Doors and windows offer the most basic of functions: serving as indoor-outdoor connections that provide your home access to light and air. However, through the years, the function of fenestration in general has evolved into something much more. Today, doors and windows are known to contribute significantly towards your home’s beauty, comfort and energy efficiency. In fact, your quality of life these days can depend, to a large degree, on their overall condition and performance.
That’s why it’s important to examine your windows and doors carefully from time to time. If they’ve sustained extensive damage – whether over time or due to extreme weather – it’ll certainly pays to invest promptly in necessary solutions. For many homeowners, this means getting doors and windows repaired to help extend the units’ service life. But, what if they’re beyond repair? Rotten frames, broken glass, damaged hardware and failing insulation are real issues that will often need a better and longer-lasting solution—no less than a total door and window replacement.
Why Door and Window Replacement?
As mentioned earlier, door and window units that have already sustained damage can compromise your home’s look and feel. Replacing them before the damage impacts significantly on your quality of life is important; it can also help you save money in the long run. You can insist on continuing to have occasional repair work done as it is needed, but with repeated repairs, your doors and windows will begin to fail again more and more often.
If you want to improve your home and add to its value, go for door and window replacement! But don’t make slapdash choices either: do make sure to cover all the bases, which includes making smart choices when picking out replacement units. Your new replacement units – it should go without saying – should be of higher quality and capable of better performance than your old ones. Here are some of the vital qualities to look for:
Durable and Long Lasting
Replacement doors and windows come in a wide selection of materials. Start weighing each option’s pros and cons, relate them to you and to your home’s specific needs, and then proceed from there. Choosing the right material is an important decision—you’ll want your new doors and windows to provide the reliable performance and long service life you expect, after all. Typically, replacement doors and windows are available in the following:
- Wood is the most traditional choice and remains a popular option for many homeowners. Wooden doors and windows are known for their strength. Characteristically solid, wood can resist most impact damage. Combined with their superior insulating properties, you don’t just get to enjoy replacement units that are durable, but energy efficient as well. Unfortunately, wood can be prone to moisture damage, allowing for the growth of mold and development of rot that can eat away at the material. Wood also expands and shrinks according to thermal change, which leads to jamming and sticking. You’ll need constant maintenance to ensure your doors or windows stay good looking and, of course, intact.
MATERIALS MATTER. Your choice of material affects your door or windows’ longevity and performance, so make sure to choose smart.
- Vinyl is a standard option for windows. Replacement units made from this material are among the most cost effective and versatile. Vinyl windows offer sufficient durability to stand up to weather exposure. Their frames often have hollow cavities to promote better insulation which, in turn, leads to improved energy efficiency. What also sets vinyl apart is its maintenance-free performance. Vinyl windows don’t require painting – all it takes to keep them clean and lovely is an occasional wash with soap and water. However, they do have a propensity to warp, which can often shorten their lifespan.
- Steel is big on strength and performance. Steel doors and windows allow for a more secure home. With its sleek good looks, steel is the perfect complement for those who own a Modern or Contemporary home. Subpar insulation, however, is a downside for this material, allowing for home interiors that are easily affected by outside temperatures.
- Composite, which is fast gaining traction among many homeowners, can provide some of the best features of other materials, including wood’s strength and insulating value, plus vinyl’s maintenance-free performance. It doesn’t crack, chip or corrode. Moreover, composite doesn’t shrink or expand when exposed to thermal changes, allowing for tighter seals that prevent energy loss. That’s why windows made of this material are recognized as some of the best in today’s market.
Lovely and Fully Customizable
Strength and service life are important, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook aesthetics. Doors and windows are highly visible design elements, so make sure they always make a big impression. When looking for replacement units, ask your windows company for available customization options. These should include:
- Extensive door and window styles offer many aesthetic and functional benefits. For example, double hung and casement windows both have a clean and simple design that makes them a great match for both traditional and contemporary homes. Aside from this, both also provide access to superior natural ventilation. French patio doors offer classic good looks, but they also have a wide opening that can create a stronger connection between the indoors and the outdoors. Sliding patio doors have space-saving advantages while providing smoother operation.
STYLIZING. One effective way to make your home stand out is to match new windows and doors to the existing architectural style and exterior color scheme.
- Interior-exterior color combinations should be well thought out so that they better match your new doors and windows with your home’s existing architectural style and color palette. Choosing the right color combos can add points to your curb appeal meter while maintaining your home’s historical accuracy.
- Hardware finishes can set your doors and windows apart from the standard. After all, attention to even the smallest detail—such as your hardware finish—is a mark of quality. Most doors and windows come in classic white, stone and canvas finishes, but there are also elegant metallic options in bronze, brass or chrome. If you want to add warmth and gloss to set off the beauty of your new doors and windows, keep these choices in mind.
- Grille pattern further adds to the overall appearance of your new doors and windows. As with the right color combinations, the right grilles can help you maintain the architectural or historical accuracy of your home.
Safe and Secure
Keep threats to security at bay by choosing doors and windows with durable hardware and an effective locking system. Make sure they are not prone to sticking and jamming—not just to ensure your home remains safe and secure, but also to prevent costly heating energy from escaping your home via unwanted gaps and openings.
Last, but not the least, make sure your replacement doors and windows provide exceptional energy performance. In fact, this should be one of your top priorities. Getting energy-efficient doors and windows will lead to better indoor comfort, minus the high utility bills, while also letting you reduce your carbon footprint.
STAY COMFORTABLE, SAVE ENERGY. You’ll know your replacement doors and windows have made the cut in superior energy performance when they have the ENERGY STAR® label.
What, exactly, makes your replacement units energy efficient? First, they should be made from a durable material like composite that keeps airtight seals. This prevents costly energy from escaping your home and keeps outdoor air from leaking in. Because of this, your home’s interior can remain thermally stable, which means heating or cooling energy are distributed evenly.
Next, your replacement doors and windows should have modified, Low-E (low-emissivity) glass, which helps reduce radiant heat transfer to your home. This allows for cooler, more comfortable rooms. At the same time, you get to save more energy because your cooling system isn’t overworked. Durable spacers and effective insulating gas between the door and window panes further augment this.
Once you’ve chosen the replacement units that possess all these qualities, move on to choosing a reliable door and window company to install them. This way, you’re sure your investment can provide the improved beauty, energy efficiency and long-lasting performance you want for your home.
Nick Peterson is the Marketing Manager for the Renewal by Andersen locations in Houston, St. Louis and Kansas City. Using Renewal by Andersen’s superior quality replacement windows and doors, Nick aims to help homeowners maximize their home’s comfort, beauty and energy efficiency. Catch his updates through the company blog.