A Challenge Worth The Taking!

There are many choices available to you if you are considering a window addition or replacement.  They range from the low cost and energy efficient vinyl replacements to very high end products that offer self cleaning glass, mini-blinds between the glasses, and on to architectural “statement” windows of intricate and artistic design.  As we briefly examine these choices, please be aware they are usually available in both a window product and a door product.


With utility costs on the rise, and the great emphasis on saving energy, the vinyl window products have been enjoying great popularity.  There are many advantages to the vinyl window:

  • It can be installed without removal of your old window frame, therefore a less costly and time consuming installation.
  • The vinyl window is not a good conductor of heat or cold, therefore being a preferred window for energy conservation.
  • They are easy to clean and maintain
  • Many are elegible for a federal tax rebate of 30% up to $1500 when purchased and installed in 2010.

While previously available only in white, vinyl windows now come in color from most manufacturers, although the color selection usually is limited to 3 or 4 colors and sometimes comes a a bit higher price.


Aluminum windows have improved from what we customarily see in older homes, and some are quite stylish looking.  Often in condominium or commercial buildings, this will be the only option availble to you due to HOA requirements or in some cases, building codes.  The aluminum window has some distinct advantages:

  • Lower cost in general
  • Thinnest frames, allowing for most glass area
  • Come in some color choices, usually without extra charge
  • Durable and long lasting
  • Low maintenance

Due to the conductivity of heat and cold through the frames, even if they are dual glazed, they are not the greatest choice for energy efficiency.   However, one can compensate for those factors by choosing window coverings with higher insulative value.


Often the window of choice for most homeowners, wooden windows probably have the widest variety of shapes, sizes and cofigurations.  There are wide variations in quality with wooden windows, and it pays to shop around, examine the features and the functions.  Wood has many advantages:

  • It has an overall universal appeal and quality appearance.
  • It can be painted.
  • When well maintained, it is durable and long-lasting
  • It has good insulating value

Wood also has disadvantages, primarily that of mainenance.  Wood that is not maintained will be subject to swelling, shrinkage, cracking, termites, and dry rot.  Despite those factors, it remains a very strong choice of many.


The high-end wood windows will often be what is termed “wood-clad”.  This means it is a wooden window, but in the areas that are exposed to the elements, the window (or door) is clad, or wrapped, with a thin membrane of metal or vinyl, making it nearly impervious to the weather factors that create maintenance issues with all-wood products.  This allows you to show the beauty of the wood on the interior of the window but not have to deal with the painting issues on the outside.  This application is available on many window and door configurations and is very popular.


A more recent entry into the window and door product line, this one is a star.  It tends to be a bit more expensive, but is absolutely essential in areas where there is a high salt-air factor.  The fiberglass comes in colors from the factory or can be painted the color of your choice.  The do not degrade as wood does, therefore no dry rot.  And if the look of wood is what you want, they come in a respectable simulation that is very hard to tell from the real thing.

For homes with high exposure to the elements – particularly homes on the beach, fiberglass is the perfect choice.


What kind of glass will your window have?  Although some single glazed (one pane of glass) windows are still sold, most people, due to the energy savings, are choosing dual glazed windows and doors.  A dual glazed window has two panes of glass with the space in between either dead air space or filled with Argon gas.  For further energy efficiency, one pane of the glass can be coated with what is called LowE.  Please see our feature page for further details.

Do you want or need obscure glass?  Obscure glass comes in a frosted variety often seen on bathroom windows, or any of a variety of interesting patterns and designs that allow the light to come in but makes it impossible for someone to distinguish more than vague shapes when looking through the glass.

What about tempered glass?  Tempered glass is a treatment that prevents glass from shattering into shards, but rather, when it breaks, it breaks into small chunks that rarely cause any serious damage to people or pets.  Tempered glass is required for most doors, most bathroom configurations, and windows that come close to the floor.  Building codes must be consulted for those installations.  Many people choose tempered glass as a safety precaution, even though it may not be required and is a little more expensive.


Before choosing your windows, it would be wise to consider a number of factors you might not think about.


How is the window going to open?

  • Side to side slider
  • Casement, where the window is hinged at the side
  • Awning, where the window pushes or cranks out at the bottom and is hinged at the top
  • Single hung, where the lower window slides up
  • Double hung, where the upper window slides down and the lower one slides up


When considering the features, think of how you live, what is the exposure to sun, what sort of maintenance are you willing to do, and what would you like NOT to do.  Do you deal with noise factors?  Here are some of the features you could find, although not every company will offer every feature:

  • Tinted glass (good to help protect your carpets, furniture and drapes
  • Grids – usually between the glass panes making for easy cleaning and usually you can choose the grid configuration.
  • Tilt out (or in) for ease in cleaning
  • Triple glazing for sound mitigation
  • Self cleaning glass
  • Break-resistant glass

No matter what your choice is in windows, the installation is critical in giving you the results you want.  Save yourself some valuable time and money - arrange for your consultation today. Make your first (and last!) call to:

The Door and Window Consultants



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