Picture any home in your mind. It can be your childhood home, that place you lived in through college, or the first house you purchased. Now, imagine it without windows. It’s nearly impossible to do. Windows add so much character and life to a house. They’re both practical and beautiful. They add style and bring in needed light. Without the right windows, it’s hard for a house to be a home.
For homeowners planning either a remodel or a new home build, finding the right windows is essential. In this article, we’ll review your style, glass, and frame options, and how you should go about finding the right windows that fit within your remodeling budget.
Select your style
When it comes to windows, you have options. Here are some of the most popular styles:
- Double-Hung Windows: When most people hear the word “window,” their mind pictures a classic, double-hung windows. These windows feature two panels, with the bottom one sliding up to open.
- Casement Windows: These windows swing open to the left or right when you turn a hand crank. They’re energy-efficient and look great.
- Slider Windows: Just as the name suggests, these windows slide open to the left or right. They’re relatively common and easy to maintain. Their only downside is that dirt tends to accumulate in the slider channel.
- Bay Windows: These windows extend out from the home in either a half-circle or half-octagon. While pricey to install, they can be the perfect aesthetic centerpiece for the front of your home.
Most homes will feature a mixture of these different styles. You might use casement windows throughout most of the house, but then have a classic bay window at the front of the home. There are also a few speciality windows to think about:
- Glass Block: The classic compromise between natural light and privacy in bathrooms, glass block can be the perfect addition next to showers and tubs.
- Skylights: Installed in your roof, a skylight can bring sunlight into the center of your home. As you might expect, installing a skylight is a bit more complicated than replacing a window. Talk to your remodeling contractor about your options.
Find a frame
Once you have your glass and your style selected, it’s time to pick a frame. You have many options to choose from. Here are some of the most popular ones:
To pick the right frame, you also need to think about your local climate. The classic wood frame might not be a good match for the humidity of Florida or Louisiana. Conversely, a window replacement company in Pittsburgh will probably advise against an inefficient aluminum frame in Pennsylvania’s colder climate. It’s worth noting that fiberglass is great for all climates, but it’s typically more expensive than your other options.
Pick the right glass
Dual-pane glass is the new standard. This window features two panes of glass with a narrow air pocket between them. This pocket is typically filled with an invisible and non-toxic insulating gas, such as argon or krypton. The window is then sealed. In the summer, outdoor heat is transferred to the interior of your home much more slowly. In the winter, your home retains much more of the heat generated by your furnace or heat pump. All told, dual-pane windows can cut your energy bills by 30-50%!
A full home remodel is the perfect time to upgrade to dual-pane windows. Homeowners typically see the best results—and savings—when they replace all their windows at once. After all, dual-pane windows can only be effective at slowing heat transfer if there are no other leaky windows in your home.
If you really want to future-proof your home and make it more efficient, you should also consider triple-pane windows. While less common, these windows are even more efficient than dual-pane ones. Be sure to talk to your window installer first, though: triple-pane windows may not fit into every home or be available in every window style.
Work with your home designer
Finding the right combination of window style, glass, and frame—as well as the right contractor to install it all—can be a challenge. Our recommendation? Talk to a local home designer or remodeling professional to get their advice. Show them pictures of homes and window styles that you like so that they can begin to price things out for you and figure out which windows will fit in your budget. After all, an extensive home remodel is your best opportunity to upgrade your windows—don’t let it pass you by!