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Are your windows due for an upgrade? Scott Mcgillivray answers your questions and shares tips for updating them.
If the windows in your house are doing their job properly, there's no need to replace them — but you might want to. If you think it's time for an upgrade, there are tons of options that can add value to your home and make a stylish statement.
Below, Scott answers the most essential questions on window upgrades.
Is it necessary for me to replace my 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 for, so the investment can add considerable value. New windows also instantly create curb appeal and can make a dated exterior look fresh and modern.
What are some telltale signs that windows need to be replaced?
Inspect them regularly for drafts, condensation and fogging, rot or mould, and cracked caulking.
Is there anything, in particular, to look for when buying windows?
Look for high R-value, which determines how well the window prevents heat loss, and low emissivity, which reflects the heat to the warm side of the glass.
What are my installation options?
You have two choices: 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!
What types of windows are available?
There are four different popular styles:
- Casement: 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.
- Double-hung: 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.
- Picture: 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.
- Bay: 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.
This article was originally published in September 2015.