New windows can be a good investment in your home, as they help keep the home insulated and cut down on drafts that are common with old, warped window frames. They can also be expensive, so it's good to understand your options before you choose; you don't want to buy the cheapest windows you see as they may not insulate your home so well, and you also want to invest in windows that are easy to care for and keep you comfortable. Note a few simple tips for choosing the right windows and window frames for your home.
1. Frame material
You might like the look of wood windows, but remember that wood will eventually warp, rot, or otherwise get damaged so that the frame will need repair or replacing. You may also need to repaint or put a new coat of sealant or stain on your wood window frames every year or every few years. Be sure you're prepared for this work and expense if you opt for wood frames.
Metal frames can be very sturdy, but they too might suffer dents and dings that need fixing. Vinyl or PVC frames are more durable and very lightweight; they can be the best choice for large windows that require a heavier frame that might not be supported by your home's building materials.
Glazing refers to the number of panes that are in a window frame, and getting double-glazed or even triple-glazed windows can be the best investment for areas with extremes in temperature. Extra panes can mean keeping out more cold air during winter and heat during summertime. Consider how much you might save on your energy bills throughout the year with added glazing and compare this to the cost of your new windows. You can look for ratings that tell you how well certain glazing options insulate your home and then invest in the right choice for your climate; choose double-glazed windows at least for those upper stories that always seem to get drafty or too hot throughout the year.
3. Ease of use and comfort
Don't underestimate how nice it is to have windows that tilt inwards so you can open them and clean the outside of the window from inside the house. Casement style windows open vertically from the middle so you can have both window panes completely open; this can be a good choice for a kitchen or anywhere that you need the most ventilation. Awning-style windows open at the top and hinge outward. These deflect rain, so if you live in the tropics or anywhere with lots of rainfall but like keeping your windows open, these can be the best choice.