Replacement Window Buying Guide

These are the six most popular window styles.

Windows are instrumental in infusing our spaces with light, air, comfort, and warmth. Basking in the sunlight is an innate pleasure for humans and animals alike. Seeking warmth and light is hardwired in our DNA and the windows in our home provide this pivotal role. This guide will serve as your comprehensive resource for navigating the world of replacement windows in Louisville, KY with confidence and informed decision-making.

Types of Window Styles

Custom windows can be created in nearly any size or shape. However, the following six styles dominate most of the residential windows in homes today:

Double-Hung: This style opens from both the top and bottom, and is increasingly favored by homeowners today for increased airflow.

Single-Hung: This is a basic bottom-open window. The frame sits vertically, and opens from the bottom, while the upper sash is stationary.

● Casement: Rather than sliding open, casement windows swing out to the side or up. This allows independent opening and closing on each side.

● Sliding: Simply a horizontal version of the single-hung window, sliding from one side to the other.

● Bay: Features a central window flanked by two side windows, set into an angled frame. This style adds dimension to the exterior and increased space on the interior.

● Bow: Typically, this is a custom window similar to a bay window. Bows are fully curved rather than the simple angle of a bay window. They have a beautiful circular shape along the exterior of the home.

Window Materials

Your window frames are critical to structural integrity. Today's most reliable window frames are crafted from four primary materials:

Wood: A classic choice for historic homes or a modern farmhouse design. Wood brings a beautiful style and warm tones to the home.

Vinyl: This is the number one window material today. It is unbeatable in value, UV-resistant, and extremely durable.

Aluminum-Clad: Aluminum-clad windows combine a wood interior with a durable aluminum exterior. Aluminum clad offers the best in durability, resistance to weathering, and low maintenance.

Fiberglass: Boasts high strength and low maintenance but often comes at a higher cost than other frame types.

Understanding the distinctions between these materials aids in making informed choices for both windows and overall structural components.

Window Glass Types

Windows can incorporate various glass types, each designed for specific applications in the home:

Tinted Glass: Similar to tinted windows in your car, residential tinted glass reduces heat and light transmission into your home. This enhances privacy and energy efficiency.

Tempered Glass: This is a great option for home and furniture applications because of its durability. Tempered glass is four times stronger than regular glass and is heat resistant.

● Toughened Glass: This glass is similar to tempered glass, but is often used as a protective layer on larger glass projects. It's used to provide exceptional clarity.

● Stained Glass: If you're looking to merge art and function - stained glass checks all the boxes. The color and design options in stained glass are limitless, offering both beauty and increased privacy.

● Laminated Glass: Also known as safety glass, a laminated glass panel will remain in the frame even when broken. This is achieved by sealing multiple panes of glass together with a durable laminate layer in between. While any glass will let in some light, it's important to choose your glass type based on the needs of the space and the function of the room.

Windowpane Varieties

Windowpanes are the individual panels of glass within a window. When you are choosing windows for your home, you'll have three primary options:

Single-pane: A single piece of glass in the window frame.

Double-pane: Two glass panes separated by gas, the most common for residential use.

Triple-pane: Three glass panes separated by gas, suitable for colder climates.

Argon gas is often used in double-pane and triple-pane windows as a filler. This colorless, odorless, and non-toxic gas provides improved insulation to keep an even temperature in your home.

Parts of a Window

The window industry has its own lingo related to window parts and treatments. Understanding the basic parts of a window makes it easy to communicate your wishes with manufacturers and installers:

Glass/Glazing: The glass or glazing refers specifically to the type of glass within the window.

Sash: This is the area inside the window frame, containing parts like stiles, rails, and grids.

Rails: Rails are the horizontal parts of the window sash, located at the top and bottom.

Frame: The outermost area of the window, responsible for maintaining overall structural stability.

Casement: Decorative molding around a window, covering the frame at the wall.

