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Replacement Home Windows - Choosing Replacement Windows For The Home

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Whether renovating or redecorating, replacement windows can help brighten up any home and increase energy conservation. There are some things to be aware of when considering this, as precise measurements, style, and material selection are very important. Attractive and efficient windows can easily add to a home’s value and are often one of its key selling points. Security and noise reduction are additional considerations when choosing a window type.
Available materials for replacement windows include wood, vinyl, steel or aluminum, clad (covered wood), and fiberglass. Wood can offer a traditional look while providing natural insulation, though it is typically more expensive and will need adequate protection from the elements to avoid splitting or warping. Regular vinyl is hollow and light but still strong, and resists denting. Although excessive heat or extreme cold can distort vinyl, it remains a good choice in most areas as an affordable window material.
Steel is an extremely weather resistant, secure, and durable choice that is likely to last decades if within the budget. Clad windows are usually constructed of vinyl- or aluminum-covered wood; the vinyl models need virtually no maintenance, provide good insulation, and come in many styles and colors; the aluminum types are stronger, but do not insulate as well and may scratch more easily. Fiberglass windows are extremely durable and especially good for large panes of glass. They are highly resistant to warping or cracking and are easily painted, though some styles can be costly.
Among replacement window styles, a single- or double-hung window features traditional sashes that slide vertically, and screens may be on the interior or exterior. They may have trouble keeping warmth in or air currents out, however. Horizontal sliders are similar but move sideways, with one or both sashes being operable. They are an inexpensive option that may be used in almost any opening, but are sometimes poor insulators as well.
Casement windows have hinges on one side and an interior screen. They will seal tighter than sliding windows and their larger openings allow for good ventilation. Awning windows are similar, but are hinged at the top and open outward; this allows them to remain wide open even during rain.
A fixed frame replacement window does not move or open, and only serves to add exterior light into a room or provide an unobstructed view. These will offer maximum security and weather protection at the lowest cost, but provide no ventilation and must be cleaned from outside.
Bay and bow windows are both similar in design, projecting outwards from the wall to provide a panoramic view and add a sense of space to the room. A bay window combines three or more windows, with the center window(s) parallel to the wall, and the outer ones angling back towards the wall. Bow windows come together to form a more circular curve, typically utilizing four or more casement units, although fixed frames or various window combinations are sometimes chosen.
Skylights may be replaced with models that are either fixed or operable. Units that open often use a remote control and will provide added ventilation, and some now have sensors that will close them automatically if rain is detected.
Common glass types for replacement home windows include clear, tempered, and laminated glass. While clear glass is inexpensive and allows the most light through, tempered glass is toughened through a heat treating process, making it about four times stronger. Laminated glass features an inside layer of plastic polymer; if the glass is breaks, the pieces will stick to the polymer rather than break apart cleanly. This polymer is also an added buffer against UV rays and outside noise. Glass with a low emission (low-e) coating is recommended to either trap heat or reflect it depending on the type of climate.
Measurements for replacement home windows should be done from inside the house to determine the height and width. Width should be measured from the inside of each jamb; it is recommended to take the measurement from three different points and choose the smallest number as the width. Height can be measured from the bottom of the head jamb to the top of the sill, again using the smallest of three measurements.

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