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What Replacement Window is Best?

summary: with so many alternatives, by evaluating your needs and researching brands and ratings, the best replacement window is found.

With so many homeowner asking this question, the investment to replace older or inefficient windows must be put to good use. However the question of being 'best' is not a simple one. A host of factors are involved in attempting to arrive at the correct answer, so not so measurable. Much will depend on personal preference, or at least finding a way to standardize it, the functions the window will provide, durability and reliability and of course the pocketbook because replacing ranks as one of the few most expensive type projects that you can do. To start, know that many brands make it a practice to sell some of their better lines through authorized dealers. This includes the big three, Marvin, Anderson and Pella (with Pella having gone thru significant downsizing - though they still put out a quality window).
Important benefits and functions that windows provide, include:

Asthetics - how well the new windows blend with and enhance the architecture and furnishings. Already if there is stained trim, unfinished stain grain will likely be called for except for when all openings are to be done. Window shapes and styles are fairly standardized, unless larger or unusual shapes and spans are being sought. Though a sense of balance, proportion and symmetry should be provided. Arriving at this, does narrow down the search phase. To illustrate, some of the taller, single hung (only lower half slides) windows are bought from only select manufacturers. Same thing for larger cathedral and arch style windows. Clearly the case when looking for vinyl and fiberglass color-matches.

Efficiency - measured by the window industry in terms of U-factor, which measures the amount of heat loss, which also accounts for nearby airflow and glass emissivity (ability to transmit rays, namely infrared, with the bordering environment). Low-e glass being preferred. In 2010 Anderson earned Energy Star Award for efficiency. A main concern among consumers, look to each specific manufacturer for claims of savings savings resulting from lower energy bills.

Functionality - along with the right glass, moving windows panes such as double hung or casement must slide or crank smoothly for years. Too the glass panes must admit the right amount of light into the room and none too harsh, provide some degree of ultraviolet (UV) protection for fabrics, window treatments, carpet and furniture that will help prevent fading.

Durability - crucial to making your investment last. All else equal, fiberglass is proven the toughest outer material. Though note that overall reliability can act aside from durability. Both Pella and Anderson are brands that have earned reputations for durability (and particularly Anderson for service).

Reliability & Service - Paramount to the continued use of replacement windows are both replacement parts and high levels of customer service and satisfaction.

Most window manufacturers are happy to provide technical details, with some even providing samples or through their dealers. An opportunity to help gauge service levels even before purchase.

Replacement Window Manufacturers

Other Considerations:
Adaptability - Anderson conversion kits, going back to 1968, are made to fit existing Anderson windows. Other framed window sections, for casement or double hung, are singly replaceable only by some manufacturers. With a little planned foresight, then homeowner would merely pop in the replacement window, less any need to change out the entire jamb assembly.

Related :

Roof Costs & Estimates
Detailed cost issues by roof types.

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