When it comes to replacing home windows, nobody takes this decision lightly. Today’s house windows offer a wide range of versatile choices regarding materials, styles, colors, and costs. If you don’t have any experience regarding how to replace house windows, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the immense amount of options and details in this process.
Whether you’re changing windows for aesthetic purposes or because your old windows are simply not functioning properly anymore, this guide will walk you through the process of when and how to replace your windows.
When to replace windows?
Perhaps the idea of replacing your home windows never actually crossed your mind and there’s a good reason for that!
Most windows last for around 15 to 20 years. In fact, vinyl window manufacturers occasionally provide a 20-year warranty with their products, meaning that you can easily go a lifetime without thinking about replacing home windows. However, here are some signs that changing windows might be a good idea for you:
- Fogged glass
This is one of the common reasons people choose to replace house windows. It only happens to double-paned and triple-paned windows as the moisture makes its way through tiny cracks and gets trapped between the windowpanes. Essentially you have colder outside glass, meeting warm moist air inside of the window panel, which in turn causes the window to fog and create condesation.
Whether these cracks are in your window’s frame or the windowpane itself, it compromises the window’s insulation, and your heating, and air conditioning. Not to mention, it’s a potential opening for insects and small vermins and a hazard for others.
- Soft frame
If your home has wooden-framed windows, you might notice that they lose their rigidity over time. This is especially obvious if you live in a home that has high levels of humidity, where moisture can seep into the layers of the windowsill and rot on the outside of your house.
- You’re selling your house
A lot of people wonder if replacing windows before selling a house is worth it. The answer is yes! Many potential clients are now keeping an eye open for efficient windows that block radiation and keep their energy costs low. So if you’re thinking about selling anytime soon, replacing house windows can dramatically boost your return on investment.
- Big Energy Bill
You might be shocked if you moved into an older home with old windows and see your first winter months heating / energy bill. If you're seeing a lot of frost, weather penetrating, or feel a big draft, you could be facing some significant costs in the heating months.
How to choose the right windows for your homes?
The bad news about replacing home windows is that there’s an overwhelming amount of choices and once you finish changing windows, you’re probably stuck with them for another decade or so. To help make the process easier, let’s break it down into four main aspects:
What is the best window frame material?
Almost all of the windows that were built were constructed of wood. Today, if you’re looking to change windows, there are a lot more options to choose from. Here are the most popular three:
- Vinyl: about 75% of people looking to replace house windows opt for vinyl. This is mainly due to the fact it’s a more energy-efficient and weather-resistant choice. Not to mention, it’s easy to match it with your home’s color palette and style. Made with PVC (polyvinyl chloride) this is the same material you can find in plumbing in many homes.
Vinyl Windows are one of the most common and popular choices
- Fiberglass: between other options, fiberglass has the longest lifespan. So, if you’re looking to protect future generations from the hassle of changing windows, fiberglass might be right for you. This is typically 15-30% more expensive than vinyl windows, however it does have more durability with similar insulation properties to vinyl.
- Wood: Some people prefer to stick with the classics, especially if a wooden frame would go better with their home’s aesthetic. Wood frames come in a variety of wood, typically you'll see pine and Douglas fir, but cedar, oak, and mahogany are also found in homes as well.
- Aluminum: This highly durable and low maintenance metal frame is sound and practical but these slightly less energy efficient options can be quite expensive.
How to choose the right window type when changing windows?
There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing your window type and it all comes down to why you chose to replace your house windows in the first place. Here are a few different types of windows and why they might be right for you:
- Single-Hung Windows: Popular window that opens vertically, simpler construction, not many moving parts, commonly found.
- Double-hung windows: This is a popular choice for people replacing their home windows. They’re easier to use, easier to clean and provide good ventilation.
- Sliding windows: While they’re more difficult to clean, sliding windows are still a popular choice as they’re easy to use and guarantee a good amount of sunshine filling your room.
- Crank-out windows: If you’re looking for an energy-efficient window type, then this one is for you. They help maintain your home’s temperature while also ranking first in terms of safety and security.
- Arched Windows: Rounded at the top, arched windows typically won't open or close and can often serve as focal points in a room.
- Awning Windows: These windows are ideal for areas that see a lot of rain, these windows open from the base away from the home and is hinged at the top of the window.
