Window replacement is an expensive endeavor. Although it will increase energy efficiency, improve the look of your home, and you will recoup your investment in energy savings and home value, it is still a significant expense. It’s important to do your research and prepare for the process.
Are your current windows damaged? Are you looking to increase efficiency? Are you looking to retro-fit or do a full replacement? Knowing what you want out of your window replacement is important to know so you can plan on how to proceed.
To know how to improve, you need to know what you have. Are your windows wood, aluminum, or vinyl? Is the glass single-pane or double-pane? What you have now does have an effect on how your windows will be replaced.
There are four options for the frames, and all have advantages and disadvantages. Vinyl windows are the most popular choice. They insulate well, require little to no maintenance, glide smoothly, and are relatively cost effective. However, they are not able to be painted and usually are only offered in a few colors. Fiberglass windows also insulate well, require little maintenance, and are available in many colors. However, fiberglass is usually very expensive. Aluminum windows are not as energy efficient, but if you are replacing only some of your aluminum windows, having dual-glazed glass with newer aluminum windows will keep the look of your home consistent. Wood windows are higher maintenance, requiring upkeep, but often fit better with the look of older homes.
Single-pane windows have just one layer of glass. They provide almost no insulation. Double-pane windows have two layers of glass with hermetically sealed space between them. The air trapped between the panes of glass provides the insulation. However, the seal will most likely give way at some point, so having a warranty is important. There are also several coatings that can improve energy efficiency.
Divided panes give a special and historic look to windows, but true divided panes can be both expensive and more time consuming to maintain. If you like the look of divided panes, there are other options that provide the same look at a lower cost.
You may be offered a “lifetime” warranty, but a “lifetime” isn’t always what you expect. Sometimes a window company might consider a “lifetime” to be twenty years or less. Some companies will warranty the parts only, and the labor may be prohibitively expensive. Yet other companies may even cover accidental breakage. Make sure you understand what will be included in your warranty.
Often, salesmen for window companies can be aggressive in getting you to decide and purchase at your first meeting. However, a reputable contractor will welcome, and even encourage you, to get estimates from several places. Taking time after you get an estimate to research the company and compare bids is always a smart decision. Trust your instincts as well. If you feel uncomfortable with a salesperson, or if the deal feels “too good to be true”, it’s a sign to take a step back and assess.
When you’re making a significant investment in your home by replacing your windows, it’s important to understand all of your options so you are prepared. We’re an industry leader in this area and we have the reputation to match. Contact us today for a free in-home estimate.
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