Replacement Window Guide from Superior Products Colorado
If you’re planning to buy windows, then this Replacement Window Guide will be a great source of information about replacement windows. For starters, there are three main types of replacement windows: vinyl windows, fiberglass windows, and wooden windows. They come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and styles. One of the biggest indicators of the quality of replacement windows are their price. Inexpensive windows may look the same but there’s a world of difference in the construction. That will affect the replacement windows’ longevity and performance.
But that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune to get a great replacement window. You just need to get past the marketing hype to find the replacement windows that offer the best blend of value, performance, and affordability. This replacement window guide will cover the basics so you learn more about how to buy windows. There are three types of windows: vinyl, fiberglass, and wooden windows. We’ll cover all three window options.
Replacement Window Guide: Vinyl Windows Overview
- Vinyl windows are the most affordable.
- Premium vinyl windows offer affordability and higher quality. They provide a great blend of performance, beauty, and affordability.
- Vinyl windows typically are white. If you want colored vinyl windows, they are available direct from manufacturers in a variety of colors.
Questions to ask about vinyl windows:
1) Is it virgin vinyl or remanufactured?
- Virgin vinyl is the best.
- Remanufactured vinyl is cheaper because it’s made of vinyl scraps that are melted and blended together. Remanufactured vinyl windows often crack.
2) Are the corners of the window frames fused together or mechanically fastened together?
- Fusion welded vinyl windows are much high quality and far stronger.
- Window frames that are mechanically fastened together will give way with enough pressure.
3) How many dead air spaces does the window frame have?
- The more dead air spaces built into the window, the better its insulation.
- You have to ask because you can’t see the dead air spaces inside the window frame.
- An inexpensive window with limited insulation will look the same as a higher performing window.
4) Is this a builder-grade vinyl window?
- “Builder grade” sounds professional and impressive.
- Actually it’s the cheapest type of window you can get. They look good when new but do not perform for the long term.
Replacement Window Guide – Fiberglass Windows Overview
- Fiberglass windows are relatively new to the replacement window industry, and the raw material is significantly more expensive than vinyl to produce.
- Fiberglass windows are made with compressed strands, and it’s a very strong material.
- Fiberglass is porous so it can be painted any color of the rainbow.
- Fiberglass comes in neutrals, and also wood tones that mimic the look and feel of real wooden windows.
- Fiberglass expands and contracts at the same rate as the glass it holds, which can increase the life span and performance of the window.
Questions to ask about Fiberglass Windows:
- Is the frame of the fiberglass window composed of 100% fiberglass? (It’s important to verify that the fiberglass window you are purchasing is composed of 100% fiberglass. Some manufacturers will use cheaper materials in the formulation of their product which may negatively affects its performance or lessen the quality of the finished product.)
- Does the warranty of the glass package match the strength of the product? (When buying a high-quality window, it’s important to ensure that the glass warranty matches the strength of the material. A highly durable fiberglass window has no value if the glass it is holding becomes compromised.) Even high-end insulated glass windows may fail over time. Make sure that the glass warranty is comprehensive and covers you!)
- What colors are available for fiberglass windows? (The answer should be: “Any color of the rainbow?” A huge plus of fiberglass windows is that it’s made from a porous materials to which paint can securely bond. Also the interior side of the window can be finished with real wood, or a faux wood look, to match any aesthetic you desire.)
Replacement Window Guide – Wooden Windows Overview
- The beauty of wooden windows comes from their warmth and rich wood tones.
- Wooden windows are absolutely beautiful, and they also are the most expensive.
- Wooden windows will typically cost substantially more than vinyl and fiberglass windows, both initially and with the ongoing maintenance costs associated with wooden windows.
- Wooden windows come in many decorative shapes and sizes.
- Typical reasons for installing wooden windows are for the beauty, drama, and architectural accents that they provide.
Questions to Ask About Wooden Windows:
- What species of wood are the frame and the sash? (When purchasing a maintenance-heavy product such as a wooden window, it’s important to ensure you’re getting both quality and the proper aesthetic. When you buy wooden windows, make sure that the wooden window frame and sash are of the same species of wood. This will ensure that you get a window that lasts and which will maintain a consistent look between the frame and the sash for the lifetime of the wooden window.)
- What type of maintenance will my wooden windows require? Wooden windows are susceptible to warping, swelling, rotting, cracking, splitting, and termite infestation. While they are visually appealing and provide charm, wooden windows come at a cost. Typical costs will include repairs and refinishing. The process of refinishing wooden windows involves scraping, sanding, and staining or repainting – which costs substantial time and money.)
- What are the hidden expenses of wood windows? (While wood is a good material and a naturally effective insulator, it is susceptible to expansion and contraction with temperature changes. This causes a significant amount of strain on the seals of the glass, and they will fail over time. Most wooden window manufacturers only warranty the seals for 10 or 20 years. Other materials for replacement windows have a much stronger warranty and may help prevent added expense over time.)
Styles of Windows
The style of replacement windows you buy will be determined by where it’s located, and the size and shape. Here’s a look at the basement window styles and when they should be used.
- Single-hung Windows (vertical movement): Single-hung windows feature one fixed panel and one panel that slides up and down.
- Double-hung Window (vertical movement): Double-hung windows feature two panels that slide up and down.
- Slider Window (horizontal movement): Slider windows feature a panel that slides horizontally to expose a screen.
- Double Slider Window (horizontal movement): Double-hung slider windows feature panels that slide horizontally to expose a screen.
