windows 101

When Do You Need Window Replacement?

Ready to replace your old windows with more energy-efficient options? Looking into glass options for increased privacy? Or maybe you’re not sure if you need to replace your windows at all. Here’s how to tell.


Your Windows Let in Air or Water

If you feel drafts around your windows or notice water seepage during rain, it's a sure sign that your windows aren’t performing the way they should. These issues can lead to higher energy costs and potential water damage inside your home, so you’ll want to replace the windows right away.

The Glass Is Foggy or Stained

Window glass replacement is a must if you’ve noticed fog or stains. These are often signs of failed seals, which compromise the window's insulation properties. This not only affects the clarity of the window but also reduces thermal efficiency, impacting your home’s energy efficiency. 

Your Energy Bills Are High

Excessively high energy bills can sometimes indicate inefficient windows. If your heating or cooling costs are climbing, it might be due to old or poorly sealed windows letting conditioned air escape, forcing your HVAC system to work harder. 

Your Windows Don't Open or Close Properly

Windows that are difficult to open or close or that won't stay open can be more than just a nuisance. This can indicate balance issues, rusted frames, or warped materials, all of which compromise functionality and safety and mean you definitely need to look into window replacement.

Your Window Frames Are Soft

Soft or chipped frames suggest water infiltration and rot, which are common in cheap window replacements exposed to moisture, especially wood. This structural damage can not only let in moisture and air but can also lead to bigger problems like mold growth and frame collapse. To avoid these issues, replace the window with a higher-quality alternative.


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Advantages of Window Replacement

Home window replacement is more than just a practical upgrade. It’s a smart investment with many benefits. Here’s a closer look at why upgrading your windows could be a game-changer for your home.


Energy Efficiency

Upgrading to new windows can improve your home’s energy efficiency. Modern windows are designed to keep your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, thanks to double- and triple-paned glass, advanced glazing, and better seals around the frame. While the window replacement cost may be higher initially, they’re a cost-effective upgrade over time.

Enhanced Comfort

Window replacement can increase your home's comfort by providing better UV protection and privacy. Special coatings on the glass can block harmful UV rays that fade furniture and cause glare on your computer or television. Options like tinted and obscure glass improve privacy without sacrificing natural light.

Security Features

Modern windows can give you peace of mind in another way, too. Reinforced frames, multiple lock points, and impact-resistant glass are just a few options available that help deter break-ins and enhance safety. These features are important for ground-floor or easily accessible windows, adding an extra layer of protection.

Increased Home Value

Window replacement can also increase your home’s market value. New windows are often a major selling point for potential buyers. A whole-house window replacement not only enhances the visual appeal of your home but also tells the buyer that the property is well-maintained and energy-efficient, making it a wise investment for any homeowner.


operating styles

Popular Window Replacement Styles

Not sure which windows should go where? Here are the most popular window replacement styles and where they work best.

single-hung windows


Single hung windows are the most traditional window replacement style, with a fixed top sash and a bottom sash that moves up vertically to open the window. They’re cost-effective, efficient, and easy to maintain. Plus, because they’re such a popular choice, they come in many different materials, colors, and glass types, so they can match any home’s style. 

Ideal for: Any room in your home.

double-hung window

Double-hung window

Unlike traditional single hung windows, double hung windows have sashes that are operable at both the top and bottom. They provide more ventilation while remaining cost-effective. Many also have a feature where the sashes tilt inward for easy cleaning, making them a great choice for second and third-story areas that aren’t easily reached via a ladder. 

Ideal for: Rooms that need extra ventilation; second- and third-story windows.

picture window

Casement window

Casement windows feature hinges on the side and open outward like a door using either a crank or a push handle. They provide a large, unobstructed glass area, like a picture window, but also offer excellent ventilation as their design can catch the breeze. They’re also easy to open in awkward and hard-to-reach places, like corners.

horizontal slider

Horizontal slider window

This window replacement type opens with a sash that slides left or right without protruding. Sliding windows come in both single and double slider styles; double slider means both sashes open. They’re typically easy to operate, and they have a sleek, minimalistic design that won’t protrude into the outdoors, making them ideal for small spaces.

Ideal for: Rooms facing walkways, porches, patios, and bedrooms.

casement window

Picture window

Picture windows turn your wall into a portrait-like space. They’re fixed, which means they don’t open. That also means that they come in very large sizes that offer beautiful views of the outdoors unobstructed by sashes. They can be installed on their own in hard-to-reach spaces to provide light or paired with other window replacement styles to provide ventilation. 

Ideal for: Any room with a view and rooms where you want a lot of natural light.

Awning window

Awning window

Awning windows open outward from the bottom with the turn of a handle or crank, creating an “awning” that keeps the elements out while letting air in. They typically come in smaller sizes and are easy to open from the bottom, making them ideal for areas with less space or placement high on a wall. 

