You’ve made a serious investment in your home. It’s a special place that reflects your unique personality and sense of style. But when you look around your home, do you feel absolutely confident that there isn’t something missing—something that can make a huge difference in its look, feel, and value?
Sure, the right furniture arrangement, paint colors, and fixtures can work wonders, but replacing outdated, drafty, and unattractive windows can bring you satisfaction in many different ways, from lower energy bills to a boost in resale price. Shouldn’t your home feel as good as it looks? Read on to find out how replacing your old windows with custom-manufactured replacement windows can completely change the way you enjoy your home.
What’s wrong with old windows?
Windows are often taken for granted—that is, until there’s a problem—but they actually play an integral role in your life. Many homeowners who decide to replace their existing windows with custom-manufactured windows cite two major reasons for taking action: expense and worry. High energy bills are at the forefront of the cost of old windows. Old or outdated windows just simply aren’t as efficient as insulated replacement windows.
The older the window, the more frequent the maintenance. After all, components wear out over time. For example, a seal failure will leave you with foggy windows. Add to that a weak or non-existent warranty, and you have potentially huge expenses on your hands for repairs. If you have old windows, keep in mind that they’re costing you a lot of money in three big ways: high energy bills, expensive maintenance, and reduced home value.
Leaky, drafty windows create discomfort. Old, heavy windows may also stick and be hard to operate. Minimal or outdated security hardware can leave them vulnerable to intruders. All of these factors create worry. Modern, vinyl replacement windows are designed to eliminate these concerns.
Windows that are made to measure prevent leaks and drafts from coming in. They keep you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Tilt-in sashes are easy to operate and clean. Up-to-date security components work to keep these windows secure. All of these benefits of custom replacement windows provide peace of mind.
“Windows can make the biggest difference in comfort,” says Tom Herron, senior manager of communications and marketing for the National Fenestration Rating Council (www.nfrc.org). “A lot of studies show that exposure to daylight has great benefits. For example, children learn more effectively. In addition, daylight improves the mood and encourages interaction.”
Custom-made replacement windows are a big step up from conventional, prefabricated windows. They’re designed specifically for your home, which means fit and finish combine to deliver virtually maintenance-free performance.
Insulated, double-pane, argon-injected glass makes today’s replacement windows so effective when it comes to lowering energy bills and offering protection from the elements. These windows are a smart investment in comfort. In addition, they are capable of blocking 95% of UV rays. As a result, they keep your home comfortable throughout the year, and they protect your furniture, window treatments, and carpeting from sun damage. They also muffle outside noise more than any old, single-pane window can.
A properly engineered window frame is strong, secure, and designed to give you maximum viewing area. A strong frame features fusion-welded construction. Its components are free of recycled materials, low-cost alloys, and impurities.
A secure frame uses multiple locking systems, latches that can be used to allow for ventilation while preventing the window from being opened completely, and a deep-pocket sill to prevent prying. This combination of strength and security means the frame can be less intrusive, so you can actually have a better view from your windows.
Vinyl is a thermally efficient material. Vinyl has excellent insulating capabilities and is virtually maintenance-free. It is less likely to show wear and tear, and it won’t fade or powder with age. The use of non-recycled vinyl, also known as virgin vinyl, during manufacturing yields a strong and structurally sound replacement window.
Hands off for homeowners
Window replacement isn’t a DIY project for a vast majority of homeowners. The process involves a lot of variables, including taking accurate measurements, removing old windows safely, installing the new windows properly, and more. Extreme care is required. Even the smallest mistake can end up being a really big inconvenience and expense.
A company that designs and manufactures your replacement windows specifically for your home is one that should also be able to ensure that the windows are installed with maximum performance and reliability in mind.
“The steps required to replace windows can be extremely challenging for even the handiest of homeowners,” says Mike Ludy, national product manager for Champion Home Exteriors (www.GetChampion.com). “Fortunately, you can rely on experienced, professional installers to make the entire project a hands-off proposition for you. And if you factor in the time you’re saving by leaving the design, manufacture, installation, and service to the pros, you’ll find that window replacement really is accessible.”
What are my options?
Plenty of design options are available when you choose to have your windows made to measure. Let’s take a look at some of the styles that await.
Double-hung windows These are probably the most common window today. They’re popular, because you can open both sashes for ventilation—and both tilt in for easy cleaning.
Casement windows These windows are easy to operate. They’re very popular for vertically oriented window openings, and they combine beautifully with picture, bay, or bow windows. Casement windows should open enough for access to both sides, which means you can clean them easily from inside your home.
Slider windows This style is very popular for smaller, horizontal window openings or with picture windows. Cleaning slider windows is simple. The windows can be easily lifted out of the sash for indoor cleaning of both sides of the glass.
Picture windows You’ll have a great view from this large, fixed window opening. If you’d prefer to create ventilation, you can choose to combine picture windows with sliding windows or casement windows.
Bay windows These are three-lite projection windows with a fixed picture window in the center and side windows that can be fixed or configured to operate with double-hung windows or casement windows. Bay windows feature a seat area that you can paint or stain to match your home’s decor.
Bow windows These window units are made up of four to six windows in a graceful arc shape with a shallow, insulated seat. Bow windows typically have fixed center windows with operating casements on the ends.
Shaped windows Believe it or not, your windows can be one of your home’s architectural highlights. Common windows shapes include half round, round, ellipse, and trapezoid. Custom shapes are also worth a discussion.
Garden windows Enjoy an indoor garden as you turn a window into a living space for plants. These windows can be manufactured to fairly large sizes, so you can make your in-home garden as dramatic as you wish.
If you’re not in the market for a traditional, white window, never fear. You can choose from a variety of upgrades to enhance the look of your replacement windows.
Grids These give the appearance of individual panes of glass. The colonial style, which is a series of repeating rectangles, is among the most popular. Several other patterns are available.
Colors White and tan are the most common colors for replacement windows. Some manufacturers offer glued-on laminate materials or adhesive-backed films to give windows a unique color or pattern. An applied finish that is actually bonded to the vinyl offers better durability and colorfastness. Veneers are susceptible to scratches and chips and can separate from the surfaces to which they’re glued. Furthermore, adhesive-backed finishes are essentially stickers and can peel, scratch, and completely fail over time.
What to expect at installation
If you’ve decided to make an important investment in comfort by replacing your windows, then you should anticipate the following during installation:
• The careful removal of your old windows
• The installation and finishing of your replacement windows, which involves placing, leveling, and insulating each unit
• The installation of window trim on the exterior of your home
• Clean-up and removal of all old window materials and debris at no additional charge.
The installation team should treat your home and property, as well as those belonging to your neighbors, with the utmost care and respect. Any area affected by the window replacement should look better than when the installation team arrived.
You can also play a part in making the installation go as smoothly as possible. For example, make sure the installers have a safe, accessible place to park and unload their vehicles. Also be certain to remove any obstacles that prevent easy, clear access to the existing windows. Finally, take extra care to move any valuables away from the work areas around your home.
What about the warranty?
A strong warranty is one that covers the windows and their installation for as long as you own your home. It should cover accidental glass or screen breakage, and it should be transferable one time to a subsequent owner. The ability to transfer the warranty gives you a competitive edge in a tough real-estate market.
Treat yourself to comfort and style
Your windows play a huge part in how you feel inside of your home. By combining custom designs, eye-catching upgrades, expert installation and service, and a comprehensive warranty, you can be sure your home will look and feel great.