Window Buyer’s Guide
SIGNS That Your Windows May Need Replacing Granger IN
Whether it recently crossed your mind to replace your windows,
or if you have thought about it for some time, the process can be agonizingly difficult, and so confusing you may end up with more questions than answers. This replacement window consumer resource guide contains independent and objective information to assist you in calmly navigating the replacement
window buying process. Before choosing replacement windows, every homeowner faced the same set of questions. The answers helped them make the big decisions on what to do, where to go, and how much to spend. But rather than hunt all over for the answers that may or not be correct, this guide answers the questions you have, as well as those ones you didn’t even know to ask!
Do I Need To Replace My Windows?
Your windows play an essential role in the comfort of your home and the size of your energy bills. Your windows may not be as energy-efficient as they could be, and may need replacing, if you answer “yes” to any of these questions:
Any single “yes” can affect both your comfort and your wallet; more than one affirmative answer means that replacing your windows will be a great investment. Replacing inefficient and unattractive windows will both rein in your energy costs and enhance the look and value of your home.
What Window Is Right For Me?
The right window choice combines design, comfort, and value. As many different styles and types of windows are manufactured today, selecting the best one for you can seem overwhelming. To avoid this, start by seeking windows that match the architectural design of your home. If your home is traditional, a double hung window is an excellent choice, while a slider or casement style window provides a contemporary look.
Next focus on how you want to enhance your living space. Bays or bows will make your room appear larger and bring in more light; a garden window provides additional space in a kitchen or bathroom. Space constraints are lessened by choosing outward swinging casement windows.
Want to accentuate and emphasize your personal style? Today’s replacement window choices are almost limitless in size, shape, and functionality. An awning window or a slider provides a modern and resourceful design approach. If you love what you see outside, bays or bow windows will highlight the sights, or a wall full of windows creates panoramic views.
Most of today’s windows feature insulated glass units, rather than the single pane glass of years ago. Insulated glass provides many benefits for homeowners, from reduced pane condensation to year-round comfort. High performance glass keeps the costs of heating and cooling lower while increasing the pleasure you derive from your home.
the financial savings achieved from a reduction of heat and cooling loss
the amount, usually of money, that is offered or asked for when something is bought or sold
the total amount of money allocated or needed for a particular purpose or time period
the state or feeling of being safe and protected
lasting for a long time, especially without sustaining damage or wear
work that is done regularly to keep something in good condition and working order
reduces drafts for a greater level of comfort in your home
lessens the amount of outside ambient noise
an enhancement of the beauty of the exterior and interior of your home
Easy to Operate:
effortless process of opening or closing a window
guards and reduces sun damage
Ease of Installation:
accurate, trouble free, and professional
The Process Timeline
Picking the Right Window Company in Granger IN
So how can you determine how the local company in your area will perform?
While there are many things to consider there are nine things to discover.
- Do they have an excellent service record?
- Do they feature quality window design & materials?
- Are all of their window and door products energy efficient? How fast will they deliver what you’ve purchased? Do they back up their products with a reliable warranty?
- How is there customer service? Will they stand behind the products they sell?
- How long have they been in business and are they locally owned and operated?
- Is there a lack of complaints with consumer agencies and Better Business Bureau for consumer complaints?
How to Choose the Right Local Window Dealer
With so many dealers seeking your business, how do you find the right one? Start by looking at local advertising, where it’s not uncommon not to see prices listed. In some cases, the prices seem way too low to be true, so you need to determine if the products advertised are energy efficient windows. Before you invite anyone into your home for an estimate, make sure their promoted product is truly a quality energy efficient window, not a bare-bones window that will cost 100% (or more) to upgrade to the window, you really want. Are the dealers’ products from a nationally recognized, and trusted brand? Always request and receive a written estimate detailing the window specifications and final price so you can comparison shop before purchasing.
Focus on the offered warranty. If there is no mention of it in a company’s advertising, chances are the warranty may not be very strong. If the warranty is limited, it may be because the product is below industry standards in terms of quality and service longevity.
Replacing your windows is typically a once in a lifetime purchase, so the warranty should be as well! You need to feel confident that the company you are dealing with fully stands behind the windows it sells and installs, now and in the future. Always look for a lifetime warranty with 100% glass breakage coverage. Companies that don’t offer this pledge are likely not confident that their windows will operate properly for a long time.
