A Buyer’s Guide to Replacing Glass Windows

One great thing about investing in new glass windows to replace older ones is the benefits they come with. Their benefits assure you that replacing older windows is a great thing to do for your home. There are tons of options to choose from and consider when looking for new glass replacement windows.

stylish glass windows in modern home in sydney suburb

Besides buying already made replacements, you can also get custom windows to fit your preferred design, style, and existing window openings. Customization gives you a chance to get windows that will work best and blend well in your home.

With the many options available to choose from, you can be quite confused without proper information and knowledge about replacing your older windows. This article discusses in detail what you should know about the available styles, materials used, important features, cost, and the installation process.

By the time you finish reading through this article, you will be more informed to decide on the best windows that will suit your home and personal preferences.

 

Types of New Replacement Windows

There are several styles of replacements available in the market today. Here are more details about each style, their benefits, and the room they are most suitable to install.

 

Double Hung Replacement Windows

A double hung type of replacement window is one of the most popular and commonly used windows. This window comes with two sashes that are operable. Both sashes may be tilted as needed.

Most homeowners like these sashes because they can be cleaned easily on the outside and inside without using a ladder as you can tilt them easily.

You will clean both sides from inside the house regardless of the floor you are on for you can tilt it instead of climbing ladders.

Since these windows come with two sashes, you will get more fresh air in your home. You can lower the sash downwards from top or raise it upwards from bottom. You can also leave both sashes open for more air circulation in your home.

These windows come with single or double interior locks. The number of locks depends on the brand and the size of the double hung replacement set.

You can also get them with ventilation latches for limiting the extent to which you can lower or raise the bottom or top sash for enhanced security. These beneficial features make these windows perfect for all types of rooms.

 

Sliding Windows

A sliding window is another common choice since it is practical and has a modern touch of style and design. These windows come as either three-section or two-section sliders. Two-section sliders are standard while three-section sliders are suitable for larger window openings.

Just like double hung replacements, the sashes that come with sliding windows are removable for quick and easy cleaning. Moreover, sliders have more operable parts, making them easier to maintain than other styles of windows.

Sliders are extremely functional. They can be opened easily to allow fresh air and ventilation into a room. It’s easy to put insect screens on these windows to prevent bugs from getting into your home while still allowing for ventilation.

When compared to traditional styles like the double hung style, sliders will give any home a more modern look and style.

 

modern sunroom glass windows

 

Casement Windows

A casement window is usually hinged at one side. It comes with a single operable hand crank that is easy to use no matter how limited the area might be in terms of space such as when installed over the kitchen sink. The crank can be turned counterclockwise when opening the window and clockwise when closing it.

The handle of these windows has a smooth design, making it well aligned with any kind of a window frame. Thus, the handle won’t disturb window treatments such blinds.

These windows can be opened fully for maximum natural lighting and ventilation in the room. These windows are most popularly used in kitchens, especially over the sink or countertop and in spaces that are difficult to access. They can also be combined with other window styles.

 

Picture Windows

A picture window has fixed panes that don’t allow the window to be opened. However, they do offer high energy efficiency. They are often combined with operable windows to make them operable for ventilation.

Picture windows offer the highest visibility in windows. They’re popularly used in family rooms and living rooms to make them appear larger as they allow lots of natural lighting into a room.

Whether you want to get more natural lighting or an unobstructed view, picture windows would be the best option. They are ideal for different rooms.

 

Bay and Bow Windows

Bow windows project beyond the wall. They basically come in 3, 4 or 5 equally sized panes that usually extend across the opening of the window. The individual windows may be fixed picture or casement windows.

Multiple designs of bow windows allow for lots of natural lighting into the room from more than one angle. They make a room look brighter, more comfortable and more open.

A bay window is similar to the bow style of windows. It also projects outwards beyond the wall. Bay windows offer similar benefits as bow windows.

