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Choosing Replacement Windows Options

Updated on April 5, 2009

Buying and installing vinyl replacement windows can take a lot of time and homework but so does finding the right company to install them. Even the very best quality window will not work properly if it is not shimmed, level, plumbed, attached and installed properly. It is well worth taking some time and doing a little research to learn about this industry ahead of time, before you buy. It is much easier to avoid future problems before you start rather than trying to fix them after they have already occurred. In the end, you'll be happy that you made an educated decision on your vinyl window purchase and will feel confident that they were installed properly by an experienced and qualified company. Read on to better your odds of finding a good installation company.

Tilt in window panes for easy cleaning

Cleaning is easy with tilt in sashes. Forget about climbing up unsafe ladders just to do routine cleaning.
Cleaning is easy with tilt in sashes. Forget about climbing up unsafe ladders just to do routine cleaning.

Getting Started

Before you attempt to find a local installer, take a little time to decide which features you need for your situation and which benefits you want to include in your new windows purchase. Some of the more popular considerations you want to look at are the installation of triple pane glass units versus double pane or even single pane glass. The number of dead air spaces between the glass panes is important because it will determine the insulation properties of the unit and how well it performs in conserving heating and cooling energy. The more dead air spaces, the higher the R Value of insulation.

An argon gas filled replacement window is usually an option from most modern day manufacturers. Argon gas is different than air between the panes and will also add to the overall insulating properties of the new replacement unit. The better the insulating qualities of the glass, the more money you will save off your yearly heating and cooling energy bills. Lets be frank, everyone is interested in saving money!

You may wish to consider purchasing a special Low-E Coating on the glass. Low-E Coatings will help reflect away the harmful and damaging UV rays. Ultraviolet light (UV rays) can fade the dyes from carpeting, stains from furniture and the colors out of your drapes and upholstery. The money you spend on these protective UV coatings is probably well worth the extra money this option will cost.

More Options to Consider

In general, welded frame windows are usually stronger than comparable units which are screwed together or mechanically fastened together. The welded frames help to hold the unit more flat and square during the installation process and makes installing them much easier. Welded frames are available in both aluminum and vinyl products. Welded vinyl frames can also offer a virtually air tight frame construction which again can benefit the insulating properties of each replacement unit. A comparable welded frame will usually cost more than mechanically fastened units but the extra expense will pay off when your sashes work freely and properly without unnecessary friction. There's nothing worse than sticky and poorly operating sashes.

Determine ahead of time which colors will match your homes interior and exterior the best. Decide if you want just simple white windows, brown or tan cladding, a simulated wood grain pattern pattern or even real wood. Real wood units are available from some manufacturers but will be the most expensive option. While real wooden units may cost more up front, you can probably expect them to add more value to your home and help improve its resale value. White and wood grain vinyl windows mean less maintainance, never need painting and will offer the added benefit of easy cleaning. Some manufacturers may offer an even larger variety of colors, styles and finishes. These benefits are also similar in vinyl-clad aluminum frames. Vinyl cladding will help protect the aluminum frames from oxidation and will make them easier to clean and maintain.

Now that you have a pretty good idea of the features you want and need in your new windows, now it is time for an equally important step; to start looking for qualified nstallers.

Various Window Replacement Styles

Various glass divider grid moldings can drastically add to the appearance and style of an otherwise plain unit.
Various glass divider grid moldings can drastically add to the appearance and style of an otherwise plain unit.

Choosing an Installation Contractor

First let’s start off by saying that the many different window companies may have their own dedicated installers. Benefits and features offered between the different companies will also somewhat overlap and also differ in some areas. Companies try to offer exclusive and different styles, grid options and colors to differenciate themselves from other competitors. Other companies will simply sell you just the window units and you’ll have to find your own installer or install them yourself.

Ask each contractor which you are considering if they will furnish you with a Certificate of Insurance. This will cost them nothing but will greatly add to your peace of mind. A company that won't do this must be immediatly crossed off your list for consideration. You want workers Compensation and General Liability listed on the certificate. Get this before work begins. When a home owner asks for a Certificate of Insurance, it also sends a subliminal message to the company that you expect a high quality and professional job.

Check each company's record with the Better Business Bureau online. If a company is very large and has been in business for a very long time, don’t be too scared by a complaint or two; some people will complain as a way of negotiating the final price down and other particular people are just unreasonable and can't be satisfied. Usually a complaint listed will detail the nature of the consumer problem.

Check with the local Bureau of Consumer Protection or Attorney General’s office for any complaints about contractors you are considering. This is free and will give you a good background history of any legal or informal complaints against a company.

The very most important tip is to ask for at least 10 references of customers who had the same product you are considering installed. Because any company can manage to have a few good references, it is best to call all 10 to get an accurate view of each company’s product and service quality. People who have already invested money with a particular company will usually give you very heartfelt and accurrate advice. Consumers are just aching to brag about a good contractor they have found and equally energized to make other hoeowners aware of problems they may have had. Consumers are anxious to reward good professionals for a job well done and also, exact some pay back for contractors who don't live up to their promises.

This time spent in advance of purchasing, will assure you a professional window replacement job.

Vinyl Replacement Windows Video


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    • profile image

      Replacement Windows MA  

      7 years ago

      Which is the main advantage of Vinyl windows..???

    • profile image

      Kuper Exteriors 

      7 years ago

      Nice and helpful article to people who is finding details of window replacements..

    • profile image

      Kuper Exteriors 

      7 years ago

      Nice and helpful article to people who is finding details of window replacements..

    • profile image

      amerimax windows 

      8 years ago

      If you've sorted through the many types of replacement windows and decided on vinyl replacement windows, the battle is half over. However, there are still many features you should be aware of before you start measuring and ordering.

    • MichelleG_NW profile image


      9 years ago

      Great article! People considering replacement window work should also check companies out on Angie's List. BBB can only list if there were complaints and if they were solved or not whereas Angie's List allows potential customers to actually see what the problems were, if any. It's a great resource for anyone who's looking to have work done!


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