Planning a Window Replacement: Important Steps to Take

PART 1: Learning Common Terms in Window Replacement

Here are the common terms you can expect to hear frequently during your upcoming window replacement project:

  • Double or Dual Pane Glass: This is a window glass package constructed with two panes of glass rather than one. It is more energy efficient than single-pane glass because it significantly reduces thermal transfer, helping stabilize indoor temperature in the home.
  • Gas Fills:- These are used to reduce heat transmission and boost the insulating properties of windows. Gas fills are placed in between the glass panes for more efficient performance. Some of the most common gases used to improve a window’s insulation are argon and krypton.
  • Low-Emissivity (Low-E) Glass: If you’re looking to install more thermally efficient windows, be sure to consider low-emissivity (Low-E) coatings. Low-E glass helps reduce the harmful effects of UV rays, which can cause your furniture to fade, without sacrificing daylighting.
  • U-Factor: An energy rating used by the National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC) and ENERGY STAR®, U-Factor is the amount of heat that passes through a window. The lower the U-Factor, the better it is at preventing heat loss. If you’re planning to get new windows, do your research and find the right U-factor for your local climate.
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient: This measures a window’s ability to transfer solar energy from outdoor to indoor spaces. Lower SHGC scores indicate that the window transmits smaller amounts of solar energy, helping reduce your cooling costs especially during summer.
  • Composite: This refers to window components that consist of two or more materials. For example, Fibrex® composite frames are made up of reclaimed wood fiber and special polymer.

PART 2: Prepping for a Replacement

A successful window replacement project requires careful, detailed planning. Doing your homework, being careful in your selection of materials and contractor, and making informed decisions will help you maximize your investment over time. Here are some tips:

  • Don’t Hesitate to Ask Questions: Window replacement requires the skills and knowledge of an expert. If something about the purchase or installation process is unclear to you, don’t hesitate to ask your contractor about it. This helps ensure that you get exactly what you want, including the window styles and finishes suited to your existing design. Failure to ask questions can result in misunderstandings and other complicated issues that will get in the way of a successful window replacement.
  • Consider All Your Options: Window replacement can be a significant investment so it will be in your best interest to consider what you can truly afford before making a purchase. That said, keep in mind that while a higher-quality window has a higher price tag, it will also last longer and provide better performance, which may make it well worth the extra upfront cost.To make the most of your investment, consider all your options. This will allow you to zero in on the best choice for you and your home. Your window contractor can also help guide you in the right direction and offer helpful suggestions.
  • Research Frame Materials: Spend some time thinking about materials before beginning your project. Your choice of material will affect your budget, as well as the look and performance of your replacement windows. Today, there are many materials available on the market, including Fibrex®, vinyl, wood, aluminum, and fiberglass. The key is to strike the right balance between the energy performance you’re trying to achieve, the look you desire, and your budget.
  • Read the Contract: Of course, be sure to thoroughly review the contract before signing. Pay special attention to the description of the product and the warranty coverage. Make sure the contract reflects what you agreed upon during the consultation.

PART 3: Finding the Right Window Contractor

When it comes to window replacement, it’s not enough to purchase the best products and materials. You also need to be sure the contractor you plan on hiring has the skills, experience, and expertise to ensure the success of your project. Your windows are only as good as the quality of their installation, so hiring a professional, trustworthy contractor should be your top priority.

Here are a few key questions to ask your potential contractor:

  • How long have you been in the business? The old saying, “Experience is the best teacher” rings true for contractors. Multiple years in the industry point to experienced contractors  who are highly knowledgeable at window replacement. A company that has been in business for decades is also more likely to be stable and well managed.
  • Are your fully licensed and insured? You should also find out whether the contractor is licensed to carry out window replacements in your area. A professional license indicates that the company has passed a test for skill and professionalism in the trade. Insurance will keep you safe from additional costs that could arise from the unlikely event of  injury or damage to property during the installation.
  • What will be included in your services? You don’t want to be left in the shadows once your replacement process commences. Be involved—ask about everything included in the process, from start to completion, to make sure you know what to expect and can remain up-to-date with the progress. Additionally, ask for a written timeline for more efficient monitoring. Make sure you also have a clear understanding of how much their services will cost so you can properly assess if a contractor is the right fit for you.
  • Do you provide comprehensive warranties? Lastly, ask if their products and services are backed by warranties. To avoid shelling out extra expenses on repairs down the line, it’s imperative to know the scope of the warranties. Generous warranty terms are a good sign because they mean a contractor is willing to stand behind their work.

Window replacement is straightforward when you plan ahead. By taking the time to familiarize yourself with common terms, getting to know your options, and hiring the right contractor, you help ensure that your window replacement project  will also be completed without a hitch.

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