DO you ever feel a wisp of cool air when standing near a window in your home?
Have you noticed rotted frames around a unit or maybe a blown seal in the glazing? If so, new windows might be in your future.
Homeowners choose to replace their windows for many reasons, from energy-saving considerations to esthetic concerns.
The prices for windows are as varied as the choices themselves, easily ranging in price from the hundreds to the thousands of dollars. Replacing windows will be costly, even with more moderately priced units, and it will likely take some time to claw back your investment through the increased energy savings or resale value. But new windows will transform your home.
Windows come in a wide range of materials including vinyl, fibreglass, wood and aluminum and each material comes with its advantages and drawbacks.
Vinyl windows are durable and inexpensive and are really the ultimate when looking for a maintenance-free solution. They insulate well and come in a variety of colors, with some manufacturers offering wood interiors to round out their units. But the major drawback to vinyl is that they lack the finish, proportion and craftsmanship of more refined materials and are often bypassed as an option because of this.
Wood is a popular choice for windows and is as fitting on a traditional Craftsman-style bungalow as it is on sleek West Coast Contemporary show home. And wood windows are beautiful. Wood windows are good insulators but are heavy and need continued maintenance. Wood windows are beautiful and are a wonderful choice but understand that staining or painting will be required to ensure the longevity and beauty if you make this investment.
Wood windows with a metal clad exterior are a good choice for a homeowner looking for all the qualities of a wood window without the requisite upkeep. I've used this type of window on a number of applications and find them to be a nice balance between durability and beauty. A metal exterior often looks more modern, requiring more care to match the window profile to a traditional home
For those wanting a clean, contemporary look with clean profiles and thin proportions, a full aluminum window can be an excellent choice.
Aluminum windows come in different levels of performance and quality and top out with thermally broken curtain wall systems that are as beautiful as they are expensive.
Regardless of the material choice for your new window, homeowners should always choose the most energy-efficient window they can. Large panes of glass in windows present the poorest insulating component of any building envelope and need to be countered. Single glazing is behind us with double-glazing now being the norm, but with ever more stringent energy requirements being demanded of new buildings, triple-glazing for windows will soon see its day.
Once you've chosen the best window for your home make sure that it's installed properly. A poorly installed unit, no matter its quality, will leak air and loose heat.
Cost, material composition, style, technological features and ease of installation should all play a role in the homeowner's choice for a new window.
Kevin Vallely is a residential designer in North Vancouver. His website is www.vallely.ca.