A window lets the sun shine in

Windows do much more than protect your interior from the elements. They contribute strongly to your home's curb appeal and can reflect or unify your house's design elements. Stylized products such as stained glass windows can also give your home a strikingly unique look and feel.

There are several styles of window available for your home, ranging from the decorative, such as bay windows and bow windows, to the functional, such as storm windows and skylights. Regardless of the style you prefer, there are numerous principles you should keep in mind when selecting exterior doors and windows for your home. Adhering to these guidelines will ensure that you purchase a reliable product that will enhance your home's value.

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Considerations to Make When Shopping for Windows

Very few consumers understand how to evaluate the quality of a given window. Generally speaking, there are three key characteristics you should look for: air tightness, water tightness and wind resistance.

Air tightness refers to the integrity of a window's sealing. A window with a high air tightness rating will not permit much air to seep in through its perimeter. A given window's water tightness rating ranks its ability to keep water from leaking in through the edges. It's very important to get windows with high water tightness ratings, because excess moisture can ruin walls and window sills, triggering the need for costly repairs.

Wind resistance is too important to be overlooked. Technically, a window's wind load resistance measures its ability to withstand heavy winds. While it's rare that wind speeds will be so high as to pose a threat to your windows, products with superior wind resistance capabilities will rattle less and withstand drafts.

You should also consider the window's ability to resist condensation, reduce transmission of sound and keep heat in your home.

Window Styles and Brands to Look For

Vinyl windows are known for their durability, air resistance and water resistance. Windows with vinyl trim have an inherent ability to hug the perimeter of the window frame to create a tight seal. Similarly, aluminum windows can be custom-fit to your frames for impenetrable tightness. An advantage of aluminum windows is that they're very strong, providing a deterrent to would-be thieves and prowlers.

If you want trusted brand names, both Andersen windows and Pella windows are recognized nationwide for their quality and durability. These companies provide a varied range of trustworthy products for homeowners who demand the best.