The subject of choosing windows can cause trepidation for many homeowners. It’s understandable given the relative complexity, importance and cost that windows represent. But don’t panic. The path to overcoming any apprehension you might have about choosing new windows involves some education, broken down into manageable chunks. Once you understand the important parts of any window-buying decision you’ll be able to make informed decisions and good choices.
Where To Start
The first place you should start when researching new windows for your house is to consider your scenario. Your particular situation will govern the kinds of design decisions you need to make and the window choices you have available to you. You will likely fall into one of two buckets:
• You need new windows for a remodel, addition or a new home.
• You are replacing existing windows.
New Windows For A Remodel Or New Home
In this scenario you’re choosing new (additional) windows for your house that currently don’t exist. Windows made for this scenario are typically referred to as “new construction” windows. They come complete with the frame and sashes and are installed in the rough openings in the walls.
This is also where you have some design considerations to think about. Things like the quantity of windows you need, what size they should be, their primary role (more light?, better view? all of the above?) as well as their visual style are all examples of design considerations.
To put it another way, this is the time when you have a blank canvas and you should take advantage of that opportunity to “design in” windows that complement your home’s appearance and their impact on your living space.
Let’s say you’re bumping out your kitchen and the bumped-out wall needs new windows. What type of window do you want? What style should they be? Do you want more light and consequently, more windows than your current configuration? What features do you want in your new windows?
Take the time to think about windows from this point of view. Obviously bigger windows and more of them add to the budget. But this is your chance to dream a little, to add more appeal and perhaps a bit of visual drama to your space.
This all sounds great but how do you actually go about doing this? It’s really not that difficult. Just think about the functions of a window:
• Provide sufficient light and offer a visual connection to the outside environment.
• Control and maintain the desired temperature in the house. That means keeping the heat in during the cold months and “pushing off” the sun’s heat during the warm months.
• Getting the proper airflow and ventilation.
• Complementing and enhancing the exterior appearance of your home. A window’s size, style and placement are all factors in the overall aesthetic appeal of your house.
With these points in mind ask yourself how your new windows can add and enhance your home’s design.
• Do you need more light than you currently have?
• Do you have nice views that you want to take advantage of?
• Do you want added light but need privacy as well?
• What look or style do you want your home’s windows to present?
• Do you need period-style windows for an older home?
Answering these questions and baking the answers into the design will ensure you get the most out of your new or remodeled space. That’s because windows have such an impact on your home’s livability, comfort and curb appeal. Once you have the design piece of the equation taken care of you can focus on the other aspects of window decisions like energy efficiency, brands and available options.