At one time, deciding on new windows was easy since looks were all that mattered. However, in today’s world, choosing the right windows for your home is no simple task. Sure, aesthetics are still important, but other factors such as energy efficiency and differences in material play a major role in window installation. If you neglect considering the energy efficiency of your new windows, you run the risk of major financial loss. So whether you are replacing old windows or choosing the right windows for your new home, it’s essential that you are informed on just what type of window best suits your needs.
When deciding on a new window, there are three factors you should keep in mind. First, the material used. Second, the installation process. And perhaps the most important aspect, cost efficiency. No decision should be made on a new window without considering each factor.
Knowing the materials that your windows will be comprised of can make the difference between a lasting choice and a regretted decision. The two main parts of a window are the frame and the glass. Seemingly obvious, there are a wide variety of factors that must be considered before selecting both the frame and the glass.
Frame options vary from vinyl, aluminum, and composite to wood, wood-clad, and fiberglass. The right frame for you depends on what you value. If you are looking for low maintenance and high efficiency, vinyl or fiberglass might be your best option. On the other hand, wood frames offer great installation and high aesthetic value. No one frame is the best since it depends on your individual taste and what you’re looking for.
The glass you choose plays a major role in the energy efficiency of your window. You can guage a window’s energy efficiency levels by looking at their U-value and solar heat efficiency ratings (SHER), which can be found on the glass itself. U-value measure the heat loss efficiency of the window, while SHER measures the amount of heat the glass allows into the home. In both cases, the lower the number, the better the glass.
Proper installation plays a vital role in the efficiency and longevity of your windows. Regardless of the quality of material used, poor installation can lead to water-leaks, weather damage, and lower energy efficiency. For this reason, selecting a reputable contractor is an essential part of any window installation process.
There are multiple ways to identify trustworthy contractors. Most importantly, make sure your contractors offer installation warranties. This is a good way to ensure that they will take the time to properly install windows, since breaching the warranty will hurt their bottom line. Other factors to consider are their willingness to assist in the choice of materials and installation process. If they seem too eager to push an option, they may have ulterior motives.
Cost efficiency should be considered throughout the entire window selection process. Always start with a budget. Without one, you run the risk of paying too much for new windows, or getting cheap, inefficient windows that will cost more in the long run.
After deciding on a budget, find a contractor that is willing to work with your budget to identify the best option for you. Whatever your budget is, there are good and bad options that will ultimately determine the lifespan, efficiency, and cost of your windows. Budgeting before you begin the window installation process and selecting a reputable contractor are undoubtedly the best ways to ensure your satisfaction with your new windows.