What you need to know about selecting new windows

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Whether you’re renovating your kitchen or installing an addition, one factor is critical for building a perfect space: the right windows. Windows can enhance the look and feel of your home by acting as a light fixture as well as a piece of art.

Unlike many other aspects of your home, windows pull double duty. You want them to look great on the exterior and interior, helping you create welcoming curb appeal and a comfortable, stylish interior.

Alure Home Improvements’ exterior and window design expert John Bernaudo explained in an interview that you only want to install or replace your windows once, so it’s important to get it right the first time. He advised homeowners on what factors to look for when selecting new windows for their home.

Consider window style
Bernaudo explained that casement and double-hung windows are easily the most popular windows for new spaces and replacement windows. These classic designs fit an array of homes and work in nearly any room. Within these popular options there are still plenty of other stylistic features you can add to customize the windows for your home design and your taste. For example, Bernaudo noted that people who have Colonial-style homes typically opt for double-hung windows with gridded glass.

Talk to your designer about the blinds, curtains and window accessories you want to use.
Talk to your designer about the blinds, curtains and window accessories you want to use.

Explore other styles of windows as well, such as gliding or bay windows. If you’re working with a space that’s wider than it is high, consider awning or picture windows. Awning windows allow maximum air ventilation, functioning like a casement window on its side.

Use the best frame material
When it comes to replacement windows, Bernaudo said the best option for your frame material is fiberglass. Fiberglass is strong, reliable and long-lasting. Its strength allows it to be relatively thin, so the frame doesn’t take away from the window’s beauty.

For new construction, fiberglass is still a great option, but many also consider wood. Although it’s more expensive than fiberglass, some people prefer the aesthetics. Bernaudo reminded homeowners to also consider composite wood frames, which are tougher than wood against normal weather and conditions.

“Everyone has different reasons behind the style, material and brand of window they select.”

Some people opt for vinyl window frames. These are less expensive, but can be bulky and don’t work for every home design.

Think about your driving factors for getting new windows
Everyone has different reasons behind the style, material and brand of window they select, Bernaudo said. Often, these driving forces are broken down into price, energy savings and overall quality.

  • Price – If you’re looking for windows that are the least expensive, talk to your designer about vinyl options. After that, fiberglass and wood are more expensive.
  • Energy efficiency – There are a variety of double- or triple-pane windows designed for maximum energy savings. However, Bernaudo recommended homeowners think about their return on investment with energy efficient windows. You may want to consider a reasonably priced, reasonably efficient window, rather than one with the lowest U-value and a big price tag.
  • Performance and look – If you’re only concerned about getting the longest lasting and best looking window, Bernaudo advised picking wood or fiberglass frames.

Pick the right color
In the Northeast, an overwhelming majority of window frames are white, Bernaudo explained. However, in other parts of the U.S., people opt for different colors, such as brown or natural. Talk to your designer about what color schemes fit best with your design and whether you should go with white or something more exciting.

“There are just so many things you can do with a window,” Bernaudo said.

Take other factors into account
Some homeowners need to consider more than just their own taste and style when deciding on a window style, Bernaudo explained. Often, other homes and housing associations can determine window design. Talk to your designer about any homeowners’ or condo association regulations that they need to take into account. Historical districts also often carry restrictions about what style window you can install, typically forbidding vinyl.

“There are just so many things you can do with a window,” Bernaudo explained. Make sure you consider every factor and talk with your designer before deciding on the windows that you’ll use in your home.

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