If you’re wondering whether your windows need replacement, or are already planning a new window installation project for your home, the process can feel a bit overwhelming. After all, window replacement—even for just one or two of your home’s windows—is generally considered to be a significant home improvement project. This is because new windows can be quite expensive to purchase and usually require professional installation for the best outcome.
Even so, any homeowner knows that the right windows can transform the home in major ways. New, high-quality windows will provide durable, long-lasting protection, considerable beauty, and better energy-efficiency, and can dramatically enhance the value of your home. On the other hand, low-quality windows, or windows that don’t fit the climate requirements, or the overall aesthetic of your home can offer a much lower return on your investment (while costing you more money in the long run). Windows come in a wide variety of models, sizes, brands, and prices, and choosing the best products that will provide the most value at the most affordable cost requires extensive research and professional guidance.
Every year in the United States, thousands of homeowners embark on their own window replacement projects. At New Windows for America, our goal is to make the process easier for homeowners to navigate, and to help them make the right choices that lead to the most beneficial results. In this guide to new windows from New Windows for America, we’ll walk you through some of the most important details you need to know about window replacement to help you prepare for a successful renovation.
Do I Need New Windows?
While brand-new, superior-quality window products can offer amazing benefits for homeowners, such as savings of up to 20% or more on utility bills, better indoor air quality, and a more comfortable indoor climate, window replacement isn’t always necessary. Deciding whether to repair or replace your windows will depend on a number of factors unique to the state of your windows and your personal goals for improving your home.
Because window replacement requires a significant investment, it’s worth it to consider repairing them if possible. Repairs cost far less than replacing an entire window and can solve a range of minor problems including broken hardware or worn-out weather stripping. Still, it’s important to be sure whether repairing your window is the best way to go. Sometimes repairing a window that needs replacement can wind up costing you more money in the long run. To help you make your decision, ask a professional contractor to inspect your window and determine what the best route to take might be in your case.
Full window replacements are usually necessary when your windows are very old and no longer functioning efficiently. Broken or warped glass, sashes, or frames are often telling signs that it might be time to replace your windows, as are high utility bills, and scratched, cloudy, or otherwise damaged glass. The best thing about replacing your home’s windows, especially if your current ones are older or low-quality, is that the technology has improved substantially over the last decade or so. Today’s newest window products are made to stand strong against the elements and other high-impact threats, and are resistant to corrosion, scratching, denting, and chipping. They’re also low-maintenance and require less cleaning and care than windows of the past, which can provide exceptional value for homeowners thinking of their investment over the long-term.
Window Shopping 101: The Most Innovative Window Features of 2019
As we mentioned in the last section, today’s window products have improved dramatically over the years—and are substantially better-designed and higher performing than ever before. As exciting as these innovations can be for homeowners replacing substandard windows, the vast array of technological features, brand names, and designs can be confusing to process.
The right windows for your home window project will vary according to your unique situation. However, most homeowners are looking for the same thing: durable, long-lasting, energy-efficient, and beautiful windows at the lowest possible price.
Here are some of the smartest, most advanced features worth looking out for when purchasing your next set of replacement windows:
· Triple-Pane Glazing: Triple-pane windows are designed to perform better than their single-and double-pane counterparts, which are still the most common installation in homes across the United States. Triple-glazing improves upon the standard double-glaze product, with three, thick panels of Low-E glass and Argon-gas in between each of the panels. The result is improved energy efficiency, better sound reduction, and exceptional UV protection—among other benefits.
· Energy-Star Certifications: In some cities and states in the country, homeowners can receive rebates and other incentives for installing Energy-Star certified window products in their homes. Aside from this possible benefit, Energy-Star certified windows could lower your energy bill up to as high as 20%, improving your indoor comfort while reducing your carbon footprint for a greener existence.
· Low-E Coatings: Low-e coatings work to reflect heat while letting light inside—an effect that dramatically improves energy-efficiency and indoor comfort. This feature can reduce visibility a bit, as the outside coating lowers the transparency of the glass.
· Tilt-In Sashes: Newer windows are becoming easier to clean and maintain than ever before, especially if they’re on the outside of the house. Tilted-in sashes for double-hung windows feature an innovative mechanism that allows you to tilt them towards you for easy outside cleaning.
Popular Framing Materials
Window frames come in a wide variety of materials. While wood has been the traditional choice for years, wood products require plenty of upkeep and expensive to install and maintain. Just as today’s glass products have evolved with newer and better technologies, frames come in a wide variety of materials that can be designed to look just like wood (among other styles) and are superior to wood in many ways. Here are some of the best and most popular framing materials used in home window replacement projects across the country.
