Guide for Choosing the Best Quality Window: Style, Material

by Purvin Arshad

A lot of homeowners are looking to have good quality windows for their new homes or replace the old outdated window style with higher quality windows and sidings. Why do they need these?

Well, there are several reasons.
1. Windows allow you to fill the room with fresh air and sunlight, have a wonderful view through the window and make your room look more beautiful.

Windlow allows you to see beautiful view outside the house
2. Windows are a must in every home. If there are no windows or the windows are often closed, the harmful air and odor cannot go out and good air cannot come in. The room without a window will be dark and hopeless. That’s not good for the health of people live in.
3. If your windows are old and worn out, they need an upgrade to maintain the value of the house.
4. If they no longer lock properly, that presents a security threat to you and your family.
5. Your energy bill is very high because your windows are not energy efficient. Windows are account for 25% to 30% of a home’s energy loss. Installing energy-efficient windows can put be extra cash in your pocket.

Once you are ready to choose windows or replace the windows in your home, then you need to make some decisions.
For example,
– What window style should you choose?
– What frame material and glass will be the best?

This guide will help you know more about window designs and materials.

Common Replacement Window Styles

Casement Windows

casement window

Casement windows are fixed to the window frame on the left and/or right side with hinges. The sashes swinging horizontally outward or inward. When planning to install casement windows you have to make sure there is sufficient clearance. Make sure opening outward will not block a pathway or be a hindrance. Opening inward will take up interior space, sometimes you and your family may be hit by the corner of the window.

There are double-sash styles and single-sash styles.

Double-sash style window parts in the middle swinging outward/ inward. This wide opening allows the maximum plenty of fresh air in. A crank allows the window to be securely shut.

But for security reasons, double-sash casement windows are not recommended to install in high-rise buildings. The single-sash style is suitable for narrower windows.

single sash casement window

Homeowners prefer casement windows for several reasons.

  • They shut to give the tightest possible seal, and are available in a multipoint locking mechanism. The tight seal gives you peace of mind in terms of security.
  • Traditional windows can easily be forced open with a crowbar the tight seal of casement windows prevents this. The locking system makes entry into a house difficult. For one sash style casement window, even if the window is broken grabbing and turning the crank is not easy to accomplish.
  • The sealing of casement windows prevents loss of energy, which saves money. Their wide opening makes them easily accessible for cleaning and plenty of fresh air.

However, when you are planning to install window screens and curtains, you need to consider the swinging directions and screen style carefully.
For example, if your casement window opens outward, it will be better to install a double-hung window screen. The window screen can be open or closed accordingly without the need for clearance space.

But if the casement window opens inward, the screen can only be installed on the outside of the window frame.

Awning Windows

awning window

Awning windows are usually positioned higher on a wall, they open outward from the bottom. A close relative of the awning window is the hopper window. The two are very similar. The only difference is that the hopper window is hinged at the bottom and swings mainly open inward from above.

An optional screen can be placed inside either style. They are good stand-alone windows when you don’t need a large window in bathrooms or basements. Hopper windows can also be used in combination with other larger windows being positioned above them.

Awning windows are great for ventilation as they usually have a high position. Due to their design, they can be left open when it is raining and water will not enter.

As awning windows cannot be opened wide and its high position,  they are not a good escape routine.

In terms of energy efficiency, they work like casement windows forming a tight seal. The lack of air leaks makes them energy efficient.

Since they open outwards, it is important to make sure that the clearance is available. Since they don’t open fully they don’t require as much clearance as casement windows. Also as they are usually positioned higher on a wall clearance is not much of an issue.

Double-Hung Windows

double hung window

This style of window is very traditional. They have two parts. In double-hung both parts can be opened with sashes tilting inwards. It is also possible to slide the sashes along a vertical track. In the single hung style, the top sash remains fixed and only the bottom sash moves up or down. Since this style is very popular it is available in lots of materials and colors. Single-hung windows tend to be cheaper than double-hung ones. The one negative with this style is that you don’t get an unobstructed view.

Sliding Windows

Sliding windows glide horizontally on a rail. They typically have two panels, where one remains fixed in place and one glides to open the window. More panels are possible, depending on the size you require.

They have very little hardware and large glass panels for an unobstructed view. Unlike casement or awning windows they do not need any clearance space. So they are great for places that lead on to patios or outdoor pathways.

