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January 31, 2014

Shedding light on replacement windows

Windows can bring new life to existing homes by letting in fresh air, flooding rooms with natural light and opening up beautiful views. They also come in all shapes, sizes and materials. Important considerations for selecting the right window are type, material, style, climate and budget.

Type

A pocket window is perfect in situations where the home’s existing window frame and surrounding wall are in good condition, but the sash is in need of improvement. Installing a complete replacement window is a good choice for projects involving more substantial renovation.

Material

The most common materials used for windows are vinyl, wood, clad-wood and aluminum. Your choice depends on what factors are most important to you.

■ Vinyl: A strong PVC material that is used for its durability, energy efficiency and ability to stand up to the elements. This material resists fading and won’t flake, peel or rot.

■ Wood: Wood comes from trees with a range of characteristics, such as grain, color and sap content. Cladding is a strong layer of metal over the wood, providing extra protection and low maintenance benefits with no exterior painting required. Look for windows, like the JELD-WEN(r) W-2500 clad-wood windows, that combine the beauty of real wood with high-tech energy efficiency.

■ Aluminum: A lightweight and strong material that is a cost effective alternative to wood. This material is corrosion-resistant and performs well in most climates.

Style

Awning, bay, bow, casement, double-hung, fixed, garden, single-hung, sliding and tilt and turn - windows are available in many shapes, sizes and combination units.

Budget

When it comes to budget, it’s important to factor in long term value beyond the initial purchase price. Energy efficiency and a longer warranty can all help save maintenance and replacement costs over time. Resale value is also a key consideration - beautiful, more efficient windows are a big selling feature.

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