What you need to know before you start window shopping. Find out what questions you should be asking before you begin.
You’ll have a hard time finding a project that brings as many benefits – and stretches your investment dollar farther – than new windows. Here are some of the benefits you’ll start enjoying from day one:
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Windows play an important role in framing the moments that matter to you most, making every day a little brighter and more comfortable. With a wide variety of window styles available, you can choose the right one for your home. As you start shopping, consider these five things to help you focus your search:
If you've started the process of shopping for windows, you've probably run into a lot of questions. How important is energy efficiency? Which window is best for my home – casement or double-hung? (Or something else?) What do the numbers on the label mean? And so on and on ... and on.
One of the most important questions to consider as you shop for windows is this: Which material is best for my home? Wood, fiberglass and vinyl are the most common choices, and each has its own unique attributes and distinctive styles.
And keep in mind, all three materials offer the energy-efficient options that will meet or exceed ENERGY STAR® guidelines in all 50 states.
So, how do you make the decision? First, think about the features and benefits that are most important to you. Then select an options that works within your budget, lifestyle and climate.
Before you make a final decision, be sure to see the different materials in person. There might be some aspects of a material's appearance, style or construction that you like – or dislike – more than another.
If you need help figuring out which material is right for your home, ask your local window expert. He or she can give you insights on the advantages and disadvantages of different materials for your preferences, budget, neighborhood and climate.
A wide variety of window styles and finishes are available. So choosing the right window option will depend on your personal preference, the style of your home, the purpose or function of the window, and your budget. Here are the main types you can choose from:
Featured in a wide variety of home designs, casement windows feature one window that opens from the side using a crank handle. Casement windows offer great ventilation and tight seals for improved energy efficiency and comfort. They’re typically taller than they are wide, and because they swing out, they may not be well-suited to busy pedestrian traffic areas such as decks or front porches.
Awning windows are hinged from the top and open outward from the bottom. They generally have less air leakage because the sash closes by pressing against the frame.
Because of this design, awning windows shed water away from the window opening. They are a good choice for windows that are wider than they are tall.
Double-hung windows feature two sashes in a single frame. The top and bottom sashes bypass each other vertically when sliding open from the bottom up or the top down.
Double-hung windows look best when they are about twice as tall as they are wide and the sashes are equal-sized squares. They are often installed in traditional homes, like those designed in a Victorian or Colonial style.
Single-hung windows offer the same features and benefits of double-hung windows with one difference: only the bottom sash opens by sliding upward. The ventilation opening can be adjusted from a small area to one-half of the window area.
Sliding windows , sometimes called gliders or sliders, function just as their name implies – their sashes move side to side.
Sliders are one of the sleekest, most contemporary profiles in windows, and are ideal for installing in hard-to-reach areas, like over the kitchen sink. They also are commonly installed in multifamily buildings and apartment complexes. Sliders are typically available as single-sliding (only one sash moves) or double-sliding units.
A bay window often has a large center window flanked by double-hung or casement windows set at 30- or 45-degree angles. The bow window, similar to a bay window, has four or more equal-size windows, usually casements, joined together to form a graceful curve.
Both bay and bow windows open up the view and give your room the feeling of being larger than it really is. A window seat is a popular addition to any bay or bow window.
Often selected for decoration or used in combination with other windows, special shape and fixed windows don’t open or vent.
Round, octagonal, elliptical, rectangular, pentagonal, hexagonal and other shapes of windows can be strategically placed to enhance the view or add architectural interest to your home. Create a unique window wall by adding movable windows and small, fixed units, called transoms.
Like fixed windows, transoms are most often used in combination with other windows, and can be either venting or fixed units.
They typically are installed above or below the room’s primary windows. They help give the illusion of larger windows, allow in more light and, if venting units, may increase airflow. Transom windows are available in many different shapes, including square, rectangular, half-circle and elliptical.
If you can dream it, the right window manufacturer can help you build it. From extra tall to extra wide, from unique shapes to curved frames, or from intricate grilles to stained or beveled glass – the possibilities for your new window are virtually endless.
You can also create a custom look by mixing and matching windows and doors. Start with a single window or door, then add more windows next to, above or below to create a combination that reflects your personal style.