- Bay Windows: An upgraded addition to homes, a bay window is typically found in kitchens, living rooms, and bedrooms, providing owners the ability to add seating or small shelf spaces providing a cozy look out space (hopefully with a view)
If you're like us and need to see it, we found this great video that covers a variety of window types and what they look like.
Are there different glass types?
- Laminated glass is used in your car's windshield because it’s quite tough. A thin PVB resin layer is squeezed in between two pieces of float glass to boost its strength. Laminated glass is ideal for hurricane windows and commercial windows.
- Low-e glass, also known as low emissivity glass, is made to reflect some of the sun's light. They specifically prevent the UV rays that harm the skin and degrade fabrics like clothing and furnishings. Additionally, the low-E glass will assist your home to retain heat during the cold.
- Obscured glass has specific patterns and characteristics, including engraved or curved glass, that make it impossible to see through. They’re used in toilets or other rooms that require some privacy. Tinted glass is an alternative if you only need a little amount of concealing.
How to choose the right type of glazing for my windows?
The residential glass comes in two basic varieties: 2-coat Low-E and 3-coat Low-E. Less light will pass through a glass pane the more coats of Low-E it has. Each kind is frequently offered with or without an argon or krypton gas fill.
- If you live in an area with hot weather and would like to keep your home as cool as possible, a 3-coat Low-E might be right for you.
- In contrast, a 2-coat Low-E is more suitable for cold climates that need more heating.
How to replace house windows within budget?
The first question you’ll ask once you decide to replace house windows, is how much does replacing house windows cost?
It can be difficult to estimate window replacement costs because so many different things go into the overall cost. The price to replace a window will vary depending on the size, the number of required windows, style, and quality.
Rule of thumb: never go cheap while choosing the glass package. While styles and materials are open for negotiation, choosing an energy-efficient glass package, such as Low-E coating will save you money on your energy bills in the long run.
Consider the phrase "you get what you pay for." The product will likely last fewer years the lower the price is. Because you can't be sure you can trust the quality, buying off-brand windows is often a bad decision. You should take into account the window's impact on your home's energy efficiency as well as the upkeep requirements and range of possible finishes.
Here are some aspects to put in mind while setting up a budget:
- Vinyl frames are more cost-effective when you’re changing windows and also more budget-friendly in the long run. Wooden frames need more maintenance as they peel and rot with humidity and water damage.
- If you need to remove the entire window frame as well as the window itself, it should cost you an extra 50$-100$ for installation costs.
- Crank-out windows are the most budget-friendly and require less maintenance than others as well.
Expect to pay between $450 and $750 for a standard-size, double-hung, double-pane (energy efficient) vinyl window, including installation. The installation cost for wood windows, on the other hand, ranges from $800 to $1,300.
What to do before replacing home windows?
- Choose the right time
It’s always wise to replace home windows in warmer weather. Late spring and early fall are popular choices for changing windows. Spring is a terrific time to replace your windows, but it's also when everyone else does. It may be hard to book a time that works for you and installation costs may be higher due to competition from other customers.
- Get your measurements right
Knowing how to measure for new windows is crucial. A lot of people aren’t aware of the fact that your window is likely to be a quarter an inch less than the opening between the framing timbers. If you’re planning on a retrofit installation, then measure between the smallest point of the existing mainframe and deduct a quarter of an inch from both the width and the height.
- Decide on the number
If your budget allows it, it’s more cost-effective and less stressful to replace your home windows at the same time. However, if you can’t afford it, then it’s a wise idea to prioritize safety first, starting with the windows that are close to breaking or not functioning properly.
- Notify alarm company
You should also inform the alarm company of the planned work if any of the windows have alarm systems. The sensors will have to be taken out, and the alarm company might need to visit the property to reinstall them.
Depending on the window type, the materials you chose, and environmental factors, it should be another 20-30 years until you need to replace house windows again. So, the best game plan is to make sure to get this one right!
The Best Window Installers in Calgary
There are many reputable window companies in Calgary to pick from, typically labour costs can range from as low as $100 all the way up to $1,000 depending on the window and the installation complexity.
Ecoline Windows: They are highly reviewed and reputable.
Greenfox Windows and Doors: Another highly reviewed local business with ten years of service in the city this company is widely regarded as a go to with Homestars.
Posted by Real Estate Partners Team on