Our homes are almost alive because they age as we do. Over time, the components of a home, such as the floors and doors and roofing, will begin to decay. When that happens, you will have to go out and buy replacements. Windows are one of the many things that will eventually need to be replaced, especially if you are looking to stop drafts and get a more energy-efficient home.
But there are many replacement window styles out there, so which ones are the best? We have done the research for you to help you select your replacement windows with more ease and confidence.
What Is A Replacement Window?
Replacement windows are pretty much any window available for the purpose of removing another window from your household. Another explanation is that replacement windows are assemblies that are meant to be installed within a preexisting window frame.
What Kinds of Materials are Available for Replacement Windows Frames?
Many materials are used for fabricating window interior and exterior frames. Here are the most common:
Recently, fiberglass has become a popular option for window frames. The material is great for insulation, weather resistance, and durability. Fiberglass offers more customization options (especially colors) than vinyl. Frames are often thinner, providing you with a better view.
For those who want replacement windows that do not break the bank, vinyl is an excellent choice. Easy to install and durable, vinyl windows will last for 30 years or longer and do not fade. The downside is that vinyl is less energy-efficient than other types and can expand/contract in more extreme weather.
Another inexpensive option for windows is aluminum. There are many pros to aluminum. First, it’s resilient against corrosion. Second, it can handle many weather conditions, making it great for industrial applications. That said, aluminum does have problems with insulation since metal will conduct heat. The problem is solved by purchasing aluminum windows with thermal breaks.
Natural, traditional, and timeless, wood is one of the most favorite framing materials for windows. Using wood provides you with great flexibility. The downside is the wood is susceptible to rot and is difficult to maintain. Also, wood is more expensive than other options.
While composite materials are made to look like wood, they carry fewer of the disadvantages. Lightweight and durable, composite frames are often chosen for historical or preserved architecture for this reason. However, they do not fit as well into places designed for vinyl or fiberglass frames.
You will often see this referred to as aluminum-clad, fiberglass-clad, or even vinyl-clad, depending on the window type. Cladding means that the exterior portion of the window is covered in vinyl, fiberglass, or aluminum, while the interior is made of real wood. You have to worry less about maintenance since only half the window is made of wood. On the outside, you get the same level of protection from the elements as you would with fiberglass or vinyl.
What are the Different Types of Replacement Windows?
Now that you know what kind of materials replacement windows are made out of, here are all the different forms you have to choose from:
A single-hung window is a common design, where the bottom pane of the window, also known as the sash, will move up and down. The upper sash remains stationary, so it gets covered when you open the window.
Similar to single-hung windows, a double-hung is also going to have an operable lower sash. However, the upper sash will also be able to move down or will be able to tilt outward. Usually, double-hung windows are slightly more expensive than single-hung windows, but they make for a nice upgrade.
Kind of like sliding doors, a gliding window comes with a track that it can slide on horizontally, enabling quick opening and closing. These windows are ideal for bathrooms and kitchens or other places where you would want to control the ventilation.
Awning windows open outward, slanting downward from hinges at the top. If you live somewhere with a lot of rainfall, awning windows are a boon.
Also known as crank windows because of the lever you use to open and close them, casement windows provide excellent airflow. They open smoothly from side hinges. While they do need some room to open and close, they make good options for places like over the kitchen sink or in bedrooms. Many buy casement windows because they are easier to operate than single- and double-hung windows.
Projection windows are also bay windows or bow windows, depending on the overall design. Both project away from the house facade. Some designs—bow–will have multiple window panes, while bay windows are a single pane. These are ideal for allowing in plenty of sunlight, but they are challenging to install.
Other Kinds of Windows
Aside from the most common types of windows for your home, there are also specialty designs to consider:
- Hopper Windows: Similar to awning windows, hoppers have hinges on the bottom, not the top, and are pushed down to open. Because of this, hopper windows are typically found at low points, like the basement, where they provide ventilation.
- Picture Windows: These are non-operable windows that are meant to provide a view into the house or give a space natural light. The downside to picture windows is the fact that they cannot be opened.
- Glass Block Windows: Composed of glass blocks that are held together with mortar. You may find glass block windows as accents for bathrooms. They provide plenty of privacy while still allowing sunlight in. These cannot be opened.
- Accent Windows: Usually, these windows do not open and are used mainly for aesthetic appeal, not functionality.
- Storm Windows: Temporary or permanent, storm windows are mounted to the main window and are used to increase the energy efficiency and insulation properties of single-panes.
- Skylights: Can either be functional or fixed in place. Skylights are great for letting in plenty of natural light and, if operable, may improve airflow.
The options on replacement windows are almost infinite when you consider the types of windows and materials used. If the types listed didn’t suit your fancy, you can also get customized windows in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Need advice on which type of replacement window is best for your home? Give us a call or fill out the contact form. Our friendly team will be happy to answer your questions.