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The Big Picture On Window Replacement

Do you have a "window emergency?" Are your windows rotting and impossible to open? Are your window sills sagging and falling off? Or, are you replacing your windows to give your house a fresh new look? Are you hoping to save money on your energy bills by buying windows that are energy efficient, perhaps even dual-paned?

If you are considering replacing the windows and sliding glass doors in your house, you can choose between five kinds of materials: wood, vinyl, steel, aluminum or composites such as fiberglass.

You might want to look at beauty and style, pricing, maintenance and other factors as you decide which materials to use for your new windows.

Vinyl is currently the most popular choice for replacement windows.

Price considerations

Price is an important consideration. Aluminum and vinyl windows are the least expensive. Fiberglass is the most expensive. Wood is much more expensive than vinyl, but not as expensive as fiberglass. Because of its high price, steel is usually used only in commercial buildings.

Another choice is wood with vinyl or metal covering, but this kind of replacement window is more expensive than plain wood.

Beauty and Style

The style of your new windows should complement the architecture of your house.

Vinyl windows usually come in only tan or white and cannot be painted a new color. However, because they are molded, they can be fashioned in hundreds of styles such as rounded casement or bay windows or multi-paned versions. You can choose from many different styles.

Wood and fiberglass can be painted in different colors.

Sound and Energy Efficiency

Aluminum like all metal heats up in summer and holds cold in winter. Aluminum windows do not keep noise levels down. Wood provides a little more insulation than metals, but is not as efficient as vinyl.
Vinyl windows provide energy efficiency and may save you money on your heating and air conditioning bills. Vinyl windows have hollow spaces in them. This "honeycomb" feature helps your windows resist water condensation and heat loss.
You can also choose other options that will help you regulate temperatures such as dual paned windows, tinting that lowers glare, and coatings that reduce ultraviolet rays. There should be argon gas between the two layers in a dual paned window. If the manufacturer used air instead of argon gas, you will get more condensation.
Both vinyl and fiberglass help keep sound levels down.

Wood windows do not provide good insulation or sound proofing. In wet climates they are more likely to warp, crack and rot.

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