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Choosing the Right Replacement Window

By Gates Dearen

There are many factors to consider when selecting the right type of window for your home. In this article I will provide you with the information you need to know when considering purchasing new windows. In this article we will look at the types of materials and the construction techniques used to manufacture windows. This will help you to make an intelligent and educated decision.


There are three types of windows to choose from when it comes to materials.

1. Aluminum.  Although aluminum is considered outdated as far as windows go, it might be all that you can fit into your budge
English: Isometric drawing of aluminum replace...
English: Isometric drawing of aluminum replacement window for the Sears Roebuck and Company Mail Order Store, Boston, Massachusetts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
t. If your windows are really old and inefficient, this may be the way to go.  These will at least stop the drafts caused by your old windows. Aluminum is a terrible insulator and is a conductor of heat and cold, thus not nearly as efficient as wood or vinyl. In many cases, you can purchase aluminum hybrid windows that are clad in vinyl. These obviously cost more but work much better.

2. Wood.  Wooden windows are a much more energy efficient than aluminum, simply because they conduct less heat or cold and insulate better. In other words, it takes a lot longer for heat and cold to transfer through wood than it does aluminum. Wood is also much more appealing and with good craftsmanship and maintenance they can last for many, many years. Ultimately, wooden windows will require a lot more maintenance than vinyl. If you live in a high humidity region it will be very difficult to get the most use out of your wooden windows.  Moisture is a wooden window’s enemy and wooden windows will need a fresh paint barrier applied on a regular basis.

English: Cross Section of an energy efficient ...
English: Cross Section of an energy efficient replacement window for residential buildings. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
3. Vinyl. Vinyl windows have become the defacto homeowners first choice and with good reason. Even though they're more expensive than the other types of windows, they will save you mor
e money on energy bills over the long run. Vinyl is a much better insulating material than wood or aluminum and requires less maintenance. The only possible drawback that vinyl may have is that it only comes in limited color choices. However, most people prefer white, beige or brown anyway and most manufactures, if not all, provide these color choices. 

In the next section, I will explain the best construction technology, as well as the gage and rigidity of the vinyl you want to seek in quality replacement windows.


National Builder Construction Details
National Builder Construction Details (Photo credit: REVIVALthedigest)
It is important to know that not all vinyl windows are built the same. In this day and age, the best manufactures only use Virgin Vinyl. This simply means there are no recycled materials su
ch as plastics or PVC in the manufacturing process. Make sure to ask your representative if your windows are made of Virgin Vinyl just to be safe.

It is also important to know the grade or thickness of the vinyl from which your windows are made. This determines the rigidity, strength and quality of the window. Here is a perfect example of a great quality window.

Here is a list of specifications useful when comparing windows

  1. Stylish welded mainframe design with a full 3 1/4" frame depth assures structural integrity and durable construction.
  2. Foam insulation wrap on the frame provides weather tightness.
  3. Balance channel covers provide a stylish aesthetic.
  4. The Envirosealed glass system reduces heating and cooling costs, deadens sound and provides increased comfort. Standard Double Strength Glass Package for maximum energy efficiency.
  5. Spring-loaded night latches add security while allowing both window sash to remain partially open for ventilation.
  6. Patented detent clip prevents the top sash from drifting; easier to close and lock the window.
  7. Interlock for unsurpassed weather tightness.
  8. Heavy-duty, white weather stripping creates a barrier to air and water infiltration; prevents drafts and assures a tight fit.
  9. Steel reinforced meeting rails for increased strength and weather tightness.
  10. Both sashes are exterior glazed and aesthetically beveled to the glass for an elegant design and appearance.
  11. True sloping sill design allows water run off to the outside of your home.

As you can see when it comes to choosing the right type of windows for your home there are many factors to consider. In my previous articles, I discussed the types of glass, number of panes and many other factors that make a window great. Hopefully, this article added more information to help you choose the perfect windows for your home. I hope this article helps guide you in making a more informed decision. As we all know, the biggest financial investment we make aside from our children's education is in our home. If you liked this article, pass this on to your friends.  If you would like to make a comment, enter them in the Comments section at the end of the blog. If you have any questions for me, please feel free to email me or call me at my office (904) 296-2515. Thanks for reading and sharing our journey, until next time. 

Gates Dearen is the co-owner of HomeRite Windows and Door in Jacksonville Florida.  Owners Gates Dearen and Richard Walden have been serving thebuildingproducts industry in Florida for over 25 years. They know the products, the industry, the market and what adds great value to a home. “Their approach is a little different. Theyaresimply looking to match the home owner with the right windows for their home and   budget. Home improvements are enough of a hassle – we’re here to make life easier with first-rate, energy efficient products, affordable prices, installers that know best practices and respect of your home.

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