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5 Factors to Consider When Buying Windows
As colder weather begins to creep in, we tend to notice the chill of winter sneaking it's way into our homes. The most common area this occurs in and around the windows. Drafty days, cold air vacuums, and higher energy bills are all signs that your home's windows may no longer be properly functioning.
Here we will discuss the 5 most important factors when it comes to shopping for new replacement windows.
#1 How much longer do you plan on staying in your home?
This though process may seem crass in nature, we have to be realistic in our return on investment when undergoing projects like this. If you and your family plan on staying in the home for an extended period of time, spending a premium for high grade windows may make more sense. The energy efficiency cost reduction may end up paying for itself. However, if you don't plan on being in your home for another 5 years or more than a cheaper alternative may be the way to go.
Meeting with an expert who can truly help you decide which direction to go is important in making your decision.
Today's modern fabrication processes allow for a large variety of window types; aluminum, vinyl, wood, and fiberglass frames all offer pros and cons depending upon what your final goal is. While Vinyl windows are still king when it comes to popularity of install choice, you may have a Homeowners Association, or specific town/city codes that require another material type.
Make sure you do your research and identify the reason why you are replacing your windows to make sure that your choice fits with what makes the most sense and may be allowed in your specific area.
#3 Style and Finishes
Much like the actual materials your new windows are made of, really think about the styles you want and how much effort you want to spend maintaining your new windows. If being easy to clean is a priority, then you may want to go double-hung or sliders. If uninterrupted glass is your focus than perhaps a larger picture window is a priority for you.
In addition to style, don't forget about finishes. Things like grids, hardware, color, seals, number of panes of glass all serve certain purposes. Areas with higher crime rates may want heavier duty locking mechanisms, while areas exposed to higher winds may opt for triple paned glass instead of double paned glass.
As always, you need to truly identify the purpose and goal of your replacement window project and make sure you accomplish whatever targets you have set for the project.
#4 Energy Efficiency
While some may argue this should be higher up on the list, the truth of the matter is that most windows manufactured in todays economy are all fairly energy efficient. That being said, you'll need to weigh other factors as well. How efficient are your current windows? Don't get sucked into the mindset that 30-50% energy savings applies to all windows because it doesn't, in fact most of these claims are made against "builder grade" windows, which are inexpensive and not designed to last long.
The factor that plays the highest role in energy efficiency is the U-Factor. The U-Factor is a measurement of the material's insulation efficiency, and the lower the number, the better the energy efficiency is. In general, most windows U-Factor ranges from 0.2 - 1.2. So make sure you get an accurate measurement of what your current windows do to compare to your potential new windows. A drop of only 0.1 or 0.2 won't result in significant energy savings.
#5 Price Vs. Cost
You've heard us mention this before, and it is a staple or should be in any decision making process. Price is what you pay right now, Cost is what you pay in it's entirety.
Lower prices don't always mean lower costs.
When evaluating your window replacement project make sure that you factor in how long you plan on staying in the home, what your current energy bills are, how much certain "needs" cost in regards to fits and finishes, and finally what the price you will pay upfront is.
Like any home project, there are a lot of decisions to go through and evaluate. At Xpress Exterior Design our Certified Product & Estimating Specialists are expertly trained to know how to evaluate your specific situation and evaluate your wants/needs, as well as your problem areas and provide solutions that make sense within your budget.
Want a free Window Estimate? Give Us a Call!