A lifetime warranty should be fully transferable should you ever decide to sell your home. The investment you made in purchasing quality windows will increase the value of your home. Purchasers understand that a transferable warranty provides peace of mind and give them extra confidence that the improvements you made were quality ones.
Ask lots of questions when you’re comparing window companies and product, finding out all you can about the manufacture of the window products and the installation process. Review the “fine print” details and ask for the answers to your questions to be put into writing.
Request a list of past customer references so that you can confirm what the salesperson is telling you. Ask past customers about the installation process. Was it done in the period that the company indicated, and did the installer leave their home clean (or messy) afterwards?
Replacing your windows is a very big decision. Selecting the right dealer will make the difference in how well that choice turns out. A little bit of research will provide you with the necessary information to determine which company you invite into your home.
Materials Used to Manufacture Windows
Because of its properties, aluminum is considered one of the strongest and most durable window materials. Aluminum is very tolerant to demanding structural environments. It won’t rust or rot and is resistant to warping. Aluminum is prone to condensation and conducts heat easily, rendering it less energy efficient. Aluminum is primarily used in commercial structures.
The natural look of wood windows is aesthetically pleasing. Wood windows are readily avail-able and easily customizable. This classic style window is durable and solid. As wood is a natural insulator that doesn’t translate cold or hear from the outside, wood windows are highly energy efficient. As these windows are subject to wear from the elements, including wind, sun and moisture, maintenance is routinely required to avoid swelling, rotting, and warping.
Vinyl is one of the most popular materials used in residential windows today. This material is extremely sturdy, affordable, and easy to install. Vinyl material is extremely energy efficient as its multi-chambers provide significant insulating stability. Vinyl is also virtually maintenance free, as it won’t rot, peel, flake, or corrode, and it never requires paining. Vinyl frames come in a wide variety of styles and sizes to fit any size opening. This material is one of the least expensive to manufacture.
Vinyl –Clad combines wood and vinyl to provide an attractive wood interior profile with a vinyl protective exterior. This framing allows you to maintain the look of wood inside without the routine maintenance outside. By utilizing multiple materials, you can achieve the classic beauty of a wood window without the exterior up keep. This window allows you to paint or stain the interior to customize the look to your interior design.
Fiberglass is the newest type of window material on the market. Stronger than vinyl and requiring less maintenance than wood, fiberglass is more durable than all other materials used in constructing windows. Like vinyl, fiberglass won’t rot or decay, and it requires minimal maintenance. It makes excellent larger windows, as it can support the weight of the glass panels. Because it is new to the market, fiberglass window choices are limited in style and color choices.
Composite combines the strength and stability of wood with the low maintenance of vinyl. The composite material is a blend of wood fiber and a specially formulated thermoplastic poly-mer. It comes from a whole family of materials – each formulation customized to meet the unique needs of many window products and components. This material will not rot, or need maintenance of any kind. It is not a wood clad product so there is no natural wood at all that could deteriorate over time. In addition, it can be painted and has more of a traditional wood window look than an all vinyl window. This product line is very expensive to all other lines that are manufactured, thus suffering from a reputation of being overpriced.
The Wide Variety of Window Choices
There are many different styles of windows to choose from and based on your home and the particular look you want to achieve.
Fixed Picture Windows
Bay & Bow Windows
The Anatomy of a Window
A vertical part at the side of a window frame, or the horizontal member at the top of the window frame, as in head jamb
Outside member of a window unit which encloses the sash. Composed of side jambs, head jamb, and sill
The portion of a window that includes the glass and the framing sections directly attached to the glass. Composed of stiles (sides) and rails (top and bottom)
A sheet of glass for glazing a window. After installation, the pane is referred to as a “light” (lite) or “window light”
The glass panes in the sash of a window. The act of installing lites of glass in a window sash.
A set of bars, either horizontal or vertical, that divides a large area of glass in a window into smaller areas
Ornamental simulated muntins and bars which don’t actually divide the lights of glass
The lowest horizontal member of a door, window, or sash frame
A strip of resilient material for covering the joint between the window sash and frame in order to reduce air leaks and prevent water from entering the structure.
