The windows of a home play several important roles within the construction of the house. For example, windows should provide crystal clear views of the outdoors, protect your home from the weather, intruders, and other outside threats, and keep out bothersome noises from the street. Your home’s windows should also enhance your property’s interior and exterior aesthetic appeal, while also improving your home’s energy efficiency.
These are just some of the ways that beautiful, high-performance window products can make an impact on the overall function, beauty, and value of your property. In fact, the benefits of brand-new windows are countless—especially if your current windows are old, foggy or water damaged, cracking, broken, or otherwise defective. If your windows aren’t flooding your home with natural light and other amazing benefits, it might be time to consider a replacement.
At Legacy Remodeling, we’re always glad to help out our customers with the information they need to complete successful home improvement projects—including window replacement, one of the most popular projects in the country for homeowners. If you’re currently considering new windows and need help or advice on how to go about replacing your old ones—take a look at this master guide to window replacement, brought to you by your friendly team of window experts at Legacy Remodeling.
How Can I Tell if My Windows Need Replacement?
Windows that are no longer serving your home’s needs—whether those needs are functional or aesthetic, are obvious to detect—for the most part. Faulty windows can be the cause of an increase in your home’s monthly utility bills, due to energy loss through chips or cracks in the frames, or other problems. If you’ve noticed drafts coming in through tiny cracks or gaps in the frames or the glass, this would be another sign that your windows need replacement—as your home is not as tightly sealed as it should be.
Some other signs that your windows might need a replacement include the following:
· Your Windows are Stuck, Hard to Open or Close: Whether they’re hard to maneuver due to a paint job, or the sash is stuck because of a rusted latch or hinge, windows that you can’t open or shut are a problem.
· They’re Ugly or Outdated: If your windows are making your entire house look old or ugly, it could be time for an upgrade. Newer, modern windows will enhance your home’s curb appeal while raising its appraisal value at the same time.
· You’ve Had Them for Decades: Even if your decades-old windows were of the finest quality when they were installed, they’re not likely to be nearly as efficient as some of the cheapest options on the market today. Today’s advancements in new technologies for window designs have resulted in some seriously high-performing products, which is good news for those in need of an upgrade.
· They’re Cracked or Broken: This is a very obvious sign that your windows need to be replaced. Not only are cracked windows unsightly, but they’re also dangerous and unable to perform at peak performance.
· They’re Foggy or Scratched: If you have trouble seeing out of your windows, or if they still look foggy or dirty after you’ve cleaned them—new windows will offer better views, among other amazing benefits.
· You’ve Noticed Mold or Mildew Growing Around the Frames: Mold and mildew look gross and can wreak havoc on your family’s health. If there’s mold growing around your windows, replace them with windows that feature anti-mold and mildew products that stop bacteria from growing near them.
· You’re Tired of Cleaning: Many of today’s newest window products practically clean themselves. With easy-to-clean features like tilt-in sashes, and dust and grime-resistant technology, you’ll save plenty of time with maintenance—while enjoying crystal-clear windows without the effort.
Popular Window Styles for Home Renovations
Homeowners can feel overwhelmed when considering the various options they have for window replacement. There are a great many types of windows in what might seem like an endless array of styles—including custom-made shapes and designs. Choosing the right ones will depend on your personal preferences—as well as the design of your home, the existing window, and of course, your budget.
For the best outcome, we highly recommend seeking the help of an experienced and reputable window contractors like Legacy Remodeling to help you choose the best windows for your needs. At Legacy Remodeling, our design experts work closely with our customers to help them decide on the most functional and attractive window style for their homes. We also offer in-home consultations and price estimates, to help homeowners decide on the services they need and the products that will help them to achieve their home improvement goals.
Before you make an appointment with a window company, it’s a good idea to become familiarized with the styles available—in order to know what to expect with your replacement. When it comes to window designs, most of our replacement window purchases for home remodeling will fall into one of these types of windows: double-hung, single-hung, casement windows, sliding windows, and bay/bow windows, or a custom design. Here’s a bit of information on each of these popular styles, to help you determine how each of them might fit into your plans for window replacement.
Single and Double-Hung Windows
Single-hung and double-hung windows are the two most popular window models sold in homes across the USA. This has mostly to do with the fact that these windows are affordable and well-designed, offering simple functionality at a great value.
The difference between single and double hung windows is that single-hung windows can only be opened at the bottom, while double-hung windows have two sashes that open both at the bottom and the top of the window. These windows can also be equipped with an inward-tilting feature, that allows for super simple cleaning of the outside surfaces from the inside of the home.