· Fiberglass: Fiberglass frames are one of the top choices for window frames in the country. While they can be a bit more expensive than other options, fiberglass windows make up for the higher cost over time—and are known to last up to 80 years or longer. Fiberglass frames require very little maintenance. However, they are known to fade and must be repainted every so often.
· Vinyl: Vinyl frames are an inexpensive option for homeowners seeking a strong, long-lasting product at a lower cost. Vinyl frames are known to last up to thirty years or longer and maintain their beauty without much maintenance or upkeep. Unlike fiberglass frames, vinyl windows will not fade or need to be repainted. are cheap to install and can last anywhere between 25 to 35 years, and will not fade or require painting ever. Homeowners should know that vinyl windows can be less durable than fiberglass or other options and will expand and contract in extreme hot or cold temperatures.
· Metal (Aluminum): Metal or aluminum frames are perfect for modern-style homes and contemporary designs, offering a sleek, sophisticated appearance. Aluminum frames are the next affordable option next to vinyl. In general, metal stands strong and can last a long time with the proper maintenance; however, it’s not as good of an insulator as other materials and is susceptible to water damage and corrosion.
· Composite: Composite materials are the newest material on the market, made from fiberglass, wood fibers, and polymers. This combination takes the best of wood and the best of fiberglass features, to create a super-strong, resilient, and long-lasting window frame that’s engineered for the highest performance. Composite material frames can be designed to look exactly like wood, which is another important feature, and require absolutely no maintenance to stay looking beautiful for over 40 years or longer.
Window Styles & Designs
Choosing the right window design and style is arguably just as important as the materials the window is produced from. The perfect window model will add significant beauty and functionality to your home, while the wrong one can look strange, out-of-place, or even detract from the architectural integrity of your home construction. Furthermore, the wrong window can lower the comfort and functionality of your indoor living environment. For example, a picture window that does not open inside of a bathroom can provide natural light and perhaps a view, but will not offer extra ventilation in an area that could very well benefit from it.
A home design specialist can help you select the right energy-efficient windows for each space in an in-home consultation and pricing estimate. For now, take a look at some of the most common window styles and designs for residential window replacement and new installations:
· Single and Double-Hung: Single and double-hung windows are one of the most commonly installed window products, and are perfect for use in just about every room of the house. These window types feature a design that places two sashes on top of one another, with one movable sash in a single-hung model and two moving sashes in the double-hung version.
The difference between the two lies in this important function. Double-hung windows are generally regarded as superior to single-hung, because of the aerodynamic cooling effect that is created when both sashes are open at the same time. Hot air escapes through the top while cool air enters at the bottom, which can serve to cool your home over the summer without turning on the A/C. Double-hung windows are also useful in that the bottom sash can stay fixed and closed while the top one stays open, ventilating the room while keeping the lower window closed for the safety of small children and pets.
· Casement: Casement windows are windows that open vertically, fastened by a side-hinge operated with a crank. The best part about the casement window design is that they allow for a fully open window—unlike double-sash and similar models that only open partially (or in the case of other models, not at all). Casement windows can be installed virtually anywhere in the house and can be strategically placed on angular walls of the house that face a side breeze for excellent ventilation.
· Hopper: Hopper windows are a type of casement window; however, instead of opening on the side, the hinge is located at the bottom. This means that the windows open out from the top, inward. The main advantage of a hopper window is the style, and like casement windows, they open completely offering great ventilation in smaller areas. Homeowners typically put small hopper windows in basements and under staircases, small offices, bathrooms, and other tight spaces where extra ventilation is beneficial to the area.
· Awning: Awning windows are very similar to hopper windows, and both look identical when shut. However, unlike hopper windows that open inwards, awning windows open out—offering a different look than hopper windows. Awning windows are a great alternative to hopper windows and are ideal in small tight spaces where extra ventilation is desired.
· Bay or Bow Windows: Bay windows and bow windows are very similar to one another, and are often confused with each other. Both feature a fixed window in the center, with two or more double-hung or casement style windows to the sides that project outward, forming an angle that protrudes from the construction. Both windows add considerable beauty and architectural design to a home construction, and are used as a focal piece to draw attention to the design of the building The difference is that bay windows are straight and usually consists of a set of three windows, while bow windows are curved and are usually made up of four, five, or more separate windows in a set.
· Sliding: Unlike casement windows that open outwards or inwards from a hinge, and double-hung windows that are pushed up in a vertical direction, slider windows glide easily from side-to-side, in a horizontal direction. Sliding windows are considered by many homeowners to be easier to open than other types of windows, and won’t obstruct walkways or other high-traffic areas outside or inside your home.
