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  • Writer's pictureOverWatch Inspector

What to know before buying windows

So, during my home inspections, I do receive quite a few questions about how much it costs to replace windows as well as what type of new windows should be installed. There are tons of options as far as size, materials, glass types, energy efficiency, and style.

So what are some of the benefits to new windows??

Some of the main benefits to installing new windows are:

Increased functionality, lowering heating and cooling costs, increasing property value, increasing curb appeal and noise reduction.

So here is a little breakdown:

Window Frame Materials (listed from least expensive to most expensive, generally speaking)

1) Vinyl and Aluminum

2) Composite and Cellular PVC

3) Wood

4) Fiberglass and Steel

Typically, the more expensive you go, the more durable the window frame will be - as long as they are properly maintained.

Glass Options - aka glazing (again, listed from least expensive to most expensive)

1) Single-pane

2) Double-pane

3) Triple-pane

4) Low-E

5) Laminated

6) Tempered

So, if you decide to spend more money on the actual window glazing, you can expect the durability and insulation properties to increase as well.

Style Options

Now the style options are just the personal preference of the homeowner. Such as single -hung, double- hung, or casement. If you are just wanting to upgrade windows, I would suggest using the same size and style of window so that modifications to the rough window opening DO NOT need to be made. If you are building a new home....then the world is your oyster.

Energy Performance

So there are two main factors which are used to determine a window's energy performance....they are the "U-Factor" and the "Solar Heat Gain Coefficient." Buying windows with the "Energy Star" labels ensures that the windows meet the energy efficiency guidelines set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency. Energy Star also provides recommendations on window energy performance ratings based on what region of the country you live in. See recommended ratings here:


Bottom line here is that I always recommend hiring a company that installs windows full time. Sure, you could you hire your brother's, friend's, old roommate for less money but more than likely you will end up paying more in the long run due to the poor installation. So, hire the professionals.

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