Window Wise: How to Choose What’s Best for Your Home

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Whether you’re replacing old windows in your existing home or planning which windows you’ll want in a new construction, there are a few important points to consider when picking out the windows in your kb home. Here are a few bits of information to help you make your choice

 

Frame Material

While windows themselves are almost always glass, the window frames can be made of one of several options. Each material has a specific set of uses and pros and cons that will make it a good or bad option for your home.

  • Vinyl: vinyl windows are inexpensive, but that doesn’t mean they are cheap. Vinyl windows can be a very cost effective option that provides excellent insulation against wind and water. Color choices are limited in vinyl.
  • Wood: wood still has the highest insulation value of all the window frame options available. This option also gives you the greatest opportunity for color variation. It does require more upkeep and maintenance.
  • Aluminum: Aluminum isn’t as insulative as wood or vinyl, but it is strong enough to meet hurricane guidelines along the coast. Aluminum is also a good option where rain and humidity are a factor.
  • Composite: If you want the look and feel of wood, without the maintenance, composite frames are an excellent option for you. Made from wood scraps and recycled plastic, these eco-friendly window options marry the insulation of wood with the ease of vinyl.
  • Wood-clad: Wood-clad frames have a wood interior, offering excellent insulations, and a vinyl or aluminum covering, which offers easy maintenance. These windows can be susceptible to water intrusion which leads to rotting.
  • Fiberglass: Fiberglass frames are the most expensive on the market, but with good reason. The fiberglass has excellent insulation value, is paintable, is basically maintenance free, and are the strongest frame on the market today.

 

Glass Options

All glass is not created equal and you have many options for your windows that can increase their efficiency and insulative value in your home, which equals dollars saved on your electrical bill. Here are a few terms to be familiar with when choosing your window glass.

  • Argon-filled: argon gas is denser than air and in a double or triple paned window can increase the R-value of your windows, decrease condensation, and block ultraviolet rays.
  • Low-e: Low-e glass has been coated with a film that allows the greatest amount of visible light through while minimizing ultraviolet and infrared light rays. This helps to preserve draperies, flooring, pictures, and anything that can degrade or fade through sun exposure.
  • Double-paned: double-paned windows are exactly what they sound like, two panes of glass in one frame. The panes are separated by a small space and are typically filled with argon gas.
  • Triple-paned: just like double-paned windows, except with three panes of glass. This option can cost quite a bit more, and may or may not increase your insulation value.
  • U-value: U-value measures how resistant to heat loss a window unit is. The lower the number the better the U-value.
  • Solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC): SHGC measures how much heat comes into a home through the window glass. Again, a lower number is better.

 

Style and Installation

After you’ve chosen your frames and glass, you should determine the style you like and how to install them. Professional installation will ensure that your windows will perform in the way you want them to, which can affect their efficiency. As far as style goes, there are so many possibilities open to today. Homeowners have more options than they ever have to fill their home with beautiful windows. Small or large panes, casement or double-hung, or picture windows, all these options should be considered before you make your final purchase.

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