I'm giving serious thought to replacing the nine windows in my home. It was built in 1974 and is a single story, brick home with vinyl siding covering the wood areas. I'd like advice on what type of window to use for replacement in North Texas. What questions should I be asking? I'd like to get these replaced before winter and would appreciate any advice you can offer (hopefully soon). Thanks in advance.
Website to Check Out
My advice would be to go to pella.com. Not only will you find useful information on their products, but also they will provide suggestions that could cover your needs. Also check with your local building stores, lumber stores and talk to contractors. See what products they recommend. Same applies to going to Lowes or Home Depot. They have brochures from window/door manufacturers that could help out.
Research and Bids
Get numerous bids on vinyl double pane windows and ask for a breakdown of the window cost and the per window installation. Also ask for the per window charge for Argon-filled and double vs. single hung. Also, larger windows should have a double lock, not just one latch in the center for a huge difference in quality and air leaks. You can often purchase the windows direct from the window/construction supplier and have an installer of your choice put them in. That's why it's important to speak to numerous people to get good bids that can be compared. Consider how long you'll be living in the house to determine what sort of features to purchase.
We have a 2-story and went with double hung up and single hung on the main. Our installer charged us $35 per window for installation. Also find out if you will need to wrap the existing window openings with metal (it'll look like your fascia material) and the breakdown cost for that. The metal bending and installation can be very time consuming and costly. Ask about disposal of the old windows. You can also purchase a storm/screen unit that is affixed to the outside of the window opening which improves the efficiency of the window w/out the huge cash outlay. You may be able to install yourself depending on your skill/ability.
A Preference for Vinyl
I replaced all 16 of my home's windows with Certainteed-brand vinyl double-hung, thermo-pane windows that unlatch toward the inside for easy cleaning. My neighbors installed the same style and features but in aluminum. While I have to insert a piece of wood in the windows to place a window-style air conditioner on them, I would use vinyl again after seeing the aluminum-framed ones which are much heavier, more difficult to lift open and are no longer attractive due to the humidity, I believe.
We put new windows in our 50-year-old home about two years ago. After researching different companies like the thermal window people and other local window places, we found windows (dual pane) just as good as the others, but less expensive at Home Depot. In our research, we found that the argon gas that is in the thermal windows only lasted for about two years, so we didn't see the point in spending $10,000 from these other companies. We found a guy in a local Christian magazine to install them saving us $5,000. Needless to say, these windows made a noticeable difference in our utility bills.
A Different Solution
Just replace the sashes in the window. These are the moving windowpanes. This only costs $100 to 150 per window for plastic framed, double insulated, coated windows at Lowes. You want double insulated and coated to keep cold out and keep the summer sun out. You want plastic to eliminate maintenance (except cleaning). These windowpanes fold in so you can clean them. And they seal airtight. Installation is about 15 minutes, even if you have never done it before. You need to take measurements to see if you have a standard size sash. Non-standard sizes are much harder, but you can do it. You will need to replace the trim afterwards. Maybe go to Home Depot and take their free course in how to do this.
For the question regarding aluminum vs. vinyl windows, aluminum frames transfer heat into and out of the home while vinyl is more energy efficient and will provide a better return on your investment. Also when choosing windows, you don't necessarily need nor want the same glass on all sides of the house. Talk to some window retailers. For example, cold north winds vs. hot summer sun from the west. Choose glazing for the job it needs to do.
Here is a link on how to choose windows for your home: www.thewindowplace.com/howtochoose/howtochoose4.html
We just replaced all the windows as part of a complete renovation of our 20-year-old South Mississippi home. I chose vinyl windows for the durability and looks. I wanted double hung, but the single hung was much less expensive. I chose a type of single hung that has tilt in bottom windows so I can clean them easily. (I do have two upstairs windows that are very hard to clean from the outside, so for those two, I splurged for the double hung with tilt in sashes.)
Since we live in the Deep South, we chose not to have the gas barrier. That decision is definitely climate related. I compared ratings between brands as well as initial costs and warranties. I used pamphlets and other literature I collected from my local hardware and building supply stores to decide on my top three window choices. To make my final decision, I found each of these brands in a store display and "played" with each window to see how easy they opened, locked, tilted and their general appearance.
Another major deciding factor for me was the size requirements. Three of the windows in my home were not considered "standard" in the first vinyl brand I chose, which meant a much higher cost and longer wait for a special order. However, when I checked into my second choice, that size was considered standard.
Since I'm just a working mom with a little carpentry experience, a hammer, some nails and a lot of determination, I may have missed something, but I definitely did my homework and, so far, I'm very pleased with my new windows!
Annette from MS
Spectrally selective window
I've recently replaced the 23 windows in our one story home and it was a nightmare for me to understand the entire lingo used by different companies. The important thing is to get a spectrally selective window. The frame for the window needs to have as many chambers as possible to keep air from changing temperature. I think this also keeps out airflow. Whom ever you speak to ask them about their low E glass (this should be the spectrally selective product). There are many different ways to coat your glass with low E but research has found that the most efficient coating combination is ONE layer of low E, One layer of reflector, One layer of low E, One layer of reflector, and One layer of low E. It is a five layer combination applied to one pane of the window. It reflects 99.9% of the UV rays.