Whether it's because you want to or because you have to, replacing your old windows can make any home look beautiful. However, new windows are a big investment. It's important to know some key aspects of buying replacement windows before shopping for them.
The most popular materials for new windows are vinyl, wood and aluminum. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages, and what you choose is ultimately reliant on your preferences and the climate that you live in. Vinyl is a popular choice because it is lightweight, comes in many different colors, is cheaper than most other opinions and won't fade in color or rot. However, it's not very durable to damage, and many people don't like the artificial look and feel to it.
Wood is the traditional option. It looks and feels good, has a unique appearance that can't be matched by other options and is very durable. However, it does need to be painted on occasion. It's also susceptible to rot and mold.
Aluminum is strong and durable, has a unique look of its own and fares well in many climates. However, it may not fit well in terms of appearance in older and more traditional style homes and it conducts a lot of heat.
When it comes to energy costs, windows are a common spot where money just drains away. On hot days, the glass and metal heat up to make the interior of the house very hot and uncomfortable. On cold days, the windows may allow heat to escape and make the room colder with the cold temperatures of the glass and metal. Select windows with an Energy Star seal of approval. Try to select dual pane windows as they provide more insulation than single pane windows. Finally, you can buy windows with Low-E coatings, which help reflect light and heat. This allows the warmth to stay inside and the cold air outside during winter while the cool air stays in and the warmth is repelled during summer.
This aspect is ultimately up to the preferences of the homeowner. Some styles look better with certain houses, but if the style doesn't appeal to you there's no point in getting it. There are many different kinds of window styles including awning, bay, bow, sliding, tilt and turn, garden and more. Do research on the various window styles and try to imagine what they would look like on your home. If you're having trouble deciding, ask your local hardware or home improvement store for advice.