It’s easy to tell when the time has come to buy new windows but how do you know what windows to buy? Today’s marketplace offers a lot of choices and it’s not easy to tell a quality window from one that’s less than desirable. Deciding that you’re not satisfied after the windows are installed is too late and is something you’ll have to live with for years to come.
Here’s how to be sure that you are getting windows that will perform the way that you expect and will give you great value year after year.
Appearance is Your First Consideration
There are many different styles of windows to choose from today and naturally you want to pick one that compliments the appearance of your home. Remember, you can’t buy windows by “window shopping”! Take the time to visit a few window stores and talk to the sales person. Have them explain the features of the different windows they offer so that you can compare all that is available to make an informed decision.
Check the Construction
Take a good look at the windows. Are the joints well made? Is the material made of vinyl or some other low maintenance material? You don’t want to spend the rest of your life scraping and repainting windows every few years. Does the hardware seem durable and long lasting? Are the locks heavy duty and secure? These are all very important factors in determining a well made window.
Much Like Buying a New Car, There Are Options
Double pane windows are pretty much the norm these days and I wouldn’t bother with anything less. Single pane windows provide much less insulation and will cost you a lot of extra utility dollars. I also suggest going the extra mile and investing in windows that are coated with a low-E material and have argon gas between the panes of glass.
Another option worth checking out is if the windows you are considering are available in either cold or hot weather types. Believe it or not this can make a big difference. If you spend more on utilities in the summer than in the winter than opt for the hot climate window.
Are They Easy to Service?
Are the windows an “off brand” that will be difficult to find replacement parts for? Are they easy to work on for do-it-yourselfers? Can the weather stripping be replaced easily? What’s the price of service if little Johnny knocks a homerun through the kitchen window next summer? Does the company you’re buying from have in-house service or do they use sub contractors? These are all very important things to know.
Get the “Feel” of the Window
Check out the display models. Do they open and close smoothly? Do they feel “solid”? Is it easy to remove the screens? Are they simple to lock and unlock? Also, do they offer childproof locks? This is very important if you have little ones at home. I strongly suggest looking for signs of wear and tear on the display model. If it’s already beginning to show signs of use just imagine how it will be after 15 or 20 years.
Be sure that the warranty includes repairing or replacing the seal between the double pane glass. If you’ve ever seen windows that “fog up” in the winter that’s because this seal has failed. This is the number one service related problem with windows today and if the warranty doesn’t cover both the parts and labor to fix it, DON’T BUY THEM.
Finally, do the windows open to the inside of the home for easy cleaning? Most windows today offer this very convenient feature and there’s no point in buying a window that doesn’t allow easy cleaning from inside the home. Besides that, cleaning the outside of your 2nd story windows can be dangerous.