What makes a good window, and what makes a great one? In this section, you’ll learn to spot the features you’ll want to look for as you compare your options. From materials to construction to beauty and performance, you’ll be armed with the information you’ll need to make a decision you’ll be satisfied with for years to come.
- What are great windows made from?
- What's it take to make a great window?
- What makes an energy efficient frame?
- What makes glass energy efficient?
- Is weather stripping important?
- How do I compare windows?
- What makes a window easy to maintain?
What are great windows made from?
Wood, aluminum and vinyl are the most common materials for replacement windows. Most people choose vinyl for its impressive insulating qualities, easy maintenance and numerous color and style choices, as well as its overall lower cost. More vinyl windows are sold for replacement projects than any other type of window.
What's it take to make a great window?
Many windows look the same, but they're definitely not created equal. Look for a high-quality vinyl that resists dirt and is easy to clean. The hollow vinyl frames can be filled with foam insulation material. Also look for quality weather stripping and hardware - make sure they create a very tight seal when the window is closed and locked.
What makes an energy efficient frame?
Look for high quality materials. With vinyl windows, an environmentally friendly foam insulation in the frame can make a big difference. Also, installation is critical - a poor seal to the existing wall will ruin the energy efficiency of any window.
What makes glass energy efficient?
Look for multiple panes, argon or krypton gas fillings between panes, and advanced "Low-e" coatings. These help let light and beauty in while reducing interior fading and keeping hot or cold weather out. It's also important to check a window's Solar Heat Gain Coefficient. Sunlight brings heat into your home, and depending on the season and where you live, this can either help or hurt your energy bill.
Is weather stripping important?
Weather stripping is a crucial yet often overlooked feature which can make or break a window's efficiency. Look for stripping that's made of advanced materials, and for locks and latches that compress it fully to create a truly airtight seal. Also ask where hardware is fastened - it's preferable to fasten to the structural reinforcement, rather than the vinyl surface.
How do I compare windows?
The Internet has changed forever the way people buy windows. You dont want to be “sold”; you want to be educated and informed so you can make the decision thats right for you. Use our Buyers Checklist; browse AAMA, NFRC and other internet sites. We compare our products with our competition frequently in these same ways. Through these industry associations, defined scientific methods contrast one windows performance against another. Ask your Dealer or contact us directly if you need more information.
What makes a window easy to maintain?
Vinyl is very easy to wipe clean and requires no special care or treatment after installation. Its no surprise to us that nearly all wood window manufacturers are now offering their own lines of vinyl windows. Look for constant-force coil-spring balancers that never need adjusting. Choose windows that are completely fusion-welded at all corners by robotic equipment that ensures consistency. Insulating glass featuring a “metal-free” spacer will best fight condensation.
Making the most of your investment
When considering replacement windows, many people tend to focus on the cost savings they'll enjoy through increased energy efficiency in their home. But one benefit many overlook is an almost instant increase in their home's overall equity. In some cases that increase is more than the cost of replacement!
Most replacement windows are made of vinyl. It's the material of choice because of its cost, energy efficiency and maintenance freedom. But not all vinyl windows are alike. Look for things like advanced Low-E glass, environmentally friendly foam frame insulation, quality hardware and the strongest, most thermally insulating internal reinforcements.
Windows come in virtually unlimited shapes and sizes. They are available in either stock or custom sizes and configurations. There are many different styles, any of which can be combined to transform the style and feel of any room. The only limit is your imagination.
Think about your objectives when evaluating options. Are you looking for pure beauty, energy efficiency, durability or all of the above? And what about security? Upgrades such as triple paned glass, krypton filling, and enhanced locks and hardware can address these needs.
3rd Party Certification
NFRC - the National Fenestration Ratings Council measures a window's tested energy efficiency via its resistance to heat flow (U-value), Solar Heat Gain and Visible Light Transmittance. NFRC ratings reference a window's quality when brand new.
AAMA - an American Architectural Manufacturers Association Gold Certification is the mark of both initial quality and durability. It shows how well a window will hold up against air and water infiltration over years of use.
Energy Star - a voluntary partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy and the window industry. Windows bearing the Energy Star logo meet minimum requirements for energy efficiency, based on quality and geographic area.
Click below for questions and answers about buying windows.