Choosing Replacement Windows

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Windows Tell a Story

We spend a lot of time, and I mean a lot of time, evaluating homes for renovation. When we go through a home, one of the first items we see (naturally) is the windows. They tell a lot about a home. The condition of a window can give insights regarding other possible issues or the lack of issues. For example, when you see a ‘filmy’ look and it’s not dirt – it is likely the glazing. This means the glass and its insulating factors have aged and are no longer providing the best UV protection or helping manage interior and exterior temperatures.

What to Replace and When

In our business, choosing replacement windows is almost a foregone conclusion when we first evaluate a house.¬†Sometimes, we see rotted trim work and we are (then) evaluating for any possible water damage behind the siding or in the framing. Age is another important factor. If there are old single pane, wood frames or ones that still have rope and pulley mechanisms – we have to decide how to replace and not take away the character of the home.¬† But what if it is something you want to do? Replacing these windows with newer, efficient windows but keeping the wood finish is more expensive than a standard (new) window replacement. If it is a historical home, replacing these windows may have additional requirements per the town’s historical charter.

The timing of when to replace is much easier to decide. Aside from obvious defects like broken glass, an energy audit will give you the best answer. Part of the audit results will be information regarding the quality and efficiency of the windows. The government provides a good overview of how the audit process works as well as where to find a local contractor.

Determining the Cost of Replacement

As we walk through a home and review windows (aside from so many other areas and issues we find), we have to start adding up the cost of replacement. The good news for us, and for you, is that doing a replacement will increase the home’s appraised value. Exterior components are some of the few things a homeowner can invest in and expect a good return on the money.

But what how do you know what windows to choose? Which ones to replace? There are always specials showing up in the mail for window replacement programs. Before you jump at the dollar savings being presented – do some homework. Conduct an energy audit. Read. It may not sound fun, but I’ve heard horror stories of people buying into a deal only to find out that the windows are no longer manufactured. Or, worse, the windows were sub-part quality or were poorly installed.

If you want some more tips here’s a good read from HGTV.

If you have questions about how to evaluate a home (for investment or general improvements) give us a call. Happy to help.


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