Best Replacement Windows for Homeowners in 2021
Sam has been a Colorado homeowner for 20 years and started thinking about replacing the windows on his home. Even though Sam is a seasoned homeowner, he doesn’t work in construction and hasn’t looked at what kind of windows to buy since his first house – even then, the builder called the shots. What materials are available now? And what manufacturers should he consider?
We know that window shopping, literally, isn’t a purchase you make very often and the information online can be overwhelming. Just as important as selecting a product you like is what contractor you use and your experience with their process.
Well Sam, you’re in luck! Endeavor Exteriors is here to help you go shopping – and make better window decisions. Let’s start with what’s trending in homes today to get an idea of what you like and what’s important to you.
Window Trends in 2021
1. Ventilation through indoor/outdoor living
It’s no secret that Coloradans enjoy the outdoors and the smell of fresh mountain air. Indoor/outdoor windows are a popular option merging the best of both worlds while increasing ventilation indoors.
2. Large windows
Imagine a blank wall with high ceilings. The other side of that wall looks out to open space. Does the thought of adding large windows on that wall excite you? Or do you think “great, now people can see into my house a mile away”. Large windows create an open feeling and bring in natural light making the room feel fresh.
The Baby Boomer generation is choosing to stay in their homes longer as they age, meaning accessibility becomes extremely important. Pella actually introduced the Easy Slide Operator this year for awning and casement windows with a sliding mechanism that requires just finger-based movement to open and close, completely replacing cranks and levers.
4. Black frames
Completely for vanity and preference, black window frames are the modern look of today and pair nicely with the light grey and white interiors.
5. Energy efficiency
Is saving money most important to you more than style? Choosing windows that are double or even triple paned insulated glass with fade protection to protect against UV rays are your best way to go.
6. Noise control
Do you live by a noisy street or back up to a train track? It’s pretty impressive what the latest windows can do these days for noise reduction. I don’t know about you, but I would rather sleep without unwanted outdoor background noises.
Sam, this is Great! You made it this far and have a better idea on what is most important to you. Let’s talk about what materials are available and why you might consider each one.
Window Materials for Your Needs
Regardless of the shape or particular look of the window you choose, the material may one of the most important factors to consider.
Vinyl window material is the most popular material option due to it’s low-maintenance and energy efficiency. This window material never needs painting and can last 20 years. Vinyl expands and contracts with the temperature meaning it becomes softer when warm and more brittle when cold. With the Colorado weather, this day to day and year to year cycle wears down the material much faster. Most manufactures also build in UV inhibitors, but with 300 days of sunshine a year, it’s no wonder you see yellowing and color discoloration sooner than expected. Since heat is absorbed by darker colors, most vinyl windows come in white to reduce the amount of expansion, however darker colors are available too if that is more important to you.
Cost: Less than fiberglass and wood
We will keep this one short. Unless you are buying wood right from the tree itself, just don’t do it. Even then, the harvested wood today is nothing like it used to be. The windows may open and close for a long time, however you will sacrifice energy efficiency with wood material followed by the aesthetic appeal.
Cost: Highest, more than vinyl and fiberglass
Aluminum is low-maintenance and built to last. With a variety of colors and styles, it’s definitely a budget friendly option that get’s the job done. Great for warmer climates, aluminum is probably not the best for long cold winters. The insulation is lacking compared to some of the other materials out there. The metal will soak up the sunshine and can increase your energy bills. Like any other type of metal, aluminum is more prone to corrosion. While great for your wallet and warmer climates, this may not be your top option for Colorado weather.
Cost: Lowest cost
You will typically hear composite in the same sentence as fiberglass. Just to clarify, there is a difference and they are not the same thing. Composites are made of a combination of materials such as sawdust and polymer. When you hear of composite fiberglass, you are getting a combination of materials, not full fiberglass. This does not mean it’s a bad thing either, just something to understand and be aware of.
Composite windows combine strength and durability of wood with low-maintenance of vinyl or aluminum. They can come in a variety of styles and colors.
Cost: More than vinyl, less than wood
One of our favorite manufacturers, Pella, has done extensive testing and found their fiberglass to be more than 11 times stronger than vinyl and resist bending and breaking. Their fiberglass is also 2 times more impact resistant than vinyl, a test that shows us how a material is able to withstand a sudden force that could cause breaking – such as hail. If you are passionate about environmental impact, full fiberglass is definitely for you.
Cost: Fiberglass typically costs less than wood, more than vinyl.
Top Window Manufacturers
Alright Sam, you have nailed down what is important to you and now you know what type of material you are looking for. Who makes this stuff? We have three amazing manufactures for you to research with top quality products regardless of which one you choose:
Milgard – Milgard is unique because they produce their own vinyl components and fiberglass frames. They even go as far to temper their own glass starting back in 1980. Talk about quality control and quality products every step of the way. Milgard offers fiberglass, vinyl and aluminum.
Pella – Pella has been awarded over 150 product and design patents and was founded in a small Dutch community of Iowa starting with a window screen. They have continued to lead the industry with innovation even today with their latest easy-slide-operator. Pella offers wood, fiberglass and vinyl.
Simonton – Simonton specialized in energy-efficient vinyl windows today but were originally founded in 1946 starting with Aluminum windows.
Sam, you still have one more job to do – decide what style of window you want to replace. This may be easy if you want the same style that you already have but perhaps you want something a little different. Here are the options to dig into further:
- Double hung
- Single hung
The Endeavor Experience
Now Sam, when you decide to move forward on your window project, make sure you know what you are getting out of your contractor. At Endeavor Exteriors, we want to make your experience as easy and convenient as possible. Perhaps you don’t want anyone to come inside your home to measure during a pandemic, that’s okay! You can measure the windows and we can have virtual conversations. We would love to get to know you in-person though by scheduling an appointment.
Contact us today and we will walk you through your entire Endeavor Experience.