They come in all shapes and sizes, and they do a great deal more for your home than add to its appearance. Here’s why choosing the right windows deserves the utmost consideration.
American homeowners are enamored with windows. Statistics show that the wood window and door industry is estimated to be worth $13.6 billion this year. That doesn’t even account for the wide array of modern window materials that go way beyond wood.
These panes and frames can add a striking layer of beauty to a home’s exterior and interior. However, there is much more to them than being aesthetics. Knowing the right design when you see it may be simple enough. To choose the right windows for your home, you must consider factors such as quality, the local environmental conditions, and practicality/safety concerns.
Looking into the world of windows provides homeowners with a clearer perspective on the models that will add benefits beyond beauty to their property. The right choice can save a great deal of money on energy expenditure and the resultant utility bills over time, as well as protect the health and well-being of everyone in the home.
A few commonsense steps – coupled with some of our industry insight – will prepare you if you’re ready to make this investment. Here’s the Blue Nail guide to help you decide.
Step one – Find the right look and assess the quality
Step one is where no professional knows better than you. The window design that will match the aesthetic of your home is entirely your decision. or at least, a democratic consensus of everyone living in the home.
There’s no shortage of looks on the market to make your home’s windows stand out, or you may even choose to continue a neighborhood style. Take your time and remember that different styles may work better in certain rooms.
Windows are transparent, but their quality is often much harder to discern. Many stores have window models on display where homeowners can examine their construction and test firsthand how well they open and close. This is a good opportunity for shoppers to do some groundwork on the basics and decide if the hinges, locking mechanisms, and runners/seals are up to an acceptable standard.
Homeowners should also have an eye on the long-term value they’re receiving. We recommend that you inquire as to how easy it will be to obtain replacement window parts in the future and that you carefully study any warranty agreements before committing to a purchase. A window company worth your while will stand behind its product and be there to maintain or replace it in the future.
When selecting windows, look for certification by quality testing bodies such as the National Fenestration Rating Council, which can help homeowners buy with more confidence. Other organizations – like Energy Star and the National Accreditation and Management Institute – offer ratings, labels, and certifications that help people make more informed decisions regarding window quality.
Step two – Factor in the age of your home
Older homes with more well-worn windows may make buying new ones a necessity, but this scenario poses some unique questions.
Firstly, the homeowner can feel pressure to maintain the existing look and feel of the home, particularly if the structure is of significant age. Remember that a “historic” home only needs to be 50 years old to qualify for the designation.
Older windows often have wooden frames that have succumbed to the ravages of time. Restoring them to their former glory may be a task too time-consuming or expensive for some homeowners. In other instances, the windows are just too far gone to save no matter how willing the owner is.
Secondly, the logical step of upgrading to energy-efficient windows may make it unavoidable to remove the older models to keep up with the times. It’s certainly a long-term financial benefit to take the energy-conscious route. Thankfully, today’s window options come in many forms and can replicate the appearance of older styles, while offering modern standards of insulation and energy efficiency.
This means that the best of both worlds can be achieved by maintaining a home’s historic appearance while giving it some future-proof power in its windows. With proper quality research and a team who appreciates the delicacy of the task, history, and modernity can happily coexist. Speaking of time, this brings us to our next step: dealing with the timeless presence of the elements.
Step three – Consider the climate
The next question applies to every window hunter: will your favored designs weather well where you live? Atmospheric conditions play a big part in a window’s success or failure and in the health, wealth, and happiness of those behind them.
Let’s take New Jersey as an example. Here we tend to have warm, humid summers and cold winters. These two opposing conditions must be considered when selecting both the panes and the window frames before installation begins.
While a purely wooden frame can be a lovely window material, its tendency to contract and expand with the elements makes it a less than ideal choice in New Jersey. A composite frame may be more practical and robust for New Jersey homeowners (especially since some composites can offer a wooden look). Vinyl windows are another popular option that requires little maintenance and insulates well in winter while reducing heat in summer.
Pane-wise, a good year-round solution is selecting glass that has both a low emissivity coating and a low U-factor. Low emissivity coating ensures there’s a minimum of heat-generating glare, which can spike indoor temperatures (and AC bills) in warm weather. The U-factor range should be between 0.25 to 1.25 and is a measurement of how effectively the window insulates your home.
The Energy Star website offers a resource for anyone looking to tailor their windows to the local climate. Just input New Jersey and your relevant county in the dropdown menus to learn more about the best course of action where you live.
Step four – Prioritize practicality
Step four is a prime example of practicality, but successful window decisions involve even more thinking. Different levels and rooms of your home will require windows for various purposes. Some may favor a view. Other windows may need to be installed to allow the maximum possible light to enter. Still others – like bathroom windows – are best designed to exclude the outside world from seeing inside.
In some instances, the architecture of your home may necessitate a specific window design. For optimum practicality, it pays to treat every room in your home as an individual installation. And, if you have children, always make safety the highest priority, especially with windows on the upper floors. A few safety measures in this regard can prevent the worst from occurring.
There’s another practical measure that applies to every room regardless of design decisions. Don’t forget the vital role windows play in home ventilation – an essential health concern which I covered in my previous blog.
Step Five – Work with dedicated window installation craftsmen
Trusting Blue Nail as your window installation team takes all the points above and wraps them into one. Our team has the expertise and skills necessary to get the job done right. We are also passionate about respecting the aesthetic and unique vision of every homeowner we work with.
We’re an Authorized Replacement Contractor of Marvin Windows – a highly flexible and customizable range created to deliver natural light with a wealth of energy-efficient and diverse design choices. We can also add Andersen Windows to your home, offering unique options composed of materials like fiberglass, aluminum, composite wood, and cost-effective vinyl, which can help reduce utility bills.
Whichever design and materials you select and whatever your climate, they’ll become part of your home through a team that cares. We’re proud of the customer relationships we’ve already forged and would love to make your next window installation the very best it can be. Contact our team for a free consultation and reap the benefits of our years of experience.
Blue Nail is changing the narrative on what makes a great contractor. Connect with us below to see how.
Working with Blue Nail Roofing means coming home to craftsmanship. From the first call to final inspection, we’re with you every step of the way to ensure you benefit from our experience. For more information or a free consultation, drop by our contact page or call 973-937-8876.