New windows for your home can be a large investment, so you want to make the best decision possible when choosing them.

So, how exactly do you choose the right replacement windows for your home?

Understanding more about windows and the replacement process can help make your decision a bit easier. One of the first choices you have to make is whether to use new or replacement windows. So, what’s the difference? Let’s take a look.

New vs. Replacement

New windows are generally used to completely change the size or shape of current windows. There isn’t a big difference in the cost of new and replacement windows. But, the labor cost for new window installation will be greater. The best thing about using new windows is that you can completely change the look and feel of your home.

Replacement windows require less labor for installation. This is because there is no need to replace the existing frame or trim. When the budget is the main factor of your project, replacement windows are a great way to go. Replacement windows come in stock sizes but can easily be custom-fit to any size opening.

Styles and Types

Once you’ve made the choice between new and replacement windows it’s time to choose your style and type. There are tons of styles and customization options you can choose from. To help, here are the four most basic types of windows:

1. Single and Double Hung – These are in most homes. A single hung window opens by sliding the bottom part of the window up. Double-hung windows can open from both the bottom and the top. These are a great choice if you have small children. By using the top opening, children cannot fall or climb out and accidents can be prevented.
2. Casement – These windows have one large sash. Usually, there is a vertical hinge that allows the window to open by swinging out.
3. Awning – When open, these windows will create the look of an awning. Hinged from the top, these open with a tilt out from the bottom. Awning windows are a great choice for bathrooms and other small rooms. These are also incredibly popular in coastal areas.
4. Slider – When dealing with limited space, swinging a window open isn’t always ideal. A slider window eliminates that issue by opening from side to side.


Material Choices

Now that you have a better understanding of the types and styles of windows, it’s time to move on to materials. The two most popular choices are wood and vinyl. Other choices include wood-clad and aluminum, but these aren’t quite as energy efficient. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each.

  • Wood – This material offers both beauty and efficiency. But, this material will need some significant upkeep. Periodic staining or painting will be necessary to prevent moisture, movement, and potential rot.
  • Vinyl – This is one of the most popular materials with homeowners. This is because vinyl windows are practically maintenance-free. Other great benefits include aesthetic customization and reasonable pricing.
  • VinylClad – These windows offer all the maintenance-free features that traditional vinyl offers. The great thing about vinyl-clad windows is the interior look and feel of stained or painted wood.

Quality and Warranty

Warranties are another important factor when choosing your replacement windows. Make sure to take the time to carefully examine the warranty offered. This is especially important if you choose insulated glass. Fogging between the panes of glass is a common issue, so you want to make sure your warranty covers this issue.

Because this is a major investment, quality should always be a consideration. A good rule of thumb is: You get what you pay for. A well-made window will offer efficiency, low maintenance, and beauty for decades. It’s important to choose a reputable brand that will perform as expected.

Glass Choices

The type of glass you want in your replacement windows is the next decision you will need to make. Today’s technological advances give homeowners tons of benefits. There are a couple of decisions you need to make when choosing the glass. The number of panes in the window won’t increase the insulation your windows offer. The air, or gas, between the panes, will determine the insulation factor.

Low-E glass is coated with a near-invisible layer on the surface. This will reduce the amount of heat that is able to flow through the glass. If you live in a region with extreme weather, or on the coast, you’ll want to consider impact-resistant glass.

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