Why would you wish to replace the windows of your home? It is a time-consuming process, and it can be expensive, so why go to all of that trouble?
Well, there are lots of reasons why you may want to make changes to the windows in your home. You could just be looking for something new, perhaps your current windows are run-down, or you might have gotten tired of continually fixing them to stop them from jamming during a cold spell.
Replacing windows can also be an investment in the value of your home. A quality job can dramatically affect your home’s overall price and enhance its appearance.
Whatever the reason is, there are things to consider before you get started. Read on to discover all the information you need to make the right choices when replacing the windows in your home.
4 Things to Consider Before you take the Plunge and Buy New Windows
You may have some good reasons to decide to replace the windows in your home.
There are some fantastic options available. The chances are your new windows will not be drafty. It may be adjustable for easy cleaning, and you may finally be able to get rid of the ugly storm windows that you have grown to loathe.
The chances are that new windows will be more energy-efficient and perfectly manufactured, but that does not necessarily mean they will be worth the substantial investment.
That being said, there are 4 things to consider before you decide to make changes to the windows in your home.
- New Windows Might not Justify the Cost
The best double-paned windows available today are roughly twice as energy effective as the single-paned windows, which were popular a couple of decades back.
Of course, retaining air conditioning and heat is a good thing. Still, the overall savings on utility bills don’t justify the high replacement costs.
Windows are only a small part of keeping energy costs down, and even the best replacement windows will only make an energy saving of somewhere between 5 to 15 percent.
With American cooling and heating bills running at around $1,000 per year, it might take you a long time (over 100 years, perhaps) to make back the money you invest in window renovation.
- You Can Repair Your Old Windows
Just because you are having issues with noise, drafts, or windows which struggle to follow your wishes to stay open or closed does not necessarily mean you have no option other than replacing them.
There are some excellent window restoration specialists around, and a good carpenter can often work magic on problematic old windows. Replacing some hardware and glazing can often make a huge difference.
You can get a pretty decent window for a couple of hundred dollars. It might not be perfect, and it will never be as energy-efficient. Still, it will undoubtedly remain a cheaper option than a full replacement.
- Consider the Options for Your New Windows
Many folks who have experience renovating their properties prefer solid wood because of aesthetics. But lumber today is not left to grow slowly and naturally as it was in the past, and it is considered less durable by many people.
Fortunately, there are some excellent modern alternatives.
Vinyl windows are a durable and affordable choice. There are also real wood windows with aluminium cladding that will last for up to 20 years.
These are all excellent choices, and you should consider the easy maintenance they offer when you make your choice for new windows. I will discuss the various options for replacement windows in more depth later in this article.
The aesthetics are an essential consideration also, as many homeowners get a substantial portion of their investment in new windows back when they resell their property.
Making the wrong choice for window replacement is a mistake that must be avoided since it can significantly detract from the value of your home. You can ask a window professional for advice on the best options for the windows in your home if you’re unsure.
- Entirely Replacing Your Windows is not Always Necessary
You have a couple of options when it comes to replacing your windows.
You can have a contractor (or yourself, if you decided to attempt DIY) to install a whole new window unit as you would during a total renovation job. An alternative or cheaper way is to install a window insert. This is smaller and will fit into the existing gap without the need to remove the internal and external trim.
This will save you a few hundred dollars per window in labour costs (or substantial time if doing DIY). Still, it doesn’t effectively seal the gaps around the window openings, so it doesn’t provide effective insulation. There will be fewer energy savings using this method.
One other consideration is that window inserts are a few inches smaller, so they might not look as natural as a whole new window unit.
Is DIY a Realistic Option, or Should I Hire a Professional?
Doing it yourself is always a tempting option. YouTube is now full of instructive videos that can show you how to build or replace almost anything.
Deciding on DIY is a serious consideration as the quality and beauty of the windows in your house can have a disproportionate effect on its value.
If you don’t manage to do a perfect job, you might have saved a few bucks on labour, but it will still have a detrimental impact when you come to sell your property and lead to an overall loss in the long-term.
You need to be honest with yourself about your skills and how much time you will have to devote to the project. If you are undertaking a small job, such as one window in an easily accessible area, that might be an excellent opportunity to get your tools out and spend the weekend perfecting your renovation skills.
However, a more cumbersome project such as taking out and replacing entire windows all over the house is a much bigger deal. It might turn out to be more trouble than it is worth. In this case, you will be better off turning to a professional for help.
You also need to consider the tools that are required for replacing your window.
It might be that you spend more on buying tools that you will never use again. The extra you would spend hiring a professional to carry out the work would, therefore, be worth the cost.
Although labour prices can be high, a professional can often get much better prices on materials than you can when you buy retail. It might be that the difference in overall costs between DIY and hiring an expert is not as wide as you think.
From a cost perspective, sometimes it is worth paying for guaranteed quality work from a licensed professional. At the same time, you get to take it easy and just supervise rather than having to engage in anything too labour intensive.
There are pros and cons for considering doing it yourself, of course, but it does not have to be all or nothing. For example, you can hire a contractor to do the more complicated window fitting and take care of the finishing yourself.
Many contractors are happy to discuss options with you. They are able to make recommendations about what part of the job you can carry out.
Consulting with a professional is always a great idea in any case. The last thing you want to happen is a disastrous DIY project!
Hiring a Professional Window Installer
If you choose to go with a professional window installer, you should ask them to do a site inspection and get numerous quotes.
An expert can be useful as they can make recommendations about which windows are suitable for your budget and style of your house. They can also make assessments about potential problems during the renovation and ways to save on that.