Combine different sizes, shapes and styles to create a "window wall" – an architectural focal point inside your home and out.
Finishes and colors
If you like color choices, you’re in luck. Windows are available in a wide range of finishes and colors to complement both the interior and exterior of your home. Depending on the product, you may be able to choose from dozens of color options to find the one that’s right for your home.
Between-the-glass blinds, shades or grilles
Pella offers wood windows with snap-in technology, which lets you easily change your shades, blinds or grilles whenever you want a new look. Because they're tucked between the panes of glass, they won't harbor dust and allergens like typical window fashions do. 27 And they're available motorized with Insynctive® technology, so they can be operated via a remote control or from virtually anywhere with a smart device connected to a compatible home automation system. 40
Grilles create the individual windowpanes, giving you the most authentic look of true divided-light windows. There are several window grille types, so you can choose one that best fits your home's architectural style. Some grilles-between-the-glass make the window easier to clean, too.
Window hardware can be as beautiful as it is functional. You'll have your choice of today's most popular finishes to coordinate with other decorative finishes in your home - such as light fixtures and cabinet hardware.
Trim for wood windows
From Colonial to Craftsman and Ranch to Provincial, you can choose from a variety of interior trim options that give you fresh new ways to frame your view. On the outside, look for low-maintenance aluminum-clad trim options for wood windows. The more styles available, the more likely your windows can stay true to your home's architectural style and decor.
Energy-efficient glass options
Choosing the right glass for your region and your home is as important a decision as any you'll face when buying windows. For optimum energy efficiency, choose two or three panes of glass. And look for windows with Low-E (Low-emissivity) insulating glass with argon between the panes to block more of the sun's ultraviolet rays. For maximum energy performance, choose products that meet ENERGY STAR® requirements.
Window screens are important to your home's light, ventilation and view. Today's innovative high-transparency screens are practically invisible, which helps you bring the outdoors in. Pella's retractable screens roll up and down like a shade to maximize your view and allow more light into your room.
Improved energy efficiency is a benefit everyone expects when they install a new window. But there are a lot of factors, including proper installation that will eventually determine how much improved performance and comfort you’ll see in your home.
Here are five things to look for:
ENERGY STAR® certified. This designation means the government has certified that the product meets or exceeds energy performance standards in your state. 1
The NFRC label. The National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC) is a nonprofit organization for the window industry that developed an energy rating system based on whole-unit product performance – not just the glass performance. It's the only reliable way to determine the entire window’s energy performance and compare products side-by-side.
The NFRC label includes two important ratings:
1. The U-Factor represents the heat rate that flows out of the window each hour. The lower the number, the better the glass insulates.
2. The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) rating measures the amount of solar radiation that enters as heat. The lower the number, the less heat the glass allows in.
Shopping for windows isn’t something most people do every day. That’s why it’s important to talk with a professional who can help make sure your remodeling project goes off without a hitch. An in-home appointment is a great place to start. Think of it as shopping from the comfort of your home. Your representative will ask you what you’re looking for in a window or door, show you samples and take the necessary measurements. Once that’s done, they’ll have the information needed to provide you with a quote. In most cases, the quote and the visit are free.
When you call to schedule your in-home appointment, the representative will ask a few basic questions to get a feel for your home and your project:
During your appointment, your representative may ask you about preferred styles and features, how much you’ll use the product, whether you have children or pets, and other questions focused around your lifestyle.
Pella has more than 200 showrooms focus on windows and doors.
See our products first hand and get the expertise you need for your replacement project.
When it comes to shopping for windows, don’t leave any stone unturned or question unanswered. It’s your home, after all. And you want to trust that your project will be done right and according to your expectations.
A company’s answers to these questions will help you determine whether they’re the right partner for your project:
To help you better prepare, here are two other lists of questions you’ll want to ask door replacement companies before you make a final decision:
Scheduling an in-home consultation
Shop for doors from the comfort of your own home.
Planning your budget
Review the 7 most common factors that affect your project cost.
Understanding your installation options
From do it yourself to do it for me, here's how to choose the right installation method for your project.
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