Sliding windows rival double-hung and single-hung windows in popularity, perhaps for the sleek, simple, and highly efficient design. Instead of opening or closing vertically, sliding windows slide from side-to-side in a horizontal fashion. Sliding windows can also be a very economical choice, and can offer excellent energy-efficiency and beauty when purchased from a high-quality manufacturer.
Casement windows come in a wide variety of styles—however, all of them are defined as windows that are held to the frame by hinges at the sides, and open outward to the right or to the left. Hopper and awning windows are a type of casement window, although the hinge location is on top or on the bottom, instead of to the side—and in the case of hopper windows, the windows pull in towards the interior of the house, instead of out towards the exterior.
Hopper and Awning Windows
As we mentioned in the last section, hopper and awning windows are a type of casement window. Hopper and awning windows look similar but are different in the way they open and the direction they open. Both windows open from a hinge at the top of the sash or at the bottom, depending on the company manufacturing the window. However, awning windows open outwards and away from the house, while hopper windows open inwards, towards the interior of the home.
Bay & Bow Windows
Bay and bow windows are often confused with one another. This is understandable, as both window designs feature several windows connected together in a curve that extends outward from the wall of the home. However, once you learn the difference between the two, it’s easy to tell them apart.
Bay windows consist of three, side-by-side windows set at an angle—usually, a larger, fixed, picture window in the middle and flanked by two fully operational windows on either side. Bow windows, on the other hand, usually consist of four or more windows set side-by-side, of equal size and design.
Picture windows are flat panes of glass that are used for letting in light and enjoying the views. Unlike other windows like casement, sliding, or double-hung, picture windows cannot be opened.
Egress windows are windows that are able to be used as an escape route in case of emergency. These windows are typically placed in basements or low to the ground, for easy access to the outside of the house.Custom Replacement Windows
Another common window design sold in the United States is custom replacement windows. Custom windows might be decorative in nature, or of a specialized size or appearance—according to the unique needs of the customer.
Choosing the Right Frames to Use for Window Replacement
When we think of windows, we don’t usually think beyond the glass—but window frame materials are a critically important feature as well. Windows can be framed in a number of materials, which will feature different characteristics and capacities for durability, energy-efficiency, beauty, and other factors.
Some of the most commonly sold window frame materials for homes in the United States are wood, fiberglass, and vinyl. Other options include aluminum, wood/plastic composite, cellular PVC, and thermoplastic alloys. Whichever material you choose, make sure it’s from a highly rated window manufacturing company—and that the material is complementary to your home style, the climate where you live, and other important considerations. A great window company will offer you expert advice on your window products, so you don’t have to worry if you’re feeling unsure about which one to choose.
For now, here’s some information you should know about wood, fiberglass, and vinyl—the bestselling window framing materials for homes in the US. For information on other materials, ask your home improvement company for details.
Energy-efficient, stylish, and gorgeous, wood frames were once the most popular framing material in the country, hands down. Today, however, wood isn’t used as often—due to the availability of economical, low-maintenance, and high-performance options like vinyl and fiberglass. While wood frames are still widely used today, more people are choosing other options that are easier to take care of. In fact, wood frames can last up to sixty years with proper care and maintenance.
For those that still pine for wood frames, the good news is they can now be found pre-primed and glazed with materials that protect it from water damage, termites, and other threats. Also, homeowners can opt for wood composite materials that look just like the real thing, without the intensive upkeep or higher cost.
Fiberglass is the next most energy-efficient window frame material on the list—just after wood. Fiberglass is long-lasting and can stay looking beautiful forever—although they will have to be repainted from time to time. Fiberglass replacement windows come in a wide variety of stylish colors and textures and have a general lifespan of around fifty years or longer.
Convenience, energy-efficiency, and affordability are the biggest incentives for those buying vinyl windows, the most popular installation choice in the country for both new installations and replacements. Vinyl windows are durable and strong, and last up to thirty years or longer before wearing out and needing replacement. Another great part about vinyl windows is that they’ll never need to be repainted, and will retain their beautiful color for as long as you own them.
Window Panes 101: Innovative Glass for Energy-Efficient Homes
You may have heard the terms “single-pane” or “double-pane” in regards to windows before, but what about triple-pane or quadruple-pane?
In the world of windows, the more panes a product has, the more energy-efficient that product will be. This means that the least energy efficient windows are single-pane, which feature just one pane of glass. Today’s most recommended windows are at least double-pane and feature an insulating gas inside the sheets of glass that stops energy loss in its tracks. Triple-pane and quadruple-pane windows are even higher performing than double-pane, and all of them offer more protection, security, insulation, and energy-efficiency than single-pane window models.