Professionals will also be aware of any changes in building regulations since your house was built and be able to inform you of any adjustments which might be required.
You should ask any questions that you can think of, check the contractor’s references and qualifications, and also discuss the schedule. You don’t want to be inconvenienced unnecessarily by having the work carried out at a time that doesn’t work for you.
In my experience, a good contractor can be well worth any extra costs involved. However, if you are not satisfied with their quote or answers they have given you, you can always go on to the next one.
What Options Do I Have When it Comes to Replacing Windows?
There are many options when you come to look for your replacement windows. You can choose from aluminium, vinyl, fibreglass, or wood. There are also various different styles to choose from.
Types of Window Frame
- Wooden frames are a popular choice when remodelling a property. They can be made to measure, so they perfectly match the actual size of your window if you are only doing a partial renovation. If you are hoping to retain the original look of your home, wooden windows are often the best choice.
- Clad-frame windows come with a shell of vinyl or aluminium. These are commonly used in new construction. They come in various price ranges, which is reflected in the quality. More expensive ones might be the right choice for a renovation project due to efficiency and durability.
- Vinyl-clad windows can be bought in a wide variety of colours and are far lower maintenance than traditional wooden windows. They are cheaper and insulate well, but they are less attractive, in my opinion.
- Fibreglass composite windows are an excellent choice as they are more durable than vinyl and only a little more expensive.
Types of Window Glass
Again, there are plenty of different options when you come to select the glass for your windows. The location of your window and what it is used for will help you choose the most suitable glass.
Single-paned glass is now outdated for home use in most cases. It might still be seen in extremely mild climates or in an outbuilding. Double-pane windows are far more efficient in reducing heat loss and have a sealed air space between the layers.
If you are located in an area with an icy climate, triple pane windows are an option. They can help you to save modestly on your heating bill but are considerably more expensive.
If you live close to a noisy street or near a busy environment, double and triple-pane windows offer excellent sound insulation. They are also less prone to condensation.
You should discuss the energy efficiency rating of the windows you look at with your glass supplier.
Which Style Should You Choose?
The style of window you choose to implement into your home really comes down to your personal preference when choosing a window style. You should consider the design of your home and how the form of the window will appear from the inside and outside.
Here are a few different options to consider:
Sliding windows have the advantage of needing little maintenance. They are also reasonably priced. They offer a beautiful unobstructed view but have limited ventilation as they only open halfway.
Casement windows open in the same way as a door. They have hinges on the outside edge attached to the window frame, allowing them to pivot out. They have a modern look and provide excellent ventilation.
Bay windows are useful for making the most of your space. They make any room look larger. They are awesome for making a room feel like it has a big area with plenty of breathing space.
This style of window has been popular for a long time and offers a traditional look. They feature a spring-mounted mechanism that allows them to seamlessly slide up and down.
Spend some time discussing your window style options with your glass supplier and contractor before deciding.
It is essential to get the overall look right to fit with the rest of your house.
What Kind of Maintenance Do New Windows Require?
Once you have replaced your windows, you should consider the maintenance. Home window maintenance is vital to keep your home looking in excellent condition.
Well-maintained windows affect how your house looks and can add to the resale value when it comes time to sell. Poorly-maintained windows can lead to increased energy costs, so check for holes and leaks and keep them dirt-free and airtight.
Proper window maintenance is easy and is low-cost, so it is a good practice. Here are a few straightforward tips.
Properly Clean Your Windows Every Month
Doing a proper monthly clean keeps your windows looking beautiful and well maintained. Always check for any cracks or signs of decay.
Consider Window Tinting
This is especially important for windows without a low-E glass coating to deflect UV rays from the sun. Tinting will help protect against damage from UV light.
Add Proper Lubrication
Lubrication is essential to keep your windows opening and closing smoothly. A stuck window is always annoying. Add some oil to the hinges or tracks and rollers every few months to keep things running smoothly.
Clean the Window Frame
Cleaning the window frame is an often overlooked practice. It is too easy to focus on just cleaning the glass. Yet the frame provides the support of your whole window, so pay it a little bit of attention and do some periodic maintenance to keep things in check.
Vacuum up any dirt, clean any cobwebs, then use some all-purpose cleaner to wipe the whole frame down.
Spend a little time in the exterior and give the frame a brush down to remove bird droppings and dirt.
Paint Wooden Window Frames Yearly
If you have chosen a wooden frame, make sure you paint it yearly to protect against any deterioration. Sunlight causes paint to crack and peel, so a yearly paint job will keep your window frames looking as good as new.
Home window maintenance is simple and will just take you half an hour per month. It is a small but vital step to keeping your home looking great and helping to protect its resale value.
Final Thoughts on the Best Ways to Replace a Window
It is not always necessary to replace an old deteriorated window as refurbishing is a viable option. But in my view, replacement is usually the better option over restoration and repair. You will have a new window set up-to-date specifications and can expect it to last many years without issue.
DIY can always be a fun project. But unless it is a small job, or you have plenty of tools and experience replacing windows, hiring a contractor who specializes in window replacement is going to be the safest course of action to take.
The contractor will have access to better prices for the materials and will ensure a professional-looking job is carried out.
Remember: your house’s windows have an effect on its resale price, so it is essential to have any refurbishing carried out correctly.
When you replace windows, you need to consider aesthetics, durability, and easy maintenance. Don’t make the wrong choice as unsuitable replacement windows can lower the value of your home.
Lastly, you can always turn to a window professional for advice. After all, they will have experience in the industry and will be able to make recommendations about the best choices available to you, so be sure to check in with an expert for support.