Material Matters: How To Choose The Right One For Your Home Replacement Windows

Are you looking to replace the windows in your home? Whether you need to replace one or all of your home windows, one of the most important decisions you may face is choosing the right materials as well as the perfect glass type. Replacement windows are available in a wide variety of materials, such as wood, vinyl and aluminum. To decide on the perfect material for your new replacement windows, you might want to consider aspects such as energy efficiency and maintenance, as well as the ability to paint them at a later time. Here are some of the most popular choices for materials:

Wood Replacement Windows

You will see wood windows in many of the older homes, as this was among the most popular material choice for residential homes built years ago. While many modern homes also have wood windows installed, they might not be the right choice for everyone, so it's best to weight the pros and cons before deciding. Here are a few of the advantages of wood:

  • It May Help Lower Energy Bills: The main advantage to installing wood windows is the degree of insulation it will offer. Wood windows are highly energy efficient. If you live in a cold and windy climate, wood may be worth considering, as this material may help prevent drafts, which may result in higher heating costs.
  • Wood Windows Are Versatile: You have the option of painting or staining your wood windows in the color of your choice. Whether you'd prefer a different look in six months or three years, you can change the appearance of your home's exterior by adding a fresh coat of paint or stain to the trim. This may not always be possible with other materials such as vinyl.

However, if you are a person who is unable to care for your windows regularly, wood may not be the ideal choice, as these do require routine maintenance. When exposed to harsh weather conditions or ultraviolet rays from the sun, wood windows may eventually peel, crack or even rot. To prevent this from occurring, you might need to apply stain and repaint them periodically.

Vinyl Replacement Windows

If you are looking for a less expensive option than wood, vinyl replacement windows may be the ideal solution, as they are widely available at many home improvement centers. What are some of the positive aspects of vinyl?

  • Vinyl Windows Are Cost Effective: As you shop around, you may notice that vinyl replacement windows offer some of the lowest prices around, especially compared to wood or many of the other materials. Choosing vinyl is cost effective when replacing several windows at once.
  • It Is Low Maintenance: Another major benefit to choosing vinyl windows is not having to routinely maintain them. All you will need to do is wash them with a mild cleaning solution and warm water. You will not need to stain or paint these windows, because they will not peel, crack or rot, as wood is likely to do.

The down side to vinyl replacement windows is that your choices may be limited. Color options are often only available in neutral shades. While it may be possible to paint over the vinyl trim to achieve a different look, it is not always an advisable option.

If you use chemical primers to prepare the windows before you paint them, you may damage the vinyl. Many manufacturers warn against painting the vinyl, and doing so may void your warranty.

Aluminum Replacement Windows

Less expensive than most wood replacement windows, yet slightly higher in cost than vinyl, you may prefer aluminum windows if you live in a particularly hot climate. Aluminum windows are more heat resistant than vinyl. Aluminum is also highly impact resistant, making them extremely durable. One drawback to aluminum windows is they are not as energy efficient as other materials.

Fiberglass Windows

While not as widely used as the other choices, this material is expected to gain popularity in the future. Statistics show that fiberglass for replacement and remodeling account for 2.6 percent of the market share. Although fiberglass windows are typically more expensive than vinyl and wood, they are extremely easy to care for.

Fiberglass replacement windows are versatile, as you may paint them if you wish. This material is quite durable as well and will provide a fair amount of insulation. If you require a high degree of insulation, choose fiberglass windows made with a foam-filled core. Other choices in window materials may be available as well. You might want to schedule an consultation with an expert or dealer to learn more. The experts might also advise you on the installation process.