Beyond pane counts, there are other factors that you can use to determine the efficiency of a window. The first is the window’s U-Value, which should be listed in the product information from the manufacturer. The U-Value measures the energy-efficiency of a window by evaluating the rate that heat travels through it. In essence, the higher the U-Value, the faster the energy-loss and the worse the insulation is. Homeowners instead want to look for the lowest U-Value for the best energy efficient windows.
Perhaps the easiest way to confirm that the windows you’re buying are energy-efficient is to look for the Energy Star certification. Energy Star-rated products are certified for top efficiency by the US Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency and meet the nation’s high standards for eco-friendliness and energy-saving performance.
What to Look for When Choosing a Window Installation Company
Choosing a window installation company is an important decision, as it will likely affect the quality of your installation, the cost of your window replacement project, and the quality of your materials. The goal is to get the best possible installation possible, combined with the highest value products at the lowest possible price.
Homeowners can choose one of four routes when installing new replacement windows: they can hire a department store chain like Home Depot or Sears as an all-in-one service, hire trusted local window company that specializes in replacement windows, hire an unlicensed contractor for the installation, or buy and install the windows as a DIY project.
If you’re not a window expert, DIY window installation can be difficult. In fact, DIY window installation can go very wrong when done by a non-professional—and is not recommended by window experts. Window installation is an important home improvement project and should be handled by professionals for the best outcome. Along the same lines, hiring a department store or an independent contractor to install new windows might not result in the personalized experience—nor the quality installation—that homeowners expect when making this large of an investment into their homes.
In contrast, a reliable home improvement company will offer homeowners with everything they need to experience a superior window replacement project and will likely guarantee their products and installation services for years to come. Unfortunately, finding a trusted remodeling company can be tricky—as there are plenty of unlicensed window contractors advertising low rates, and scammers seeking homeowners to swindle in contractor schemes. To find a legitimate remodeling company that specializes in windows, make sure to do an internet search for companies in your area. Check reviews, read ratings, and visit the company’s website. Check for awards from organizations like the BBB, Angie’s List, or Houzz.com, and ask friends, family, and acquaintances for recommendations.
A Quick Buyer’s Guide to Purchasing New Windows
Replacement window products come in a wide range of styles, types, brands, and other options—and determining the best ones for your renovation can be complicated. To help you navigate through the sea of window options for your upcoming remodeling project, take a look at these tips that will help you narrow down the list to the best possible products for your home.
· Interview Several Companies: As we mentioned previously, window scams are a dime a dozen. Make sure to check the reliability of your home remodeling company by comparing several options at once. Any legitimate remodeling company will offer an in-home pricing estimate and consultation, so take advantage of this free service to scope out the company. Note the professionalism of the representative, the options they provide, and the advice they give you regarding your window installation. Also, make sure to get quotes for at least 3-5 companies to find the best rates for your new windows.
· Do Your Homework: Know what to expect from a window installation before it happens. Being prepared will help you to avoid getting scammed or losing money on installation. Research the type of windows you want, and learn all that you can about the manufacturers that produce them, the materials they use, and the typical price range that they fall under.
· Look Beyond the Brand Names: Just because the brand name isn’t recognizable, doesn’t mean they aren’t a great product. Consider buying off-brand window products, or those made locally instead of the more expensive name brands. When doing this, just be sure to research the company and read ratings of their products—and check the warranty options for best results.
· Don’t Go for Cheap: While you don’t want to overpay, you don’t want to spend less money on a product that won’t last. Single-pane window products, for example, might cost a third of what a double-pane, energy-efficient, wood-framed window might—but it’s also much more likely to need replacement after a very short period of time. To top it all off, a single-pane window could also end up costing you extra money on your monthly utility bills, and won’t add value to your home should you decide to sell.
Pittsburgh Window Experts at Legacy Remodeling
Legacy Remodeling has been Pittsburgh’s leading home renovations company for over 32 years. Since our beginnings in 1987, we’ve worked hard to become your most trusted experts for exterior and interior home improvement—and the most trusted name in home remodeling in the area.
While we offer a wide range of home remodeling services today—from kitchen and bathroom remodeling, to siding and roofing installation, door installation, and more—our family-owned and operated company began with our focus on superior window replacement and installation. We understand the value of a high-performance, energy-efficient window replacement, and are always eager to help homeowners achieve the results they want to improve their homes with gorgeous new windows. Whether you’re interested in vinyl or wood frames, bow, bay, or double-hung windows, a triple-pane or quadruple-pane upgrade, or something custom-made just for you—we’re guaranteed to have everything you need for the perfect renovation.
For more information about our window installation services at Legacy Remodeling, give our team a call to speak with us over the phone. You can also fill out our online form to have an agent contact you right away about scheduling a free, in-home estimate and consultation for your window replacement project.
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