A mechanical device (normally spring-loaded) used in single & double-hung windows as a means of counter-balancing the sash weight during opening & closing
Mechanically Fastened Frame
Refers to frames fastened with screws
Fusion Welded Frame
The process of joining materials by melting them together with extreme heat, fusing them into a one-piece unit
The sealed gap between the windowpanes
in double or triple paned windows. It can be filled with air or another gas such as Argon or Krypton to help with insulation and noise reduction. The airspace should be between 1/2 and 3/4 inches thick to work effectively.
The name of any substance placed in the airspace between the glass windowpanes to absorb moisture and prevent fogging
Opening in a wall into which a door or window is to be installed
How to Maximize The Value From Your Window Purchase
Closely review and compare all of the features of each window. Focus on the benefits and performance of each, keeping in mind that some windows are virtually maintenance free and make cleaning much easier. Does the window you are considering come with a comprehensive warranty? Review the energy efficiency (U-factor) and the strength or design pressure. Compare each window’s NFRC label for an unbiased comparison of each window’s performance.
The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is a non-profit organization created to provide accurate information for measuring and comparing the energy performance of each window, door, and skylight product. This organization is comprised of manufacturers, builders, architects, designers, code officials, utilities, and government agencies. NFRC rates windows, doors, and skylights for the following.
- U-factor: How well a window keeps heat inside of a home or building (the lower the U-factor, the greater the insulating value).
- Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC): How well a window blocks heat caused by sunlight (the lower a window’s SHGC, the less solar heat it transmits).
- Visible Transmittance (VT): How much light passes through a product (the higher the VT, the more light is transmitted).
The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) is recognized for developing voluntary standards to test and validate the performance and quality of windows, doors, and skylights. The current AAMA/NWWDA 101/I.S.2 specification establishes strict standard for testing windows in the following categories:
- Design Pressure (DP): Resistance to wind and other dynamic pressures (the higher the DP rating of a window or door, the more resistant it will be to the effects of wind and other pressures).
- Air Infiltration: Air Infiltration is the amount of air leaking through a window or door (the lower the air infiltration rating, the better–to pass, a window cannot exceed 0.3 CFM/Sq Ft of air infiltration with a 25 mph wind).
- Water Resistance: The ability of a window to withstand leakage from a wind driven rain (windows are rated on a pass/fail basis).
- Forced Entry Resistance: A window must pass the forced entry resistance test to be certified to the AAMA/NWWDA 101/I.S.2 specification. Under this certification program, window and door manufacturers submit products to an AAMA accredited independent testing laboratory where they are tested to the AAMA/NWWDA 101/I.S.2 specification. Using common tools, a trained lab technician forcibly attempts to gain entrance to each window and door sampled. When shopping for windows and doors, look for the gold certification label. In addition, program manufacturers also allow random inspections of products by an independent agency at their factories to assure products conform to specifications.
The Pane Truth
Single Pane Windows
While more replacement windows have double pane glass, there are still reasons to consider single pane windows. A single pane window weighs less, a concern of some homeowners, and they cost less than double pane windows. Addition-ally, single pane units are less expensive to repair. Most single pane windows are divided up into different sections (or lites), and damage to one pane won’t require replacing all panes. A single glazed window with clear glass will allow more sun-light to pass through it than any other window type, but this design also has the poorest ratings when it comes to the important U-Factor consideration. Ultimately, a single glazed window will not help reduce your energy costs without installing a quality storm window.
Double Pane Windows
One of the most popular replacement window choices, double pane windows (also known as dual pane or double glazed) insulate far better than a single win-dowpane and are more economical than the triple paned type. A spacer holds dual windowpanes (or lights/lites, as they are also called) apart. The spacer goes all the way around the perimeter edge on the inside and is made of either aluminum or another type of steel such as stainless, coated, or galvanized. The spacer also con-tains an absorbent substance called a desiccant, which acts to prevent moisture from getting inside the unit (eliminating potential fogging). Two or more panes of glass that have a layer of air between them are occasionally referred to as insulat-ing glass (IG) windows. In some windows, the space is filled with an exotic gas like Argon, or Krypton, a more expensive gas, trapped between the two window-panes. A good quality dual pane window can greatly reduce energy requirements and heating and or cooling bills.
