Your Quick Guide to Common Window Styles

Window installation companies offer a huge variety of window styles. Though all windows keep out the cold while letting in the sunshine, different window shapes and mechanisms have been developed over decades to perform unique tasks.

 

According to a recent survey, nearly two-thirds of homeowners are planning on renovating at some point in the future. If you’re thinking about changing up the look of your home both inside and out, consider installing windows in a new style. Here are just a few common window designs that are a great investment:

 

Double-Hung Windows

 

If you don’t have double hung windows already, you should consider installing windows in this popular style right away. Why? Not only are double-hung windows affordable, but they are also convenient and attractive. Double-hung windows consist of an upper and lower sash (frame that surrounds the pane), and each can be raised and lowered. This style lets in plenty of light, is easy to clean, and looks good with nearly any architectural style.

 

Casement Windows

Rather than sliding up and down, casement windows open and close like doors on a hinge. This style was common before sash windows were invented, and is still popular in the U.K. Casement windows are considered more draft-resistant than double-hung windows, since the operator can crank the handle until the seal is tight. These windows are also better for keeping out intruders.

Bay Windows

 

Bay windows are the well-known and well-loved relics of castles from the English Renaissance. Once used in curved towers, bay windows today are simply a wide series of glass panes that extend beyond the contour of the building. Because bay windows jut out from the rest of a room, they allow much more light to enter the space. Used as centerpieces for sitting rooms and parlors, bay windows bring a sense of romance and finery to a space.

 

Fixed Windows

 

Fixed windows do not open, and instead, serve only decorative purposes. Because they don’t move, fixed windows can be formed in more exciting shapes, like circles or stars. Fixed windows are an excellent choice for letting light into rooms with high walls.

 

These are only a few styles and options available. If you’re thinking about installing windows, take the time to explore the wide world of window mechanisms and shapes. Talking to professional window companies and doing your own research can help you find the perfect style for your home!

The Benefits of Choosing Vinyl Window Frames

Traditionally, wood window frames were the standard material. Today, however, window installation services can offer homeowners and business managers a wide range of material choices based on their budget and other needs. While wood remains popular, fiberglass, vinyl, and even aluminum are also common in different regions.

 

Of these types, vinyl has risen to become one of the leading alternatives to wood window frames. Window installation services are turning to vinyl replacement windows more and more often to meet their client’s needs. But why is vinyl so popular?

The Many Benefits of Vinyl

 

One key benefit of vinyl is that it is energy efficient. Vinyl has a great thermal performance rating, which helps reduce lost heat through window openings. Drafty windows that let air escape can increase your energy bills by 10 to 25%, but vinyl’s insulated construction can actually reduce your energy bills, saving both your money and the environment.

Vinyl is also low maintenance. Unlike wooden frames, vinyl rarely receives a coat of paint, and so re-painting is never necessary to maintain its appearance. Vinyl is also very easy to clean and tends to be more durable than metal or wood since it will neither rot nor rust.

 

Finally, vinyl is a popular choice because of its affordability and simplicity. Vinyl frames come in a variety of price ranges, colors, and qualities, which allows the material to work with any homeowner’s budget. Vinyl often comes with lifetime warranties, and window installation services consider vinyl quite easy to install.

 

Potential Drawbacks

It is easy to see why vinyl is so popular. It is convenient, affordable, low-maintenance, and it is even good for the environment. Why wouldn’t a homeowner choose vinyl to replace windows?

 

Some individuals find that vinyl does not look attractive with their home’s architecture. A new, synthetic material might look unnatural in a 19th-century home. Another drawback might be that vinyl comes in pre-made colors, so homeowners could have fewer stylistic options within their budget.

 

Though vinyl windows are clearly a practical, durable, and affordable choice, some homeowners may be deterred by their modern appearance. Ultimately, vinyl has earned its popularity. For your home’s replacement windows or your commercial window project, this versatile material might be right for the job!

Questions to Ask Your Commercial Window Company

If you’ve decided it’s time to replace your company’s windows, you’ve likely already done some research. Recognizing the drafts, weak windowsills, and other problems that come with old windows is a great first step for updating your commercial space and protecting your utility costs.

Now the time has come to choose a window installation company. To ensure that you’ve found a company that is right for your space, be sure to ask these four questions before getting started.

