Whether you see some irreparable damage on your windows or are just ready for an upgrade, finding the right replacement window for you can be intimidating.
We get it; windows are complicated. When you first start your research into different replacement window types, there is a lot of new vocabulary and inside jargon that can send you into shock.
But don’t let these industry terms set you back. Finding the right replacement window for you doesn’t need to be complicated, and you don’t have to know everything there is to know about windows.
Before falling too hard down the rabbit hole of replacement windows, the first step to finding the right window for you is to figure out your goals, wants, and needs for your project.
How long do you want your windows to last? Do you care about energy efficiency? What do you want them to look like?
Asking yourself basic questions like this and outlining your goals before diving too deep into your research will help you save time on the computer and get you to the right solution faster.
Here at Southwest Exteriors we’ve been a window replacement contractor in San Antonio for over 32 years. We offer a variety of different window types from Marvin, ProVia, and Vistamark to meet the needs of almost every homeowner.
We know that understanding replacement windows can be complicated. Outlining your goals for your project can be difficult when you don’t even know what to consider.
This article will outline 10 questions to ask yourself when you’re just starting to think about finding the right replacement window for you.
After reading, you can create a comprehensive list of what you’re looking for out of your new windows. Then, you can take the next steps in continuing your research to learn all you need to know for your window replacement project.
4 Questions to ask about window materials
The first category of things you want to think about for your replacement window deal with the type of window material you are looking for.
Different window materials include vinyl, fiberglass, wood, composite, clad, and aluminum. Each of these types of windows has their own qualities and perform differently.
This is why you must outline what you want out of your new windows to help determine which window material might be the right solution for you. The material of the window frame will determine its durability, longevity, and required maintenance.
Consider these questions:
Question #1. How durable do you want your windows to be?
When thinking about window frame material, the first question is how durable you want your windows to be. Each window material varies in its durability. Durability of a window has to do with how it withstands weather, foundational moving, and determines its efficiency and longevity.
Ultimately, the durability of the window means how strong the window is and how long it will last.
Standard vinyl can warp and crack under changing temperatures. However, newly engineered vinyl is much more durable to avoid these common problems. Aluminum can sometimes be conductive.
Wood is one of the oldest window materials around, so they are proven to be durable and long-lasting. Fiberglass is also a durable and low-maintenance material type.
All window material types come with their pros and cons, but recent technology has allowed for each to be highly durable and long-lasting. The durability of your windows ultimately comes down to the quality of the craftsmanship of the window.
Question #2. How long do you want the window to last?
The material of the window, along with its durability, will determine the lifespan of the window.
If you choose a low-quality, cheap window, you cannot expect it to last forever. On the flip side, if you are looking for replacement windows that will last for the rest of your life in your home, then you will want to choose a high-quality window.
A cheap window will only last you a few years, whereas a high-quality window will last for 20 or more years in your home.
It is important to have realistic expectations for your new windows. Outlining how long you want the windows to last is crucial so you can find the right solution for you.
Question #3. What kind of maintenance do you want to have on the windows?
Each window material type has its own scale of maintenance required. This is an important question to consider for your replacement windows.
For example, wood windows require the most amount of maintenance. They must be properly kept every few years in order to protect the window and your home from rotting and insect infestation.
Other window types, like fiberglass and high-quality vinyl, require very little maintenance for the exterior frame.
If you want a window that you won’t ever have to worry about, then you must consider what maintenance is required for the type of replacement window you want.
Question #4. What do you want the window to look like?
Finally, the material of your replacement window will also affect how the window will look. If you are set on wanting all wood windows because you want a historical look, then considering the maintenance of the window might not be important to you.
If you still want a wood interior but a maintenance-free exterior, then a clad window might be the better solution.
If you want a sleek and shiny window with sharp architecture, then a fiberglass or vinyl material frame might be what you’re looking for.
With each window, you’ll be able to choose different colors, finishes, and other design elements. However, the material of the window is the greatest factor that influences the window’s look.
Choosing the right replacement window material for you
If you are looking for a highly durable, long-lasting window, then you must choose a high-quality window that is proven to last.
Along with durability, you must consider the maintenance, longevity, and look of the different window types to determine which might be right for you.
