Where to begin?
Go somewhere where you can see the windows actually in place. You want to feel the operation of the window as well; you’ll want to examine the interior and exterior view of the windows.
Things to keep in mind when you start looking:
- Consider the elevation of your home and what will suit it best.
- You’ll have many options; Casement, sliders, double hung, awning or fixed
- Pay attention to the overall style and architecture of your house. Try to keep that look consistent with what your house dictates.
- Look at your budget. There are so many options now available in all budgets that you won’t need to compromise your wants.
- Keep in mind that most manufacturers will have standard sizes. Try to keep within these sizes if possible so that you can avoid the up-charge of custom sizing.
- Pay attention to frame construction, performance of the glazing and the windows overall efficiency rating.
- Pay specific attention to the fine print of the warranties. Some product warranties are dramatically prorated and the majority of the cost of replacing a faulty window may fall in your lap.
Different types of windows:
There are two types of Aluminum clad windows; a light gauge aluminum cladding or an extruded heavy gauge cladding. The extruded aluminum is much stronger and won’t dent easily. Most aluminum clad windows have wonderful wood interiors. A classic look for any home. Another great feature is that aluminum comes in such a wide variety of colours. The ample colour selection means that there will definitely be something to suit the outside of your home.
Vinyl windows traditionally only came in white. The white tends to be a bit stark and really limits your choices when it comes to other colour selections on your house. The colour selection on vinyl windows is not as broad as aluminum clad windows. While there are not as many options, the selection is better than it was before. The selling points to vinyl are that it is a very long lasting medium and that it is a low maintenance option at a very affordable price.
Wood windows have a fantastic look to them, inside and out. They do, however, require ongoing maintenance to retain their beauty. You can get some wood window with a factory applied finish that will last for many years without extensive maintenance.
Fiberglass windows will have the qualities of aluminum and vinyl. The look will be similar to that of aluminum or vinyl with great insulating values, tremendous durability and available at a reasonable price point.
If you like the look of mullions on your windows, you’ll have a few options. The removable dividers that are applied to the inside surface of the windows or floating between the two panes of glass are least expensive and also least attractive. A simulated divided light with the mullions applied to the outside surface of the window is more appealing; especially if the mullions are more than 1” in width.
Low E coating on the glass is a great feature to add to any window. Low E stands for "low emissivity". Low E glass is coated with a microscopic, virtually invisible, metallic oxide layer that improves thermal performance.
You can also opt to have the window panes filled with Argon gas for added insulation value. All these features can add curb appeal and save you money on your utility bills.