Replacing windows in your house can be a daunting task, which is exactly why you want to be sure your investment will pay off. Consider your answers to these five important questions before you replace your windows, and make sure you end up with exactly what you want for your home.
- Is this a full-frame replacement, or an retrofit/insert?
If you’re doing construction on your home, such as replacing siding or stucco, creating an addition, or if the existing frames have significant rot, full-frame replacement windows may be in order. This requires taking out the whole window, including the sash, jambs, and frame, down the the wall studs. The new window will be installed the same way a new construction window is installed.
In a retrofit/insert installation, your stucco, siding, and interior trim, will most likely not be disturbed. The sash and jambs of the existing window will be removed, but the frame will remain in place. The new window will be installed inside the existing frame. The installation process is much less intrusive and also less labor-intensive (and therefore less expensive). The new windows will be slightly smaller as a result, but the reduction is usually barely noticeable, and depending on the type and brand of the new window, you might actually have more glass (“daylight opening”) with the new window.
- What kind of window frame do you want?
Choose the window frames that work best for you. There are several choices in window frames. Vinyl is a popular material because it is low-maintenance and affordable. However, vinyl cannot be painted. There are factory-finished color options, but usually vinyl windows will be either white or tan in color. Fiberglass is among the strongest options, and requires no maintenance at all and can be painted, but fiberglass is somewhat more expensive than vinyl. Wood is still a popular window choice and comes in all sorts of colors, but if the wood is exposed on the exterior it must be painted often and does not last as long as your other choices. Wood windows can be clad with aluminum on the exterior, also, giving the window a low-maintenance exterior.
This question item is closely tied to #2. Wood windows generally provide a more traditional look with wider, heavier stiles and rails (i.e. the vertical and horizontal members of the movable part of the window). There are many options for different wood grains and stains if you want to emphasize the wood look of the interior, and many color options for aluminum cladding. Quality vinyl windows will have a sleeker, more contemporary look with fewer color options. Fiberglass windows can be configured either way, with smooth fiberglass inside and out, or with real wood interior for a more traditional look and feel.
- How will this increase my home’s energy efficiency?
New windows will almost certainly reduce your energy bills, in the winter and in the summer. One customer of ours e-mailed me a few months after we had replaced all of his windows to let me know that his smart thermostat indicated that his furnace had run 13% less in December 2017 than it had in December 2016 in spite of the fact that the average temperature in December 2017 was 5 degrees lower. In addition to the cost savings on your energy bill is the increased comfort of properly installed quality windows.
Many people don’t realize that the lead time for window replacement can be 6-8 weeks, or more during the busier spring and fall months. Homeowners tend to think about replacing windows during the winter, but too often they will put off the process until spring because they can’t envision having windows replaced during the winter. Windows can be replaced during the winter months, but even if you prefer to wait for spring to schedule installation, it’s better to start the process sooner.
Replacing windows is a time-consuming and expensive task, even when you bargain shop. But if you take the time to consider your options and figure out which options will be best for you, the end result will be well worth the effort. New windows are an investment, but they’re also a huge home feature that you will enjoy for many years to come.
Spring House Window and Door is your local source for any window project you have. Located at 908 North Bethlehem Pike, Spring House Window and Door showroom houses Marvin, Sunrise, Integrity and ThermaTru for your convenience and offers factory trained expert installation through a professional sales staff with an understanding that their number one goal is and will always be customer satisfaction.