Although recovery values for window replacements this 2015 are down compared with last year, homeowners interested in commissioning such a project will still find it a worthwhile investment. Vinyl window replacements enjoy returns of around 73% of cost, for instance. Plus, the right windows mean better functionality, enhanced curb appeal, and improved energy performance.
Make the most of your window replacement project by taking these factors into consideration:
Your climate zone. ENERGY STAR and the National Fenestration Rating Council rate window products according to their energy performance, assigning benchmark values for U-factor, solar heat gain coefficient, visible transmittance, air leakage, and condensation resistance. What many homeowners should realize, however, is that the effect of these values differ according to where you live. For instance, a low U-factor in a cold place is not always a good thing, as it represents a high percentage of heat loss through the window. Similarly, a low solar heat gain coefficient is a bad thing, since it is the measure of how much heat is radiated through a space.
Keep in mind that product labels are not the be-all and end-all of energy performance where climate is concerned. You should also mind:
- Your home architecture. Are there trees situated around the house? Is your home fitted for large windows? The specific style plays into the overall benefits that you can harness from the window.
- Window orientation. How your windows are oriented to the sun is also critical. In most cases, south-facing windows are the most energy-efficient.
Your desired style. Certain types of windows work best with specific architectural styles. Tall and narrow double hung windows, for instance, go well with Colonial and Victorian homes, while casement and picture windows complement ranch-style homes. Bow and bay windows are ideal for a wide range of styles, and lend a distinctive appeal to any home.
Your sustainability goals. Going green is not only about choosing energy efficient windows; selecting which materials to install should be a priority, too. Composite frames are great for the eco-conscious homeowner, since they are made from synthetic materials that can (mostly) be recycled back into production when they reach the end of their lifespan.
Your durability needs. Many window frames – such as composites and metal – are engineered to last a long time. Wood does not fare as well in terms of durability as it is susceptible to rotting, warping, and other signs of physical damage. Do note, however, that some composites require full replacement of the window unit if and when they fail.
Your maintenance capabilities. Wood requires the most maintenance among all window frame materials. Be prepared to religiously re-paint and re-stain your windows – otherwise, opt for vinyl or fiberglass.
Lastly, your choice of contractor should be sound. Window replacements are subject to federal, state, and local regulations that should be followed to the letter. Choose an experienced contractor that offers comprehensive rates, and schedule a consultation before agreeing to a contract.
Backed by extensive experience in the construction industry, Todd Kroll has many tips to offer homeowners. As the Vice President of Kroll Window, he works closely with homeowners and guides them towards making the right home improvement decisions.