Are you thinking about replacing your windows?
Revamping your windows is one of the most rewarding home renovation projects you can complete. Depending on how you approach your window replacement project, you can expect better light, more curb appeal, and reduced energy bills.
At the same time, replacing each and every old window can be an intimidating process. Which new windows are right for you? How long will your house be wide-open to the elements? And, most importantly, how much will the window installation cost?
In this short guide, we’ll go over the ABCs of window replacement so that you can embark on your project with full confidence.
You Can Try To Repair First
Should you repair or replace windows? Are your energy bills sky-high? Are there visible cracks in your glass? That doesn’t mean you absolutely have to replace home windows.
Most kinds of window-related problems have an elegant potential solution.
- If your windows are drafty, you may simply need to replace the caulking and weatherstripping to achieve a better seal to prevent air leaks
- If your glass is cracked or broken, a glazier may be able to disassemble the window, replace the pane, and put it back together
- If the problem is damaged or rotten wood—whether on the window frame itself or in other parts like sashes and muntins—an experienced local professional can probably replace the afflicted parts of the wooden windows
How do you know whether you should replace or repair windows?
- If a window replacement just isn’t your budget, go for a low-cost window repair.
- If your long-term goal is redoing your windows and saving on energy costs, go ahead and replace them!
Ready to commit to new windows? It’s time to start window shopping.
Find the Right Window For Your Climate and Budget
There are several options for windows, and each comes at a different price point.
The most popular materials for windows include:
- Wood – The most expensive of these three materials, wooden windows also require the most maintenance and upkeep. Since wood can be prone to rotting, it has a shorter lifespan than synthetic materials.
- Vinyl – The most popular window material on the market, vinyl replacement windows are affordable, colorful, and durable.
- Fiberglass – Fiberglass and composite windows can be treated to look like wood. Why not opt for the real thing? Fiberglass window options are the most durable material on this list and are slightly less expensive than a wooden frame.
Besides the material, other factors that will affect the installation cost of your windows include:
- Window size
- Glass type
Beyond the upfront window glass replacement cost, it’s important to consider how their glass type and finish will affect your utility bills in the long term. Replacing your windows can save you up to 15% on energy bills—but only if you select the right materials for your area.
Glass Type and Energy Efficiency
When you’re home window shopping, you’ll notice they have labels with several inscrutable numbers.
To make the right purchase, get familiar with the following factors:
- U-factor – This number describes how readily the window absorbs non-solar heat. If you live in a cooler environment (or one with cold winters), you’ll want to make sure your heat won’t readily pass through your windows back out into the world! Look for a low U-factor. Conversely, if you live in the desert, a high U-factor could help keep your home cool.
- SHGC – The solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) rating describes how much a window absorbs solar heat. If you live in a hot environment, look for windows with a lower number so that your house doesn’t cook on long summer days.
- Finish – Your windows’ glazing also affects its energy efficiency. Windows with 3-coat Low-E are better for hot environments, while windows with 2-coat Low-E can help keep your home toasty in cooler climes.
Keep in mind that you may need more than one kind of window type in your home. If your south-facing living room heats up in the sun, it will need different windows than your shady second-floor office.
Replace When The Weather Is Nice
Once you’ve selected the right windows for the job, it’s time to contact a professional window installer! If your go-to contractor is booked up for months, you may be tempted to wait until his calendar opens up in January.
But unless you live in Miami, this isn’t the best idea.
While replacing windows can be a quick and straightforward process, your home will be exposed to the elements for anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days. In rainy or cold weather, this can risk damage to the rest of your property, not to mention sky-high heating bills.
Many people wait until spring to replace their windows. But the right time for your project is any month when it’s comfortable inside your home without turning on the heat or AC.
If You Want, Go Window-By-Window
No one said that you have to replace all your windows at once. If it’s not in your budget or you don’t want to turn your kids’ bedrooms upside down, feel free to extend the process for as long as you need.
Try one of the following methods:
- Start by replacing the windows that face the road to give your house a fresh new face
- Replace the windows in the rooms you use most frequently (bedroom, kitchen)
- Replace standard-sized windows first, saving expensive custom sizes for later
The first step is getting started. Once you see the benefits of a brand-new window, you can make a decision about when you want to replace the next.
When installation day comes, it’s important to work with a trustworthy local professional.
Beyond getting a fair price and tidy work product, your window’s installation will affect you for years to come.
- Windows that are not properly installed may let in moisture, drafts, or noise
- As a result, you’ll experience higher energy bills
- Your windows may also have a shorter lifespan
Prepare Your Home
Hopefully, you’ve found a licensed and bonded professional to install your windows.
What do you have to do to prepare your home for their visit?
- Remove curtains, blinds, and curtain rods
- Take paintings and art off the adjoining walls
- Notify your alarm company of the work and disarm any relevant alarms
- Roll up or remove rugs
- Move your furniture three feet away from the wall and cover with a dropcloth
- Place valuables in unaffected rooms
Then, let the professionals take it away. It’s only a matter of time until you’re enjoying your beautiful new windows!
Check the Warranty on Your New Windows
How long will your windows last?
When you’re purchasing your windows, make sure that they come with a warranty. This will give you a sense of how long your new windows might last. Be aware that some low-cost windows come with lifetime warranties. While the manufacturer may replace a faulty window, you’ll have to pay for the labor!
To extend your windows’ lifespan, perform basic upkeep tasks:
- Clean your interior windows monthly
- Power wash exterior windows yearly
- Resealing or repaint wooden frames as needed
Keep your eye on your new windows for any issues like moisture, foggy glass, or difficulty opening. If you notice a problem while your window is still under warranty, get in touch with your window manufacturer.
See Clearly With Help From the Glass Guru
Even if you know you want to replace your windows, it can be difficult to envision the window installation process from start to finish. What window material is the best long-term investment? Where should you start? And when will you finish?
The Glass Guru connects you with the local professionals who can help you replace home windows at the right price point.
With refreshed windows, you’ll see your home in a whole new light.
Energy Department. Update or Replace Windows. https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/design/windows-doors-and-skylights/update-or-replace-windows
Home Reference. Common Signs of Poorly Installed Windows. https://homereference.net/signs-of-poorly-installed-windows/