When you’re looking to change your windows, there’s a lot to consider. Do you want a major overhaul to the appearance of your house, or do you just need a minor upgrade? What style or type suits your home best? What frame should you choose? We’ve broken down the basics of buying new windows to help make the process easier.
New vs. Replacement Windows
First, you’ll need to decide whether you just want to replace your windows or install entirely new windows. Installing new windows is a major undertaking. Typically, you install new windows when you want to drastically change the size, shape or style of your current windows. They require professional installation, and usually have higher labor costs. Replacement windows simply remove the window without changing the trim or frame. If you like your current style, replacing the windows is a low cost way to upgrade your home.
Next, you have to decide what style window you want. Single or double-hung windows are the most common type and slide from the bottom to open. Casement windows swing open, usually operated with a lever or crank. They’re great for areas that get a lot of wind, since they actually seal tighter when the wind blows toward the house. For something more decorative, picture windows are a great option. They normally don’t open, but can be installed in more shapes and sizes than other traditional windows.
Once you’ve decided on a style, you’ll need to decide on the frame material. The two most popular materials are wood and vinyl. Wood is a beautiful traditional option. It insulates well and is durable, but needs more maintenance than other options. They’re also prone to moisture and rot, and need to be protected from insects. Vinyl frames are cheaper while still offering insulation, without the need for upkeep. They’re often not as attractive as wood frames.