Let’s say you go to the grocery store today with the intention of buying a 5 pound bag of sugar. Upon arriving at the sugar aisle at your favorite store, you see that there are three different brands of sugar available in five pound bags. How do you decide which bag of sugar to buy?
If you’re like me, there’s an easy answer…the least expensive one. You see, I consider sugar to be a commodity. In my eyes, sugar is sugar is sugar, and, as such, the cheapest one wins.
When it comes to replacement windows, many manufacturers and window contractors would have you believe all replacement windows are the same. This is especially true for, you guessed it, the ones offering new vinyl windows for some unbelievably low amount, all the while touting how great their window is by jumping up and down on it.
Turns out just like with sugar, there are many differences between vinyl replacement windows.
What Are the Differences in Replacement Windows
Cost will always be a concern, but most homeowners are looking for the best value. I’d define that as the point where cost and perceived quality meet. So, if you are asking,”What are the best replacement windows for the money?,” I believe there are eight critical areas for you to look at when determining what vinyl replacement window represents the best value for your home.
- Aesthetic Engineering—The biggest complaint from the 10’s of millions of homeowners that have purchased vinyl windows in the past is the fact that, as opposed to their existing wood or metal windows, they lost glass area. While it is an absolute fact that having the unmatched energy efficiency of a vinyl replacement window requires you to sacrifice some glass area, not all vinyl replacement windows are the same with regards to glass space.
- Frame Construction and Insulation—Three things to consider here…
- How are the frame and sash corners constructed?
- Are the frame pieces created specifically for the job they need to do?
- Are the frames insulated, beyond just air pockets?
- Sash structure and security—Approximately 30% of home breakins occur via the windows.Movable sashes need to be strong, secure and thermally efficient.
- Air Leakage—This is the most ignored part of the conversation when it comes to the differences in replacement windows, but it also may be the most important. The natural assumption is that a new vinyl replacement window will fix the drafty window issues that you have in your home. However, design and construction decisions made by manufacturers in hopes of saving them some money can cancel out any return on investment that you might expect from your new home window purchase.
- The Engine of Your Windows—Most homeowners tell Sunrise Window dealers that they only want to go through the process of purchasing replacement windows for their home one time. The hardware that makes your windows work needs to be engineered to last.
- Options—More and more homeowners are driven by appearance and style when purchasing home improvements. If you are only going to do this once, doesn’t it make sense to get everything that you want? The availability of the options that you want for you home can tell you a lot about the replacement window manufacturer that you are evaluating.
- The Glass System—This is critical, as glass represents, on average, about 85% of a window. The key thing to understand is that there are three elements that are part of the system. If any part is inferior, or missing, the whole system collapses.
- Warranty—While many warranties look the same, there are some easy ways to determine the differences. Like the other seven critical areas of concern when it comes to evaluating a quality replacement window, a bad warranty can ruin the gains that you had hoped to receive when purchasing your new windows.
Over the course of the next few visits, we’ll delve a little deeper into each one of these critical areas and give you practical information to help you determine which replacement window gives you the best overall value.
Sugar and replacement windows…interesting bedfellows. Ben Franklin could’ve been talking about either one when he said, ”The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”