It doesn't matter if you live in a 100-year-old house or a newly constructed home. As your home ages, the things inside will wear down and need to be replaced, including your original windows.
Think it might be time to replace yours? Check out our complete home improvement guide for replacing your old windows with new, high quality windows:
Do You Need New Windows?
Maybe you're painting your house, maybe you're going for a full remodel or perhaps you're just tired of looking through your current windows. If you're thinking about getting new windows solely for cosmetic reasons, consider yourself lucky. It's always better to replace something because you want to, not because you have to.
But for most homeowners, that's not the case. Most homeowners replace their windows because they need to. So how do you know if you're one of those people? Four leading indicators will tell you if it's time for new windows:
They're drafty or cracked. If you can feel the cold air blowing through, it's time for new windows. If you put your hand against the window on a cold day and it's icy to the touch, it's time to start budgeting for replacements!
Are your energy bills sky-high? If so, energy efficiency is key. Investing in new, energy-efficient windows may set you back some money initially, but in the long-run, it can help increase your energy savings and decrease your energy bills. Look for windows that have the energy star certification from the US Department of Energy.
Are any of your old windows hard to open or hard to shut? Are they hard to clean? Are they not easy to lock? Windows and their full-frame need to function. If you can't open, close, clean, or lock them, it's time for new ones.
Do you see paint peeling from around the window frame or exterior trim? This is a telltale sign that it's time for new windows. Peeling paint usually means that there is moisture, mold or rot that you can't see.
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Pick Your Style
There are so many types of windows to choose from that it's essential to do your research before making a purchase.
The most popular types of window styles include:
- Picture windows: these aren't meant to be opened, but they're great for rooms with high ceilings
- Double-hung windows: this type of window slides down from the top and up from the bottom
- Casement windows: this style slides open from side to side
- Bay and bow windows: these include multiple vertical panes and curve outward from the home's façade
There are also different types of window panes. Double-pane windows are the most common, Triple pane windows offer an extra measure of insulation and Quadruple pane windows provide even more strength, efficiency and insulation (but are more costly).
Regardless of what type of windows you choose for your home improvement, it's always best to replace all of your windows at once, if your budget will allow it. At the very least, replace the windows on the front or back of your house simultaneously. That way, they'll all look uniform from an outside perspective. New windows will cost you, so at least make sure they give your house some curb appeal!
There are also different materials you can select. A reputable window company will be able to guide you into picking the right materials for your home and budget.
Vinyl windows are the least expensive; aluminum and fiberglass windows are slightly more expensive, but offer more durability than vinyl. Wood windows are is usually the most visually appealing but are also the most costly (and require maintenance and upkeep).
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Understand the Entire Process
Before you begin installing replacement windows, it's essential to understand exactly what you're going to get and what you're not going to get.
Replacing your windows doesn't mean that the entire window and window frame will be removed from your home. It simply means replacing the panes, the sash and the related parts. Some of the original material from your existing windows will remain attached to your house.
If you want that changed too, you're looking at a significant remodeling job and a hefty bill.
To know what you're getting before the work begins, ask your installer to describe the process to you in detail. That way, you'll know what parts will be changed and which parts of the existing windows will remain.
Even cheap windows cost several hundred dollars apiece. Before you choose a company to install yours, take the time to collect multiple estimates so you can be sure you're getting the best price.
Most reputable companies offer free estimates. If someone tries to charge you for an estimate, that's usually a red flag.
Many window companies run deals and specials, for example, when you buy two windows, you might be able to get the third free, or you might be able to buy one at full price and get the second window 50% off. Keep an eye out for deals and specials — they're always out there!
Once you've gotten several estimates, compare the quotes. Make sure you know what the quote includes. Ideally, your quote should be for the total price of the complete job, including the windows' cost and the cost of labor.
Hire an Expert
Replacing your windows is not the time to DIY. Installing windows can be tricky, so this is one of those home projects that require a professional.
It can be tempting to choose the installer that gives you the best pricing, but before you sign a contract, you should also check online reviews or ask friends and neighbors for recommendations or references.
It's crucial that you hire a contractor that is licensed and qualified to do the work. Never hire an installer that has a bad track record or doesn't have one at all. You don't want to be the guinea pig.
Is It Time to Replace My Windows?
If your windows are cracked, drafty, or not functioning as they should, it's time to replace them. Here's a quick recap of what you should do:
- Do some research to get an idea of the best windows for your home
- Have at least three or more window companies provide estimates
- Check online reviews and look for recommendations before hiring an installer
- Have your installer explain the process to you in detail and, if possible, watch them insert windows
Whether you want new windows because you need them or because you're ready to give your home a fresh, new look, keep an eye out for deals.
Window companies are competitive, and they're always running window installation specials or warranties to get new customers. Take advantage of those deals, and you can save big regardless of what type of windows you choose.
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