What to Look For When Buying Replacement Windows

by | Mar 29, 2020

When it comes to home improvement projects, replacing your windows is one that offers aesthetic as well as financial benefits. But who says you have to be an HGTV star to elevate the look of your home? By offering the below tips, we want to help homeowners like you understand what to look for when buying replacement windows.

What’s so great about windows?

Windows can have a big impact on the look and feel of your home. The size and style of windows contribute to your home’s aesthetic, whether that’s classic, modern, or something in between. Windows affect how much natural light the rooms in your home receive, and can even affect how much your energy bills cost, depending on where you live. Window replacement is a great way to refresh your house and make your home feel uniquely yours.

Why is it important to replace windows?

There are a variety of reasons to consider buying replacement windows. Replacing your home’s windows not only affects the aesthetic of your home, but also has numerous financial benefits, security benefits, and more.

Why is it important to replace windows?

Energy Efficiency

If you’ve noticed drafty windows or excessively high energy bills, buying new windows may help you save some money while keeping your home more energy efficient. The right windows will help keep indoor and outdoor environments separate, helping to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. New windows result in an average savings from 15% to 25% on utility bills annually.

Home Value

Replacing old windows can also increase your home’s value. About 70% of your investment is typically recouped, but in some cases, that number could be even higher. Additionally, most home buyers love having things like windows already replaced, which enables you to demand a higher price when you go to sell your home.

Security

When it comes to keeping your home safe, it can be helpful to have windows that either don’t open at all or that lock so they can’t be opened from the outside. For example, windows with dual push-button ASTM night locks limit sash movement for your family’s safety and security.

Noise Reduction

Replacing your windows can help keep outside noises from being a nuisance to your and your family while spending time indoors.

Curb Appeal

There’s nothing quite like driving up to your home and loving the way it looks. New windows can help refresh the look of your home or help you achieve a certain style.

What to look for when buying windows

There’s a lot to consider when shopping for replacement windows. What kind do you need? What do you want them to look like? What materials are best? As you’re searching for the best windows to buy, be sure to keep the below features and benefits in mind.

Energy Efficiency

Types of windows

Windows are available in a wide range of shapes, sizes and functionality. As you begin the process of replacement window buying, first be sure to know the different categories and what kind of windows you’re looking for.

  • Double hung: A double hung window consists of an upper sash and a lower sash, both of which are able to move up and down.
  • Sliders: Slider windows are similar to double hung windows, but the sashes move horizontally rather than vertically.
  • Casements: Casement windows are attached to the frame using hinges at the sides. They’re often held open by a metal bar called a casement stay.
  • Awning windows: Awning windows are attached at the top and open outward at the bottom. They feature a handle to easily open and close the window.
  • Bay windows: Bay windows project outward from the walls of your home and consist of three segments. They’re great for adding extra space and light to a room.
  • Bow windows: Similar to bay windows, bow windows also project outward from your home, but typically consist of four or five segments instead of three.
  • Picture windows: A picture window is a fixed-pane window, meaning it’s unable to be opened.
  • Patio doors: Patio doors are typically sliding doors that feature large glass windows.
  • Garden windows: Garden windows protrude from your home’s walls to create a sort of greenhouse or display area.
  • Specialty windows: Rather than the typical square or rectangle design, specialty windows feature interesting shapes, such as round, half round, and octagon.

Window styles

Not only are windows a great way to bring natural light and fresh air into your home, they also contribute to the overall look and feel of your house. For example, do you prefer a more modern aesthetic, or classic? Will your windows be focal points, or more subtle? How the windows look can change the way your house looks, both internally as well as externally. Be sure to choose the windows that help you achieve the look you’re going for.

Consider a cove molded sash detail, which replicates the look of classic wood windows, and shadow grooved sash welds, which replicate the classic look of metered wood corners. Full balance covers hide internal systems while eliminating unsightly visible sash stops, and low-profile tilt latches sit subtly out of view but easily engage when sashes need to be tilted for cleaning. If you’re especially interested in keeping windows clean and clear, look for BetterVue insect screening with Water Shed Technology, which preserves optical clarity by shedding water and resisting dirt and grime for a sharp, more brilliant outward view with 20% better air flow.

Energy efficiency

When it’s time to buy replacement windows, look for windows that are going to be energy efficient. Energy efficient windows help keep hot air or cold air inside your home (depending on the season) while preventing outside air from seeping in, allowing you to use less energy and save money. Energy efficient windows are also better for the environment since you’re using less energy.

Look for windows with vinyl or fiberglass frames, which provide better insulation than aluminum frames and require less maintenance than wood frames. If you have drafty single pane glass windows, try replacing them with windows featuring multiple panes of glass for added insulation.

