New Windows that Completely Change the Look of Your Home
While windows often seem like a permanent fixture in a home, there are many reasons you might decide to replace them. Your old windows could be drafty or difficult to clean. New, more modern windows can resolve many of these concerns, as well as being more energy efficient than your older, well-used windows. New windows for your home can be a serious investment. To help you make the best window choice, we’ve compiled a few tips and ideas to help guide you through the process of selecting new windows.
How are “New” and “Replacement” Windows Different?
The main difference is in the way in which the window needs to be installed.
• New windows use a nail fin frame which can be nailed directly into exposed wood studs.
• Replacement windows are installed with:
- a flush fin (or Z Bar), used mostly in stucco exteriors
- or with a block frame, used mainly on brick or homes with siding
These are typically installed when you want to change the shape or size of your home’s window opening, essentially putting in a totally new window, which includes the frame. It usually involves hiring a professional to do the carpentry and installation, as it is a complex job to change the structure of your home. New windows can completely change the look and feel of your home, by revitalizing not just the outside but the inside as well.
Replacement windows are a bit simpler. Installing replacement windows means that all you are doing is removing old windows and putting in new ones. Your replacement windows are designed to the exact size of that existing opening.
Window Sash and Frame Materials
After you determine if you need new or replacement windows, you should now think about the materials the windows are made of. Some of the most popular materials for windows you find today are fiberglass, wood and vinyl.
FIBERGLASS – It is a versatile material used also in the automotive, construction and furniture industries. Fiberglass windows are easy to maintain and offer a better insulation than vinyl or even wood.
WOOD - Wood is a very beautiful material, with a lot of options for appearance. Wood offers good insulating properties to resist both cold and heat. The natural beauty of wood requires quite a bit of maintenance to keep it looking good, including periodic staining and painting. It will also need to be treated so that it is protected from rot and moisture.
VINYL - Vinyl windows have similar properties to vinyl fencing. Vinyl requires little to no maintenance and it provides great insulation against both hot and cold temperatures. You can find vinyl windows for very reasonable prices.
Aluminum frame windows are also an option, but they are not as energy efficient as vinyl and wood.
Think Outside the Box (or Rectangle)
Your home is defined by 90-degree angles. Everywhere you look, there is a right angle. Even sloped roofs angles create rectangular eaves.Probably the best and easiest way to break up the monotony is to have some unexpected window shapes. They can be fun and playful hints at what lies inside your home. For instance, a circular window often lets viewers know that there’s a bathroom on the other side of it. These unusual windows shapes do more than just give character to the exterior of your home. They can go beyond the home’s intrinsic design.
Picking Window Glass
The next thing you should do is decide on the type of glass you will be using for your windows. Modern technology has expanded the choices available to use as window glass.
There’s more than just double pane glass, triple pane is also available. For example, you can look at the Quiet Line™ Series Vinyl Windows that deliver excellent noise protection. Have you ever thought that you could live near an airport or a freeway and not be disturbed by the outside noise? Well, you don’t have to live near such noisy places, but if you do, with these windows you can be sure that you’ll have a more peaceful home.
The number of panes does not make the window more insulated. The real improvement in insulation comes from the air between the glass panes. Many manufacturers place inert gases like argon between the panes, which improves insulation.
LOW EMISSIVITY (LOW-E GLASS)
Low-E glass has a microscopically thin, essentially invisible layer of material on the surface of the glass. This surface reduces the amount of heat transfer that flows through the glass.
You accidentally trip and hit a glass window. What does it do? It shatters all over the place—unless you have laminated glass. Laminated glass has an invisible inner plastic layer that is between two pieces of glass. What this means for you is that, if it is broken, the glass fragments adhere to the plastic interlayer rather than falling all over the place.
Think About Changing the Window Style
Many people change the size of their windows in order to create a new look or design for their home. Your home may look old and dated, so you might be updating the windows to modernize it. Perhaps you are considering a home addition and would like your windows to match the new windows in the addition.
You might not want to make a dramatic change to your home’s windows, just update the operating style or frame type without changing their size. You might have casement style windows now, but prefer a single hung. There are many options.
APPEARANCE IS KEY
You will get approximately 73% of your window replacement investment back when you resell your home, according to National Association of Realtors’ 2017 Cost Versus Value study.
Figure Out If You Can Change Your Window Size
If you plan on getting new windows, make sure your home’s structure can support the change. Load bearing walls and support beams need to stay intact. If you change the size of your windows, keep in mind that you will need to get your home inspected for safety and structural integrity. Often the best way to change the size is to leave the top the same and modify the bottom to change the height. For widening, a contractor will need to look at your walls and check the load bearing structures. Often windows will be placed between two structurally important areas, which is why widening them could impact the house’s structural integrity.
Choose Quality Windows
When you choose a window, you also must look at quality not only design. As this is not like a piece a furniture that you can replace easily. You want to make the best choice for your home, for many years to come. A good window will be easy to use, offer energy savings, and hold up over the years with little maintenance.
We know that choosing the perfect window is a process that requires time and research. If you haven’t decided yet regarding your dream window and you are looking for more inspiration, check out the Milgard Photo Gallery.
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At least once in your life, you may need to buy replacement windows. We’ve made the idea a little more fun with the Milgard "Life Without Windows" series.
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