Is it time to replace your windows?

Posted by on Wednesday, October 14th, 2015 at 2:01pm.

Not only will new windows improve the appearance and energy efficiency of your home, it will improve the resale value.  If you look at real estate listings in your older neighbourhood, take note of how many homes have indicated that there are new windows throughout. 

How old are your windows?

If your home was built before 1980 it might be a wise investment to start replacing them.  Do one at a time or replace all the windows all at once and don’t worry about window replacements in cold weather.  The amount of time your window frame will sit empty between removing the old one and replacing the new is less than an hour. That’s not enough time for your home to cool off if your are replacing windows in the fall and winter.

If you are an experienced do-it-yourselfer, you might want to take measurements and purchase windows which are already made, ready to be inserted into standard size openings.  However, a professional window company has a lot of experience, not only in manufacturing windows but in installation.  Some windows in older homes are actually part of the exterior wall structure and can be load bearing.  Only an experienced eye would catch an important detail such as that.

Pick a window style that fits in with your home’s exterior, provides proper air flow and will be a pleasure to look at year after year. Different window styles have particular characteristics when it comes to ventilation, blocking heat and the rays of the sun, and come at different price points.   Common window styles include:

Casement Window

This style of window was developed centuries ago in Europe.  They are hinged like a door and often open using a crank.  Casements have a tight seal but most of all, they are architecturally interesting.   This style is a wonderful option if you install one on each side of a picture window in the living room as they’ll provide air flow to the room.

Awning Windows

Like an awning on the exterior of a building, these windows push out or crank out and are hinged on the sides or bottom.  The opening mechanism can add to the price of the window however.  Ideal for bathroom and bedroom windows because they provide ventilation but keep out precipitation, so they can be left open in all weather.  Awning windows in the bathroom can be manufactured with what used to be known as “frosted glass”, which is now called obscured glass.  There are about 8 different types of obscured glass, such as rain or pinhead glass.

Sliders or Gliders

These types of windows slide either horizontally or vertically and are the most economical type of window.  There is no extra hardware involved, so are ideal for areas like above the kitchen sink. In this instance, a crank mechanism would interfere with the faucet.  These are the most common types of windows, fully efficient, providing good ventilation and security.

What type of glass is best?

Glass can make a difference when it comes to performance and safety.  Modern glass can be double or triple-paned, with each pane connected to the other with a perimeter spacer bar. Argon is a non-toxic inert gas typically inserted between panes to further insulate windows. Low-E glass is specially coated to control the amount of heat that comes into the home in direct sunlight. Even in the Low-E category there are coating options depending on what type of window you are replacing.  South-facing will want to keep daytime heat out while others may need a coating to deal with winter cold. 

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