The Most Common Questions About Replacement Windows Answered
Windows help to capture the important aspects of your favorite room. They can enhance the look and comfort of your room and connect you to the outside world. More than that, windows help to boost your curb appeal, reduce energy costs, welcome natural sunlight, and create a sound barrier against unwanted outside noise.
Windows serve so many purposes but are usually an afterthought until they stop performing as expected. When it’s time to upgrade your windows, it’s worth the investment to consider windows that are energy efficient and built to last.
We recommend that you familiarize yourself with the topics most of our window customers are asking about.
Should I repair or replace my windows?
You have many options when it comes to your windows. To make sure you are making the best decision based on your time and budget, here are some things you can consider.
Minor window issues that may be remedied by window repairs include:
- Painted shut
- Broken panes and sash cords
- Broken or damaged hardware
- Faulty glazing
- Deteriorated weather-stripping
Consider a window replacement when you run into these issues:
- Rotting around the frame.
- Condensation, dirt or cloudiness in-between the glass panes. If moisture and dirt can infiltrate between the glass, this is an indicator that your seal is no longer holding up. Allowing airflow to travel between the panes significantly reduces the window’s energy efficiency.
- Inconvenient window maintenance. Some window materials require painting and other frequent upkeep that may be tiresome and worth a change.
How much should I expect to pay for a window?
According to the stats gathered by Remodeling.com, the national average in 2018 for a vinyl window replacement project is $15,955. This cost is gathered by comparing the estimates on the same exact project across the country. The project consisted of 10 double hung windows measuring 3’x5’ with insulated, Low-E glass, all with the same interior and exterior finishes.
The estimates gathered also ensured that the same number of workers and hours are being compared, allowing for the same gross and net markets.
Remodeling.com then surveyed real estate professionals across the country to estimate how the installation of the new windows will affect the home’s selling price. According to this year’s projections, the project cost of $15,955 will create a resell value of $11,855 – a 74.3% of the original costs spent.
Keep in mind that this estimate is for 10 windows with specifications that may not match what you are wanting for your home. As with most things, you get what you pay for. Be wary of costs that seem too good to be true. What sounds like a great deal usually comes with a lot of limitations and added costs.
Be sure to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with us. We’d love to show you the best vinyl windows in Oklahoma at the best price. In fact, we’re so confident in our product, we’ll price match any comparable window.
What Makes a Window Energy-Star Rated?
Energy Star, according to their website, “is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, providing simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions.”
Each product under Energy Star consideration is evaluated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA independently tests and certifies each product to ensure that it can deliver quality, performance, and energy savings.
For a window to be Energy Star qualified, it must be:
- Manufactured by an Energy Star partner. These partners undergo many hours of training and testing to ensure that they follow strict guidelines to ensure the highest in quality and energy-efficiency.
- Is independently tested, certified, and verified by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). The NFRC rates products based on strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
The NFRC tests each product to ensure that they meet the following five factors with satisfactory results:
U-factor – measures the heat transfer rate. The lower the number, the better the window insulates.
Air Leakage – measures how much air passes through the joints of the window. The lower the number, the less air that passes through.
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient – measures how well the window blocks the sun’s heat. The lower the number, the less solar heat is transmitted.
Visible Transmittance - measures the amount of light the window lets through. The higher the number, the more light comes through.
Condensation Resistance - measures how well the window resists water build-up. The higher the condensation resistance factor, the less build-up the window allows.
Although there is not a strict guideline on how an Energy Star window should be made, many certified windows hold these features:
What are the common myths about vinyl windows?
Window material is just one of the choices you need to make when replacing your window. All types of material, from wood, to aluminum and vinyl, claim to be the best. In our research, we have found that vinyl windows offer the best value in cost and performance.
Let’s talk about the common myths of vinyl and what you should look for when choosing a replacement window.
They are poor insulators. With any window material, window insulation performance is dependent on many factors, such as:
- Welded frame and sash
- Insulated glass
- Glass coating
- Energy Star rating
If you decide on a window based on price, you may be sacrificing important energy-saving features, regardless of the window material you choose.
Limited styles and colors. Back in the day when vinyl windows first arrived on the market, white was the only option. Those boring days are long gone. Vinyl windows come in many different colors that will never require repainting. Vinyl also comes with many choices in hardware, shapes and styles, and grid patterns. Whatever your style is, you’re sure to find a vinyl window that compliments it.
Cheaply made. There is an assumption that vinyl windows are affordable because they are cheaply made. This is not the case. Vinyl windows first appeared in the 1970s as the affordable window choice. Over time, vinyl window manufacturers have come up with new technologies to enhance the energy efficiency but maintain their attractive price appeal.
What Is Low-E coating?
Low-E glass coatings add protection to your home against damaging UV rays that fade your carpets and furniture. This coating also helps to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Low-E stands for low emissivity, and it works by bouncing the temperatures back without allowing them to pass though. The coating also reflects only certain segments of the sun’s light spectrum through the window’s undetectable layers of metallic oxides.
