Updated May 2021
Buying new windows can be a tough decision.
That’s because there are so many things you need to consider in ensuring you choose the right products for your home.
If you are looking at upgrading your windows, why not do it in 2021?
This window buying guide will help you understand everything you need to know about the window buying experience.
A window frame provides the window’s structural support.
Frames come in a variety of materials including wood, aluminum, composite and fiberglass, with each type offering a number of benefits.
Vinyl is one of the most popular and cost-effective modern frame options available in the industry. Why? Unlike wood, vinyl frames (also referred to as vinyl windows) and doors never rot or require endless repainting; and unlike aluminum, vinyl frames and doors will never pit or flake.
Vinyl comes in a variety of colours and styles, allowing you to coordinate your selection with your interior décor and exterior trim. They are also low-maintenance because they retain their vibrancy, which means they do not fade over time. Finally, vinyl frames will not peel, crack, bend or warp. Vinyl windows also provide solid insulation for your home, which helps you save on your energy bills.
Different window types
There are a wide variety of window style options to choose from. Here are basic descriptions of nine of the most popular types (for more information, click on each window type link below):
These user-friendly windows open outwards with the sash (the moveable part of the window) hinged to one side of the window frame. Case windows can be installed to open either left or right. They provide a very tight seal to protect from heat loss, air leakage, moisture and air infiltration.
Similar to casement windows, awning windows are hinged on one side, except they are always hinged at the top of the window frame. Awning windows swing outward, allowing for air circulation while keeping out rain and debris. Because they are typically a smaller size, awning windows are well-suited for basements.
Single hung windows
Single hung vinyl windows consist of two window sashes, where the top sash is fixed in place and the bottom sash slides up and down with minimal effort. These windows are ideal for taller, narrower spaces, making great use of wall space by letting in natural light to brighten a room.
Double hung windows
A double hung window is similar to a single hung window except it has two sashes, both of which can slide up and down. This makes them easy to clean while maintaining their user-friendly function. Double hung windows allow for more air circulation than single hung windows because they open from both the top and bottom.
Slider windows can have one or two movable window sashes that slide horizontally on a track. This provides a wider, more natural outdoor view than a single hung window, and lets in more natural light. Like all types of sliding windows, when well-maintained they can be installed in harder-to-reach places because they are easy to operate with a gentle motion.
A picture window is set simply into a wall. Because they don’t open, picture windows are extremely energy-efficient and secure. They keep out the elements completely and only let in the light. They are also very easy to customize because they have no moving parts; therefore, these windows can be installed in different shapes and styles.
A traditional bay window consists of three window panels that extend outwards on an outside wall. A classic canted bay window has a flat front panel and two angled panels on the left and right sides. Bay windows can be built with any number of window combinations, including single hung or double hung. Bay windows create bright, beautiful alcoves that can provide a cozy reading alcove, or a decorative green space in your home.
Similar to a bay window, a bow window extends outwards from a house while incorporating up to four or five panels. Having more panels creates a rounder, semi-circular look, with softer angles than a bay window.
Want something a little different than the usual? You may decide to have your windows custom-built. Custom windows can be cut into custom shapes such as circular windows, hexagons and octagons and can be built to your specific size and colour requirements. (Did you know? At Weaver Exterior Remodeling, we custom-build all of our windows.)
Other features to consider
You can further customize the look and feel of your windows with the following features:
Grilles are lines that run horizontally and vertically over or through the glass panes. They can be installed to be removable, making window cleaning easier for you. Grilles can also be attached to both sides of the glass, giving the interior and exterior of your home an element of texture.
Handles and window locks
For windows that open, you may wish to add handles and/or window locks. Both come in a variety of colours and designs, allowing you to coordinate your selection with your chosen shade of frame and type of window.
Handles are manufactured so they can easily open and close windows without getting tangled in your window blinds.
Meanwhile, locks can line up exactly with window sashes, limiting air infiltration and adding an extra layer of security to your home.
Depending on the window style you select, you may also have a range of glass options to choose from, including:
Tinted glass provides daytime privacy, preventing people from seeing into your home from the outside. It controls the sun’s glare while reflecting it back outwards to reduce visibility. Meanwhile, natural light easily passes through the glass, brightening your space while giving the exterior a modern look. Tints can be made available in a range of colours including gray and bronze.
