4 Tips for Choosing the Best Window
With such a huge variety of materials and styles on the market, choosing the right windows for your home can be quite a difficult task. However, with a little knowledge about the different strengths and weakness of window materials, along with the specific needs for your home, you can easily figure out which options are the best for you. To get you started, we’ve outlined 4 essential tips for choosing the best windows for your next home renovation project.
1) Strength and Durability
Climate and weather patterns have a big impact on the strength and durability of your windows. If you live in a relatively temperate area, with rain being the most common weather occurrence, then aluminum or vinyl are good options for you. Both materials are relatively inexpensive and are good at combating moisture, but vinyl tends to warp in heat and aluminum can’t handle the cold.
You can also consider wood, which is extremely durable and weather-resistant if it is properly sealed and regularly maintained. However, if you don’t take proper care of your wood windows, they’ll be extremely susceptible to rotting, warping, cracking and insects. Fiberglass is the strongest material out of the bunch and can handle extreme weather without compromising its strength and integrity, but it tends to be a lot more expensive than any other type of window.
2) Energy Efficiency
Windows can play a huge role in the energy-efficiency of your home. If you don’t rely heavily on your heating and cooling systems throughout the year, then aluminum and vinyl are good options. Both materials tend to transfer energy more readily, which means the outside air temperature will influence the temperature inside of your home. For more insulation, wood and fiberglass are the way to go. Both materials are less prone to energy transfer, so they’ll be able to retain cool air in summer and warm air in winter. This will allow you to fiddle with the thermostat less, which means more money in your pocket due to a lower energy bill.
3) Aesthetic Appeal
Of course, looks play a big part in your window choices. For older or historic homes, wood-framed windows are an absolute must to maintain the house’s character and charm. In contrast, the clean lines and metal finish of aluminum windows can be a nice accent for more modern homes. Aluminum can also be easily shaped, so it’s an ideal choice if you need custom work or if you’re creating an intricate accent window.
High-quality vinyl windows are durable and create a clean and simple window frame. They also come in a wide variety of colors, though they can’t be repainted later on. Fiberglass, however, can be repainted after purchase, and the paint won’t chip, crack, or fade over time. The material can also be made to look like wood, which allows you to get that classic feel with all of the durability fiberglass provides.
So, what’s the bottom line? If you take into consideration the upfront cost of a window alongside the cost of maintenance and repair throughout its life, you can tell which window is the best financial investment. Vinyl is generally the least expensive, but can cost the most over time. While high-quality vinyl windows can be durable and energy efficient, there are also a lot of cheap vinyl windows that are so prone to damage that you will need to replace them again in a few years.
Aluminum is also relatively inexpensive, and can be durable enough to last many years It does have a very high energy transfer, though, which can cause your energy bill to go up. But, if you live in a temperate area where this isn’t a problem, it’s a solid choice for a good price.
Wood tends to be a more expensive option, but it’s a great insulator and can help save money on your energy bills. However, if they are not rigorously maintained, they will quickly degrade and need to be replaced, which would be a waste of your investment. Fiberglass windows are the most expensive, but they’ll save you the most money over time. With an extremely long lifespan, little maintenance, and unmatched energy efficiency, this is the ideal option if you can afford the upfront cost.
Now that you have some idea of how different windows perform, think about your surrounding environment and the kinds of problems you need your windows to prevent. Remember, consider the overall lifespan of the window and how a given material perform in different weather situations to get a true idea of which investment is the most worthwhile.