The World of Windows
The World of Windows
The Turkish poet, Mehmet Murat Ildan, wrote that “The magic of the window is not in itself but in the view it shows outside!” And while this may be true in the world of poetry where windows are oft waxed eloquently of, in the universe of curb appeal, home security and energy conservation, the window itself matters a great deal.
Window replacement is not cheap with the average current cost coming in at about $500 per window. At that level of financial commitment, you will want to be sure to make a wise choice regarding both the form and function of your new windows. But that can be a dizzying proposition where the sheer quantity of options (Homestratosphere.com lists 27 different styles windows) can end up making you feel like a 5-year-old standing in the supermarket aisle trying to choose a breakfast cereal.
In this week’s blog we narrow it down to the 4 primary window styles and the 4 main materials used in modern windows.
Double-Hung Windows are the most popular window style largely due to the traditional look they provide. The upper and lower sashes both move, the lower inside sash slides up and an upper outside sash slides down. This allows for easy cleaning, installation of screens and the use of window air conditioners. Double-Hung windows are not as air-tight as other styles
Casement-Style Windows are hinged at the side and open outwardly with the use of a hand crank. These windows provide excellent ventilation when open as well as seal air-tight when closed. They don’t vary as much in style as double-hung windows and window air conditioners cannot be used with them.
Awning-Style Windows open outward like casements but they are hinged at the top. The sash for this style presses against the frame, so they close very tightly.
Picture Windows/Fixed Windows don’t open and are used when the entrance of light or the view and not ventilation is important. These windows are airtight and come in many shapes and sizes.
Wood windows are the traditional style and have dominated the market until recently when they have increasingly become a niche market. Their aesthetic appeal, classic look and durability continue to make them a top option but they require more maintenance and are more costly than other options.
Vinyl windows have taken over top spot from wood as the style and color options have increased. For years, glossy white was the only choice and as these windows cannot be painted that limited their use. These windows are cheaper than wood and require very little maintenance.
Aluminum windows are similar in versatility and durability to vinyl windows. They don’t rust, shrink or fade but they are more expensive than vinyl and are not efficient as insulators.
Fiberglass windows are the most durable and the best insulators. They can also be re-painted and are sound resistant. They are however the most expensive option.
A comment on brands… in my research for this blog Anderson and Pella windows were in the top two of every rating site I looked at with Milgard always making the top five.