Buyer’s Guide to Materials and Styles for Window Replacement

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Windows play a very important role in the overall look of any home. Whether it is new construction, or you are looking for window replacement, windows play an essential role in homes.

When you are deciding on the new windows for your home, there are a lot of considerations. Basic operating styles, frame materials, and glazing options are the key elements to look for. There is a wide range of window replacement options and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Deciding on the window style which will work best for your home is very crucial. Now to make this task simpler for you, we have devised a guide of different window materials and styles which will clear your mind and help you to decide on the best windows for your home.

1. Window Frames

There are a number of different materials used for window frames like vinyl, wood, aluminum, composite, and fiberglass.

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Vinyl frames are the most economical and affordable option for window replacement. Due to honeycomb chambers, vinyl frames are highly energy-efficient. They can be built to fit any size and very easy to maintain. They don’t require repainting like wood.


Wood frames are still considered as the top choice by many homeowners. These frames are strong, beautiful, and energy efficient. The only drawback is maintenance. You have to repaint them periodically to keep them fresh and protected.


Aluminum frames are another cost-effective and easy-to-maintain option for your windows. However, due to their metal frame, they conduct heat easily. Their U-Value is high as compared to wood and vinyl frames.

Composite and Fiberglass Frames

Both window frames are the newest option. They are strong, energy efficient, and maintenance-free as compared to vinyl. Their price is between the vinyl and wood frames which make them a very affordable option.

2. Energy Efficiency

Good quality windows can save you money. Less energy-efficient windows make your energy bills in Summers and Winters to rise. That’s why energy-efficiency has become a key factor in the selection of the windows. Modern day, double glazed window replacements can reduce your annual energy costs from $800 to $1000. Modern windows have Low-E coatings and inert gases between the window panes which reduces the heat loss. These coatings increase the cost value of the windows but it has great benefits in the future.

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3. U-Value and SHGC

National Fenestration Rating Council has made a rating system to gauge the efficiency of a window. A label on every window will have the U-value and SHGC which indicates how much heat it will let in and its visible light transmittance. So, when you are going to choose window replacement for your home, opt for the units that have low U-value and low SHGC(solar heat gain coefficient).

4. Structural Certification

Americal Architectural Manufacturer Association in collaboration with the National Wood Window and Door Association has developed a program which ensures that wood, vinyl, aluminum, and other window replacements meet the minimum structural standards. They put windows through different tests and then grant a certification sticker. When buying a window unit for your home, check for these certifications and other warranties as it will help you a lot in the future.

5. Different Window Styles

It is very crucial to choose a window style that goes well with the rest of your home. Any mistake can ruin the overall look of your home and it will have a bad impact on the overall value of your home. Here we will discuss some of the most common window styles available in the market.

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Single Hung Windows

Single hung windows are simple to use and commonly found in most of the homes. In a single hung window, the upper sash remains fixed while the lower sash is moveable. The average cost for a single hung window ranges from $170 to $360 per window. Cost of the window frame and the labor costs vary in different areas.

Double Hung Windows

The double hung window is similar to the single hung window. The only difference is that it’s both upper and lower sashes can move. It is also a common type of window which is economical and easy to maintain. They cost $300 to $800 for each unit.

Awning Windows

Awning windows operate with mechanical cranks that open and close them. They are ideal for the areas with a lot of rains as they create a water-resistant awning when they are open. They cost $420 to $800 for each unit.

Bay Windows

Bay windows are a unit that extends outward from the wall surface. They have a more-or-less square shape and can become a visual centerpiece. Their average costs range from $1100 to $3550 for each unit.

Casement Windows

Casement windows open horizontally on hinges mounted on one side at the top and bottom. One side of the window remains fixed while the other side opens like a door. They are very common windows found in most of the homes. Their average cost ranges from $300 to $750 for each unit.

Picture Windows

Picture windows are the fixed windows that do not open. They are ideal for the areas where the airflow is not important. They occupy the center portion of a wall and provide broad views and ample sunlight. Their cost ranges from $400 to $800 for each unit.

Sliding Windows

Sliding windows consist of two window panels that can slide horizontally along the top and bottom tracks. There is no complicated mechanism involved and they are economical and durable. Their cost ranges from $400 to $1200 for each unit.

Storm Windows

Storm windows are installed in the same frame as your current windows. They add another layer of blocking out the heat loss. Their cost ranges from $200 to $400 for each unit.

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Investing in quality windows for your home is a worthwhile investment and it has long term benefits. So, follow these steps and choose the windows that can transform your home, save energy, and provide years of services.

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