We often get asked what is the best window for my home remodeling project. It is a very difficult question to answer; it is almost like asking which is the best car for you and your family. There are a lot of variables in both decisions, with a multitude of choices for both. With cars there is the basic utility needs, how and for what will the car be used; the body configuration, design, number of seats, fuel economy and price. As far as windows, there are the aesthetic considerations, the energy saving needs, the home's basic insulation characteristics, security concerns, color considerations, how long you plan to stay in the home, and your personal financial situation.
If your home is not properly insulated to begin with, adding new windows may not give you all of the improved comfort level you are looking for. You may also need to address the level of attic and/or wall insulation in the home. New high-performance windows will help regardless of the basic wall and attic insulation level, but you may want to address the entire home's energy value before making a decision. There are many window professionals that also do an analysis of your home's basic condition and offer insulation products as well as new windows and doors. If you’re concerned with the overall energy value of your home, it would be worth consulting an expert who can show you how to improve all of the energy improvement options.
When choosing windows, there are many technical factors that go into making high quality replacement windows. The framing material, the quality of the design, the weather-strip air barrier, and the glass make-up are key ones. Vinyl has proven to be the best framing material for many reasons, including its maintenance-free properties, color fastness, thermal properties and ease in designing effective shapes to create the frame members. Wood, while attractive to look at, is a material that requires maintenance and is inherently problematic. Aluminum is easy to form into effective frame sections but is not really an effective material thermally. Composites and fiberglass have some good features but are ineffective alternatives. They are difficult to form complex shapes with, must be finished with another material, are not great thermally and are not as strong as some of the alternatives.
Glass ranges from basic single glass, to triple-glass units that offer superb thermal performance. You can also find glass options that provide a combination of benefits, for example excellent thermal performance and securityA features to protect your home from intrusion or Mother Nature's fury.
Design of the shapes making up the frame is critical in getting a high-performing product that will prevent air infiltration and water penetration. The right materials, the right glass choice for your home's needs, and then the product design are all key considerations for performance of the window -- as well as the aesthetic value. To help you with these decisions, you should consult with a professional window dealer who can explain all the considerations and give you recommendations to fit the needs of your home. Check them out on the web and with the Better Business Bureau, and then ask for a free consultation and estimate - you'll be glad you did your homework.
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