Replacing the windows in your home is a huge and often costly undertaking. Many homeowners find themselves overwhelmed by the many variables that go into window installation.
Better technology in windows can seem to spell out higher cost and greater complication. But homeowners need not fret. New window technology is there for your benefit. Understanding a few basics about what to look for in a window installation can be the key to turning a renovation nightmare into a breath of fresh air.
Is a Full Window Installation Needed?
Many homeowners in areas with extreme weather like Toronto, often find themselves disheartened by high energy costs. However, changing out your windows simply to reap the benefits of better energy bills may not be the best bet to save money in the long run.
High-tech windows can come with a higher price tag, and the savings on energy bills will take a long time to make up for an unnecessary window replacement.
Consider a new window installation only when necessary. When windows or frames have rotted or developed defects that let condensation in, for example. In some cases, replacing the entire window is not necessary and homeowners can save money by repairing or replacing only the areas that need it.
Consumers have become familiar with the concept that newer, higher cost materials generally mean better quality. However, this is not always the case, especially with windows.
Window frames come in many materials, but the main three are wood, vinyl and fiberglass.
The cost for a fiberglass double-hung window is generally 50-100% higher than the cost of a vinyl window. But according to Consumer Reports, fiberglass frames perform far below wood or vinyl windows in keeping out moisture.
Wood windows are the time-honoured material. Customers who expect to pay a bit more up front for their classic quality can also expect some hidden costs. They must be painted and repainted as they undergo regular wear and tear. They can also be purchased pre-painted or with an outer casing made of vinyl, adding a higher cost per window.
Vinyl windows, which come with the lowest price tag, actually need the least amount of maintenance and perform as well as wooden windows against wind and rain.
Does Energy Efficiency Pay Off?
Homeowners in need of a new window installation may be dreading the cost of energy efficient windows. Consumers in a four season climate like Toronto will be especially aware of this issue.
Energy efficient windows are designed to prevent leaks in the desired climate of your home. The most common types of energy efficient windows seen are multi-glazed and Low-Emissive. Multi-glazed windows consist of two or more panes with an insulating pocket of air or argon between them. Low-Emissive windows, commonly called Low-E, are treated with an invisible coating that reflects heat.
If it sounds like these extra measures will cost more money, it’s because they will. But again, homeowners need to weigh the long-term costs and benefits in window installation.
As long as replacements are definitely needed, market research suggests that though costs can be 10% to 20% higher on the outset, energy efficient windows will tend to pay off in the long run.
A Window is Only as Good as the Installation
The prices of windows and installations will vary greatly depending on the area. But finding a local, reputable installer is worth the extra legwork.
Don’t fall into the trap of picking an installer based solely on price. Great installers will be backed by a great reputation and body of work. Armed with a little bit of knowledge of what to look for in a window installation, you can shop around with confidence and make sure your investment falls into the best hands.