A window replacement project can reduce your home’s energy costs, reduce outside noise, improve indoor climate and comfort for your family, and enhance your home’s overall appearance. But window replacement projects should not be entered into lightly. The choices made must be lived with for many years, so make sure to consider all factors.
Appearance – Even minor changes in window construction can make a significant difference in how your home looks. The type of frame, the color of the frame, the tint of the glazing all affect how the window and home appear.
The appearance of any window will deteriorate with time and exposure to the elements. In some cases, routine and preventive maintenance can restore them to their original appearance. In other cases, the cost of restoration will add up to a significant portion of the cost of replacement windows.
If new windows are being considered and are determined to be the best option for your home, consider having one of the new units installed as a test case to determine how it will affect your home’s appearance.
Energy Efficiency – The promise of improved energy efficiency is one of the most often-cited reasons for replacing windows. Increasing the number of glazings, reducing the rate of air infiltration and using a heat-reflective coating will all improve energy performance.
Fit - As windows age, their components wear and deteriorate. Some components shrink and dry out, resulting in gaps that can allow air to infiltrate into the structure – the looser the fit, the greater the infiltration. It doesn’t take much of a gap to allow infiltration to become a problem.
Frame - Frame materials deteriorate as the result of rot, corrosion, physical damage, weathering and other factors. As they deteriorate, more air and water will infiltrate into your home.
Deterioration of nearly any frame materials beyond surface corrosion will usually require the replacement of the entire window.
Glazings – In homes with large areas of glass, the solar heat gain through the windows can make spaces near the windows difficult to condition, even during the heating season.
Today’s glazings can eliminate as much as 80 percent of the solar heat gain while allowing nearly 90 percent of the sun’s visible light to pass through.
When considering which solar control option is best-suited for your home, consider the overall condition of the windows and the other performance characteristics needed.
Hardware – Window hardware is subject to wear with normal use. If maintenance requirements for your window hardware are increasing as a result of the age, or if the existing hardware is not adequate, then window replacement is recommended.
Operability – One of the most common window issues is difficult or impossible operability. Over time, components swell, warp, and bind. Often, the cost of restoring these units to operable condition can exceed the cost of a replacement window.
Suitability – Finally, no matter how good the windows are, if they do not meet your needs, they will need to be replaced. Homes and homeowners change over time and windows that were once acceptable can easily become unsuitable for your home’s needs.