As you plan to install new windows or replace old ones, you should weigh your options based on factors such as energy efficiency, security, ventilation, beauty, and natural illumination. Other than having windows that serve the above purposes, you likely want windows that are durable, easy to maintain, as well as easy to install and repair. Therefore, to choose an option that meets your budget and needs, you should weigh all the pros and cons of various types of window frames, glass, and designs. The type of building (office or home) and its architectural design are also important factors. Other important factors to keep in mind include geographical location and climatic factors. Here’s some more information on this topic from Glass Express:
The key considerations when choosing windows include the frame, glass, design, and installation.
To meet different market needs, window frames are made from a wide range of materials. The common types of materials include, among others:
- Vinyl – Vinyl is a much cheaper material but that doesn’t mean that it’s ‘cheap’. A well-built and properly installed vinyl window frame can be both cost-effective and energy-efficient thanks to the tight construction which limits air leakage and insulated glass. Vinyl windows however offer limited color choices.
- Wood – Wood windows provide excellent insulative value, but they require more upkeep compared to vinyl, aluminum, and wood-clad frames. Because of wood’s propensity to rot, they may not be an ideal option for extremely rainy or humid climates. But still, well-constructed wooden window frames that are built using high-quality wood can be incredibly durable.
- Aluminum – In terms of heat loss and transfer, aluminum is not the best material, but aluminum window frames can be practical in humid or rainy climates. Besides, due to their strength, they can meet the strict building codes in coastal and hurricane-prone areas.
- Wood-clad – Wood-clad windows offer two key advantages, the temperature-transfer-resistance of the wooden interior, and the low maintenance of the exterior (typically made of aluminum or vinyl). However, clad windows may be vulnerable to water intrusion which leads to rotting, particularly on jambs and sills where water usually pools. But you can solve that problem by including a sill pan (a flashing assembly) and waterproof membranes all around the cladding.
- Composite – Composite window frames, which are made of plastic resins and scrap wood shavings, can mimic the wooden look but are just about maintenance-free. And because the manufactures often use recycled plastic, composite frames can be an eco-friendly option.
- Fiberglass – Fiberglass window frames are costlier, but they come with many selling points including, energy efficiency due to their minimal thermal conductivity, strength and durability, and they don’t warp or twist.
Windows with badly chosen glass cause rooms to lose lots of heat during winter and to overheat in summer. This can increase your year-round cost of cooling and heating by up to 30% and make your house/building an uncomfortable place to live/work. The right windowpane makes windows suit your needs. With the help of a professional, you can be able to choose glass that offers optimal efficiency in all weather conditions. Because energy efficiency is now a key consideration for homeowners and builders, most windows are as a minimum double glazed.
Windows affect the aesthetics of a building/home. A key concern for homeowners is whether the design of the window will blend with the exterior. To find a design that suits your home, you should consider your home’s architecture. For instance, colonial houses usually come with double-hung windows. You can open and close double windows using two operating sashes. And the windows tilt and so they are easy to clean. Besides, they are a classic design that goes well with colonial homes and various other architectural styles such as Craftsman or ranch homes.
Specialty shape windows are well suited for historic as well as modern homes. For extra character, you can opt for geometric or specialty shape window styles. You can also add a unique touch to your house by opting for grids and decorative glass options.
Even the best window unity won’t serve you well if the installation is poor. Be wary of contractors who rely heavily on sealants and expanding foam when fitting windows — these materials can cause problems in the long run because they aren’t waterproof. Besides, ensure caulking and flashing are done with the greatest attention to detail, otherwise, you’ll have water leaks which will cause plenty of problems down the road.
Importantly, if you’re looking for excellent quality glasswork, you should consider hiring a certified glazier. Glaziers can customize your glasses as per your needs. Besides, an experienced glazier can finish glass work beautifully, efficiently, and in due time because they are familiar with the work. Lastly, a professional glazier can help you find the right glass at the best price. Those are some of the reasons why you need a professional if you’re hoping for exceptional glasswork.
Follow these steps to choose and install windows that meet your budget, needs, and expectations.