Window Replacement 101: Everything You Should Know

Owning a home comes with many responsibilities. Simple upkeep demands a significant amount of time and energy. When an accident happens or something breaks down, you’ve really got to put the work in to make sure you fix the issue correctly. Window replacement is no different. Whatever the reason is for replacing your windows, you’ve got to do your homework before making any decisions. Some windows are better suited for certain climates, while some are designed to increase energy efficiency. The right window depends on several factors.

From window options to cost, there’s a lot you need to consider. Let’s explore the ins and outs of window replacement so that you can make the best choice for your new windows.

Is it Time to Replace Your Windows?

It’s usually easy to tell whether you need new windows, but it’s not always cut and dry. Sometimes you need to do a little detective work. Breaks, cracks, age, and deterioration are obvious signs that home window replacement is in order. However, do you pay attention to your energy bill? Or find yourself needing an extra blanket when you sit near the windows? To adequately evaluate the condition of your windows, look for these common signs:

  • Consistently High Energy Bills: Is your energy bill always too high? While roofing and siding can also be to blame, it’s common to lose excess energy from old windows.
  • Windows Let in a Draft: When there’s a breeze outside, is there a breeze inside? Drafty windows are a sign of faulty window seals or cracks in the glass and framing.
  • Paint Peeling: Peeling, bubbling, and warped paint around your windows signal unnecessary condensation, mold, or rot. If you push a hard tool into the frame and it sinks, replace your windows.
  • Frequent Repairs: Home window repair is an excellent alternative to replacing windows. However, are there windows that won’t hold repairs anymore?
  • Difficulty Opening and Closing Windows: Rusty hinges, a warped foundation, and other issues that make it difficult to operate your windows mean they need to be replaced.

What Makes a Window?

There are many different house window types to choose from. The combinations of panes, frames, and styles are practically endless. Learn about your options before talking to a contractor, and you’re more likely to get what you want.

Window Panes

Window panes are the glass part of a window. Older homes will have single-pane windows, and, although they’re still available today, hardly anyone uses them. They’re inferior to all other modern windowpane options.

  • Double-pane windows have gas trapped between two layers of glass. This creates a tight seal that holds the window in place and increases energy efficiency.
  • Triple-pane windows are similar to the double-pane, except there’s a third sheet of glass trapping an additional layer of gas. These high-performance windows will last forever.
  • Quadruple-pane windows have a fourth sheet of glass that traps a third layer of gas. Although this superior pane is the most energy-efficient model on the market, it is the heaviest and most expensive option.

Window Frames

Window frames are what surround the glass. They come in various materials that each have their own advantages and disadvantages. The four most popular frame materials to choose from are:

  • Wood frames are trendy. They’re beautiful and durable, but they’re also expensive and high-maintenance.
  • Vinyl frames are durable, low-maintenance, and affordable, which makes them another popular option.
  • Aluminum frames are popular in modern architecture because they can be molded into unique shapes. Aluminum is durable and long-lasting, but it lacks energy-efficiency and can rust.
  • Fiberglass frames are even lower-maintenance and more durable than vinyl. Fiberglass can be a little more expensive, but the lifespan is worth it.

Window Styles

While frames and panes certainly matter for a window’s look and practicality, style is perhaps the most visually important element for windows. It can be difficult to decide if it’s time for a new style or if you should stick with the previous. At Principles Building and Remodeling, we have design professionals who can help you make these tough decisions. Your contractor will have certain styles available, but here is a list of bestselling styles:

  • Double-Hung: Two sashes allow this type to open from the top and bottom, creating ideal airflow
  • Picture: Fixed window that cannot be opened
  • Hopper: Horizontal window that opens inward
  • Casement: Vertical window that can open inward or outward, depending on the hinges
  • Awning: Horizontal window that opens outward
  • Bay: Beautiful window series that add to a home’s layout but don’t open
  • Storm Windows: Can be mounted inside or outside of the main window. They create extra insulation for extreme weather
  • Egress Windows: Beautiful window that also acts as an emergency exit
  • Sliding Windows: These create excellent ventilation. They can be two or three panels

Window Replacement Cost

Because there are so many factors that go into window expenses, there isn’t a straight answer to how much replacement windows will cost. Aside from the value of the actual windows, the main factors to remember as you create your window budget are:

  • Window Type: Common window shapes and materials will be cheaper. Unique shapes and materials will cost a lot more.
  • Number of Windows to Replace: Remember, you don’t have to do them all at once. Phasing your project is a great way to save money.
  • Energy-Efficiency: Energy-efficient windows will cost extra. Talk to your contractor about the R-value to see if the extra cost is worth it.
  • Labor Cost: The more time spent on your windows, the higher the labor cost will be. Work with an experienced contractor for quality installation that won’t take too long.
  • Warranty: Purchasing a warranty will cost more upfront, but it will save you a lot of money down the road if your home is accident-prone.

Find the Right Window Contractor

As you research replacement windows, it’s essential to ask for estimates from several contractors. Prices may differ, and some companies offer competitive pricing. Select a local contractor that:

  • Has good prices
  • Has proof of good work
  • Communicates effectively

For additional help choosing the right window replacement company, use our guide.  At Principles Building and Remodeling, we value our customers and take pride in the work we do.

Contact us for an estimate or visit our website to learn more about our window services.