When choosing replacement windows, there are a large variety of products and manufacturers to consider. I would suggest answering the following questions to help you narrow down the options to a manageable list.
1. How long do you expect to remain in your home?
The longer you intend to stay, the more you should be focused on long-term durability and longevity.
2. What color would you like the frames of your new windows to be?
If you are looking for dark colored frames (brown, bronze or black) vinyl is not the best choice as it will be prone to failure.
3. Do you like wider frames or narrower frames?
Fiberglass and aluminum offer the narrowest frame profile.
4. Do you have oversized operable windows (taller than 72”)?
The larger the window, the more susceptible it will be to warping and bowing when using vinyl windows.
5. Are your window shaded or do they have full sun exposure?
Fiberglass, composite or aluminum frames will hold up best to extreme heat.
6. Do you have circular shaped windows?
Fiberglass has limited availability in circular shapes.
7. If you want the multiple pane look, do you prefer grids between the glass for easier cleaning or do you prefer the authentic wood window look with the bars on the surface of the glass?
Bars on the surface of the glass, referred to as SDL (simulated divided lites) eliminates aluminum as an option in most cases
8. What is your budget? Vinyl windows are typically the least expensive option, followed by aluminum, composite, fiberglass and wood.
Better to do the job in phases and choose a better quality product than sacrifice quality to get the entire house done at one time.
9. Did you know choosing an experienced installation company is just as important as the windows you choose?
Find a company that has a long-term reputation in the area. Companies and crews come and go, finding one with longevity and success is the key.
10. What is the most important thing to consider when choosing Replacement Windows?
Find a company that has you in mind. Not a company that wants to sell you the cheapest windows available, just so they can sell windows. Choose a company that cares about your happiness 1 week, 1 year and even 5 years after installation.
When it comes to choosing replacement windows, the “anything is better than what I have now” way of thinking should be avoided. Windows are an investment in your home and they should be chosen carefully. You want to be as happy with your windows in 10 years as you were the day they were installed, and that requires doing your due diligence before purchasing. Spending more time evaluating the options will ensure you remain satisfied with your new windows for many years to come. It will also increase the chances that your new windows will increase the value of your home when it’s time to sell.
Vinyl windows are extremely popular for their lower price point, but they also come with some drawbacks. While vinyl is a very good insulator, it is prone to bowing and warping in extreme heat. This is one of the reasons why vinyl siding is very rarely used in the Houston area anymore. The strongest vinyl windows will have thicker frames which minimizes glass space. Narrow framed vinyl windows are flimsy and not suited for Houston’s hot summer months. For long-term durability and longevity, aluminum, composite or fiberglass are all better choices.
Aluminum windows are enjoying a resurgence in popularity due to their strength and rigidity – allowing for narrower frames and maximum glass. Additionally, aluminum is available in bronze or black colors without compromising long-term reliability. The drawbacks to aluminum windows include a slight compromise in energy-efficiency as compared to vinyl, composite or fiberglass (primarily in winter months) and a higher price point than vinyl.
Composite windows are growing in popularity, particularly for homeowners who are looking for maximum energy efficiency, more customization options, and/or a wood window appearance without the maintenance requirements. Composite is one of the strongest, most durable options in the industry. The only downside to composite windows is price.
Fiberglass windows offer the narrowest profile in the industry, multiple color options and very good energy efficiency ratings. The drawbacks to fiberglass are price, limited manufacturers and limited size and shape availability.
Ultra Windows has the product selection and the experience required to assist you in making the very best choice for your home and your budget. We welcome an opportunity to provide you with a no-cost in-home consultation.