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HomeHomes
Published: Thursday, 6/15/2006

Selecting the Best Type of Replacement Window for Your Home

(ARA) - So you ve decided to replace your rotted, leaky windows. That decision was relatively easy considering new windows provide returns through energy cost savings and even greater returns in an increased home value. You ve made a wise decision. With the range of replacement window options available, however, your decisions have just begun. Do you want to replace the whole window? What about the interior or exterior trim? Do you need only the sash -- the glass and its casing -- rather than the entire frame? Are you doing the work yourself or will you hire a contractor to help? Do you want to buy the windows from the same place that will install them? And then there s the multitude of options and features on windows to consider.

With the replacement window models available today, said Jeffrey Orme, brand manager for Crestline Windows & Doors, homeowners can replace as little or as much as they d like -- from just the glass or sash to the entire window and exterior trim. The various options can take the project from a relatively easy do-it-yourself task to a full-scale, contractor-level project.

There is another important decision to make, too, advises Laura Vannoy, President of Window World of Toledo Inc. The supplier you choose is at least as important as the window itself. To ensure quality service well after the windows have been installed, it is important to work with an experienced company that is locally owned and operated; someone who you know will be there when you call.

Accurate Measurements

Measuring for replacement windows is one of the most critical parts of the project. Very few homes have off-the-shelf-size windows but instead require windows sized to match their existing window openings. A measurement off by only a half inch could mean the replacement part may not fit the window frame. In the case of a full replacement window, an inaccurate measurement may result in the need to cut into interior sheetrock and exterior siding in order to accommodate the window. Always double check your measurements or have another person verify your measurements.

Sash Kits

Double hung windows are the easiest windows to update. With a sash replacement kit, homeowners can replace just the operable part of the window by inserting new sashes into an existing window frame and jamb. In about an hour per window, you can have new double-hung windows that operate effortlessly, stay open without ugly props, and tilt in for easy cleaning. Many sash kits include features of today s new construction windows such as smooth operating balance systems, high performance glass, and decorative grilles. You can also choose the material from which you d like your new sash: all vinyl, vinyl exterior/wood interior, primed wood and aluminum-clad wood. Easy-to-follow instructions make replacing a sash a manageable do-it-yourself project. Before tackling the job yourself, however, Vannoy of Window World offers some important advice: Always check the manufacturer s warranty. Some replacement window manufacturers will not cover their products unless they ve been installed by a professional.

Pocket Windows

If you have casement (crank-out) windows or rotten jambs in your double-hung windows, pocket replacement windows can update the look and performance of your windows. These windows fit into the existing window frame, leaving interior and exterior trim intact. Do-it-yourselfers can find pocket windows in a variety of materials in tilt-in single and double hung, casement and awning, gliding, and bow and bay window styles.

Full Replacement Windows

There are advantages to replacing an entire window. Perhaps you prefer casement windows and your home has all double-hung units. Maybe the frames on your windows have serious rot. Or, you want to replace your wood windows with a lower maintenance alternative like vinyl. These situations call for a more complete replacement choice, which means most homeowners will need a professional contractor or window installation firm to help complete the project. Windows designed for new construction can be adapted for retrofit applications but they re less than ideal. New construction windows often have nailing fins that aid quick and secure installations where siding is not yet present. Siding installed after the windows covers the nailing fins and is inserted into a groove in the window frame for a seamless look. This is why many homeowners replace windows and siding at the same time. If you re not replacing siding, you ll want a true replacement window.

The vinyl exteriors eliminate regular maintenance work common with wood windows. Prefinished stained wood or white composite interiors save the usual finishing time. The replacement window option you choose will depend on the extent to which your current windows are damaged or rotted. Sash replacement kits or pocket windows are sufficient in some cases; others require a more complete replacement window. The decisions are many, the returns considerable.

Vannoy of Window World of Toledo agrees. No matter what other features a window may have, the most important thing to look for is the Energy Star logo. To be designated an Energy Star product, a replacement window must meet the highest standards for energy efficiency. With Energy Star windows, you can expect to save up to 35% off your fuel bills.

Courtesy of ARA Content.



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