6 Essential Details To Consider Before Replacing Your Windows

Kenneth Wilson

6 Essential Details To Consider Before Replacing Your Windows

Are you planning a window replacement project? There are several reasons why you need to replace your windows. Your old ones are probably drafty, difficult to open, don’t block out noise, look unsightly, or damaged.

It might also just be time to upgrade your outdated windows. With new ones, you can change the look of your home’s exterior. There are also features such as the ability to tilt for easier maintenance or having the durability without unappealing storm windows. Some are even energy-efficient, which can help lower your monthly heating or cooling expenses.

Replacing your windows is a big investment - not only with money but also your time and effort. There are many things you need to consider such as which ones you will need to replace or the type of replacement window. To make it easier for you, here are 6 details you should keep in mind before starting your window replacement project.

To Repair or To Replace?

The first thing you need to consider is whether you really need a replacement. It is often recommended to replace windows, especially after a decade or two. But sometimes, you might be better off just repairing the windows.

If you know that your current windows were installed at the same time, then you need to check which ones have issues. You can tell whether you need to replace all of them if most of your windows are experiencing the same problems, such as condensation, air and noise leaks, rotting, and difficulty in opening and closing. If almost all of your windows are like this, then it’s only a matter of time before the rest follow.

You should also check which area of your home has window issues. Even if the windows were all installed at the same time, there are various factors that can affect certain windows. Maybe it’s just one side of your home that needs to have the windows replaced. It’s probably due to the difference in exposure to the sun, wind, and other outdoor elements. 

On the other hand, if only a few of them are being problematic, then some damages can be easily repaired. With some caulking or weather-stripping, you can fix condensation, rotting, and leak problems. 

You should also check if these minor repairs will help your windows last for a decade or so. If it will only make your windows useful for a year or two, then it might be better just getting them replaced. While it usually makes sense to repair to extend the lifespan of any product for a few more years, it wouldn’t be efficient with windows. You’ll have to spend on labor expenses again and deal with the project disrupting your daily routine. 

If you can’t tell, you can always hire a professional to inspect your windows. While you’re at it, you might want to get an estimate of how much the repairs or replacement would cost you. This way, you can properly budget for your project and make sure that it will be worth it.

Read: Replacement Windows: Are They Worth It?

Consider Both Comfort and Function With Aesthetics

While you have an option to repair your windows, there are some reasons why you just have to replace them. For one, you may want to get rid of outdated windows to make them more visually appealing, which no repair can ever do. You can also now get durable windows that can withstand extreme weather conditions without requiring unsightly storm windows. 

You may also want to have various window styles. There’s no need to stick to one type of window, especially with each kind having its own advantages. But when replacing the window style of your home, you need to be careful. This is important, especially for those who plan to sell their home in the long-run. The wrong window design may decrease the value of your home. Some buyers also prefer the original windows, so you may want to maintain the design of the original windows - material and all. 

However, this does not mean you should only prioritize aesthetics. With new windows, you can also improve the functionality and home’s comfort level. Why would you settle for just increasing the curb appeal when better windows can make your home more comfortable and be more efficient. 

For example, newer windows are now easier to clean when the sashes can be tilted. If your windows are easier to maintain, then you can take care of them with less effort. This will also allow it to last longer for a few more years, provided with proper maintenance and some minor repairs.

You should also consider energy-efficiency. This rating matters since it affects your indoor temperature as well as your heating and cooling system and expenses. There are also some states that offer incentives that come with having a more energy-efficient home. Plus, if you plan to sell in the future, you could have more buyers since homes that are more energy-efficient are popular in the market.

Narrowing Down Your Choices

With the different types, materials, glass, and coatings to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide which window to get for your home. Sometimes, homeowners just make do with whatever’s the most affordable or whichever their contractor has just to avoid the decision-making process. But you shouldn’t do the same - it’s better to determine which one you really prefer and is best for your home.

The best way to decide is to learn about the different types, materials, panes, coatings, as well as consider your budget. Basically, the budget and design are the main driving factors for your decision. That’s why at least prepare an estimated budget for your window replacement project before starting it.

