Improve the appearance of your home
Nothing improves the appearance of an older home like new windows. Whether you're planning to sell your home, or are just sprucing up the place, you can be confident knowing that you're improving the appearance and value of your home, and the neighborhood.
In addition to improving your home's appearance, replacing your old windows can also reduce your heating and cooling costs. Much energy is lost by single-paned windows through the glass and through air leaks around loose-fitting components. Just run the back of your hand around a window on a cold and windy day - you can feel the cool air movement. Stop that air flow, and your home will be more comfortable and energy efficient.
The best replacement windows will include features such as double or triple-glazing with argon or krypton gas between the layers, heat reflective or Low-E coatings. These can substantially reduce your heating/cooling bill. Look for the Energy Star logo. In a Consumer Reports consumer rating for replacement windows, the two models rated as Best Buys were the Pella ProLine and the Anderson 200 Series Tilt Wash.
Vinyl replacement windows are the most popular choice. Vinyl is water-proof, color-fast, and never needs painting. Vinyl windows are also the least expensive. Alternatives include fiberglass, wood, vinyl-clad wood, and aluminum.
In addition to the cost savings, new windows are easier to maintain. Modern windows can be cleaned from inside the home - much safer and more convenient, especially for upstairs windows. And clean windows enhance the view of the outdoors and brighten the indoor space.
Be creative with replacement windows
New windows offer you the opportunity to be creative - to completely change the look of your house. Take a look at such possibilities as bay or bow windows, windows with side lights or palladian windows. Designer glazing with frosted areas, or other designs, can give your home a different look.
What to look for
There are many choices of replacement windows on the market. One issue with buying replacement windows is choosing the type that best fits the architecture of your home. If you are uncertain about the best window style, you may want to consult an architect or home designer to determine what type(s) of windows would be best for you. A professional could also be of assistance in helping you comply with local building codes. In addition, an expert can show you possibilities that may significantly improve the appeal and value of your home - possibilities that you may not have considered on your own. Many now have computer software that can show your house with different window treatments. Even if you plan to install the windows yourself, a few tips from a pro could save you some time and effort - maybe some money too.
Before making a final selection, you might want to visit a showroom to see them in a typical installation. There you can see just how they operate, and you can ask about maintenance, warranties, etc.
In your investigation, be sure to check out what the vendor is offering. Does he/she perform the installation himself, or hire a sub-contractor to do the work? Is the installation crew a local company? How long have they been installing windows? Who is responsible for warranty work? Does the local dealer cover factory defects as well as installation errors? It's in your best interest to identify and resolve any potential problems before they happen. Ask the dealer or installation crew for the names of some recent customers. Give them a call and ask how satisfied they are with the product and the installation.