Ideal for: Garage, laundry room, kitchen, bathroom, and ​​basement window replacement.

specialty windows

Specialty windows

You don’t necessarily have to use a standard style for your window replacement project. Combine standard windows with specialty windows, such as a radius half-circle window, a bay or bow window, or a garden window, or use them on their own to create a unique look for your home that’s all yours.

Ideal for: Any window replacement project.

Browse the Milgard window series to find the best fit for your home

learn about frame materials

Frame Materials for Window Replacement

The frame material you choose affects your windows’ durability and energy efficiency. The three frame materials MILGARD offers provide long-lasting strength and durability designed to frame even life’s smallest moments.

vinyl windows, new construction, MILGARD

Vinyl Window Frames

Made primarily from polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, vinyl windows are virtually maintenance-free, work well on any home, and are very cost-effective. MILGARD replacement vinyl windows use high-quality titanium dioxide and stabilizers to improve energy efficiency and performance. We also developed a special process for vinyl finishes that allows UV rays to pass through color and reflect off the frame, preserving the longevity of the vinyl.

Fiberglass windows

fiberglass window frames

Fiberglass window replacement is the best option if you want an exceptionally strong frame with a traditional wood profile. MILGARD’s frames are a proprietary blend of resin and glass fibers that is resistant to warping, swelling, and rotting and improves energy efficiency in any climate. We offer four exterior colors and regularly test the fiberglass for color uniformity, gloss, film thickness, and chemical resistance to ensure quality and longevity.


aluminum window frames

Aluminum is a great choice if your window replacement project is on a budget but you still want quality. It’s low-maintenance and lightweight, with a slim profile, but also strong and versatile. MILGARD aluminum windows have anodized or baked-on finishes for long-lasting color, with sealed, mechanically joined corners that keep their shape long-term. We also use a thermally improved aluminum that improves energy efficiency.

glass options

Window Replacement Decorative Options

Are you unsure where to start when choosing glass coatings or hardware? MILGARD provides a range of options, whether your goal is privacy, energy efficiency, affordability, or a combination of all three.



Aquatex Obscure Glass Option

Window Glass

Selecting the appropriate glass for a window replacement can improve your home's privacy, energy efficiency, and safety. Laminated glass is excellent for minimizing glare and UV rays, while obscure glass improves privacy while letting in light. MILGARD offers several glass options for you to explore.

decorative grids enhance your home

Window Grids

Grids can add a special touch to your replacement window project. Whether you’re looking to match an architectural style or you want to make a decorative statement, there are many grid options available. From simulated divided lites to grids between the glass, get creative and make it your own.


Window Hardware

MILGARD windows and doors are equipped with quality hardware that is easy to operate and can help provide added security to the home. When considering hardware for windows or patio doors, there are four main things to keep in mind: the lock, opening and closing handle, tilt latch, and the finish. Most window replacement companies are happy to talk about hardware with you.





prepare to be inspired

Inspiration Gallery

Gain inspiration by browsing the homes and spaces in our gallery to see which styles may suit your needs.

visualize new windows in your home

visualizer tool

Use our visualizer tool to see how new windows can enhance the look and feel of your home.

contact a milgard dealer

Find a Dealer

Contact your local Certified Milgard Dealer to help take the guesswork out of your project. 

FAQs About Window Replacement

Can I replace a window myself?

Yes, you can replace a window yourself if you have some DIY experience. It involves measuring, purchasing the right window, removing the old window, and installing the new one securely. However, consider hiring a professional to ensure it's done correctly, especially for complex installations or large window glass replacements.

Is it cheaper to replace your own windows?

Replacing your own windows can be cheaper than hiring a professional because you’ll save on labor costs. However, the average cost of window replacement also includes the cost of tools and materials and takes into account the risks involved. Keep in mind that mistakes can lead to increased costs down the line due to energy loss or the need for repairs, so weigh the potential risks and savings carefully before deciding. For many, the assurance of professional installation outweighs the benefits of a cheaper window replacement cost.

Which windows are least expensive to replace?

Replacement vinyl windows are generally the least expensive, offering durability and energy efficiency at a budget-friendly price. They come in various styles and can mimic the look of wood without the maintenance, making them a cost-effective choice for both new installations and replacements. Unlike wood, vinyl doesn’t require painting or frequent maintenance, which also helps in reducing long-term costs.

How long should window replacement take?

A straightforward window replacement in a standard frame typically takes about 30 to 60 minutes, assuming the existing frame is in good condition, and no modifications are needed. Larger or custom windows might take several hours, and unforeseen issues like frame damage can extend the process.

When is the best time to replace windows?

The best time for a window replacement project is during milder weather, such as late spring or early fall. These conditions are ideal for handling materials and allow the caulk used for sealing to set properly. While summer is a popular choice, replacing windows during off-peak seasons could also secure you better rates from contractors.