Reno Report - Shopping for New Windows


image via here 

We are now on our next phase of "big ticket item" reno's on our little old house. this second phase ... dun, dun, dun ... includes windows. brace for impact.

we've learned quite a lot over the last while. when we first bought our place we knew there were a few things that needed pretty immediate attention, and one of those was the upper and lower windows. for anyone who has done it, or is thinking of doing it, it is a big undertaking, but one that makes some serious improvements to curb appeal and energy efficiency in your home. since our windows were original from the 70's, you can but your bottom dollar they are NOT efficient.

when you start out looking for windows it's easy to become overwhelmed by the mass amounts of information. styles, colours, grilles/mullions, coated, wood, vinyl etc., etc., etc. our best advice would be to first set some ground rules and examine your timelines and immediate needs. we have come to learn that the recommend bang for your buck is to do a least a minimum of 4 windows. many good companies recognize that to do a whole house in one shot is difficult for most in terms of budgets, and therefore help you breakdown a process for over a year (or two or three). we like these companies best!

image via here

in the past few weeks we have done a LOT of research and met with a LOT of companies. some good, some bad! here are some key things we have learned and tips to consider:

  • casement windows are generally more expensive than single/double hungs or sliders.
  • do you open all your windows? if not then make those a picture window to save some money!
  • while wood windows are beautiful on a home they are by far the most expensive option and require a ton of maintenance
  • the most popular and affordable windows today are vinyl (ask to see a sample to make sure it's a good thick vinyl to support the weight) and can come in a range of colour options to help you fit your needs
  • window sizing - while some companies will tell you they can make a window for any size it's important to do your homework on general size restraints for a select type of window option, as bigger windows can be very heavy and must support the weight of the glass and the structure around it
  • when it comes to choosing colours and upping curb appeal many experts recommend keeping the exterior colour scheme the same for all windows front to back and upper to lower
  • a brick to brick replacement with spray foam installation while more expensive, is considered to be the best option for a well insulated window 
  • a good installation is the key, make sure you use the manufactures in-house install team if they have, or a reputable company with a good track record – a bad install can in many cases void a manufactures warranty
  • once a house settles on a new window you can sometimes encounter the odd issue (harder to open etc.), make sure the company you choose outlines any procedure and coverage should that happen
  • grilles can add a lot of beautiful visual interest for a low cost, and we highly recommend placing grilles inside the glass so you never have to worry about dusting or cleaning them!
  • many window companies now offer lifetime warranties, transferable to new homeowners if you ever sell
  • most old windows have an aluminum spacer between the two panes of glass in a window, good quality windows now have a foam spacer to help reduce heating/cooling conduction, as well as are filled with argon gas.
  • when calling suppliers don't hesitate to ask for reference, and call recent customers to ask for their likes and dislikes before choosing a company
  • there is almost always room to negotiate on a quoted price
  • never feel pressured by a sales man – windows are a huge investment and should be mulled over and properly researched – don't fall prey to a good deal in the moment
with all this good information, we now have some big decisions to make! wish us luck! we will share some before and after's when the first round of window's is in! 


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