If you want a sleek and simple window that is going to be durable, a fiberglass window might be the best option for you. If you want a historical, traditional, and long-lasting window, then wood might be what you’re looking for. If you want a window that has a classic wood interior but a maintenance-free exterior, then clad might be right for you.
Then, you can continue researching that specific window material type to better understand if it would be a good fit for you.
4 questions to ask around window design and customizations
After covering the basic qualities of window material types, like how durable they will be and how long they will last, you want to consider how you want to design your new windows and how you want them to look.
Determining what window style, size, and custom options you want will better help you find the right window for you.
Consider these questions:
Question #5. What window style do you want?
There are different window material types and different styles available. The style type of the window refers to how the window will look and function.
There are six different window types you want to be familiar with.
Single-hung - one movable bottom sash that can slide up and down and tilt inwards
Double-hung - two movable sashes on the top and bottom of the window that can both move up and down and tilt inwards
Casement- opens along the vertical, like a book, by using a cranking mechanism, can also come as a double-casement where two frames open opposite each other
Awning - opens along the horizon, like a chest, by using a cranking mechanism
Slider - one sash moves from left to right to open the window
Picture - no movable parts in the window
This is an important quality to consider how you want the window to look and function.
Question #6. How big or small do you want the window to be?
The size of the window will determine how the window will look. It can also directly influence what style of window is available to you or that you might want to consider.
If you want to fill a wall in your home with tall windows, you probably won’t want to choose double-or single-hung. Picture or casement might be better suited for you.
If you have a small window above a bathtub, then you might want a slider window to allow for ventilation.
Question #7. What shape do you want the window to be?
Similar to the size of the window, the shape you are wanting will also help you determine which window style may be right for you.
Specialty-shaped windows are mostly made as picture windows. Round-top windows can also be picture or single-hung.
You must consider what window shapes you want to help narrow down the window style for you. Any shape window other than rectangular will limit your options for functionality.
Question #8. How do you want to design and customize the window?
Thinking about how you want to design your window will help narrow down your options in finding a window that will look how you want.
If you want a window that will allow you to customize every design aspect, like interior and exterior color, hardware type, finish, and trim style, then you will need to find a window manufacturer that allows for those customizations.
If the design isn’t as important to you for your new windows, then you’ll have more options when shopping for windows.
Choosing the right design and options for your windows
You want to find the right window that will look exactly how you want. Each window manufacturer will have their own set of customization options for their windows which is why this is important to consider to find the right one for you.
Asking yourself what window style, size, shape, and custom designs you want to have for your window will help you narrow your options and make it easier to find the perfect window for you.
2 more questions to consider when shopping for replacement windows
There are two more questions that are important to consider when looking for new windows, and they deal with your budget for your project and how energy efficient you want them to be.
Question #9. What is your budget for your window replacement project?
If you are a house flipper just wanting to have fresh windows put in before listing the house on the market, then finding the least expensive windows is probably what you’re looking for.
If you are living in your long-term or forever home and know you want your windows to last, then you will have to pay a little more for high-quality windows.
The cost of a window replacement all depends on the type, quality, size, installation, and warranty. These are all things to consider when planning your budget for your window replacement project.
Question #10. How energy efficient do you want your windows to be?
The final question to consider when looking for the right replacement window for you is about energy efficiency. Because windows are a part of your home, they protect you from exterior forces, like rain, hail, and heat.
If you want your windows to be more energy-efficient, then you’ll want to choose a window with insulating properties and Low-E glass to block sun heat.
The frame of a window can be an insulator, and the glass type will determine how much UV and infrared rays will penetrate through the window.
Finding an ENERGY STAR-certified window will assure you that your window exceeds energy-efficient standards if this is important to you.
How to find the right replacement window for you
Asking yourself these 10 questions will help you determine your goals, wants, and needs for your window replacement project.
To find the right replacement window for you, the biggest things to consider are what your budget is, how you want your windows to perform, how long you want them to last, and what you want them to look like.
This will help you narrow your options to the right window that will perform, look, and last how you want it.
With Southwest Exteriors, we strive to educate you on every option you have to help you to the right replacement window for you. We know there are a lot of options out there, and it can be a little overwhelming.
We want to help guide you through your window replacement project to help you find the right solution for you.
Ready to get started on your project? Schedule a free, in-home consultation with a design consultant by filling out the form on our webpage. A representative will call you within five minutes to talk with you about your project and help schedule your appointment.