Important Topics to Ask About When You Shop for Replacement Windows

Apr 13, 2020

The purchase of replacement windows isn’t as straightforward as you might imagine, especially if you haven’t bought windows in a while. When you start shopping for new windows, you’ll notice manufacturers have added a lot of features, especially related to energy efficiency.

Naturally, you should do some research ahead of time. Also, talk to your window experts about the following topics.

Window Function

One of the easiest questions you may have relates to window function. Besides the traditional single-hung and double-hung options, you have casement, slider, and picture windows. Talk to the window specialists about which function will best suit your space and preferences. For example, casement windows allow for more ventilation, but they require clearance to open.

You can also look into add-on options. For instance, some double-hung windows tilt in for ease of cleaning. This feature might be useful especially for upper-story windows, but it can add to the cost.

Window Rating

Potentially more difficult questions come up in the discussion about energy efficiency. Your windows can have three different ratings all related to different functions.

The U-factor relates to how well the window keeps heat inside. The solar heat gain coefficient relates to how good the window is at blocking solar heat. With both ratings, lower numbers indicate better performance. Visible transmittance relates to how much light the window lets in. The higher the number, the more light you get.

The question you want to ask the specialists is what ratings are necessary for your project. If you live in a temperate climate, you might need windows better at blocking than maintaining heat. The orientation of your house is also a factor.

Number of Panes

A factor that significantly impacts both the rating of the window and its cost is the number of panes. Old-school windows consisted of a single pane of glass in the frame. While that option still exists, you can choose windows with up to four panes of glass.

As with the rating, the number of panes needed depends on your house’s orientation. Ask about the development of a plan for your project. The window specialists could visit your home and advise you on the areas where you need more protection.


Another factor that impacts the rating and cost is the presence of low-E coatings. The manufacturers coat the glass with several layers of microscopic metallic oxides. Their purpose is to reflect damaging ultraviolet rays back out. Depending on the coatings, they can let infrared heat into your home so it stays warmer in the winter.

Windows with such coatings might be a good investment simply because they block UV rays, which can fade your belongings and damage your skin. The discussion should come up as part of an energy efficiency plan for your project.

Warranty and Lifespan

Replacement windows represent a significant investment. So, when you’ve found some windows that you might buy, ask about the warranty. The manufacturer typically offers a 20-year warranty on the glass and a 10-year warranty on the rest of the window. Ask, too, about an installation warranty — two years is typical.

Along those same lines, ask how long the chosen windows should last. New windows should last 20 years or more. However, different factors such as frame material can factor into that figure.


When you look at the price tag for the windows you’re considering, you can’t just add up to get a total cost. Unless you’re a highly experienced do-it-yourselfer, you’ll need to hire installation experts.

As you discuss with them installation costs, make sure you keep a few details straight. For one, will they cover disposal fees for the old windows? Likewise, does the quoted price include any insulation or weatherproofing? Finally, talk to them about potential pitfalls, such as damaged window sashes to discover how that might add to the cost.

Don’t be afraid to ask your local window specialists for advice — they have the experience to answer all your questions. If you’re considering a window replacement project, contact 1st Choice Windows & Siding.