Signs You May Need Window Repair

Windows are constantly exposed to the elements. They may suffer from wear and tear after years of use. Recognizing these signs of potential issues can prompt timely repairs:

Rotten Window Frame: Discoloration, crumbling wood, or soft spots signal rot. This is typically only found in older, neglected, or damaged homes. If untreated, rot can spread throughout the home and cause structural issues.

Rotting Drip Cap: A damaged or rotting drip cap compromises the waterproof nature of windows. If you have a damaged drip cap, you're exposing your home to water damage.

● Peeling Paint: Beyond aesthetic concerns, chipping paint increases the risk of wood rot. Sanding and repainting of wood windows is important for regular maintenance.

● Worn Caulking: Repairing caulking prevents drafts, bugs, and humidity from infiltrating the home.

Water Leakage: Moisture inside the home can lead to mold, cracks, and structural issues if left untreated.

Foggy Window: If you see fog in between the window panes, this usually indicates unsealed windows. While this won't necessarily damage your home, it can cause significantly increased HVAC usage and higher energy costs.

● Difficulty opening or closing: If your windows aren't sliding open and closed easily, it's worth getting them fixed before the problem gets worse. This can be due to warping, gaps, cracks, or faulty hardware.

● Cracks: Any cracked glass can be an easy fix that protects your home and maintains the integrity of your windows. Addressing these issues promptly can extend the life of the window without necessitating a full replacement.

Signs You Need Replacement Windows

Most subtle wear and tear can be handled with window repair services. However, some circumstances necessitate a window replacement. If you notice these signs, it might be time to update one or more windows in your home:

Audible Outside Sound: New windows provide better insulation against external noise.

Detectable Breeze: Poor installation or faulty seals can lead to temperature fluctuations that wear on your HVAC system. This makes it difficult to stay comfortable inside your home.

● Rotten and Damaged Frames: Unprotected wooden frames are susceptible to rot. If rot is present, the best option is to go for replacement windows to prevent further damage.

High Energy Bills: Energy-efficient windows reduce monthly utility costs and pay for themselves over and over again.

● Decaying Frames: Cracks, warping, or decay of the window frame is a major problem. To protect the window and the structure, damage to the window frame should not be neglected.

Benefits of New Windows

The advantages of new windows extend far beyond aesthetics. New windows can provide several benefits for your home, your family, and your wallet.

Easy Maintenance: New windows require minimal upkeep and are easier to clean.

● Improved Soundproofing: Modern windows insulate better, minimizing drafts, temperature fluctuations, and noise.

Increased Home Value: Most homeowners recoup up to 80 percent return on their window investment and sell their home quicker than homes with older windows.

Enhanced Security and Safety: Well-functioning windows contribute to a safe living environment.

● Reduced Dust and Allergens: New windows can reduce allergens and dust collection.

● Enhanced Home Comfort: Enjoy a more comfortable living environment without cold drafts or excessive afternoon heat waves.

Lower Energy Bills: Energy-efficient windows reduce the need for heating and cooling, saving you money each month.

● UV Protection: A modern window protects your indoor furnishings from excessive UV rays, acting as a sunscreen for the home.

Moisture Prevention: Ensures effective moisture control to keep the humidity in your home lower throughout the year.

Cost of New Windows

The average cost of a new window is between $500-$1,500. Labor costs are typically between $100-$200 per hour. For an entire home of new windows, the overall cost of window replacement is typically several thousand dollars based on several factors:

● Brand: Established brands command higher prices.

● Quality: You get what you pay for. Higher quality products are subjected to rigorous testing which may elevate the cost.

● Material: The cost of raw materials fluctuates, but aluminum is typically the cheapest, while wood tends to be the most expensive.

● Dimensions: Larger windows incur higher costs due to increased materials and labor.

Installation Process

Engaging a qualified contractor for window installation is essential due to the meticulous nature of the process. A simple mismeasurement or accidental slip can seriously damage your home or your new windows. We always recommend using a local and reliable contractor to install your new windows.

● Finding Experienced Installers: Start by talking to trusted friends and family, and making a few calls. Ask about their past work and ask for references. Always be sure to verify their workers' compensation and liability insurance. Take your time and seek multiple estimates.