The difference in bay windows is that they usually come as a series comprising of three panes, whereby one of the windows is a large picture type window with one window at either sides.

They are styled like a casement, double hung or a fixed picture window. Since bay and bow windows add beauty at the front section of any home, they are mostly used in rooms facing a front yard or garden.

 

contemporary glass window design ideas

 

Garden Windows

Just like bay and bow windows, garden windows extend beyond the wall, that is beyond the window opening. These windows come with two fixed window panes on either sides and an awning window at the center. The awning window opens outwards by the use of a hand crank.

Garden windows have insulated seat boards for extra space for a small plant, herb or flower garden. They have a unique shape that allows for more lighting and space in any room.

They also allow for more ventilation, especially with the awning window. These windows are preferred in the kitchen, especially over the sink as they are easy to access. Moreover, they offer more depth and dimension in the room you’ve installed them.

 

Architectural Windows

These windows are popular among homeowners who want to accent a room. They are a type of specialty windows and they often have a pattern that enhances the design of hallways, entryways, dens and bedrooms.

You can find different sizes and styles of architectural windows such as half circles, circles, trapezoids, triangles, hexagons, and more. You can use enhanced options such as decorative or frosted glass to add more style.

If you’re looking for windows that can add a distinctive and unique look to any room, then go for architectural windows as they add depth and drama.

 

Basement Windows

A basement window, also referred to as a hopper window, has one sash that is hinged on the bottom. The sash tilts inwards when opened. It tilts easily, allowing for easy cleaning of the exterior and interior sides.

Since the sash tilts inwards, these windows are harder for intruders to gain access into the home. These windows brighten the basement and offers security and enhanced ventilation, making the room feel more comfortable and safer.

 

awning glass windows design

 

Materials Used to Make Replacement Windows

  1. Vinyl

Windows made of vinyl are increasingly becoming more popular over other common materials such as wood. Today, more windows made of vinyl are being sold when compared to other materials. Vinyl windows make up to 67 percent of windows ordered for replacement.

They’re mostly used due to their affordability, dependability, energy efficiency, and durability. These windows are almost maintenance-free. They resist rotting, scratches and warping. Vinyl has the benefit of being good at insulation, making it a great material for making windows.

Other special features may be added such as filling the gap between panes with argon gas and attaching the panes on a vinyl frame to enhance the energy efficiency of the window.

It’s recommended to avoid staining or painting vinyl since the paint will not stick well. Painting may also affect the frame’s insulation capabilities. Due to this issue, they come pre-painted in a desired color or finish when making an order.

These windows are also customizable. You can have them shaped to perfectly fit any opening. They also come with many colors to choose from for the inside and outside frame. If you want to get a dramatic look, then you can choose faux wood finishing. White is also a common choice.

 

  1. Wood

Another popular window material is wood. It’s preferred for its multiple benefits such as beauty and energy efficiency. Wood has superb insulating capabilities.

Today, there are several materials and techniques used to ensure that wood no longer has the problem of getting drafty.

Unlike vinyl, wooden frames may be stained or painted as needed, and they can be styled to blend any look of a home. Wood stands out as a great material for homeowners who desire to give their home a classical touch of style for enhanced warmth and beauty.

The challenge that comes with wooden windows is that they are not durable. They’re vulnerable to rotting, insect infestation and warping.

Moreover, wood does not do well in environments with extreme weather conditions, thus you should be ready to do regular repairs in case of any issues. Due to the maintenance it demands, wood is ultimately costlier than other materials.

 

  1. Fiberglass

Fiberglass is not commonly used and most homeowners overlook it, but it comes with great benefits. For instance, windows made of fiberglass are almost maintenance-free and are durable. Fiberglass does not rot, warp or swell and has more benefits over other materials such as vinyl.

Fiberglass boasts of being stronger and tougher, thus it withstands tear and wear. These frames may be painted in any color and may come with a wooden exterior and interior finishing that makes them look like wood. Moreover, fiberglass is more affordable than wood, but more expensive than vinyl.

