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What Should I Consider When Getting Replacement Windows?

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  • Written By: S. Mithra
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  • Last Modified Date: 26 August 2016
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Deciding to install replacement windows is a great way to reduce your home's energy costs and change its decor. When buying replacement windows, you must consider your preferred material, such as wood or vinyl, as well as the type of window, such as double-hung or fixed form. Once you evaluate the needs of your house, the kind of windows to be replaced, and budget constraints, you will be able to make an informed and confident decision.

The first thing to consider when buying replacement windows is how you want them to open. For design reasons, you may stay with the same type of windows as already hang in your home. However, most kinds of windows will be available in your required size, so you can change between types to suit your taste.

Casement windows have vertical hinges so they swing in or out by winding a handle. Double or single hung types are made of two cases, the part of the window that holds the panes. One, or both, of the cases slide up and down to access fresh air. Sliding windows are the same, but the cases move horizontally. A fourth popular variety is a plain fixed form window that doesn't open at all, but brings in light.

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A second matter to consider is the way your replacement windows have been fabricated. Consider both visual appeal and energy efficiency of possible materials. Vinyl windows are better insulators, but some people feel that they do not match the architecture of their home. Wood windows have casements and frames made out of hard or soft wood that will usually be covered with paint. Some will choose aluminum because it is very strong, but be aware that metal isn't as good an insulator as other options.

Consider some recent manufacturing developments when buying replacement windows. Fiberglass is a relatively new possibility available to home improvers because it is highly insulating. Of course, you can use two materials in a "combination" window frame, which might have vinyl outside and wood inside.

If your primary interest in what to consider when buying replacement windows is energy efficiency, you might want triple-pane windows, rather than double-pane. These have three pieces of glass with layers of air between them, because air is much better at absorbing heat and cold than is glass. If you replace the air with a gas called argon, you'll save even more in air conditioning and heating costs.

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anon296764
Post 6

Look around for installers in you area. Most will come out to your house for a free estimate and talk with you about different options, which is nice, because having a professional in your house, able to ask any question you may have is much more convenient (at least in my mind) than searching for hours trying to compare and do research yourself. Get a few estimates and compare to see who you like better.

EarlyForest
Post 4

Which ones do you guys think are better, Marvin or Andersen replacement windows? I am looking into different brands of awning replacement windows, and wanted to know if anybody had any experience with these brands. Thanks!

TunaLine
Post 3

I live in a major "fixer-upper", so I'm well-familiar with all the issues that come with window replacements.

I think that the most difficult ones are the wood double hung replacement windows -- those were by far the hardest for me to hang, but I finally got them up.

For people looking for replacement windows, I used Anderson replacement windows to good effect, so you may want to look into that brand -- they seemed a little better than the others in my area, but that may be different for you. Just FYI.

CopperPipe
Post 2

I have been considering getting some aluminum replacement windows for a camper that I have, but gosh, those replacement window prices are through the roof! And I haven't even looked at the nice ones, like those Harvey fiberglass replacement windows -- I was just looking at discount ones since I don't use my camper that often.

Does anybody know if it can actually work out to be cheaper to repair windows like that than replace them, or should I just bite the bullet and buy the replacement windows?

Are there any tips and tricks to work around this?

anon597
Post 1

I just bought a 50's era house and can't get the windows open. They have some sort of flathead screw thing in the track where the window should slide up. When turned, they make a full turn, and a 'pop' like when you turn a spring. They do not rise at all. If anyone can help me, it would really be great because my house needs air - it smells like an old lady in here.

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