This spring, you can boost your home’s aesthetic and energy efficiency with window replacements. Windows have a transformative effect on your home. You can use them to change the architectural style in a dramatic fashion or make simple, classic choices that look a ten-fold improvement over your old, outdated windows.
Additionally, you can boost your home’s energy efficiency with this change. If you have older windows, you’re probably experiencing drafts that keep your heat running more frequently in the winter and air conditioner blasting forth all summer long.
Here are some thoughts on how to use windows to improve your home – in a major way!
Know your window styles
Before you begin shopping for your window replacement project, take the time out to familiarize yourself with the five most sought after window styles.
- Double-hung windows: The double-hung window style is the top choice for contemporary homeowners. They are easy to clean, and the two sliding sashes glide up and down to open with little effort. They will provide ventilation during the spring and summer. They look classic and clean.
- Picture windows: If you have a fantastic view outside, consider a picture window. This expansive window is a fixed window – meaning it won’t open or close. What it does do, however, is take advantage of your stunning views.
- Casement windows: This window style has a sash that’s hinged on the right or left and cranks open. They are uncluttered and simple looking, adding a modern appeal.
- Awning windows: The awning window style is similar to the casement window, except they are hinged across the top. Because they swing up, the window itself creates an “awning” that shields the window from rains.
- Bay and bow windows: Need to make a small room appear larger? Change the look by adding a bay or a bow window. Each of these window styles bumps “out” making the room feel and look larger from the inside. From the outside, it adds a traditional look to any home.
Knowing what style of the window you want will help you shape your home’s aesthetics, increasing your curb appeal and adding value.
But, what about energy efficiency?
Research the energy efficiency of the window frames
Not all windows are created equally. Some materials have superior insulating qualities to others.
Of course, you should look for good-quality, gas-filled windows with low-e coating. But did you know that the window frames are also a significant contributor to the energy savings you’re trying to achieve?
Window frames are made from three primary materials – vinyl, wood, and aluminum.
Wood window frames
Wood frames will offer your home the most energy efficiency of the three types. This efficiency stems from the fact that wood does not conduct either hot or cold. Additionally, they can be stained or painted custom to best suit the appearance of your home’s exterior.
Here’s the bad news. Wood window frames require maintenance. To prevent eventual rot, you’ll need to keep them painted or restained every couple of years. Also, watch out for insects that can degrade the structure.
Vinyl window frames
Vinyl frames enjoy the greatest popularity among homeowners. These have excellent thermal properties but are low maintenance. You select the trim color for both the interior and exterior portions of the window, and they arrive in your color.
The downside to that? You must choose from a relatively small handful of color options; if you have an historic home that must be painted a period-correct hue, these might not be the smartest choice for you.
Aluminum window frames
Of the three primary types of window frames, aluminum window frames are chosen by the most budget-conscious consumers. These never rust, never need to be painted, and are cost-effective.
However, aluminum is such an excellent conductor of hot and cold that you may not be satisfied with them in the future.
When should you invest in replacement windows?
You might be curious how to tell when to get replacement windows.
Here are five key indicators that the time has arrived:
- You feel drafts of cool/warm air
- Energy bills are rising inexplicably
- The window frames appear loose, shifting, or rotting
- Road noise has become more noticeable
- Windows no longer open, close, or lock with ease
If you experience these indicators, it is time (or nearly time) to replace those worn out windows.
Windows can be an enormous investment. The silver lining here? Not only can they enhance the aesthetic value of your home (and therefore increase your home’s value), but they can also make your home more energy efficient.
Your investment will take time to earn back, but the enjoyment, comfort, and security that you get by spending the money on new windows will make you happy you made that choice.