Harvey Classic vinyl double hung window with transom in the kitchen

By: Matthew Moretti from Renoviso

For many people, purchasing new windows can be a daunting task. From the initial research, to final installation and all the questions that may arise in between, there’s a lot to think about. Our kick-starter guide to window replacement projects can help.

While it may feel overwhelming when you start out, the right service and advice throughout the process can make all the difference between a pleasant buying experience and a stressful one.

Since starting at Renoviso, (a Harvey Building Products partner and authorized reseller since 2015) I’ve helped guide homeowners through the window buying process, from style selection to glazing options and gridlines.

Here are my quick tips for determining if it’s the right time to replace your windows, what windows and finishes you should choose, and what you can expect from installation.

How to know when it’s time to replace your windows

When homeowners call in to discuss a window project, sometimes they aren’t sure if it’s the right time to buy. They haven’t hit that tipping point yet. For these folks, before getting too deep into logistics, we discuss why they might need new windows. Here are a few common issues you may have as a homeowner considering new windows.

ISSUE: Current windows aren’t energy-efficient

Condensation, cold spots, and drafts shouldn’t be the norm. You shouldn’t be spending hundreds more over the life of your windows on your heating and cooling bills. Many old windows are single pane or have broken seals. Energy efficient double pane windows reduce energy loss by 30% to 50% over single pane windows. Look for windows with double or triple weather stripping to block more air and dust.

Pro Tip

Upgrade your glass pane to include low-e coating and argon gas to reduce heat loss.

ISSUE: Window not opening/closing properly

Your window needs to function properly for two key reasons. First, All home occupants should be able to operate a window easily, including children and elderly. Secondly, a broken window is an unsafe window. Burglars, predators, and weather can easily slip through when the window is not shutting or locking.

ISSUE: Aesthetic upgrade needed

Old windows look dim and out-of-date. Although harder to picture than say, a new roof, a set of bright, white new windows will truly transform your home. For a big “wow” factor, choose the superior craftsmanship of wood or a bold, bright color you’ve never tried before.

ISSUE: Home too dark

You’ll be shocked how a room can be transformed simply by letting more light in and getting a better view of the outdoors.

ISSUE: Windows difficult to clean

Do you feel like your windows are impossible to clean without a ladder and very long arms? Modern double hung windows have hinges that swing inwards that make a quick wipe down a breeze.

ISSUE: Noisy Neighborhood

With cars zooming by, kids playing, and planes overhead, your home needs to be quiet and peaceful, especially at night. A set of new windows will keep the outside noise at bay.

ISSUE: Home is about to go on the market

Selling your house soon? According to the National Association of Realtors, window replacement projects can return homeowners more than 78% of the project costs upon resale. Choose a window with strong performance ratings. Educate yourself on U-Rating, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, Air Leakage, and Visible Transmittance ratings.

Pro Tip

Read reviews of both the window products and potential contractors.

Choosing your window type

After reviewing your current window complaints, we then dive into what type of window might best suit your needs. It’s easiest to replace your current window with one of the same style, though some people do choose to alter their homes entirely. Either way, there are a variety of options to consider. Here’s a quick breakdown of the best sellers:

  • Bay: Three windows set into an angled frame. Bay windows project outward from your home adding space and volume.
  • Bow: Four or more custom curved windows that create a circular outcropping in the home. You’ll most often see bow windows in older homes.
  • Casement: Casement windows have hinges on the side and open out to either side.
  • Double Hung: Double hung windows are the most popular style among homeowners. The top or bottom sash can both be raised or lowered.
  • Single Hung: With single hung windows, only the bottom sash can be raised, while the upper remains stationery. Many budget-conscious consumers tend to enjoy the great value of single hung windows.
  • Sliding: Sliding windows open horizontally and provide a more contemporary look.
  • Picture: Picture windows are fixed and do not open. They are typically used in combination with other window styles.

Colors, hardware, & finishes to complement your home

Match your home’s color scheme, choose a stylish wood grain option, or add some pop with a brighter shade. You also can’t go wrong with a set of clean, white windows or add a pop of color for a bolder look

Take time to consider what gridlines appeal to you most. Choose from colonial style, half grids, prairie, craftsman, horizontal, and many more. You may prefer no grid lines at all, too.

Most homeowners don’t think about screens when buying windows. In reality, there are options and although most choose half-screens, you can get a full screen or even upgrade to the VIEWS screen that lets in more air and light.

Lastly, it’s the detailing that will make your windows shine. So what are your options here? Brushed nickel, oil rubbed bronze locks or cranks add sophistication to any window. Don’t rush through the selection of your hardware and finishes.

What to expect during the installation process

Installation of your new window should be relatively quick and painless. After ordering your product, there may be a wait period of two to three weeks as each window is custom made by the manufacturer. And windows can be installed in any weather.

Installers will arrive on the agreed upon date and they’ll prep the interior and exterior of your home, taking great care to protect your belongings. Depending on the size of your job, the installers could be done in less than one day.

After installation is completed to everyone’s satisfaction, the contractor will usually haul your old windows away. All that’s left is to enjoy your new views.

Pro Tip

Don’t let the northern climate slow you down. Windows can be installed in any weather, even winter.

What’s left to do?

All that’s left is to purchase and complete installation (using a certified Harvey installer like Renoviso).

After you browse windows and make your choices of course.

Matthew Moretti is a Marketing Manager at Renoviso
Renoviso is the simple, smart way to get your home improvement project done. The easy-to-use site allows homeowners to see their exact project price, including installation, in minutes. Follow Renoviso on Facebook or Twitter.

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