Good quality sealing strip around the sash frames can prevent/eliminate the whistling on windy days.

After installing a sliding window, make sure there are weep holes on the exterior bottom of your sliding window frame. And all gaps between the wall and frame are tightly sealed by the silicone sealant.

Sliding windows are not bad they are not as energy efficient as casement windows. This is because they can’t form a seal as tight as casement windows.

Use slighter force to securely slide and prolong the service life of a sliding window. Excessive sliding force results in a bad hit on the window sashes and glass.

These windows also present a challenge when it comes to cleaning.  You must keep the sliding rail to have a smooth pull-push. And often clean the weep holes to ensure rainwater drains away from home. Most other types of windows tilt making cleaning easier, especially from inside the house. Sliding windows don’t tilt making it difficult to clean from outside. This is especially true if they are located on the upper story of a house.

Picture Windows

picture window

This is usually a large window design to give an unobstructed view of your choosing and let lots of light in. It will showcase your lush green garden housing that perfect pergola without having to set foot outside.

These windows do not open and they have no bars or other dividers to block the view. Unlike a typical window, its job is not to provide fresh air. A picture window comes in a variety of shapes and sizes and can even be customized. Picture windows usually come with one-sash style casement windows so you can enjoy a beautiful view and fresh air together.

Storm Windows

Storm windows are fitted over preexisting and are designed to offer protection against weather and to insulate. Not to be confused with replacement windows that are put in after removing old or worn-out windows.

They are usually custom-fitted to the exterior of the house but you can choose interior ones also. These are good if you are on a budget but need protection against elements. They reduce drafts, cut down on noise, and are easy to install.

The problem is that you need to replace them every few years, allow less light in, and are hard to clean. A good rule of thumb, use modern energy-efficient replacement windows if the original windows are a few decades old.

Sky Light Windows

sky light window

The function of skylight windows is to make an otherwise dark space brighter. They are mounted on the roof of the room you want to have more light in. The fixed skylights are immobile, in that they do not open. These tend to last a very long time and don’t require much upkeep.

If you wish the room to have good air quality, then skylights similar to awning windows are possible. It is possible to open them with the simple turn of a handle. A lot of people opt for skylight windows that double as emergency exits, especially in attics.

Quality Window Materials

Just like there are numerous window designs, there is a very large variety of replacement window materials. Different materials will impact the look and endurance of your replacement windows in different ways. The material you select will also make a difference in energy efficiency and day-to-day upkeep. It is important to understand how the different materials behave in different climates and how long they will last.

Vinyl

Windows made out of polyvinyl chloride are the most economical possible. They are rigid on the outside and hollow on the inside. The empty space slows down heat transfer making them energy efficient. They require next to no maintenance as they do not fade, chip, or crack. They are immune to moisture but high temperatures may initiate distortion. Only three color options: basic blacks, whites, and browns.

Wood

There is no arguing that wooden replacement window frames are the most elegant. They are also among the most expensive. They are good when it comes to energy efficiency because wood is not a good heat conductor. However, wood does require a lot of work when it comes to upkeep. It is prone to rotting, warping as well as chipping. Regular refinishing will help it to last a very long time.

Aluminum alloy

Metal being a good conductor of heat makes aluminum alloy frames a poor choice in terms of energy efficiency. It is possible to get thermal breaks but that adds to the cost. Otherwise aluminum alloy is a fairly inexpensive option. It is also long-lasting as aluminum alloy resists corrosion and can withstand high temperatures without warping.

Fiberglass

Compared to vinyl, fiberglass is a bit more expensive. But it makes up for the extra cost in terms of being even more energy-efficient than vinyl. This translates to saving in energy bills. Like vinyl, it too requires very little maintenance. It is immune to temperature changes and has a long life. Window frames made out of fiberglass are eight times stronger than vinyl frames. So if you have large glass panes, vinyl may not be able to hold them. Being lightweight they are very easy to work with.

It is a common myth that you have to replace all the windows of your house in one go. Storms and elements of nature will not show on your windows evenly. Some of them may not be facing the sun directly, others may not be exposed to rain or snow. Not all the windows in your home will wear down at the same speed. This is why it is not necessary to replace them all at once. Breaking down your project into small portions may be more feasible for you.

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