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Window Shopping? Here Are Some Tips

If you know it’s time to consider replacing your windows and you’ve begun to do some checking, you may be overwhelmed by the amount of information out there, as well as the various options and materials to consider.  Here are some good, basic tips that may help you sort through everything and get to what might work the best for you and your home.

Exterior home improvement projects provide some of the best returns on investment.  And vinyl replacement windows, on average, allow a homeowner to recoup almost 70% of the cost.  When you consider the fact that windows can account for 25% or more of your energy budget, replacing your windows with more energy-efficient ones can reduce your heating and cooling bills.  That means those windows will likely pay for themselves.

Energy Efficiency:  This consideration should be primary on your list of features.  This is one area you don’t want to try to save money on up front; it will cost you more in the long run.  Look for the Energy Star rating, but take a good look at the numbers so you can compare different window lines.  Keep in mind that window type affects energy efficiency as well; casement windows perform best as far as air loss.

Frame Materials:  The most common choice is between wood and vinyl, though there are other materials such as fiberglass.  Unless you are trying to preserve architectural integrity, or you live in a historic district which requires wood frame windows, the best choice for most homeowners is low-maintenance vinyl.  Wood can’t compete with the energy efficiency of vinyl, and wood window frames are expensive and time-consuming to maintain, what with periodic caulking, restaining or repainting, and other routine maintenance.  That being said, if you are willing to invest the time and dollars in care required, nothing beats the look of real wood for warmth and charm.

Window Style:  Don’t make the mistake of thinking you are limited to replacing your windows with the existing style.  Consider that over time your needs may change, as well as your personal tastes.  For example, those double-hung windows were just fine when you were young, but now that you are getting older, a window that cranks or slides open might be a lot easier on you than a double-hung that requires lifting.  Or now that you’ve added that beautiful garden to your back yard, you might want a picture window to enjoy the view.

Options, Options, Options:  This is where your personal tastes and lifestyle come into play.  You can add grilles to provide old-world charm, but that means added upkeep.  If window cleaning chores are at the bottom of your list but you like the divided light look, consider window lines that either have removable grilles or between-the-glass versions such as the Designer Series offered by Pella.  Hardware types and colors can be customized, as can interior and exterior frame colors.  There are also gas filllings, coatings, and window tintings to increase energy efficiency and reduce UV rays.

Installation:  This is another area where you shouldn’t skimp and try to save money by doing it yourself.  In fact, many window manufacturers will only warranty their windows if installed by certified professionals. 

A professional replacement window company can help you sort through the details and make recommendations that fit with your desires and your budget


Window Outfitters is a premier Window Replacement, doors, siding contractor and installer. As Contractor in the St Paul, Minneapolis, (Twin Cities) Minnesota (MN) metro, we proudly serve, but are not limited to, the following areas: Minneapolis Energy Efficient Vinyl Windows, Replacement Window Contractors Minnesota, Burnsville, Apple Valley, Lakeville, Savage, Bloomington, Edina, Richfield, Eagan, St Paul, Hastings, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Maple Grove, Eden Prairie, Farmington MN, Chaska, Shakopee, Chanhassen, Victoria, Mendota Heights Anderson Windows Minneapolis, Marvin Windows Minneapolis.