While these are just some of the more popular window styles, there are many more types of windows to choose from including egress, picture, hurricane and storm windows, and many more. Each type of window is designed to meet a certain function or to serve a specific purpose within a home, which is why it’s so important to research your options and choose accordingly. The design of the window you choose should also match the design of your home—whether it’s modern, contemporary, Tudor, Mediterranean, or another style.
For a complete listing of all of the window types and their uses and applications within a home, consult with a professional window company for expert information on your options and what each of them means for your home and project. A specialist can help you decide on the best choice for your new window installation, based on your home’s style, your budget, and other important considerations particular to you and your situation.
Replacement Window Installation: Doing it Yourself vs. Hiring a Professional
DIY home improvement projects have never before been so popular as they are now. With YouTube instructional videos and a wealth of information online to follow, amateur homeowners can often resort to doing it themselves in the hopes of saving money on a professional installation.
Whether you’re capable of performing a window installation depends on a variety of factors, including your own skill and handiness when it comes to home improvement projects. Other important factors include the type of window you’re taking out and the one you’re putting in, its size, and the area of the home you’re working on (using a ladder can be dangerous and even deadly, and replacing a window on a higher floor is not advised unless you’re a professional).
While DIY window replacement is certainly do-able, it’s certainly more complicated than you might think, and most experts do not recommend going this route. After all, the quality of your installation matters just as much (if not more) than the quality of your windows, and will hugely influence the lifespan, energy-efficiency, and the beauty of your final result. If you’re seriously considering doing it yourself, make sure to educate yourself before beginning the project in order to know exactly what to expect prior to starting out. Consider the type of replacement you’re doing, for example, is it a full replacement, or are you replacing the insert? Are you equipped with the right tools necessary to complete the project, including a power drill, screwdriver, putty knife, a level, hammer, safety glasses, and other tools as suggested by your window manufacturer? Do you have the time necessary to complete the project?
If you’re currently deciding on whether DIY window installation is right for you, it might be worth it to contact reputable window contractors just to make sure you’re on the right track. A professional window company will offer free, in-home consultations and pricing estimates for window replacement, and will evaluate your situation to provide the guidance you need for making the right decision. They’ll also be able to provide you with important tips for completing the renovation if you decide to go through with it. Even so, window replacement is not a small investment, and plenty of things can go wrong if your windows are not installed correctly. To avoid a potentially costly problem now and down the road, and to enjoy the guarantee of a long-lasting, beautiful, and cost-efficient window installation, leave it to the professionals for best result.
Finding a Professional Company and Avoiding Contractor Scams
As we mentioned in the last section, for most homeowners, professional window installation is a good idea. That said, hiring professional contractors is the key to a successful renovation of any kind—whether you’re replacing your home’s windows, doors, siding, or remodeling your kitchen or bathroom.
We’ve all heard horror stories about home remodeling projects that have turned into living nightmares. Most of these anecdotes revolve around the hiring of an inexperienced, fraudulent contractor, whose ineptitude, shady, or outright scam-artist ways created a catastrophe for the homeowner. Unfortunately, unlicensed contractors are a dime a dozen, and countless of these are operating without a license and providing services that range from cheap to expensive. The problem is that low-quality work from an unlicensed contractor can wind up costing you a fortune, and that’s if you’re lucky enough to not have gotten scammed out of a down payment.
The answer to a successful home renovation, and in this case, a window replacement—is hiring a professional contractor to do it for you. A professional window company will offer expert advice and design consultation, along with a free estimate, that will help you decide on the window type, design, brand, and model for your needs. You’ll also be able to rely on important guarantees and warranties that will ensure the quality and long-term durability of your investment. As we’ve said before in this article, window replacements are not a minor investment—and the security and peace-of-mind a professional company can promise are worth the extra cost to protect you and your home in the long-run.
Superior Window Replacement Services in MinneapolisIf you’re looking for the most professional window installation services in the Twin Cities metro area, New Windows for America is at your service. We make it a point to offer our customers only the best products and superior services for our customers, along with our worry-free policies like our Lifetime Labor Service Warranty on all products. With over 4,500 positive reviews online from our former customers and an A+ rating from the BBB, we’re one of the highest rated window contractors in the Midwest.
If you’re interested in receiving more information about our window installation services, or our other expert services for home exterior renovations, we’d love to hear from you. Give us a call to speak with one of our friendly agents from New Windows for America now, or fill out our online form to request a free, no-obligation pricing estimate in your home.