29 Oct Replacement Window Buying Guide
Replacing old windows can enhance the look of your home and make it quieter and less drafty. Many double-hung windows currently on the market are now easier to clean and maintain than older windows with combination screens and storm windows.
Use our replacement window buying guide to learn which materials, types, and features are most important to consider. We also provide unbiased ratings to help you choose.
If you have already replaced all the Windows in the house and are planning to buy household products, we recommend reading all reviews from New Real Review team. They have been doing this for couple years, the chief expert Alex Anderson will always help you choose the best product at the lowest price.
How to Choose Replacement Windows
How We Test
To find out which windows are best at keeping your home comfortable and dry, we tested double-hung windows for resistance to wind and rain. (We don’t test single-hung windows because they’re less common.) Working with an outside lab, we subjected the windows to heavy, wind-driven rain, and winds of 25 and 50 mph at outdoor temperatures of 0°F and 70°F. We found significant differences among brands.
Given the high cost of replacing windows, the more you know, the more informed a choice you can make. Contractors often have their preferred brands, but don’t rely on a contractor to choose your windows for you.
Ways to Save
If your existing frames and sills are still sound and square, you’ll save money on materials and labor by using replacement units. They’re also known as “pocket replacements” and fit into your existing frames. If your frames are too old and deteriorated, you’ll need full replacement windows. These include the frame, sill, jambs, and usually what’s known as a nailing flange, which attaches the window to the outside wall around the opening.
Federal tax credits for Energy Star certified windows expired at the end of the 2016 tax year. But some utilities, as well as city and state programs, offer rebates or incentives if you buy Energy Star windows.
To be clear, though, saving money on your energy bill is not the primary reason to replace your windows. It could take decades to recoup the $8,000 to $24,000 you’ll spend on new windows and installation.
That said, Energy Star certified windows can lower your energy bill by an average of 12 percent. That’s about $27 to $111 per year for a 2,000-square-foot single-story home with storm windows or double-pane windows and $126 to $465 if your home has just single-pane windows, according to Energy Star.
Finding an Installer
Even the best windows won’t deliver the look or comfort you expect if they’re installed incorrectly. Many major window manufacturers train and certify installers for their specific brand of window. Using the same contractor for purchase and installation can minimize the chances of problems arising later. Get multiple bids and look online for certification from the American Window and Door Institute or Installation Masters. Any bid you receive should include specifics such as window brand and model, number of windows, size, and type, plus any add-on features. Installation details should be noted, and labor and material costs broken out separately.
Glass Housings: Window Materials
Wood and vinyl frames are popular. We also test composite windows that include some made of fiberglass or from a combination of wood and plastic materials. You may still find some all-aluminum windows, but their popularity has declined with the development of vinyl. Our tests find that the material doesn’t guarantee performance and neither does price. You’ll find both excellent and mediocre double-hung wood-frame and vinyl-frame windows. Here are the types of window materials to consider.
Replacement Window Brands
Andersen, Marvin, and Pella are the leading window brands. Many leading manufacturers in the window industry market multiple brands. Andersen and Marvin sell some lines only to authorized installers, and home centers such as Lowe’s and Home Depot sell multiple lines. Use these profiles to compare windows by brands.
Alside vinyl windows have several replacement and new construction lines including double-hung, casement, and bay windows. Alside windows are custom made to fit existing window openings. They are sold predominantly in the Eastern and Mid-Western parts of the country at independent home centers and also sold at Lowes.