Upgrading your windows
If they’re doing their job properly, you shouldn’t notice the windows in your house. But if you’re in the market for an upgrade, there are tons of options that can add value to your home and make a stylish statement.
Why replace your windows?
Windows play a huge role in the efficiency of your home, but that’s not all they do; if you’re planning on selling your house in the next few years, new windows are a huge selling feature. They’re one of the top five things potential buyers ask about a home, so the investment can add considerable value. New windows also instantly create curb appeal and can make a dated exterior look fresh and modern.
Here are some telltale signs that your windows need replacing. Inspect them regularly for the following:
- Condensation and fogging
- Rot or mould
- Cracked caulking
High vs. Low
When buying windows, look for:
- High R-value – determines how well the window prevents heat loss.
- Low emissivity – reflects the heat to the warm side of the glass.
You have two choices for window installation: retrofitting (inserting new windows into the existing casing) or brick-to-brick (stripping out the windows and frames and starting fresh). Retrofitting is less expensive, but brick-to-brick is the more energy-efficient option. And remember, if you’re installing a new window where one didn’t previously exist or enlarging an existing window opening, you have to get a building permit – no exceptions!
Types of windows
Swinging in and out like a door and operating with a crank, they offer a high level of ventilation and have a tight seal when closed. This is a great choice for hard-to-reach or awkward places because they’re easier to open.
One of the most common types of windows, they consist of two sashes that move up and down. They are great for ventilation and complement any style of home.
Large and fixed and usually flanked by two casements or double-hung windows, their big, dramatic shape allows for lots of natural light and unobstructed views. They can be pricey because of their size, and keep in mind that they offer no ventilation.
Made up of one large fixed window in the middle and a casement on either side, they project from an exterior wall and are a staple in many Victorian-style homes. Take caution when installing – they’re large and heavy, meaning they need adequate structural support.