If your windows have ceased to do what they are supposed to do (keep you warm and protect your home from rain, wind and storms), take a walk around your house and decide whether your windows need to go. Do your windows enhance your home? What about the noise level? Can you sit and relax in peace and calm? Can you feel drafts? Are they susceptible to moisture? Are you losing energy?
Replacing windows is not cheap, but you want to make sure you get the best possible bang for your buck. Nowadays you can buy windows everywhere, grocery chains, hardware stores, next perhaps 7/11 will install them. Buy so many cups of coffee, and you get a free window. Folks, retail stores are not contractors.
When shopping for new windows, and you should, you will find it to be an expensive purchase. Not only do you need to feel pleased with the product you have chosen, more importantly you need to make sure you are hiring an expert to install those windows correctly – the first time. Because we were hit pretty hard this winter, we have an abundance of storm chasers in our area who want your business, and many are nowhere close to being qualified to do the job.
First, let’s look at the age of home: if the original framing is square and sound, you may be able to install a new window in the original opening. However, if your windows were installed during the housing boom, you may have poorly constructed builder-grade windows that are already in need of replacement.
For uniformity, peace of mind and possible savings, it may be cheaper to replace all the windows at once. Ask your contractor: chances are they can point out wood rot, and show you exactly where your windows are failing. Always ask your contractor for advice on low E coatings which can reduce the fading effects of the sun, and well as the room temperature. There are so many kinds of windows, and a good contractor can help guide you through the process.
While you are considering window replacement, you might want to look at sun tunnels which provide natural light, and if the sun beats down through your skylights, I can attest to how replacing with those with low E coating will absolutely lower your energy costs as well as the comfort level.
Finally, make sure that you are in compliance with any homeowner association’s policy. It’s always a good idea to put your association at the top of your checklist on any exterior items you are considering.