 

old windows replaced with aluminium and glass windows

 

Aluminium Windows

Windows made of aluminium are least common among homeowners. However, they still have some benefits that other materials lack.

Aluminium is extremely strong and may be comprised of a thin, durable frame. Thin frames allow for wider glass panes such that you can enjoy wider outdoor views and more natural lighting.

Windows made of aluminium come in multiple colors and are long-lasting and tough. However, there are some shortcomings about aluminium that cannot go unmentioned. Aluminium is metallic, thus poor at insulation.

It doesn’t keep cold and heat away from entering your home. Also, aluminium contracts and expands easily under extreme weather conditions.

Due to these shortcomings, most homeowners prefer going for modified versions of aluminium windows that comprise of a wooden core dressed in aluminium. Even though a modified version comes with better insulation, other materials are better at insulation.

 

Energy Efficiency of Replacement Windows

Most materials that make windows are good insulators, thus they are energy efficient. However, extra features may be added on the windows to further increase their energy efficiency. This way, you will enjoy reduced energy costs.

 

Low-Emissivity Glass

Glass classified as low emissivity (or Low-E) refers to glass that is treated using an invisible coating of metallic oxide. The result is a glass surface that allows natural light into a room while reflecting heat.

Low-E type of glass enhances energy efficiency and makes the home more comfortable throughout the year.

 

Argon Gas

Energy efficiency is also enhanced through argon gas. This gas is non-toxic, clear and odorless. It is used to fill the gap between double-paned or triple-paned glass windows. It minimizes heat transfer through a window such that heat won’t escape during winter or enter during summer. Therefore, your home will be comfortable no matter the season.

 

Caulking

Another material that enhances energy efficiency is caulk. It’s flexible and is used in sealing air leakage through gaps and cracks in the window frame. Applying caulk is effective in increasing energy efficiency.

If these openings and cracks are not caulked, cold air can escape during summer and warmer air can escape during winter. Hence, caulking reduces over-reliance on air conditioners and heaters, thereby reducing energy bills.

 

Weather Stripping

Enhancing energy efficiency through weather stripping can be compared to caulking. It’s done just like caulking. However, the weather stripping technique is applied on operable window parts such as the sash window while caulking is used on stationary parts such as the frame.

Materials used for weather stripping include foam, sponge, vinyl or felt. These materials can also be combined to make weather stripping. No matter the material used, this technique offers similar techniques like caulking.

It fills any gaps around the frame and other moving parts, thereby preventing air from passing through the window once it is closed. This way, cold air will be kept out during winter and warm air will be kept out during summer.

 

Cost of Buying Replacement Glass Windows

There are several factors that determine the overall cost of buying new windows. They include features that come with the window, style and the material.

Vinyl windows tend to be the most affordable option, with aluminium and fiberglass being the average priced option. Wooden windows are costlier than other options.

The amount or size of the material used in constructing the window has a huge impact on the price. If your window openings are large, you will pay more for new windows.

The size of glass making the window will also affect the pricing. A wider or thicker glass pane will push the price higher.

Adding extra features such as filling the glass with argon gas or treating the glass to make it Low-E will also drive the cost up. Any extras you make on a standard window will surely make it more expensive.

When making considerations about the cost of buying replacements, you should remember labor costs for installation. Some homeowners may want to install windows on their own to reduce the overall cost of installation.

Installing them on your own will eliminate labor costs. However, hiring a professional window installation company comes with an extra cost of labor.

 

Window Installation Process

Installing New Windows on Your Own

Replacing your older windows with new ones demands some skills. The skills required may vary. They depend on the kind of replacement project at hand.

If you’re installing fully framed windows, the entire process will demand more skills for it is more complicated to install such windows than installing insert replacements. Full-frame window installation means that you will completely tear out the existing window and replace it with a new set.

