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Buying New Windows? 9 Things to Consider.
By Mike Holmes
Tuesday, August 17th, 2021 @ 4:58pm
I get a lot of emails regarding windows, like how much should replacement windows cost and what type of windows to get and what should I look for in new windows? Here are some things to think about when buying new windows.
So How Much Should I Spend On New Windows?
Well, that depends on a number of things such as custom colours, double or triple glazed and so on. A typical 1,500 sg/ft with 10-15 windows could range from $15,000.00 – $20,000.00 and it goes up from there. Let me tell you this-the best quality is not necessarily going to be the most expensive. The best price is not the best window. I hear from a LOT of homeowners that their windows don’t even open. Poor installation or cheap materials is usually why. I have seen this in new home construction as well.
Here are the 9 things you should consider when purchasing windows:
#9 Color Choices For New Windows
Most manufacturers offer a wide variety of colours to choose from. No matter what colour you choose be sure to opt for windows that have the colour infused into the frame material.
#8 Work with an Experienced Window Installation Team
Hiring an experienced installer is similar to hiring a contractor. Make sure they are experienced in installing windows (at least 5 years of installation experience). Ask for references and get several estimates before you make your decision. And make sure the installation has some sort of warranty.
We have been trusting Trimbo Windows to manufacture and install our windows and doors for many, many years. Dom always makes it right on our job sites.
#7 Manufacturer’s Warranty
Different than the installation warranty, also confirm the manufacturer’s warranty on the windows and make sure it’s a realistic one.
Warranties vary. Some have limited lifetime warranties while others may only cover non-glass components for 5 to 10 years or glass up to 20 years. Read the fine print, ask the right questions and understand what you are covered for and for how long.
#6 Retrofit or Full Frame Replacement Windows?
There are two types of installation: retrofit and full frame replacement. Retrofit means that the window is replaced without removing the frame to install the window. The windows are measured to fit in an existing window opening and only the actual window is replaced. The existing window frames remain as is.
Replacement windows are easy to install and usually do not require permits, so saves time.
Full frame replacement is my preferred method and is worth the extra money. Your installer will remove all the old materials including the frame and casement and make any necessary repairs.
#5 Window Model/Design
There are basically 5 different window designs: fixed, casement, awning, tilt & turn, hungs or sliders.
Fixed: These windows do not open and feature a large mid-section and two vertical side sections. They provide a sturdy frame with a panoramic view.
Casement: After fixed pane window, casement windows are the most energy-efficient as they have an airtight seal when closed.
Awning: Awning windows are hinged at the top and open outwards from the bottom, allowing ventilation and protection from the weather.
Tilt & Turn: Tilt and turn windows have a mechanical hinge that opens on two axes. The window can be opened, like a door or it can be opened on an angle – both ways allow for ventilation and easy cleaning.
Hung or Sliders: Hung windows (double and single hung) incorporate a slider design into a vertical window. The sash lock releases the upper (outside) sash that slides down or lower (inside) sash that slides up.
Tip: Picture windows are more energy efficient because they don’t open. However, casement windows offer better energy efficiency due to the strong seal on all four sides. Double and triple pane are gas filled which helps to increase insulation and energy efficiency. Triple pane is overkill, unless you are trying to block out noise.
A home can lose major heat from drafts alone. Look for damaged caulking that needs to be replaced. Here are three ways to prevent heat loss in your home.
#4 Make Sure Windows are Certified
Most good quality windows meet standard certification – meaning they have been tested from an approved laboratory. Look for the ENERGY STAR label.
Also, check out the energy performance reviews from the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) for the most efficient windows available.
#3 Energy Star Rated Windows
Only choose windows with an ENERGY STAR rating with the lowest U-Value possible or the highest energy rating possible. The homework is done for you. ENERGY STAR certified windows, doors and skylights have some (or all) of these features:
- Quality Frame Materials that reduce heat transfer and help insulate better
- Multiple Frames, such as two panes of glass with air or gas-filled space in the middle. Some Energy Star certified windows even have three or more panes for even better energy efficiency. And sound insulation!
- Low-E Glass. Special coatings reflect infrared light. This keeps heat inside during colder months, and cool outside in the summer. They also reflect UV light, which will protect your furniture from fading.
- Gas Filled can mean argon, krypton or other gases between the panes. These non-toxic gases will insulate better than regular air
#2 Types of Glazing
Low E/Argon glazing is standard and helps reject UV rays while allowing in light. During the winter months heat loss is minimized and in the summer heat gain is reduced.
Double and triple glazed windows are filled with gas, either argon or krypton which provides insulation. Argon gas is a much better insulator than normal air. Argon gas can help improve window energy efficiency by 6%.
#1 Types of Window Materials
Windows come in a variety of materials: vinyl, aluminum, fiberglass, wood and hybrid.
- Vinyl windows are a very popular as they are durable, won’t warp or rot, like wood and are easy to clean. Vinyl windows come in a variety of sizes, colours and styles. However, you can’t paint or stain them.
- Aluminum windows last a long time but tend to be more expensive than vinyl. Aluminum is more durable and stronger than vinyl, which allows for large window construction. Aluminum also doesn’t degrade like vinyl. Advancement in product development has allowed aluminum windows to be just as energy-efficient as vinyl, with coatings and thermal breaks.
- Fiberglass windows are low-maintenance, and they won’t warp, crack or rust. Fiberglass windows are strong and because of that the frames can be thinner compared to vinyl window frames. Fiberglass windows can also mimic natural wood frames.
- Wood is still a great choice, especially for older more traditional homes but is a bit more expensive than vinyl. Wood windows are durable, come in a variety of colours, shapes, and sizes. They look beautiful and require minimal maintenance, are eco-friendly, energy-efficient and recyclable. However, they are more vulnerable to rot, termites, termites, cracking and warping due to heat and moisture.
MIKE’S TIP: Use a low expansion foam like Sika Boom to insulate your windows and doors. Easily available at your local hardware stores. Sika Boom is a Holmes Approved, all season, one-component, low-expansion polyurethane foam. It is used for weather sealing and insulation of windows, doors, gaps, cracks and utilities perforations and pest blocker.
Why should you invest in GOOD quality windows?
Well, they will last 30 years if they are installed correctly. They protect against water intrusion. This doesn’t mean going with the most expensive option by the way.
My window expert Trimbo Window Mfg Inc. explains what makes a window good quality, and how some installers cut corners and use cheap hardware for install. I love learning about this stuff You guys always ask why I bring in specialized trades for our projects, watch the video and you will know exactly why. Dom is sImply the best in the business.