Buying Replacement Windows can be Mind Boggling — Here’s What You Need to Know

Frames, glazing, style… who knew buying replacement windows could be so confusing? Here’s help

With replacement windows accounting for 8% to 10% of the cost of a home, it’s easy to see the importance of choosing the best when it comes time to replace windows in your home. Follow these tips to be sure you get the best for your money.

Choose the right type of frames

Frames are important. They seal out moisture and drafts and are almost as important as glazing when it comes to insulation. There are many types of frames including:

1. Solid wood frames – traditional but requiring the most upkeep – price varies

2. All vinyl frames – the least expensive frames and low maintenance – lowest quality

3. Clad wood frames – better quality than all vinyl but with the benefits of all vinyl

4. High-tech composites – most expensive choice but high quality

Choose the right glazing

Choosing the right glazing when you replace windows, helps determine your home’s energy efficiency. As with frames, there are several different types.

Gas Fills — These windows improve the thermal performance of your windows. Filled with inert gas, these windows have a higher resistance to heat flow than air.

Heat Absorbing Tints — Containing special tints that change the color of the glass, these windows absorb a large fraction of the incoming solar radiation through your windows.

Insulated Window Glazing — Insulated windows refer to windows with two or more panes of glass. They can also be called storm windows, double-glazed, or triple-glazed. The glass is spaced apart and hermetically sealed with an air space between the panes.

Low-Emissivity Glazing — These windows reduce energy loss by 30% to 50% in your home, but they come with a price. Effective at controlling heat transfer, you’ll pay 10% to 15% more than regular windows.

Replacing windows can be confusing. Before you start shopping, remember to consider style, frames, and glazing to buy the best replacement windows for your home and for your money.