Once you’ve determined you need replacement windows for all or part of your home, your decision-making isn’t over. There’s a selection process and a variety of materials and styles to evaluate and choose from. All replacement windows are not created equal.
The first consideration is usually establishing a budget. Window replacement can be an expensive project. The challenge is to determine what you want and what you can afford – sorting through a host of material options, designs and price ranges.
Start With The Basics To Compare Replacement Windows
To put replacement windows on equal footing, it helps to “do the math.” There are two ratios that, when applied to new windows, allow you to compare various configurations on equal terms.
First, consider the U-Factor. It measures how much heat escapes from inside your home to the outside through a window – an important factor in Madison WI. The U-Factor range is usually from 0.25 to 1.25. The lower the U-Factor number, the better the new windows insulate. Better insulation means savings on energy bills.
Also consider the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient. It measures the heat entering into your house through the replacement windows. The SHGC range is usually from 0.25 to 0.80, and again the lower the number the better the window insulates. Blocking excess heating from sunlight results in energy savings by reducing the demand on your air-conditioning.
These two numbers make it possible to compare windows no matter what they’re made from, but the materials involved can enhance a replacement window’s performance.
The Building Blocks Of Replacement Windows
Today’s modern replacement windows offer a variety of options to choose from, including glazing systems, frame types, spacers and gases used to fill the spaces between the panes.
The word “pane” is often substituted for glazing:
- Single Glaze = one pain of glass
- Double-Glazed = two panes of glass
Gases are often inserted between panes to enhance the insulation value. Gases like Argon, Krypton and Xenon insulate better than ambient air. Most window manufactures have their own formula.
The glass itself is a vital component and can be an added insulation element. Many glass products have a Low-E (low-emissivity) coating that enhances the pane’s ability to reflect heat – both heat from outdoors and heat from inside the room.
Replacement Windows Frames – More Than a Pretty Face
The first thing that attracts most people to new windows is how they look on display. The frame design and material has the ability to add curb appeal to a property and makes a statement inside and out. Frame choice needs to be based upon several considerations beyond good looks:
- Expense – some materials are more costly than others
- Maintenance – some materials require more upkeep than others
- Individual requirements – energy savings, size/shape, standard or custom new windows
There are standard windows and custom windows available with frames of wood, metal – usually aluminum – vinyl, fiberglass and composites made from a combination of materials. Each have pluses and minuses. Combining the advantages of more than one material in a composite, for example, can provide the best features of each material – as well as increase the price.
Today’s standard in Madison WI is the vinyl replacement window because it is virtually maintenance free and provides a high level of insulation. Window replacement using vinyl can be done in many colors and most new windows can be painted to blend naturally into your existing trim.
Wooden or wood with a vinyl cover are also popular because they are good looking, insulate well and can fit into the style of many existing homes. But anywhere there’s wood there’s a risk from moisture so that’s a consideration. This style can also be on the top of the pricing structure.
For additional insights on replacement windows or to plan your window replacement project, contact Sims Exteriors and Remodeling — 608-825-4500. We provide quality window replacement throughout Madison, WI and the surround in area, including Cottage Grove, Sun Prairie, Waunakee, Middleton, Verona, Fitchburg, McFarland, Stoughton and Greater Dane County.
Call or email our experienced specialists to help select and install your replacement windows. From our website, download your copy of our Window Buyers Guide. Knowing the components of replacement windows will help you choose the best new windows for your home in Madison WI
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