How to Identify High-Quality Windows
What is a high-quality replacement window? Whether your windows are old, worn, damaged, or outdated, you need replacements — but not just any replacements. Before you invest in new windows for your home, take a look at the questions that can help you to find the best quality options.
Are the Windows Energy Efficient?
You shouldn’t sacrifice energy efficiency for the initial purchase cost. Some less efficient windows are easier on a home improvement budget. But this doesn’t mean you will save money overall or over time. Energy efficient windows are often more expensive to purchase. These windows have multiple panes of glass, gas-fill insulation (between the panes), specialized glazing, and other features that make them less resistant to heat transfer.
If you’re not sure which replacement windows are energy efficient, a quality option should have more than one pane of glass, a gas fill such as argon or krypton, a low U-factor (this improves thermal resistance), and a low solar heat gain coefficient. The windows will have a National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) label with efficiency information. But if these numbers don’t make sense, ask a window professional to explain the values and ratings.
Do the Windows Have a Warranty?
While a high-quality window shouldn’t break or have a serious issue immediately after installation, replacements (like everything else in your home) aren’t perfect. Make sure the window comes with a parts warranty from the manufacturer. Ask the contractor about workmanship or labor guarantees they may offer. These cover installation-related issues that the manufacturer’s warranty won’t.
What Are the Windows Made From?
There’s no standard best or worst type of window material. Instead, you’ll find a range of options that go from low to high quality. It’s possible for any window and frame to fall into the low quality category. A manufacturer that cuts corners or uses subpar building materials may offer a low price, but low quality, replacement. In other words, you often get what you pay for.
If durability and the ability to withstand time are marks of quality you look for, consider a wood, vinyl, or fiberglass window. According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), wood window frames have a lifespan of 30 or more years. Vinyl and fiberglass replacements can last for between 20 and 40 years. In comparison, an aluminum window’s expected lifespan is only between 10 and 20 years.
What Does the Window Look Like?
While function is essential, it’s not the only thing to look for in a window. Aesthetics are equally as important. A poorly constructed, overly plain, or unattractive window could decrease your home’s curb appeal — and value.
Does Price Equal Quality?
An ultra-low cost window that seems too good to be true often is. Some manufacturers are able to reduce the price to the customer by replacing higher quality components with cheap parts. But this doesn’t mean all lower priced windows are poor quality. A manufacturer may make a value line or have an excess inventory they need to sell at a reduced price.
What Does the Contractor Have To Say?
Now that you know more about what some of the marks of a quality window are, it’s time to shop for replacements. But this doesn’t mean you need to search for the highest quality window alone. Not only can a window contractor help you to understand an NFRC label or choose an energy efficient replacement, this type of professional can provide you with the insider information you need to make the best choice possible.
If you’re stuck between two types of replacements or aren’t sure if what you think looks like a high quality window really is top-tier, talk to the professional. The contractor can help you to understand the differences between each product and informally rank windows from lowest to highest quality.
Are you ready to replace your home’s windows? Contact 1st Choice Windows and Siding for more information.