Measuring for Replacement: Your contractor will assist with precise measuring for your new windows. This ensures that the details within the casings, frames, and glass are accurate and accounted for.

Removing Old Windows: Once you're ready for installation - the first step is to mark and remove the old windows, including the weather stripping, sash weights, springs, stops, and sealants.

Trimming and Weatherproofing: All new windows must be properly installed, insulated, sealed, and trimmed to ensure proper function.

● Final Check: The last step is to clean the window opening, check to be sure the work is level, and secure everything in place.

Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Replacement Windows

By avoiding these common mistakes, homeowners can make well-informed decisions when selecting and installing replacement windows.

1. Not Asking Enough Questions: This is your home and your investment. Do your research and ask questions. Seek clarity on anything you don't understand regarding the materials, style, installation, duration, or the replacement process.

2. Ignoring Style and Design: Seriously consider all of your options beyond replicating existing styles. Don't make your decision based only on what your old windows used to look like. This is a huge opportunity to make a big difference in your home, consider all options, and utilize the help of an interior designer if necessary.

3. Choosing Based Solely on Price: While we don't want to make a quick style decision, we also don't want to just choose the cheapest option. Balance budget constraints with long-term benefits to make the best choice.

4. Neglecting Security and Functionality: Ensure your chosen windows are suitable for your area and provide the security and functions that are important to you.

5. Overlooking Maintenance: Different windows require varying levels of upkeep. Don't select a wooden window if you're not prepared with a maintenance plan. You should understand and be prepared to care for your new investment.

6. DIY Replacement: Professional installation is crucial. Don't try to DIY your way through a window replacement. You could end up causing serious damage to your home.

7. Neglecting Climate Considerations: Certain windows do better in cold, wind, heat, or moist environments. Be sure to research the options and choose materials suitable for your region.

8. Lack of Education: Always empower yourself to make informed purchase decisions. You can research on your own, talk to trusted friends, or discuss your concerns with contractors to ensure you're learning along the way and confident in your knowledge.

9. Hiring the Wrong Contractor: Invest your time in finding a trustworthy and informative contractor. Choose someone you trust and that has a reliable work history in your area.

10. Ignoring Energy Efficiency: Overlooking the energy efficiency of windows can result in higher utility bills. Opt for windows with appropriate insulation and consider factors like low-E coatings and double or triple-pane glass to enhance energy efficiency.

FAQ about Windows

How often should my home windows be replaced?

Reliable windows will last several decades. However, anytime you notice signs of wear and tear, decreased energy efficiency, increased bugs, or window functionality issues, it's a good idea to consider a repair or replacement.

Regular inspections and promptly addressing problems can help extend your windows' lifespan. If you're unsure, consulting with a professional can guide whether replacement is necessary.

Do I have to replace all of my windows at the same time?

No, you don't necessarily have to replace all of your windows at the same time.

The decision to replace windows can depend on various factors, and individual circumstances may vary. We can help you decide what's best for your budget, home, climate, and efficiency.

Why do some windows have two or three panes of glass?

The primary reasons for using multiple panes in a window are energy efficiency, insulation, and soundproofing.

What's the difference between new construction and replacement windows?

The window product is the same. The primary difference between new construction windows and replacement windows lies in the installation process.

If you're building a new home or undertaking a major renovation with exposed framing, new construction windows are likely the appropriate choice. If you're looking to upgrade existing windows without major structural changes, replacement windows are a more suitable option.

Enjoy Reliable and Beautiful Windows

Beyond their practical functions, windows expand the perceived size of a room, breathe life into a dull space, and serve as a major lighting source.

From understanding the various window types and materials to exploring unseen benefits, we aim to empower you with the knowledge needed to make choices that align with your window needs.

If you're considering replacement windows or adding new windows to your home, give us a call. Our local team can walk you through every step of the process of crafting beautiful windows that connect your indoor space with the vibrant outside world.


About Silverwood:

Silverwood works with architects, custom home builders, and their clients to create the perfect solution for custom fitted cabinetry, windows and doors, and specialty architectural items for the interior and exterior.

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