Spend even a few minutes window shopping (ha, get it?), and you’ll quickly realize there is a lot to get to know before making a final purchase. It’s one of the more daunting tasks a homeowner can face. The choice of products, from awning-style windows to storm windows and everything in between, often seems endless and can make for a confusing, intimidating shopping experience.
Where do you even begin? Here is a list of 10 things to consider when shopping for new windows.
1. Are they even necessary?
Are there air and/or moisture leaks coming through the gaps in your windows? Does the temperature in your home rise and fall with changes in weather, causing your heater or A/C unit to constantly run? Does outside noise seep in? Does the outside framing require painting? Checking even one of these means you may want to consider a free window installation from Sears Home Services.
2. The installation process
Research everything you can about how your new windows will be fitted into your home. Make sure you know the right questions to ask the installers to ensure everything is done properly.
3. The window material
Vinyl-framed windows typically don’t need painting and provide excellent insulation, while wood-framed windows require quite a bit of maintenance but insulate well. Remember, window type also affects the aesthetics of your home.
4. The style
Awning, casement, and hopper windows are known for leaking less air. Likewise, sliding, double-hung or single-hung windows provide durability and tend to improve the design, efficiency and re-sale value of your house.
5. Energy Efficiency
The Weatherbeater brand preferred by many Sears Home Services customers is one of the top-rated manufacturers of Energy Star-rated windows. Weatherbeater windows are not prefabricated so they can be custom made to fit into your specific window frames. Remember, lower window U-Value’s mean more energy efficiency.
6. Get at least five estimates
The average price of windows in 2014, according to HomeWyse.com, ranged from around $350 to several thousand dollars each, depending on the features and materials you choose. Those prices increase if you hire a contractor to complete the job. Remember, Sears Home Services provides free in-home design consultations if you need help deciding the best type of windows for your home.
7. Price vs. Functionality
You may save money by selecting single-paned windows but they are less energy efficient and in the long run won’t provide as much insulation as double-paned glass. Consider double-paned windows with Argon gas inside; Argon provides better insulation than natural windows because it is heavier than air.
Knowing how to take care of your windows is a vital part of the replacement process, as some materials are easier to care for than others. There is a saying in the industry that “vinyl is final,” meaning vinyl windows require little to no care after installation while other types of windows may require painting every couple of years and may eventually rot.
9. The right contractor
Most contractors are local and it can be difficult to find accurate reviews and ratings for smaller companies. There are a few important questions to ask contractors:
- If they remove masonry and trim
- How they remove and replace wood frames
- What kind of caulking is used
- How they complete clean up after installation
- If they are bonded and insured.
10. Warranties and After-Sale Service
Make sure to ask to see a detailed copy of the service warranty from all contractors as they tend to differ greatly from company to company. Sears Home Services window installations come with a written product limited warranty, written labor limited warranty, property damage insurance, public liability protection, and worker’s compensation protection to help provide you with peace of mind when your new windows are being installed.
As you consider making improvements to your home, new windows can not only add energy efficiency, but also drastically affect the aesthetics. Make sure to keep this check list close and hand and arm yourself with the proper knowledge to get the perfect windows for your home.