With an insert window installation, you will simply insert the new window onto the existing frame, thus, you will not tear out the existing frame.

Besides the skills required, you will also need some tools when doing it yourself. The tools necessary for DIY window replacement include:

  • Safety glasses
  • Screwdriver
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Pry bar
  • Caulk gun
  • Hammer
  • Power drill
  • Utility knife
  • Putty knife

Once you have the necessary tools ready, you will need to set aside enough time for the entire installation process. Replacing full-frame windows may take between 4 to 6 hours for a single window at the ground floor.

Replacing full-frame windows on higher floors, such as the 2nd floor, may take longer and you will need a ladder to reach windows in higher floors.

 

Professional Window Installation

Although you might get tempted to buy and install replacement sets of windows on your own, DIY is never recommended for homeowners who don’t have the required skills based on several reasons.

For instance, if you choose to install windows on your own, manufacturers and window dealers may not offer you a warranty.

The reason behind this is that something might go wrong during installation or when using a poorly installed window due to your own inexperience and errors. Hence, most brands don’t offer labor warranty for DIY window replacements.

Professional window contractors are trained and experienced to spot any issues that your home’s foundation or drywall might have.

Professionals will inform you whether they should do any extra repair work before installing new windows. Such details are missed by inexperienced DIY enthusiasts and doing replacements with such problems may cause more problems in future since they were unnoticed early enough.

Moreover, inexperienced DIY enthusiasts may damage the new windows during installation or even damage the walls. Replacing your older windows yourself is also dangerous.

For instance, you might break costly glass panes and they may cut you. Replacing windows on higher floors is also dangerous since you will have to climb ladders and there may be risks of falling off the ladders.

Hence, installing new windows should be left to the professionals. Only professionals have the skills, tools, knowledge, and experience required to install windows properly and safely.

When windows are installed professionally, everything is done the right way and you will maximize on the benefits that you are looking for in new windows.

 

Read: Enhance Your Home With Double-Glazed Windows: DIY or Professional Installation

 

Choosing the Most Reliable Window Replacement Contractor

Choosing a reliable company to work on your window replacement project is important like choosing the right windows for replacement. There are certain things you will consider when comparing different window installation companies including:

 

  1. Is the Potential Company Licensed and Insured?

Any installer who wants to work on your home improvement project should be licensed and insured. Window installers who don’t have insurance might offer their services cheaply since they lack any premiums and covers to pay.

You will have the final decision on whether you should risk your home by hiring an unlicensed and uninsured window contractor.

 

  • Period of Service

You need to assess the number of years that the company or contractor has been installing windows. Generally, companies that have been installing windows for more years are more experienced.

However, all contractors start somewhere. There might be a new company that has more skills than an older one.

You can rely on references to verify the expertise and experience of any window installation contractor, especially when you are planning to hire a newer company in the business.

 

  • Warranty

Ensure that you only deal with a company that offers warranty on labor and the products. This way, you’ll be fully covered in the event that your windows get issues when using them.

Warranties vary based on the company and brand. Always understand what the warranty offers before buying new windows or hiring a company.

There are many companies to choose from in the window industry. Go for a company that is reliable, qualified and the one that is backed by credible reviews and references. Any reliable company will be ready to share their references to showcase their previous work.

After going through this article, it’s clear that all types of replacement windows come with their own advantages and shortcomings. You will have to choose wisely by comparing different options available based on what they offer and what you need.

Regardless of the type you choose, replacing older windows with new ones is a worthy investment that will ultimately pay off, especially if you might sell your home in future. Also, new windows are more energy-efficient, thus they will lower your energy bills.

 

Recommended Reading

Energy Ratings for Glass Windows Explained

Replacement Windows vs Storm Windows

Tips on Measuring Replacement Windows

What You Should Know About Replacing Windows in Historical Homes

Replacing Windows Before Selling Your Home – Should You or Should You Not?

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