How To Choose Replacement Windows

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Today’s guest post is by Kayla Albert  from CalFinder, a home improvement estimate and contractor resource company who among other things are the experts in window replacement ideas, and installations.

Kayla is CalFinder’s own window replacement expert.  In this post, Kayla talks about what to ask when you feel that your windows need to be replaced, and if so what are the essential factors in getting your money’s worth when you’re on a tight budget.


I have provided all the best advice on home upgrades and energy efficiency trends at CalFinder, but for today I’d like to break down the fun (but confusing!) job of shopping for new windows.

Window replacement is a huge commitment. You invest quite a bit of money in those windows, hoping to gain it back through lower energy bills and overall increase in your home’s value.

But how do you know when window upgrades are necessary? Do energy efficiency, increased safety and aesthetic appeal trump the dollars and cents of it all? Read on to learn if new windows are best for your home, and what you should be looking for when you’re in the market.

How do I know if I need a window replacement?

There are four main reasons homeowners should consider replacing their existing windows:

  1. Performance
  2. Energy efficiency
  3. Maintenance
  4. Aesthetic appeal.

Here are a few questions to ask when it comes to determining the state of your own windows.

  • Do your windows open properly on a regular basis, or do they routinely “stick?”
  • Do you notice drafts coming in through the edges of your windows?
  • Do you have to scrape, paint and caulk your windows regularly?
  • If you’re in the market to sell your home, do your windows look worn and ragged from the street view?

These are all deal-breaker questions. If you answered yes to one or more, you should certainly take a look into your window replacement options.

What new window features are absolutely necessary?

When it comes to finding the perfect fit for your home and budget, there are key product elements whose quality shouldn’t be compromised—no matter how much a cheaper model can save you. Here are just a few:

  1. Hardware. The cheaper the hardware, the quicker your window will break, and the easier it is for intruders to access your home.
  2. The Frame. Glass may be relatively inexpensive to replace, but a poorly constructed frame is a much harder problem to contend with. Consider using an aluminum frame—it’s sturdy, but will also fit nicely into your budget.
  3. Double-Pane Glass. Yes, it may be tempting to use the most inexpensive glass possible, but your high heating and cooling costs will cancel out those savings within a few months. Choose the most insulated glass you can afford, preferably double-pane or better. Not only will you be more comfortable, but you won’t be looking to replace it a few years down the road.

What about the extras?

Instead of cutting corners in the important areas and regretting it later, consider forgoing the added “extras” instead. These include bonus energy-saving features like krypton gas fills or tilted panels for easy cleaning. Each custom feature you add to your windows will bring an added cost—and a larger bill in the end.

Tackling that home remodeling job may be stressful, but replacing your windows doesn’t have to be. Pay attention to what you need—and what you don’t. From there it’s all smooth sailing.


Thanks, Kayla!

For more tips about remodelling your home, be sure and visit the CalFinder home remodelling blog.  Also, you can get real-time updates by following CalFinder on Twitter.



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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.