For the design, there are different types of replacement windows you can choose from. You can check out the 12 most common ones here. If you have a hard time imagining what it’s going to look like in your home, you can get 3D rendering services to help you visualize it. 

When it comes to the material of the frame, the three most popular ones are wood, vinyl, and aluminum. Most homeowners go for wood when they have a rustic theme or an existing wood trim on their interior. On the other hand, vinyl is a favorite since it’s low-maintenance, affordable, and available in various colors. But if you care more about the durability and lifespan than the aesthetics, then aluminum will be the better option. 

If you’re on a limited budget, you might be able to cut some costs with the style and frame material. But when it comes to the glass and coatings, make sure to get the best one that fits your budget.

The glass is an important component that would affect the aesthetics and overall functionality and efficiency of your windows, such as insulation, indoor temperature, and more. From single pane to mirrored glass, there are many options to choose from. The same goes for the coatings of the panes. Currently, Low-E is a popular coating to prevent heat and UV light from entering the home. It can also make a home more energy-efficient, allowing more heat during the winter and reflecting heat during the summer, saving on heating and cooling costs.

Read: Low-E Windows vs. Clear Glass Windows: Which One Should You Get?

When’s The Best Time To Get Your Windows Replaced?

The timing of your window replacement project is also important. Even if the installation will be quick, removing the windows can still affect the indoor temperature of your home. It would be uncomfortable, not to mention expensive and taxing on the heating and cooling systems, if your home suddenly becomes too hot or cold when the windows are removed. That’s why most homeowners get their windows replaced during late spring or early fall. Some also prefer the summer, even if it can get too hot since it would be easier compared to replacing them when it’s snowing.

But if you really need to get your windows replaced, especially if there is a bad leaking problem or damaged frames and panes, then you should get a new one. Besides, if you’re having issues with your window because it gets too cold during the winter, it’s better not to make do until the better time arrives. Don’t worry, there are contractors who have the skills and experience to replace windows any time, so you don’t have to endure a problematic window for months. They can also not remove everything at once so that some part of the house will stay warm or to prevent the entire temperature from immediately dropping or increasing.

Read: Should You Replace All Of Your Windows At The Same Time?

Should You DIY Or Hire A Professional?

Even if you can replace your windows, it’s better to get a professional to get the job done. With windows, it’s important that it’s properly installed to ensure durability and longevity. Plus, if you’re spending on expensive windows, especially energy-efficient ones, poor installation won’t allow you to take advantage of these benefits. The wrong installation will prevent you from saving on your heating and cooling expenses and make you miss out on making your home more comfortable.

It’s also a complicated process. You don’t just remove and install, but it needs to be fitted, ordered, mounted, and sealed properly. The sealing part is very important since this will prevent water, moisture, noise, and cold air from leaking into your home. 

A professional will also be able to get the job done faster as well as provide warranties on labor, parts, and product which would be important if ever something goes wrong. On the other hand, if your install fails, then it’s just more money out of your pocket - and well, a bruised ego. 

Finding The Right Window Replacement Contractor

Last but not the least, it’s important to consider the contractor who will work on your project. Finding the right pro can be challenging, not just for window replacement but all types of projects. The main factors to consider are their ability and cost. 

Some contractors don’t have the skills or experience to install a certain type of window. That’s why learn ahead of time whether they can do your new ones as well as be able to remove your existing ones. You could also ask to see some of their past work so that you don’t just have to rely on their word.

Other than their ability, you should also check the contractor’s reputation, especially if you don’t have family, friends, or neighbors who can refer some to you. Even if they do, always do your or own research. You can do so by taking a look at their reviews online or checking customer feedback and comments. This way, you would know if they show up as scheduled, can do quality work, and will leave your home the same way they found it.

It’s also important to find a contractor who offers warranties. For any service or product, warranties are often overlooked yet it’s something that everyone should consider before availing or purchasing. Ask the contractor if they provide manufacturer and workmanship warranties as well as liability insurance.

After narrowing down your choices, set up consultations and get some estimates. It’s better if you can talk to them as well as get your windows inspected. This way, you’ll have a better idea about them as well as your project.

Read: 11 Questions You Need To Ask Your Window Replacement Contractor

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Kenneth Wilson
January 4, 2021
Window Replacement

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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