The Low-E coating is applied in-between double or triple-paned glass, so it reflects the light and also serves as an insulated barrier against the outside air. The performance of the Low-E coating is measured by these factors:
- Visible Light Transmittance
- Solar Heat Gain Coefficient
- Light to Solar Gain
There are two types of Low-E coatings – Passive Low-E coating, also known as hard-coat, and solar control Low-E coating, also known as soft-coat.
Passive or Hard-Coat- Tin oxide is infused directly into the glass during production called a pyrolytic process. This fusion creates a strong bond, or “hard-coat,” that is very durable.
This type of coating is best in an extremely cold climate because it allows the sun’s infrared rays to pass through the glass helping to heat the home in the winter.
Solar Control or Soft-Coat- Sometimes referred to as a “sputter” process, a thin layer of silver is applied to a pre-cut section of the glass in a vacuum chamber at room temperature.
The soft-coat Low-E glass coating is recommended for most climates in the United States. It offers better U-value and UV protection in the summer months.
Here is an easy test to see if your current windows are installed with Low-E glass:
- Hold a match or a lighter up to the window. If it is a double pane glass, you should see four light reflections. One of the four reflections should be clearer or in a slightly different color.
- If you do not see a difference in color, that is a sign that you do not have a Low-E coating.
You can learn more about Low-E coatings by visiting the Efficient Windows Collaborative.
What are retrofit windows?
Retrofit windows, also known as insert or pocket windows, are designed to go inside of an existing window opening/frame. Typically the only difference between a retrofit window and a full replacement window is the absence of a nailing flange.
When a retrofit window is installed, the old window sash and frame is removed. The new window is installed, leveled and sealed into place on top of the existing frame. The surrounding wall is never disturbed other than small touch-ups if necessary. A retrofit window is designed to be installed without altering the siding, brick or walls of the home.
What are the components of a great window?
For the most part, windows all have the same components but there are some key features that separate the average window from the best window. Listed below are some of the terminology you’ll find when researching the best window for your home.
Frame – the enclosing structure of the window which fits into the wall.
Sash – fits within the frame and secures the glass to the frame.
Rail — a horizontal member of a sash, leaf, or panel.
Sill – the shelf at the foot of a window.
Insulating Glass Unit – Also known as IGUs, is typically two panes of glass separated by insulated airspace filled with a noble gas.
Argon gas – A noble gas most commonly used in the insulated airspace of an IGU. It provides additional insulation because the gas is denser than air and reduces the amount of heat that passes through.
Tilt latches – Hardware concealed within the sash that allows the window to be tilted in for easy cleaning.
Cam lock – Hardware that locks the window sash together to prevent opening. Typically found in single hung and double hung windows.
Multi-chambered frame – Multiple air spaces created within the frame. The air space improves the window’s strength and overall thermal insulation. The chambers act as multiple thermal breaks to catch drafts before they enter your home.
Red River Roofing Home Energy Solutions Platinum Series Window
What should I ask during a window consultation?
As with any major home renovation or improvement, much consideration should go into the type of window you choose as well as who you choose to install the window. Without proper research or even knowing where to start, you could end up overpaying for an inexperienced contractor installing poor-quality windows. Even if you do extensive research into choosing a great window, the window is only as good as the installation.
We recommend gathering at least three quotes so that you can familiarize yourself with the company’s customer service aspects such as- are they on time for the appointment, how quickly did they follow up with a detailed proposal, did you feel comfortable with the sales representative.
During your consultation, be sure to ask for actual window samples. Do not rely on pictures. See for yourself how simple the window is to operate and maintain.
Here are 13 questions you should ask during your window consultation:
- Is there a fee to schedule a consultation?
- Can you tell me about the manufacturer’s warranty coverage?
- Does the warranty include accidental screen or glass breakage?
- Is the warranty transferable to future homeowners?
- Is there a workmanship warranty to cover the installation?
- How long will the job take from beginning to end?
- What is the clean-up process?
- How long have you been installing windows?
- Do you have images of your past jobs?
- Can I speak to any of your past customers about their experiences?
- How will my home be protected during the project?
- How long until the project actually begins?
- How long will the window(s) be out of the frame?
- How would I need to prepare for the installation-move or cover furniture?
Replacing the windows in your home is a big job. Once you understand your options, you can make educated and informed decisions. We hope that this article can help to answer some of your major window replacement questions.
If you still have questions, please consider downloading our PDF, The Four Major Factors To Consider When Replacing Your Windows
Ready to start gathering quotes? Please contact us today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
Replacement Windows Helpful Links
- Replacement Window Overview
- Deciding Between Wood, Vinyl or Aluminum Windows
- When Is It Time To Replace Your Windows?
- Four Tips To Stop Drafty Windows
- 10 Ways To Spruce Up Your Windows