Windows will perform and age differently in different areas of the country. In the Midwest area, homes may face heavy rains, high winds and the possibility of tornadoes. Summers are usually hot and humid, while winters are freezing and icy. Replacing windows involves many decisions.
Here’s what you need to know:
Avoid window frames made from conductive materials like aluminum. It may be strong, but they do transfer thermal energy; unless they contain thermal breaks¹. Other materials include vinyl, fiberglass, wood, and clad. So how do you pick which material to use? It really all depends on the look, life and amount of maintenance you want from a window.
Vinyl is low maintenance, durable, and can last a long time. Although, if you are looking to repaint the window down the road, vinyl is not the easiest to paint and could void your warranty.
Fiberglass is a little more pricey than vinyl, but offers even better durability and energy efficiency. It hardly expands and contracts with temperatures meaning less air leakage.
Wood is more for the style and curb appeal. It has an elegant, classic look which makes it more expensive than the others. Wood windows also come with more maintenance; without proper care, the frame can start warping, rotting and chipping.
Clad windows are wood on the inside and one of the other materials on the outside. This gives the classic style for inside and the durable, low maintenance outside. These are higher in cost, but they give a home the best of both worlds.
Glass is the next important material to look at when replacing windows. Single-pane windows are possibly the worst choice because there not energy efficient at all. Double-pane windows without low-E coatings² or inert gas aren’t going to offer any improved thermal performance as well. Look for windows that are double-pane, but also have either the low-E or inert gas; these will make the windows considerably more energy efficient and worth the money. Check windows to see if they have the energy label from the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). This organization is promoting the energy efficiency standards around the country.
Know the Label
The NFRC label helps you compare between energy-efficient windows by providing you with energy performance ratings in multiple categories. The categories include: U-factor, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC), Visual Transmittance, and Air Leakage.
The U-factor measures how well a product can keep heat from escaping from the inside of a room. The lower the number, the better a product is at keeping heat in. You want this number to be low.
The SHGC measures how well a product can resist unwanted heat gain, which is especially important during summer cooling season. The lower the number, the less you’ll spend on cooling.
The Visual Transmittance measures how well a product is designed to effectively light your home with daylight, potentially saving you money on artificial lighting. The higher the number, the more natural light is let in. You want this number to be high.
The Air Leakage measures how much air will enter a room through a product. The lower the number, the fewer drafts you’ll experience. You want this number to be low.
It will depend on where you live to find the best replacement window for your home. After you figure out the materials and NFRC rating that is right for your home, then it is all down to the colors and style you want from there, and the price you are willing to spend. Floyd Glass & Window has many great styles to choose from and special financing options you just can’t pass up!