- 3-Lite Slider (horizontal movement): 3-lite slider windows are composed of one fixed panel in the middle and one panel of each side that slide horizontally.
- Casement Window (extending movement): Casement windows, also known as “Crank-out Windows,” feature a sturdy frame with glass encased in a frame. You use a crank mechanism to open the window, which extends outward to expose the screen.
- Picture Window (fixed): Picture windows features one big panel of glass to highlight a spectacular view, or let a lot of light into a room.
- Bay Window: Features panels that extend outward to create a semi-circular area inside the home.
- Bow Window: Bow windows feature a large window, or set of windows, that curve out from the outside wall of a building.
- Garden Window: A garden window is a window that juts out, or projects slightly, from a wall in order to capture more sunlight and make a room look larger. Garden windows have glass on all sides except for the bottom. They’re similar to bay windows, but are smaller.
- Transom Window (swings): Features a narrow rectangular window high on a wall to let light and air in. The movable panel swings inward, into the home.
- Eyebrow Window (fixed): An eyebrow window is a fixed window that is curved at the top.
- Awning Window (swings): An awning window is a casement-style window that is hung horizontally, and is hinged on the top so that it swings outward like an awning.
- Geometric, Specialty Window: As the name suggests, these windows are any window that is in a geometric shape. These specialty windows can be made in a variety of angles, sizes, and with varying numbers of side to fit a specific opening or look.
Double Pane vs. Triple Pane Glass
- Double pane glass is the more affordable option. It features two pieces of glass with argon gas encased between the two panels of glass to provide dead air space and insulation.
- Triple pane glass is the most expensive. It features three panes of glass with argon gas encased between the three panels of glass.
Questions to Ask:
- Is the glass in this window single-strength or double-strength? (Single-strength glass is 1/32nd of an inch thick, and it breaks more easily. Double-strength glass is 1/16th of an inch thick (twice as thick), and it’s more durable.)
- What’s the warranty on this glass? (Some manufacturers offer lifetime breakage warranties for normal wear and tear. You will be covered if someone accidentally throws a baseball through your window.)
There are two glass ratings that rates the heat loss and light transmission.
- U Value: This rating assesses the amount of heat loss through the window. The lower the number, the better.
- VT (Visible Light Transmission): This rating assesses the light transmission of the glass. Energy-efficient glass is treated with a sputter coating of tiny particles of mirror your eye cannot see. But that coating is what affects light transmission, and controls the amount of light (and heat) that enters a room during the day. The term that’s in use now is: “Low E.”
Questions to ask:
- Does this window come with an NFRC rating sticker? (The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) tests windows and provides consumers with the information on their findings. They are a third-party service that supplies unbiased information. It can be very helpful to verify that what you are being told about the window’s performance is both accurate and of measurable value. If it doesn’t have an NFRC sticker, don’t trust it!)
- Does this glass package meet or exceed Energy Star requirements? (In order to qualify for Energy Star tax rebates, the glass in the window must perform to a certain standard. In the Western Region, the minimum U-Value is .28 or lower. Windows that do not meet this requirement do not qualify for energy star tax rebates.)
There are two main classifications of window glass. It’s important to know the difference and then decide what you want, based on how much light you like flooding your home.
- 366 Glass (Blocks the most light): 366 glass has three coatings, and it allows 66% of the light to come through. (366 glass is ideal for rooms getting a lot of direct sunlight that are hot in the summer.)
- 272 Glass (Lets more light into the room): 272 glass has two coatings, and it allows 72% of the light to come through. This is a good choice for windows that don’t get as much direct sunlight and/or the room is cold.
- Non-treated Glass (Lets the most light in): For people with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the condition where people experience depression in the winter from lack of bright sunlight, untreated glass is available. Obviously, glass that’s untreated does not control UV rays and heat from sunlight. But people who like, or need, natural sunlight may opt for glass that has no tint to it.
Questions to ask:
- What kind of spacer comes with this glass? (There are a wide variety of spacers used in the market place ranging from plain aluminum spacers to warm edge spacers (commonly known as Super Spacers). Making sure the glass you are selecting makes use of state-of-the-art window technology will ensure better performance of your windows over time.)
- What type of gas is in between the glass? (The three types of gas commonly used are oxygen, argon, and krypton. Using an inert gas with a higher density (argon & krypton) will improve the energy efficiency of the your replacement windows. Argon is the most common gas, and it’s quite effective. Krypton is even denser and offers the most resistance to heat transfer. If you pair one of these higher density gases with low-e coatings, your windows will provide optimal performance.)
- Does the window manufacurer measure and certify the volume of gas injected into the package? (As with all things, trust but also verify what you’re told about replacement windows that you are considering. Argon and krypton gas are both invisible to the naked eye. The only way to ensure that you’re getting what was promised is to make sure the window has been tested and has the volume of gas inserted measured and certified. )
Replacement Window Guide – Choice of Window Screens
There’s a lot to consider when you want to buy windows. Screens is one aspect that consumers often forget to cover. There are three basic window screen mesh options, and each has their pros and cons.
Window Screen Option 1: Fiberglass Screen Highlights
- Doesn’t crease
- Has “memory” so dents can be repaired by pushing the dented area back into place
- The newest technology and the new standard
- Improves views
Window Screen Option 2: Aluminum Screen Highlights
- Excellent for patio doors to help resist impact from pets running into them
- Resists rust
Hopefully, this replacement window guide on how to buy windows has shown you that there are a lot of decisions to make, and there are a lot of differences in windows. By knowing these terms and what to ask, you’ll become a more savvy consumer as you’re buying replacement windows.