Building a new home or replacing your existing windows? Choosing your new or replacement windows is a big job. Beyond aesthetics, your windows need to help keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. They also need to be easy to clean and cost-effective. Windows come in a wide variety of prices and styles, including awning windows, bow/bay windows, casement windows, single and double hung windows, sliding windows, and many more.
This article will explore how you can decide on the right windows to meet your personal tastes and budget, as well as save money on your energy bills and make your home quieter, more attractive and less drafty.
When You Need Replacement Windows
You definitely need replacement windows if your existing windows are in poor condition, which can contribute to water leaks, high humidity and pest infestations. If the windowpanes are cracked, the frames are rotting, or the windows themselves are non-operational, replacing them with energy-efficient new windows will make your home more comfortable, safer and cleaner.
Most Popular Window Styles
Once you have decided to opt for new or replacement windows, the next decision is the style or type of window you would like. The four most basic and popular types are single or double hung windows, casement windows, awning windows and slider windows.
Single or Double Hung Windows are found in most homes. They consist of two separate sashes (the actual pane of glass in the inner frame), which open or close by sliding up or down. A single hung window opens from the bottom only by sliding up, while a double hung window can be opened from either the top or the bottom. Ideal for creating air flow through your home when you lower the top sash, double hung windows are also great for homes where there are small children because they prevent the danger of a child climbing out of the bottom window.
Casement Windows usually consist of one large sash that’s hinged vertically and opens by swinging out. Usually a lever or other mechanism is used to open a casement window.
Awning Windows are hinged at the top and opened by tilting the window out from the bottom. When open, an awning window creates the appearance of an awning. These types of windows are very popular in coastal areas and also for use in bathrooms.
Slider Windows slide open from side to side and are an excellent choice when there is limited outside space to swing the window open.
Window Frame and Sash Materials
Wood and vinyl are the most popular materials used for window frames and sashes, because they are more energy efficient than aluminum. While wood is natural looking and has good insulating properties, it is also high-maintenance, as it is susceptible to moisture, movement and rot. Periodic painting or staining, along with special treatments, are required to keep wood windows looking and performing their best.
Vinyl windows are a great alternative to wood because they provide excellent insulation, are virtually maintenance free, are reasonably priced and are attractive. There is also an option to get vinyl-clad windows, which are wood on the inside, but wood covered with vinyl on the outside. These windows offer the beauty of wood on the inside, but the ease of maintenance free vinyl on the outside.
Window Glass Types
Recent technological advancements have greatly expanded the available window glass choices. Besides double-, triple- or even quadruple-paned glass; there are also choices regarding the distance between the panes.
The number of panes of glass doesn’t increase the insulation factor of the window, rather it’s the air between the panes of glass that provides the additional insulation. Most manufacturers today use an inert gas (usually argon) between the panes that insulates better than air alone.
Low Emissivity (Low-E) Glass has a special, microscopically thin, virtually invisible layer of material on the surface of the glass which acts to reduce the amount of heat that can flow through the glass itself.
Impact Resistant Glass may crack when hit with something very hard, but it will not shatter and spread glass shards all over the place. Under extreme weather conditions, impact resistant window glass holds up wonderfully.
Selecting a Reputable Window Contractor
It’s important to select a window contractor with experience, good references and who is licensed, bonded and insured. Ask them for references, and check their Better Business Bureau rating. DryHome has extensive experience in window contracting, and we can expertly install any window you choose. Contact us today for more information.