Add value to your home with replacement windows
As a homeowner, you know that the most important upgrades to your house are not necessarily the most glamorous. A perfect example is windows: though replacement windows are a major purchase and can drastically improve your energy savings, windows aren't exactly exciting. However, it's important to do your homework before you decide on a style, brand and type of window.
One of the biggest choices facing a homeowner is whether to opt for wood- or vinyl-framed replacement windows. Both have their merits. Wooden windows are considered more attractive and more traditional. On the other hand, vinyl windows will last much longer, as they are rot-proof and resistant to the elements. Vinyl is almost always much cheaper – it costs about half as much as wood – and doesn't need as much maintenance.
Also, figure out if you want slide-open windows, crank-open windows or a combination of the two. If you're going to put two windows side-by-side, or atop one other like double hung windows, do you want both to open, or just one? If you're installing a crank window, do you want it to open from the center, or from the outside edge?
When comparing home replacement windows, you will also be presented with a variety of glass options. Some are slightly tinted to filter sunlight, which helps keep your home cool, while storm windows are extra-strong to protect against high winds and punishing rain and hail. Be sure to pick the glass that best fits your needs; you don't need to over-spend on "the best of the best" when something simpler will suffice.
Where to buy?
There are several nationwide window companies with strong reputations for quality. They typically charge more than local installers, but not only are you cutting out the middleman (their factories custom-make the windows to your specifications), you can trust that a larger company will be around in 5 or 10 years should you need to activate your warranty. You might be tempted to purchase wholesale replacement windows, but these windows are made to a standard size and may not properly fit your sills.
Do it yourself?
It's tempting to consider installing replacement windows yourself. Think of all the money you'd save! But unless you have considerable construction experience and already know exactly how to install replacement windows, the job is probably much more involved and intricate than you're prepared for. There are many precise measurements, several specially-made tools and a lot of manual labor involved. There's a lot that can go wrong with window installation and it's best to leave it to the pros.