Windows are a significant investment for any Toledo homeowner, and they serve several important functions for your home. The materials and type of windows you choose can affect their core function, longevity, and your home’s energy efficiency, among other things. When it comes time to replace or upgrade your windows, keep the following elements in mind to make the most of your investment:
1. Energy Efficiency
How energy efficient new windows are is probably one of the biggest things all homeowners should consider when making the decision to upgrade. Windows each have their own energy efficiency rating, and a vendor can help explain what the numbers mean and whether they’re right for your property. Choosing an energy efficient window can provide a valuable return on investment, since you’ll see the difference on your first utility bill after installation.
2. Upgrading Versus Replacement
Another important consideration concerns the nature of your home itself. In some cases, it might make more sense to upgrade your windows instead of diving right into an entire replacement. A common example is an older or historic home, when the original windows help maintain the home’s character and charm. In this case, it might make more sense for you to upgrade using storm glass, which can preserve the character of the window, while matching the energy efficiency of the replacement.
3. Consider the Frame
If you have decided on a replacement, one of the first things you’ll make a decision on is the frame. Window frames come in a variety of materials, and each has its advantages:
- Vinyl is one of the most affordable frame options, but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s cheap. A well-made vinyl frame can offer a budget-friendly option that’s long lasting and durable. They can also be very energy efficient.
- Wood frames are often the superior insulator, but the trade-off is that they require more maintenance than other materials. Because they have a tendency to rot, they may not be the best choice for humid climates or places that get excessive rain.
- Aluminum frames may not provide the best performance in terms of heat transfer and loss, but they are more practical for rainy climates and consistently humid temperatures. They tend to be most likely to meet code in hurricane climates.
- Wood clad windows offer a low maintenance exterior and a temperature resistant wood interior. However, these windows can still be vulnerable to water intrusion, so they might not be the best choice for climates that see a lot of rain.
- Composite windows usually have plastic resin and wood shaving materials and are virtually maintenance free. Their recycled nature also makes them an eco-friendly choice.
- Finally, fiberglass windows are technically also composite made from plastic and polyester resins and fibers. However, they warrant their own category since they’re extremely energy efficient and are among the most durable models available on the market. This also makes them one of the more expensive, but homeowners will see the difference in its energy efficiency, lack of necessary maintenance, and durability.
4. Consider the Installation
Finally, you will have to decide which type of installation works best for their aesthetics and budget. Generally, there are three different kinds of window installation: double-hung, casement, and picture windows.
- Double hung windows are the standard for many homes across the country, and the bottom slides up to provide ventilation. They can be efficient but might not be the best choice in extreme temperatures because of the potential for air intrusion.
- Casement windows feature a crank that swings the window out and provides a tighter seal to protect against high winds and extreme temperatures. On the other hand, these types of windows can require additional maintenance compared to other models.
- Picture windows can come in many shapes and sizes, but serve more form than function. They don’t open, but this doesn’t mean they can’t be a beautiful, energy efficient choice for your home. Picture windows work best in areas where you don’t plan on using windows for ventilation but want a view to the outside.
Choosing the right replacement or upgraded window for your home will require some careful consideration about your budget, unique home needs, and installation. New windows come in a variety of materials and types, and each has its advantages and disadvantages. A Toledo-based window expert can help you make the right choices for your home based on your preferences and budget.