Summary List For Choosing Windows:
- First find the ideal combination of window materials for your home (vinyl, wood, fiberglass, composite)
- Research different brands that carry this material
- Study the warranty of the manufacturer
- Look for the style you want to match your home (double hungs, etc)
- Pick the right glass options (frosted glass and grilles, etc)
- Get the hardware you want
When remodeling or even building a new home, one of the most important decisions you can make is that of your windows.
There are a lot of factors that should be taken into consideration for your window choice, and as such, the decision is not one to be rushed into or taken lightly.
With the importance of your decision as the main driving force, let’s take a look at how you may go about choosing the best windows for your home.
The first and foremost area to remember when choosing your home windows is the massive amount of abuse they will receive in their lifetime.
They stand up to the worst that mother nature can throw at them, including driving rain, strong winds, not to mention winters snow and ice.
Time will eventually take its toll on your windows, and that is why you need to make sure the type of window you install will not only perform to your expectations but will also last as long as possible.
Window Material Composition
The first thing you should do when picking out new windows is to research the different material types. You should pick a material that will stand up to the worst of mother nature — strong winds, thunderstorms, and ice.
Most windows on the market today come in either vinyl, aluminum or fiberglass finishes. The type of window needed will most usually determine the type of material that the window is made from.
For instance, vinyl windows are the common choice for those who are simply remodeling and only replacing a few windows.
Vinyl windows are the most affordable, so this is no surprise. Vinyl windows also offer the ability for an older home to be able to retain its classic look, and not change its original style
On the other hand, wood clad-style windows are usually available in either vinyl or aluminum material shell on the outside.
Both of these types of windows are more commonly the choice in new construction.
Vinyl windows are the most popular and commonly used of the four varieties. They are simpler to maintain than the wood windows, and they do not need to be painted.
Although they do not look as nice as wood windows, vinyl windows are much cheaper and insulate almost as well as their wooden counterparts.
On the other hand, fiberglass composite windows have proven to be much stronger than their vinyl-clad counterparts, but also are quite a bit more in price.
Types Of Glass & Coatings/Fills
Now that you have decided on the outer construction materials of the windows, let’s take a look at the choices for the window glass itself.
There are several options available when it comes to the glass in your windows, but taking into consideration your application and location the decision of choice will be easier to narrow down.
Single Pane Glass
As the name implies, this is simply one layer of glass in the window. This glass type is no longer manufactured, as double-pane glass has become the industry standard.
Double Pane Glass
Double-pane windows have two layers of glass, with a sealed air space between them. This airspace aids significantly in preventing any heat loss your home may incur. It acts as a sort of “no man’s land”.
Triple Pane Glass
Triple-pane windows are the best choice if you live in a frigid cold environment or want a superior sound barrier. These types of windows have the best U-factor values because they usually have either argon gas or krypton gas.
Although it is true that a triple-pane window can save up to 2%-3% on your overall heating bill, they tend to cost 10%-15% more than your standard double-pane options.
The weighing of extra cost upfront to long-term savings is something to consider before choosing this style of window.
Low-E Coating For Glass
One common energy performance coating is called “low-E” . This features a metal coating on one side, that is invisible to the eye, however, helps significantly with energy transfer.
Argon & Krypton Fill Gases
If you want the best energy performance possible, look for windows that have the GAS FILL of either Krypton or Argon.
These advanced gases between the panes hold a high amount of insulation, preventing energy loss.
As far as sound insulation goes, triple pane windows are your best bet. However, be advised that a window is not a wall— it can only block so much sound.
A triple pane window will definitely help at least a considerable amount for cities where the home faces a busy street. If you decide to go with this option, you will be glad when the traffic is at its heaviest.
Finally, with your better built, better-insulated windows, you will not have to deal with the unsightly irritation of condensation developing on one pane or the other.
The gas between the panes of the better built double and triple-pane windows helps to keep the temperature evenly distributed in order to make sure that condensation doesn’t have a chance to form.
Look For Energy Efficient Windows
When shopping for new windows, pay very close attention to the energy efficiency rating (U-factor value).
The lower the U-factor-value, the better the windows are insulated.
For example, a single-pane window usually garners a U-factor-value of 1.20 On the other hand, most double-pane windows that also incorporate the gas between the panes usually receive a U-factor-value of .29 . This is a significant difference in energy performance.
Do not mistake the R-value for the U-factor—these are two very different ratings for two very different reasons.
The U-factor is based on the rate that a window, door, or even a skylight conducts non-solar heat flow. In this, the lower the U-factor, the more energy efficient the window will be.
As you can see there is a lot to know about windows.
However, with a little research and due diligence, you can rest assured that you will be well on your way to choosing the right windows for your Buffalo Grove home—whether you are remodeling or beginning a new construction project.