What Are the Best Residential Windows?
Windows are often one part of the home that is taken for granted. But the reality is, they have a lot to do with not only how your home looks, but also how comfortable it is inside. The best residential windows help make your home more aesthetically pleasing, but more importantly, they also help make your home more energy efficient, less drafty and susceptible to outdoor temperatures, and quieter.
Selecting the Best Windows for Your Home
Choosing the best windows for your home is not always as easy as it sounds. It takes time and plenty research to find the right windows. This guide will help you understand the key decisions you need to keep in consideration when answering the question: which are the best windows for my home?
What Type of Window Frame Should You Choose?
One of the first things you’ll notice when shopping for windows is that they come in an array of frame materials. The most popular types of windows today include vinyl frames, wood frames, and composite frames. You may also come across aluminum frames, but they aren’t as popular as they once were, thanks to vinyl. Here is a breakdown of each frame type:
Vinyl frames: Vinyl is a very popular window-frame material because it is affordable, durable, and long lasting. The exterior of the vinyl frame can be painted to compliment the exterior of your home. Wood frames: Wood frames are made from solid wood, but the exteriors of these frames are often covered in either aluminum or vinyl to help protect the wood from the elements. Wood frames offer the widest range of hardware finishes, making them an ideal option if you want your windows to match the rest of your home.
Composite frames: Composite frames are made from fiberglass or a mix of other materials. One of the advantages of this type of window frame is that it doesn’t need to be painted or stained, but there are typically a limited number of color choices to pick from. Composite frames are generally more expensive than vinyl frames.
Window Styles to Consider
Even more numerous than frame styles are the styles of windows you’ll have to choose from. The most popular style among today’s homeowners tends to be the double-hung window. With this type of window, the lower inside sash slides up and an upper outside sash slides down.
This design improves air circulation, and because either sash can be tilted, they’re also easy to clean. Another reason for their popularity is that they are ideal for securing window air conditioners.
Other types of window styles include the following:
Single-hung windows: Single-hung windows look like double-hung windows, but with the exception that the top sash doesn’t move. This helps keep water and cold air out. Because it has fewer moving parts, single-hung windows are typically more affordable.
Fixed windows: Fixed windows don’t open, and they are used in parts of the home where natural light is more important than air-flow.
Awning windows: Awning-styled windows feature a hinged top that opens outward.
Hopper windows: Hopper windows are like awning windows, except the opposite. The bottom part of the window is hinged, allowing it to open either outward or inward.
Casement-style windows: Casement-style windows are larger windows that are hinged on one side and opened and closed using a crank.
Additional Considerations For Selecting Windows
In addition to the frame and window styles, there are a few other important considerations you need to keep in mind when determining which window is best for your home. These include the following:
Cladding: Cladding is the exposed part of the window you see from both the inside and outside of your home. The most popular options for the exterior of a home include vinyl, fiberglass, and aluminum, while the inside can be one of various wood types, like oak, pine, or maple.
Glazing: Most residential windows are available with either double- or triple-glazed windows. Glazing indicates the sealed space (filled with air or argon gas) between panes of glass, so a double-glazed window will feature two panes of glass with one sealed space between them.
Triple-glazed windows feature three panes and two sealed spaces. Triple-glazing offers the best sound insulation and energy efficiency, but the cost usually limits their use only in homes in extremely cold climates, or homes that are near loud and constant sources of noise like airports, railways, or highways.
Low-E coating: Low-E coating is designed to help improve energy efficiency because it reflects heat while allowing light in. Just bear in mind that although it is transparent, any type of coating is going to alter a window’s visibility.
A Window’s Price Isn’t Necessarily a Reflection of Its Quality
Many homeowners might believe that the more a window costs, the higher quality it will be, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, you may find more affordable models with greater energy efficiency ratings or made with more durable materials.
For instance, at Thompson Creek Window Company, we carry a broad line of premium windows at affordable prices. Further, we also design, build, and install them ourselves. If you are looking to replace your home’s windows, then contact the window experts at Thompson Creek to get a free estimate for your windows today.