Replacement Windows Reviews and Research
ConsumerReports.org rates and ranks replacement windows made of clad-wood, vinyl and fiberglass, looking at both double hung and casement styles. You'll also find a helpful buyer's guide that includes information on things to look for when shopping for a window, choosing and dealing with an installer, and special precautions to take when children might be around.
Each year, Remodeling magazine surveys popular home improvement and remodeling projects, comparing their costs nationally, regionally, and in major cities, and then reporting on how much of that cost homeowners are likely to recoup when their house is sold. Those projects include window replacement, using both clad-wood and vinyl products.
This article is a good primer on replacement windows. It discusses how to decide if your project is right for replacement windows, or whether a more complex remodeling job using new-construction windows is the way to go. Advice on types of windows and how to find a dealer and or installer can also be found.
Minneapolis area contractor Ryan Carey shares his take on different types of replacement windows in this guest blog post. Topics discussed include popular types of replacement windows and when a new construction window is called for instead of a replacement window. Other parts of this three-part series offer hints on dealing with replacement-window salespeople, and Carey's take on some major window manufacturers.
The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) is an independent organization that tests doors, windows and skylights, and rates them on several measures of energy efficiency (Energy Star qualification is based on two of the NFRC ratings). The site includes a searchable database of NFRC-certified products.
Here, EnergyStar.gov lists the window brands and models that are rated to be most energy efficient, thus qualifying for special recognition. Information includes key efficiency ratings, window frame type, and appropriate climate regions. This listing includes standard single and double hung windows, and separate listings are available for horizontal slider windows, casement windows and fixed or picture windows. Elsewhere on the site, you can also find a database of windows that, while not quite as efficient as these, still perform well enough to earn Energy Star certification.
The Efficient Windows Collaborative website is consortium of window manufacturers, distributors, and affiliates, including the National Fenestration Rating Council. The site is full of useful information about how to choose the best replacement windows for your climate and how to make sure they are installed properly. You can also find a window selector that will recommend new construction and replacement products based on your location, home type and other factors.
This article provides a brief primer on the different types of replacement windows. The pros and cons of wood, vinyl, aluminum, clad-wood, fiberglass and other windows are provided.
This article on Inman News, a site for real estate brokers and agents, discusses the different types of replacement windows, and whether or not replacing your windows makes sense in the first place. Among the still relevant comments in this older article is Arrol Gellner's recommendation that "As long as your budget allows it, the simplest rule of thumb for choosing window material is to replace like for like — aluminum with aluminum, wood with wood."
Home renovations expert Lee Wallender compares vinyl windows to fiberglass ones. He notes that fiberglass is superior in most respects, but that lower costs make vinyl still worth considering.
Writing at ThisOldHouse.com, Fran J. Donegan of Today's Homeowner provides a buying guide that discusses window materials and styles, and how to find the right windows for your home and budget. Topics such as energy efficiency and matching window styles to the style of your home are also discussed.
Angie's List owner Angie Hicks gives her take on whether to opt for vinyl or aluminum replacement windows. Vinyl gets the nod in most instances, though those living in mild climates that are also hurricane prone might find aluminum a worthwhile alternative. General advice on shopping for windows and hiring an installer are also provided. User reviews of installers in your area can also be found.
This page provides high, low and average costs HomeAdvisor.com users paid for their window installation project. You can look at national numbers, or cost information in your specific locale. Additional information regarding window selection is also provided. HomeAdvisor.com also hosts verified customer reviews of local installers.
Home expert Jim Dulley shares his take on fiberglass replacement windows. His opinion is that the advantages of fiberglass makes the initial extra cost worthwhile. A downloadable fiberglass window buyer's guide is available, but it appears to have not been updated in quite some time.
This article deals with the growing popularity of fiberglass windows. It notes that fiberglass remains a niche product, but that growing homeowner awareness, plus the addition of more manufacturers offering them, could make them a more mainstream choice.
The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors posts this article on the positives and negatives of vinyl windows. While the content is aimed at new construction windows, much of it applies to replacement windows as well. Nick Gromicko and Rob London conclude that home inspectors should be on the lookout for certain defects that are unique to vinyl windows.
Window Price Guide doesn't rate windows, but serves as a useful resource for those who want to get a ballpark estimate of what a window project might cost. Unit prices and prices with installation are provided for several manufacturers -- with the caveat that these "may vary greatly from retailer to retailer and contractor to contractor." Information on approximate window cost by type of window is also provided, as are user submitted reports on the cost of their project.
This article on the AAMA web site addresses the environmental factors that make fiberglass a good replacement window choice. Issues addressed include fiberglass's energy efficiency, its chief ingredients, and recycling.
The architects at Build LLC lay out the reasons why they use aluminum windows in many of their projects. They cite cost, functionality and the materials clean lines. The poorer energy efficiency of aluminum is addressed, but dismissed as being outweighed by aluminum's advantages: "We believe that the potential energy loss through the frame is more than offset by the durability, low maintenance and clean aesthetic," they say.
This slide show walks you through the benefits of wood windows, including wood replacement windows. Topics include how to tell if your old windows need replacing, costs of windows, installation and more.
This instructional guide includes a video overview and demonstrates how to replace a double-hung window. Other instructions on the site show you how to install a window sash replacement kit, how to repair and repaint old window sashes and more.
Though this is an older article, its insights regarding clad-wood windows are still relevant. Proponents of aluminum cladding like it for its resistance to damage, while fans of vinyl-clad windows give it the edge for its resistance to humidity in more humid climates.
Building pros answer questions from readers in this forum. A search under the topic "windows" brings up a series of questions and answers about how green and/or energy efficient different types of windows are and how to improve existing windows' performance.
Contractors discuss their experiences with different types and brands of windows in this online forum. This is a great site to look for specific information and opinions from people with experience in the building industry.
Homeowners discuss and ask questions here; you can post your own question or search for information about specific windows or types of windows. It can be a little hard to sort through some back-and-forth and find information you can trust, but it's worth reading.