Getting New Windows? Here Are 8 Things You Need to Know

Beautiful new Pella windows installed on a home.

When you’re looking into replacement windows, the process is certainly exciting—but also involves a lot of decisions. Getting the right windows involves weighing all the factors, and figuring out what works best for your home. Choose wisely, and you’re much more likely to be satisfied with your investment for the long term. 

Since there’s a lot to consider before you choose, we’ve put together this handy list of factors to research before you buy. 

These 8 Factors Will Help You Plan Your Window Replacement 

1. Prioritize Your Goals  

You’ll have many choices to consider as you select your replacement windows. To make the decision process easier, prioritize what matters most to you. Consider affordability, style, color, ease of use, maintenance requirements, safety features, and more—and decide what you’re willing to compromise on—and what you aren’t.

2. Evaluate Window Frame Materials 

The makeup of your window frames can influence performance, appearance, and price—so research different materials and get to know the pros and cons. Here’s a quick look at the most common types:

  • Wood — Classic and organic, but lots of upkeep and prone to rotting
  • Vinyl — Affordable and low-maintenance, but tends to fade and can’t be painted
  • Fiberglass — Durable and available in many styles and colors, but tends to cost more
  • Composite cladding — Fiberglass covered in wood for the window interior — an attractive, high-end option

3. Boost Natural Lighting 

One great reason to invest in new windows is to enjoy a lot more natural light to brighten and cheer your home. And some windows are better at this than others. Picture windows, for example, create a large glass surface to draw in light. So do slider windows and fiberglass windows.

4. Investigate Energy-Efficient Features 

Today’s windows come with double or even triple panes, with gas between the glass to increase their insulation value. You can also choose low-emissivity (Low-E) glass, which lowers the amount of heat transferred between the outdoors and your home’s interior. 

You’ll see these energy savings reflected in various ratings. R-value is a window’s ability to insulate your home, and higher is better. The Energy Star rating indicates a window meets certain EPA standards. U-value indicates how much non-solar heat (like heated air in winter) passes through the window, and lower is better.

5. Think about Function as Well as Style 

Appearance matters, but so does how you’ll use the window. If you want a window that’s easy to escape through in an emergency (a must for bedrooms!), large sliders are ideal. Picture windows give great light, but no ventilation. Transoms go above doors and other windows to bring in more light.

6. Consider Indoor and Outdoor Spaces 

Your windows should function well within your home’s interior and exterior layout. For example, windows that are near a walkway shouldn’t open outwardly, where someone might walk into them, while windows above a sink or oven are easier to operate with a crank. 

7. Look for Safety Features 

Weigh security and safety when choosing windows. You’ll likely want enhanced locking mechanisms. You may also want second-floor windows that young children can’t open or fall through. Tempered or shatterproof glass may appeal to you if you want to avoid damage from hail or other impacts.

8. Plan for Ease of Maintenance

Some homeowners enjoy hands-on, DIY projects like home maintenance—but most prefer features that are convenient and painless to care for. If that’s you, then look for windows that are simple to keep in top shape. Tilt-in panes are great for cleaning both sides of the glass from inside your home. Vinyl frames don’t need painting, while fiberglass keeps its shape and resists wear.

Find a Window Installation Team You Can Trust

The replacement windows you choose to install are one part of the equation, but don’t forget about choosing a windows contractor that is experienced and attentive to detail. A skilled installation done right the first time will give you peace of mind.

John McCarter is a Pella Platinum Certified Contractor

At John McCarter Construction, we listen and get to know your property—and you—so that we can ensure you’re getting the best new windows. As a Pella Elite Platinum Certified Contractor, we’ve seen how great Pella windows perform for Detroit and Ann Arbor homeowners. If you’re looking for new windows or simply have questions on where to start, we invite you to see how replacement windows can improve and beautify your home.

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