Shopping for new windows to install in your home can be a big task, especially for new DIYers completing a home improvement for the first time. While it’s certainly important to consider the style and size (so as to match or bring up the value of your home), it’s also important to consider some other factors that you might not have thought about in order to save yourself time, money and headaches down the line.
Here are a few things to look for when window shopping:
- Cost and Benefits
If you’re ready to take the time to install new windows in your home, you’re probably also ready to make the financial investment in the quality and overall style of your windows. However, you still want to make sure the project is affordable and reasonably priced for what it is.
Window pricing does depend on a number of variables, including its type, material, size, security and design features, the amount to install, and more. Be sure you’ve considered all of the factors that could make this project more expensive and ensure that their benefits outweigh the costs.
And, keep in mind: if you buy an Energy Star®–rated window, see what available tax credits you can get from them.
- Credible Brands
On top of cost, style and benefits, it’s good to know that you’re investing in a quality brand that will last you for years to come. Here are a few brands that produce incredible quality, sleek designs and convenient features: Anderson Windows & Doors, Custom Window Systems, Kolbe Windows & Doors, MI Windows & Doors and PGT Industries.
- Energy Efficiency
While you’re shopping for windows, be sure to check each one’s R-values, as they will tell you how energy efficient they are. You’ll want to try to find ones that have higher R-values, which means that they have better insulating properties. For a point of reference: a transparent, single-pane window will have an R-value of 1, but a double-pane window can possess an R-value of up to 4, if it’s also paired with low-e glass and gas filling. For an even higher R-value range, consider triple-pane windows, which can be between 5-7.
There is also the U-factor to consider. This is the rate at which a window conducts non-solar heat flow and should be a significantly low number to be considered energy efficient.
- Speciality Features
Tilt-in Sashes — This is a common feature in nearly all brands, and is ideal for easy cleaning in both single and double-hung windows.
Cladding — One important feature to look for is cladding. Many wood-framed windows made today are clad in materials like vinyl, aluminum or fiberglass, which helps to prevent paint from chipping and outside elements from affecting the framing. Although they are typically the more expensive option, they are also more attractive and more durable.
Low-E (or Low Emissivity) Coating – A transparent coating that can be applied to either the outside of the glass in warmer climates or on the inside of the glass in colder climates, low-e coating is a great feature for reflecting heat while still letting sunlight inside.
Double or Triple Glazing — Double- or triple-glazed windows provide better insulation and significantly reduced noise in your home. However, unless you live in places that have extremely cold temperatures or that are located near areas that experience a lot of noise, this feature will likely not be worth the cost in the end.