Windows that have a low-emissivity – or low-e – coating are also more energy efficient, as they’re designed to reduce the entry of infrared and ultraviolet light. This helps to prevent the sun’s heat from entering your home during warmer months as well as keeps heat from leaking out of your home in colder months. Windows that contain gas such as Argon or Krypton in between the panes are also beneficial.

It’s also helpful to check windows for an ENERGY STAR, which certifies that products will save money and energy and will help protect the climate. Additionally, consider IdeaSeal triple protection weather seal, which keeps the indoor and outdoor environments separate.

Materials

When choosing new windows, pay attention to what the windows are made of. You want your windows to stay in great condition for as long as possible, and materials make a difference.

For example, as mentioned earlier, window frames are available in a variety of materials, including wood, aluminum, vinyl, fiberglass and composite, each with its own pros and cons. Wood frames offer great insulation, but can be damaged when exposed to the elements. If you decide to go with wood frames, make sure they are clad with a more protective material. While aluminum is sturdy and inexpensive, it doesn’t offer much in the way of insulation. Vinyl frames are usually some of the least expensive options available
and provide a good level of insulation, making them a popular choice. In fact, multi-chambered vinyl construction provides a maintenance-free lifestyle with superior strength and thermal efficiency. Fiberglass frames are stronger than vinyl frames and another great insulating option. Composite frames – which are made from a mix of different materials – also tend to be an affordable option.

When it comes to the glass, buying windows that feature a low-e coating is a great way to improve your windows’ energy efficiency and save money. Windows built with Argon or Krypton in between the panes also aid in improving your windows’ energy efficiency.

Quality

You deserve the best windows – make sure that’s what you’re getting. When buying replacement windows, look for windows that are high quality. In addition to things like energy efficiency and materials, what other features and benefits can you look for to determine you’re getting your money’s worth?

Look for traditional stepped Biomaxx composite locks and keepers, which are 50% stronger than standard die-cast hardware while remaining lead-free and color-true, without fading, warping or chipping. Four-point fusion welding guarantees the frames and sashes are always strong and square. If you’re concerned about inclement weather, look for a dual function partitioned sloped sill, which forms a negative pressure pocket that keeps sashes securely in place and water flowing away from your home, even during the most adverse weather conditions. The Ashland G3 pivot true balance system uses stainless steel coils, resulting in sash operation that’s smooth, effortless and whisper-quiet.

Additionally, integral lift and pull rails are ergonomically engineered for smooth operation while remaining aesthetically appealing.

Cost

When buying windows, it’s important to take price into consideration. Getting replacement windows installed costs about $500 to $1800, depending on factors like the quality of the window, install materials, labor cost, and more. Make sure you’re not being over-charged.

Additionally, look for a company that offers financing options. For example, at McCloud Windows, we offer financing options to fit any budget, and our options come with no monthly interest if paid in full within 18 months and up to 132 months of financing with no pre-payment penalties.

Lifetime Warranty

Are you confident that your new windows are built to last? When purchasing replacement windows, look for a company that offers a lifetime warranty.

How often should you replace windows?

From style to material to cost and more, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to window replacement. Once you finally pick out new windows and have the old ones replaced, how long before you start the process all over again?

While there’s not one specific number when it comes to the lifespan of replacement windows, a replacement window will typically last an estimate of 15 to 20 years before it’s time to start considering another window purchase.

Of course, there are several factors that determine when you should replace your windows. For example, if you notice cold drafts while standing near your windows, their seals may be worn. How is the window operation? If your windows are difficult to open and close, it may be time to replace them. Damaged frames, cracks, and condensation can cause problems and are telltale signs that your windows aren’t working as they should be. Receiving high energy bills and being able to hear a lot of noise from outside also signify that it’s time for your current windows to be replaced.

Should you replace windows yourself or hire professionals?

When it comes time for the physical labor of replacing windows, should you DIY it or hire someone?
While it may be possible to repair or replace small windows on the ground floor yourself, replacing large windows or windows on upper floors of the house will likely be a challenge and best left to the professionals.

You’ll also want to take your level of window knowledge into account. Do you know how to properly remove old windows and install new ones? Do you trust that you can do so without making any mistakes? Contractors at window companies, on the other hand, will have the tools, resources, and know how to get the job done right. When it comes to window replacement, it’s worth looking into hiring a handyman.

Why McCloud Windows

We created McCloud Windows with one refreshingly simple phrase: McCloud Means More. With us, you’ll be more than a customer; you’ll be a member of the family. We provide value-driven, locally made windows, plus services provided by factory-certified installers with years of experience. We’re passionate about serving the Columbus community and are always here to answer your questions and comments. We hope that you’ll trust us with your window replacements in 2020.

If you’re planning on replacing your windows as part of your home improvement efforts, knowing what to look for when buying replacement windows will help ensure that you pick the ones that fit your needs.