Triple Pane Windows
The triple pane window is another energy saving window. As the difference in energy savings between triple and double pane windows is minimal, you should compare the cost for this window against the potential energy savings. The triple pane window does do an excellent job at stopping heat inside your home transfer-ring outside through the window. Three panes of glass means six surfaces of win-dowpane for Low-E coatings that can keep the thermal energy produced indoors where it belongs. Triple pane (also known as triple glazed) windows are heavier than both single and double pane windows, and are more expensive than both. A window with three panes can be thought of a long term investment rather than a purchase. This is the choice for the homeowner who wants to reap excellent long-term savings on energy costs, as the return on your investment will take quite a few years. This type of window is not available in all areas.
LoE² Glass is coated with two microscopically thin metallic layers, which reflect radiant heat while permitting the passage of visible light. In hot climates, LoE² glass reflects unwanted solar heat, helping to keep your home cooler and reduce cooling costs. LoE² glass helps keep your home warmer in the winter as well by reflecting radiant heat back into your home. This not only keeps you more comfortable, but also helps to reduce heating expenses. LoE² Glass blocks 84% of ultraviolet rays, which will protect your drapes, furnishings and carpets from fading caused by the sun. Argon Gas is an odorless, colorless, tasteless, non-toxic gas which is six times more dense than air. It is used to replace air between the glass panes to reduce temperature transfer.
Laminate Glass, created by bonding two pieces of glass together with an inner layer of rugged, transparent plastic, is widely used in auto windshields. Although it is transparent, this tough film is 99.9% effective in blocking ultraviolet rays, prolonging the life of your furnishings. Laminate glass provides superior noise reduction, reducing sound transmission by as much as 50% when compared to ordinary glass. If broken, the glass will adhere to the plastic inner layer, helping to prevent injury caused by shards of glass, therefore making it safer than other types of glass.
Tinted Glass works to reduce heat transfer by filtering out ultraviolet light and infrared radiation. Because tinting can also reduce the amount of light transmitted, it is reserved primarily for warm climates, or windows with a southern or western exposure. Tinted glass may also be combined with LoE² Glass for maximum energy efficiency.
Tempered Glass, sometimes referred to as safety glass, is 4 to 5 times stronger than ordinary annealed window glass. This provides an extra measure of protection for your family. When tempered glass breaks, it breaks into small pieces that are not sharp or jagged. In the event of an accident, someone is much less likely to be hurt.
Obscure Glass offers privacy where window coverings are not desired, in areas such as bathrooms or for use in sidelights. Obscure glass provides a translucent, rather than transparent appearance.
Low Maintenance Glass is treated with a chemical so that it’s easy to clean and stays cleaner, longer. This unique glass-on-glass technology creates an ultra-smooth surface, which sheds dirt and grime. Glass is hydrophilic, which means that water sheets across the surface, allowing it to evaporate quickly, while reducing streaking and spotting. Most importantly, it will allow you to have more time to do the things you want to do instead of cleaning your windows.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY IS KEY
While windows can enhance the attractiveness of your home’s architectural look, it can be the single largest contributor to energy waste. As fuel costs to heat and cool your home continue to escalate, windows can account for as much as 50% of the heat lost or gained. Replacing an old and drafty single pane window with an insulated glass window will increase the energy efficiency of your home. Adding LoE2 (low emissivity) glass to your windows adds to the energy efficiency value by 35%. Two thin transparent metallic coatings applied to the glass selectively filter solar radiation by reflecting heat away, keeping your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. LoE2 glass can also reduce UV ray transmission by up to 84%, reducing fading of your furniture, flooring, and window treatments. Adding this coating won’t change the way you see through the window, as you will still have a clear view to the outside world.
Look for the ENERGY STAR® Logo
If you aren’t sure how energy efficient a particular window or door is that you are thinking about purchasing, the ENERGY STAR program provides an excellent resource of information. Not only does this logo represent that the window you are looking at is energy efficient, it also will let you know how much energy savings you can expect. The ENERGY STAR program ranks the efficiency of windows and doors based on regional requirements and climates. Go to for more information.