Home Shopping? 3 Things to Look For in the Windows
Are you in the market for a new home? As you tour open houses and visit newly-listed properties in your would-be neighborhood, you’ll evaluate every part of each property — including the windows. Before you finalize your must-have list or put in an offer, consider at what window features you may want or need in a new home.
Windows come in a wide range of styles, shapes, and materials. This means different homes may have dramatically different windows. If this is your first experience buying a home or you just don’t know what to look for in a window style, consider:
- Your personal preference. There’s no one universal style of window that’s better than others. Instead, it comes down to personal preference. Think about whether you like a clean, crisp aesthetic (such as a plain picture window) or ornate options (such as gridded windows, bays, or bows).
- The house as a whole. The windows should match the rest of the home’s style. If the home has a contemporary look but the windows are traditional or classic, you may need to replace them after you move in.
- Changes you may make. A contrast between the window style and home decor isn’t always a reason to pass on a property. If you like the windows, but not the rest of the decor, you can change the interior or exterior elements to match the glass.
Along with the type of window (bay, bow, slider, casement, single-hung, or other options), look at the material makeup and color. You can always repaint frames depending on the material or make other minor cosmetic changes to meet your style needs.
Window Energy Efficiency
The windows are clean, pristine, and have the style you look for in a new home. But are they energy efficient? Even though aesthetics are important, form does not always trump function. Low-efficiency windows can let the cold air in and the heated air out in the winter (and vice versa in the summer months).
Beyond decreasing home comfort, low-efficiency windows can bring unnecessary costs in heating or cooling bills. To combat efficiency issues, you’ll want to look for a home with windows that:
- Have weatherstripping or caulking. Not only should the windows have these types of sealants, but they should also have new, intact weatherstripping or caulking. Breaks in these sealants can cause a draft and decrease overall energy efficiency.
- Are multi-pane models. Multi-pane windows are exactly what the name implies. These windows are made from multiple panes of glass. A clear gas (such as argon or krypton) is sandwiched in between the panes to provide insulation and increase efficiency.
- Are National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) certified. These windows come with labels that include vital energy efficiency information. The NFRC label includes the window’s U-factor, solar heat gain coefficient, and visible transmittance number. If the windows don’t have this label, ask the seller if they kept it or the details it contains.
What should you do if the windows are drafty, single-pane, or low efficiency — but you love the rest of the home? Talk to a contractor about the costs of window replacement. Even though you may not have budgeted for them, new windows can save you money over time in heating and cooling costs.
Do the windows open and close easily? You can learn a lot about the windows with a visual assessment, but this doesn’t mean you should stop there. Try the windows before you put in an offer on a new home. Open and close the windows or slide them back and forth, depending on the style. If the windows don’t work well or don’t open, talk to a contractor about replacement options and prices.
Do you need new windows for a new home? Contact 1st Choice Windows and Siding for more information.