Obscure or privacy glass
Obscure or privacy glass provides privacy no matter the time of day, blurring the image behind the window while also letting in natural light. As a result, this type of glass is ideal for bathroom or basement windows.
Privacy glass is available in multiple finishes including frosted, satin (which provides a smooth, frosted appearance), and glue chip (which provides a fern-like, frosted pattern).
There are so many benefits to purchasing energy-efficient windows for your home, including (but not limited to) more comfortable temperatures and savings on your energy bills.
If you are looking for energy-efficient windows, look for products that include the following:
ENERGY STAR® symbol
If you see a product, home, building or facility with the ENERGY STAR® symbol, that means it is certified as meeting or exceeding energy efficiency specifications through strict guidelines set by the Canadian government.
U-Factor (also called U-Value)
U-Factor is the rating given to a window based on how much heat loss it allows. The lower the U-Factor, the slower the transfer of heat from a warm area to a cold area. This is the inverse of an R-value, which is commonly used with other construction materials to measure the insulation value. These values do not consider any heat that is gained from the sun through the window glass.
This type of glass has a microscopically thin, transparent coating that reflects long-wave infrared energy (or heat). Some low-e’s also reflect significant amounts of short-wave solar infrared energy. When the interior heat energy tries to escape to the colder outside during the winter, the low-e coating reflects the heat back to the inside, reducing the radiant heat loss through the glass.
Double- and triple-glazing
Unlike standard single pane windows, double- and triple-glazed windows have an extra pane (or two) of glass for insulated protection, preventing condensation and heat loss.
Argon/krypton gas in-fill
These gasses are sealed between panes of glass to reduce thermal heat transfer. Odourless and colourless, argon and krypton are dense enough that they move slowly between the panes of glass and mitigate heat loss and heat gain. Click here to learn more about the science and cost-savings behind energy-efficient windows.
What factors go into the cost of windows?
As you can imagine, there are many different factors that help determine the cost of your replacement windows.
Among those factors, there is the type of window you choose, as well as its size.
Energy-efficient windows may also cost more; however, you can be assured that investing in energy-efficient windows will save you money in the long run. In fact, according to ENERGY STAR, you can save as much as $538 USD per year by replacing your old windows with a double-pane clear glass window!
Plus, you may qualify for a rebate depending on the type of windows you buy (see below).
2021 window buying guide rebate program
If you decide to go the energy-efficient route, you may qualify for a rebate through the Enbridge Home Efficiency Rebate.
Under this program, you can receive $40 off each window, door or skylight replaced with an ENERGY STAR® climate Zone 2 or 3 qualified model. Click here to read the criteria for qualifying for a rebate.
The Enbridge Home Efficiency Rebate program provides a $5,000 incentive for completing at least two upgrade projects in your home. Even better: if you complete more than two upgrades, you may also qualify for a $250 bonus for each additional upgrade installed.
What to look for in a professional contractor
A window won’t operate properly if it’s not installed to perfection!
When you begin your search for a professional contractor, make an appointment for an in-home consultation and ask questions about the company’s history, experience, warranty and customer service. Having a sales consultant visit your home will also allow you to see examples of products and brands they use.
Windows are important for the comfort of your home and you want them to last many years, so don’t look for the bargain price with unqualified installers and unreputable service — instead, seek trusted professionals with quality products at fair market prices.
Click here to learn more about choosing the best window installation company.
Ready to get started?
At Weaver Exterior Remodeling, our skilled, certified professionals are the reason for our proven track record of success. We’ve been in business for 20 years and we stand by the quality of our products and provide exceptional customer service. Yes, we earned that nearly-5-star Google rating, and we’ve won awards too! Our pricing is honest and transparent, and our goal is to stay on time and on budget.
In fact, we believe in the quality of our products so much that we offer a Lifetime Warranty on our windows, no questions asked and at no additional charge. That means our customers can have peace of mind when purchasing windows from us, because we stand behind our products and know they will last for years to come.
Start 2021 off right with beautiful new windows from Weaver Exterior Remodeling! To get started, try our interactive quote tool for a free, no-obligation quote.
Want to learn more about window replacement? Check out these handy articles: