or overlayed on top of one of the best naturally insulating materials -- wood. This is where the term metal clad windows comes from.
Three Types of Window Cladding
Aluminum clad windows are particularly useful in homes in climates with high heat and humidity, heavy snow and ice, and caustic ocean air. Aluminum holds up very well to these elements, while the homeowner enjoys the benefits of beautiful natural and classic wood indoors. In addition, the insulation benefits of wood are also present within the structure of the windows.
Vinyl clad windows are another great option because vinyl is very resilient to weather elements. It has the benefit of being much less expensive than aluminum or steel as well. In addition, vinyl is extremely low maintenance. Vinyl is still the most popular material on the market because it works well, requires minimal maintenance, and allows homeowners to spend more on the benefits realized from glass. Vinyl is the least expensive product, but still the favorite for its durability, insulation properties and extremely low maintenance.
Fiberglass clad windows resist penetration to water similar to how boats are built to resist penetration from water. This results in a longer lifespan for the window and a greater return on your investment. Fiberglass also has excellent insulation properties and is lightweight, though it can add heftily to the price of a window.
Energy Efficient Window Replacement Options
Glass technology provides three primary ways of improving energy efficiency in replacement windows:
- Glass coatings - that allow heat into your home or that keep heat out of your home
- Glazing - one, two or three layers of glass
- Gases - Argon is usually used between layers of glazing to increase insulation R values
Energy Star and the NFRC
Manufacturers produce windows in accordance with regional parameters provided by the Energy STAR and NFRC. These ratings dictate which technology and efficiency standards are best in each climate. For instance, homeowners in South Florida are advised to invest in impact resistant glass to avert hurricane damage, while those in Washington state should focus more on water-resistant properties.
There are two easy ways to nail down your window-buying needs based upon climate. Start with Energy STAR and NFRC ratings and stay within their parameters when investing in new windows.
Energy STAR has four defined climate zones, and assigns suggestions to buyers based upon these regions:
- North Central
- South Central
Meanwhile, the National Fenestration Rating Council, or NFRC, is an independent group that tests and rates actual window performance. It provides performance information about a specific product’s U-factor, SHGC, Visible Transference, and Air Leakage.
The two most important factors in choosing energy efficient windows are U-Factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, or SHGC. The U-Factor determines how well your window keeps warm air inside. SHGC is a measure of how much heat is blocked from the sun.
Both Energy STAR and NFRC report on technical aspects of the windows that measure four different parameters in total.
The Big Four: Primary Factors for Replacement Window Quality
- U-factor / U-value - Range between .20 to 1.20. The lower the U-factor, the better the window is at keeping heat inside. A higher U-factor ensures less heat is trapped indoors, which is good for avoiding greenhouse effect in very hot and sunny locations. Learn more about U-factor
- Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) - Range between 0 and 1. The lower the number, the better the window is at blocking incoming heat from the sun.
- If you live in a warm climate, choose windows with an SHGC closer to 0.
- In colder climates choose a window with an SHGC closer to 1.
- Visible Transmittance - Range between 0 and 1. The higher the number, the more light is allowed in.
- Colder climates may want more sunshine
- Hotter and sunnier climates may want less light inside
- Learn more about Solar Heat Gain Coefficients
- Air Leakage - This means how much air is passing through the window from air pressure or temperature differentials. Air leakage is measured by volume of air per cubic foot that is moved per minute. In theory, triple glazing, should be the most effective measure to block air leakage. Conditioned or heated air traveling out of your home and allowing in cold or hot air from outside is a big concern where air leakage is concerned. The reason is that air leakage can cost you money. Check the NFRC and Energy STAR ratings to ensure you get the best windows for your money.
Look-Up the U-Factor and SHGC for Your County
Use this exclusive tool to find the combination of U-Factor and SHGC that are appropriate for your county and state.
Replacement Window Options
With all the options available today, you can customize windows at all price points. We can help guide you through that process.
Types of Replacement Windows
- Sash windows - open up and down. These are the most common and traditional types of windows
- Double hung windows - both the top and bottom sashes slide up and down
- Single hung windows - only the bottom slides up and down
- Bay and Bow windows - a large window that bows out and often has a seat inside
- Casement windows - opens to the side with a crank handle
- Picture windows - a large window often found in a kitchen
- Slider/Glider windows - opens and closes left to right instead of up and down
- Storm windows - a second window on the outside to aid in protection and energy efficiency
- Awning windows - cranks up to open
- Basement/Egress windows - for use in basements often for fire escapes
- Jalousie windows - many small slats that open for airflow but retain privacy
Window Replacement Frame Material Options
- Vinyl Clad Wood
- Aluminum Clad Wood
- Glazing, or how many layers of glass, adds to the energy efficiency.
- Triple Insulating Glass has the added benefit of reducing noise and adding further insulation.
- Impact Resistant Glass - Homes in hurricane and tornado-prone areas often have this type of glass. It also has an added benefit of reducing noise.
Replacement Window Grill Options
- Grills between the glass, or GBG, are sandwiched between glass, which means pieces are not applied to the exterior of the glass. This offers two main benefits. It means the grills last longer because they will not be exposed to weather and the windows are easier to clean.
- Simulated divided light windows (SDL) have a grill on the outside of each piece of glass. This gives a more authentic divided glass look.
Window Hardware Upgrades
Window hardware includes locks and operators such as cranks and knobs. High-quality hardware is important to ensure years of easy operation. Decorating upgrades might call for a specific metal or finish on your new replacement windows.
- Satin or brushed nickel finishes.
Increased Home Value and Curb Appeal
Fading, rusting, and rotting windows lower the value of your home. Many homeowners want to improve the curb appeal of their home. New windows keep your home looking fresh and up to date.
Dollars and Sense
When talking about the cost of new construction or replacement windows you may wonder if upgrades make sense. We present the information to give you the chance to make informed decisions.
- New construction can add anywhere from 50 to 100 dollars to the cost of a window
- Vinyl windows with installation may run anywhere from $150 to $600
- Wood, by comparison costs from $400 to $1,000
Often a lower cost window will be very well suited to most homes. The cost of replacement windows generally climbs higher when specific architectural features are desired or when specific higher-end materials are needed. Replacement windows are available in every style and budget.
Installation: Hire a Professional
The benefits of replacement windows can only be realized through correct installation. Hiring an experienced and trustworthy professional contractor who provides high-quality installation means the integrity of the windows is intact once the windows are installed. Contractors avoid mistakes such as compromising energy efficiency because they have the training and experience needed.
Whether you are installing stock windows or custom designed windows a faulty installation can negate any efficiencies created by the new windows. Hire a professional window installation contractor to protect your investment. They will ensure that the windows are square, level, plumb, and air tight for long-lasting reliability as the manufacturer intended. Professional installation also ensures that your warranty remains valid for the life of your windows.
Hiring a contractor who has experience dealing with the various situations that arise in each individual home is one of the most challenging aspects of a home improvement project that homeowners face. All of the installers on WindowReplacement.net are screened and licensed where required. The contractors are experienced and have helped thousands of homeowners through our trusted network. It’s like getting a trusted referral from a good friend.
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