Regardless of the reason for which one is considering replacement windows in MN, the addition of such new windows to any dwelling is sure to increase the property’s value, as well as add beauty and charm to the home. When completing a project involving window replacement Minnesota customers must give thought to several important aspects. These include the of style window that will best suit the home and the material from which the unit is made. Many homeowners feel overwhelmed when faced with the selection process, but the following information will make this task a bit less daunting.
A Wide Variety of Styles
Casement windows are an enduring option that have remained popular among homeowners since the 1800s. Such windows are constructed with a hinged frame that typically opens outward. The panels can be operated with a crank or a latch, but the former is more common. Such windows are usually installed as single units, and offer a wide view and a generous amount of light. They are ideal for areas where space is limited, such as over a kitchen sink.
Single Hung and Double Hung Units - Both single hung and double hung window models are second only to casements regarding popularity and ease of use. Single hung units feature one sash above the other, which allows the bottom pane to slide upward when one wishes to open the window.
Double hung units feature two sashes, which work independently of each other. The top window can be lowered when a breeze is desired from higher up, or the lower pane can be slid toward the top of the frame if one wishes to get air from the bottom portion of the unit. They offer superior ventilation and are commonly seen in residential dwellings. New models now offer a stationary bottom pane for those who have safety concerns due to the presence of young children in the home.
Bow and Bay Windows - Bay windows offer both practical and decorative features. A bay window unit generally boasts a large stationary center panel with two smaller panels on each side. The small panels are usually positioned at 30 to 90 degree angles to the wall, depending on the structure of the home and the property owner’s individual preferences.
Bow windows are similar to the aforementioned bay models, with the main difference being the fact that bow units consist of one panel that curves out from the home to form a crescent shape. Unlike bay windows, they do not consist of separate panels. Both units, however, are attractive and allow generous amounts of light to enter the home.
Picture Windows - Picture windows are another option that homeowners should consider if their goal is to bring light into the dwelling. Such units also offer an unobstructed view of the outdoors, which is one of their nicest features. However, windows of this type are stationary and cannot be opened to the outside. Although there are many window styles available, most fall into one of the previously mentioned categories.
Choosing the Appropriate Material
Most homeowners give considerable thought to the style of window they prefer and are usually quite definitive about this aspect, but many consumers become somewhat bewildered when the time comes to choose a frame. However, this is an important factor, as the window’s frame will impact not only the appearance of the home, but also the energy efficiency of the overall unit. There are essentially four choices regarding materials for replacement windows, which are aluminum, fiberglass, wood or vinyl. Below are the pros and cons associated with each choice.
Vinyl - Vinyl replacement windows are arguably the most popular among all the possible options. This is because they are inexpensive, energy efficient and easy to maintain. Vinyl conducts heat and cold very slowly, which means that windows made from this material will help one’s home stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Although they are not quite as sturdy as wood or aluminum, they are the most cost-effective of the four options.
Wood - Even though they are not as popular as they have been in the past, wood replacement windows are still a good choice for certain homes. They do not boast the ease of maintenance or inexpensive price associated with their vinyl counterparts, but they add a beautiful touch to a residential dwelling. It is important, however, for homeowners to remember that such windows must be properly maintained if they are to keep their attractive appearance. Similar to vinyl, wood is a good insulator, and therefore wooden frames are energy efficient.
Fiberglass - The newest option on today’s replacement window market is fiberglass. Unavailable until the early 1990s, units of this type have become quite popular due to their energy efficiency and strength. Although not quite as sturdy as aluminum, they are more durable than vinyl and offer the same energy efficiency. They are also virtually maintenance free. Fiberglass units typically cost more than those made from vinyl, but are less expensive than wood models.
Aluminum - While aluminum is rarely seen in residential homes, some individuals still wish to consider this option. None of the aforementioned materials can boast aluminum’s durability and strength, but unfortunately it is a poor insulator. One alternative for those who prefer the ease of maintenance and energy efficiency of vinyl, but desire the longevity of aluminum, is a hybrid model in which the inner frame is made from aluminum and the exterior clad with vinyl.
It is also important for homeowners to consider additional aspects when shopping for replacement windows. These include the number of panes each unit features and whether or not the glass is coated with low-E, the latter of which is a surface coating that increases the window’s energy effectiveness throughout the year. Standard replacement windows feature two panes; however, triple pane models are preferred by certain homeowners who live in harsh climates. It is also wise to select models that include argon gas insulation. Argon gas is a colorless, odorless substance that is blown between the panes to offer additional insulation.
A window unit’s overall energy efficiency is referred to as its U-value or R-value. Windows that are considered highly energy efficient typically have a U-value or R-value of 2-3 or .40, respectively. It is wise for homeowners to familiarize themselves with these numbers, as certain manufacturers base their rating on U-value while others rate their windows with the R-value scale.
Each consumer must decide which window model best suits his or her home, but those who consider all of these facts will likely find the selection process a bit less daunting. When embarking upon projects requiring window replacement Minneapolis homeowners will discover that the perfect models exist to suit virtually any budget or lifestyle.