While there are several practical reasons for replacing glass in your home, getting new glass could also be an aesthetic choice that increases the comfort and value of your house.
From windows to tabletops, there are a number of things in your home that could be made of glass, but here we’ll focus on three types of glass:
Replacing glass may seem simple enough, but for the sake of safety and expertise, you should hire a professional.
When to Replace Windows
Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the glass in your home is windows. First, you’ll need to determine if your windows need replacing. You may want to look into replacing window glass if they are:
- In poor condition
- Not working correctly
Your Windows are Inefficient
The kind of windows you have can significantly affect the energy efficiency of your home. Windows that are inefficient (meaning they don’t properly insulate you from the temperature outside) can be responsible for 25%–30% of a house’s heating and cooling bills.
Windows with single-pane glass or inefficient frame material are best replaced with at least double pane window glass and higher quality frames. This can not only save you money on energy bills but will raise the value of your house.
Do your windows feel cold to the touch? If you have single-pane windows, this is to be expected. If you have double-pane windows, your glass should only feel moderately cold when it is very cold outside. Very cold windows may mean it is time to get a window replacement.
Your Windows are in Poor Condition
Besides energy inefficiency, you’ll be able to tell pretty clearly if your windows are in poor condition. These are the signs that window replacement may be necessary:
- Drafts – If the cold from outside is drafting into your home, this could be a result of small cracks in your window glass or window frame.
- Water leakage or pest infiltration – Water leaking into your home could be the result of a bad frame or a failed window seal. In the case of a failed window seal, replacement is the best option for old windows.
- Rot – If water leakage is not addressed, it could lead to a rotted frame, which requires you to replace home windows.
- Pest infiltration – Insects creeping into your closed windows may mean that your windows do not fit securely in the frame.
- Foggy windows – If your windows are constantly foggy, it’s a sign of condensation inside your window’s multi-pane insulated glass unit.
- Cracked or broken glass – Glass that is broken beyond repair (especially multi-pane glass) should be replaced with new glass.
Your Windows Aren’t Operating Correctly
If your windows won’t open or close correctly, this may be an issue with your sashes. Whether this issue requires you to repair or replace home windows depends on the type of sash.
Your Windows Are Outdated
If your home feels a bit old-fashioned, maybe your windows need an update. Replacing your older windows could give your home the refreshed look you’ve been wanting.
Choosing Your New Window
When choosing a new window, you’ll need to choose your frames, panes, and glass.
A window frame surrounds the window and is just as important as the glass. There are important differences between these four frame materials:
- Vinyl – Vinyl window frames are inexpensive and can be molded easily into several shapes. They may have limited color options, but they are easy to maintain. The level of insulation ranges from moderate to high depending on the quality of the vinyl.
- Wood – Wood frames provide higher insulation than vinyl and are less affected by condensation and temperature changes. However, wood requires some maintenance, like painting.
- Fiberglass – Fiberglass provides the best insulation and will not warp, shrink, swell, or rot.
- Aluminum – Aluminum is strong enough to stand up to rainy, humid climates, but provides low insulation.
Replacing an entire window, frames and all, may not be necessary for your situation. If there’s nothing wrong with your current window frames, save time and money by just replacing the glass.
Of course, replacing window glass means you should consider the style of window you have (i.e. picture, double-hung, etc).
Other than the style, there are two main things you need to choose:
- The amount of window panes
- The glass type
You may see single-pane windows in older homes, but these days, double-pane windows are standard and provide significantly more insulation.
Of course, triple-pane windows provide even more insulation. They are also the most resistant to interior fogging.
Double pane and triple pane window glasses are also known as insulated glass units (IGUs).
For the most energy efficiency and the best insulation from harsh winter climates, triple pane windows are the best choice. However, double panes are a good standard option. We have all the right options when it comes to energy-efficient windows and doors.
All glass is not created equal. There are several glass types to choose from, but these three options are the most practical for residential window glass:
- Tempered – Tempered glass is strong and thermal resistant. When it breaks, it shatters into granular pieces rather than jagged shards. This type of glass is ideal when safety is a major concern.
- Low-E – Low emission glass is made with a thin coating of metal oxide. It allows sunlight into the home while blocking heat during warmer climates and trapping heat into the home during colder climates. Of course, this increases energy efficiency, but it also blocks out harmful UV rays from the sun, protecting your skin and fabrics from sun damage.
- Soundproof – Glass is made soundproof by adding an interlayer of vinyl between two panes of glass. This can greatly improve the comfort of your home if you live in a noisy environment.
Replacing Glass Shower Doors
Replacing your shower doors is a great way to give your house an upgrade. Here are the types of doors you can choose from:
- Frameless – Frameless doors don’t have any metal frames around the glass. The clean, all-around glass can give your bathroom a modern look.
- Semi-frameless – Semi-frameless doors have an understated frame. Because the glass is still accentuated, you’ll get a more streamlined look than framed doors.
- Framed – Framed doors are best if you are going for a shower that looks sturdy and functional.
- Pivot – Pivot doors swing open like a standard door. The professional who installs this for you will measure your space so that there is enough clearance for it to swing.
- Sliding – Sliding doors roll on tracks, operating like a typical patio door. This kind of door doesn’t require clearance to open so it is space-efficient.
Types of Glass
Now, you’ll want to choose a type of glass that fits your needs. These are two options that can be especially useful for shower doors:
- Frosted – Frosted glass can be both a stylish and practical option for your shower door. Because it is translucent, it blurs the objects behind it and provides a bit of privacy.
- Tempered – Because of the increased strength and safety of tempered glass, it’s a great low-hazard glass option for a shower door.
The beauty of mirrors is their ability to be both functional and fashionable. So if your mirrors are broken or outdated, choosing stylish replacements can freshen up your space.
With all the style options—full length, vanity-sized, framed, frameless, round, geometric, beveled, wall-to-wall—mirrors can be both a necessity and a fun focal point.
By now you have a sense of just how many decisions are involved in glass replacement. With the right professionals on your side, you can make the glass in your home look and function exactly the way you want.
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HGTV. Choosing the Right Windows.
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The Spruce. How to Tell if a Window Seal Has Failed.
The Spruce. Window Sash Replacement Basics.
The Spruce. Deciding Whether to Repair or Replace Windows.
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The Glass Guru. Window Types.
The Glass Guru. Window Styles.
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