If you’re in need of house windows and are open to all possibilities, you’re in for a doozy of a choice. There are a huge variety of windows for houses on the market, and these, in turn, feature a bigger variety of glass and other materials as well as fixtures for opening and closing the windows. Do you want hung windows that open on a vertical axis and sliding windows that operate on a horizontal plane?
Maybe you’d prefer a window that doesn’t open all the way but instead operates like Venetian blinds. Then again, you could opt for windows that don’t open at all, which is the case with glass block solid windows- also available in vented models that DO open! Just in case that isn’t enough to choose from, did you know that you can also choose from vinyl house windows, or wood, aluminum, and fiberglass windows?
There are advantages and disadvantages to all types of house windows, and this guide is intended to help you in choosing, whether you are looking for replacement house windows or new house windows. We will go over the important features of a good house window. Whatever type of window you’re searching for, it’s a good idea to get double-paned windows that conserve energy.
Vinyl vs. Aluminum
Aluminum used to be the material of choice for window frames but has been superseded by vinyl due to its durability and energy-conserving properties. Older windows are single-pane, which means they have one sheet of glass. Glass is a poor insulator and single-pane windows are very inefficient at holding temperatures, which means the heat will be lost to the outside in cold weather and you’re in effect air conditioning the air immediately outside the window in the summer.
Not only that, but a lot of older single-pane windows may not be shatterproof and pose a danger of injury or make entry easier for burglars. Double-paned windows, a category most vinyl windows fall into, offer greater energy savings as well as safety. Because even though glass is a poor insulator, the air is an excellent one and the air sandwiched between two panes of glass does a great job of saving energy, whether in the form of heating bills or air conditioning bills.
Newer vinyl windows are also usually shatterproof, and thus safer for those who have kids. As a plus, many vinyl windows have glass that can be replaced without having to replace the entire window sash, and it’s a good idea to get such windows in the event you ever need to replace the glass.
Doing so would offer substantial savings as well as trouble in installation. This is something you want to make sure about before buying the windows, as some require switching out the entire sash as opposed to just the glass in the event of glass breakage.
On top of this, many vinyl windows are coated with UV-blocking substances that prevent the harmful rays of the sun from doing damage inside the home, either to belongings or more importantly to people.
For people who are sensitive to noise, double-paned vinyl windows can be a godsend as they block out noise from the outside much better than their single-paned counterparts. And finally, vinyl windows just look better. They can actually increase the value of a home by tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the studies you look at. They have a neat, clean appearance that is an asset to any home.
The downsides of vinyl windows are the frames are considerably wider than aluminum frames, and thus you lose the glass area. Also, a lot of caulk may be used to install them, which may or may not be hard to clean later on. You should also be careful not to just buy the cheapest windows you can find, as cheaper vinyl yellows easily, which can be an unpleasant sight. Even with these downsides, you still have more energy efficiency with vinyl windows and they still look nice.
Be Energy Efficient with Your Windows
In terms of general energy efficiency, you will want windows that have low-E coatings. These are coatings of metallic oxides that reflect the sun’s rays in the heat of summer while reflecting heat back into the house in the winter and offer about the same insulation as adding another pane of glass to your windows.
The frame of a window is critical. For energy savings, wood and vinyl are the best as they are relatively non-conductive materials that won’t leak in cold or heat. While wood is an attractive material, it does tend to have more problems as it experiences shrinking and expanding with temperature and humidity levels and is subject to warping and cracking. It is also the most expensive material for windows. However, wood that is well cared for can keep functioning for a long time and is easy to repaint if the need arises.