 

  1. Does the company specialize in commercial window replacement?This rookie mistake could end up costing you precious time and money. Even if a window installation company claims to offer commercial window replacement, be sure that the installers have a listed history of experience with company window jobs. Also check the reviews to make sure they have positive online feedback from not just residential window customers, but from business customers as well. Ending up with installers who are only comfortable with houses and apartments could lead to problems in the future.
  2. Does the company offer free estimates?Narrow down your list of potential window installation companies by asking if they have free estimate services. Before embarking on any job or making any deals, you need to have an idea of how much an installation project will cost you. If a company isn’t willing to offer you a detailed estimate, you won’t be able to ask informed questions when something goes wrong and new expenses arise. Offering estimates is a sign of trustworthiness, and going through the estimate process can also give you a feel for a company’s style before you sign a check.
  3. How long will the project take?When it comes to a commercial window replacement, time is money. The longer the installation process takes, the more money you could potentially lose, especially if you have to halt or decrease operations during the project. Also, ask if the company offers weekend or after-hours installation so that your business can continue as normally as possible.
  4. What procedures are in place if a window problem develops over time?Before you agree to a window service, make sure the company offers help if something goes awry with the windows in the next few years. If a window company is not willing to fix mistakes associated with improper installation, they’re not worth your company’s money or time.

High quality windows that are properly maintained can last 20 years or longer. Ask these questions to ensure you’re making a smart business decision, and enjoy your company’s high-quality windows for years to come.

Factors that Impact Window Replacement Cost

Determining the cost of any project is tricky. Though smart homeowners and business leaders know the importance of constructing a good budget, budgets can often be scrambled when expected costs are inaccurately estimated.

Replacing windows is one building-improvement project that makes calculating costs tricky. Though the average cost of replacing a window is somewhere between #300 and $700, don’t rely on this range. Before making your own estimate and adding lines to your budget, be sure you’ve accounted for the following factors that could influence the price of window replacement:

 

  1. Window StyleThough you may think that windows are all generally the same, there are actually a huge variety of types and styles to choose from. If you’re looking to replace windows with a different style, be prepared to add costs of window upgrades. Some styles of windows that might cost more than your current windows include:
    • Tilt-Out Windows

      This style of window allows the glass to be lowered on an inward hinge, so the outside surface can be cleaned from indoors.

    • Sliding Windows

      These windows move along a track horizontally.

    • Double-Hung Windows

      This style of window allows both the upper and lower sash to be moved.

    • Casement Windows

      These windows can be swung outward, and are common in basements and attics for ventilation purposes.

    • Bay Windows

      These windows extend beyond the walls of the room for greater light and to showcase views.

    Different varieties of windows can significantly vary in price. For example, sliding windows can cost between $325 and $1,200, according to Home Advisor. Be sure to not only research the costs of residential window installation, but also the different costs for the specific types of windows you’re interested in. The style of the glass in the window will also add costs, so be prepared to speak with an expert before selecting a glass and window design combination.

  2. Condition of the Window Frames

    Installing windows does not only involve replacing glass, but also sometimes replacing window frames. Rotten wood frames will need to be replaced along with the panes. Though wood is a traditional choice, today there are many different cost-effective window frame options, including vinyl and wood composite. Vinyl is a popular option for its affordability and durability; however, it is considered less attractive and could even lower the value of your home. Be sure to take careful consideration of the cost of frame replacement before beginning the process of installing windows.

  3. Costs Over Time

    Although pricing windows can be disheartening due to the variety of hidden costs, do not despair. Window replacement can save a homeowner money in the long run. If you’re looking to sell your home, updating windows is an excellent renovation choice to boost home value. Additionally, energy-efficient windows that block the loss of heat can help reduce utility bills significantly. After all, 45% of the average energy bill goes toward heating, so window replacement can significantly reduce this percentage. Before deciding against installing windows, be sure to take into consideration both potential costs and potential savings.

4 Tips to Help You Get Your Home Ready For the Colder Months Up Ahead

Summer has come and gone, and it’s time to prepare for fall. You’re ready to go back to school, pull out the long socks, and get the decorations out of the closet. While you’re preparing for the changing seasons, your house needs some attention too. Here are some things you can do to get your home ready for fall.

Window installation services

Fall is a great time to call for window installation services to get new home windows. The colder months are coming up, and you need your windows to be in the best shape possible. Dual-paned windows are nearly two times as effective at retaining heat and air conditioning compared to single-paned windows. Your home will be more comfortable in the colder months, and it will pay off in the summer too.

Clean your gutters

Experts recommend cleaning your gutters twice a year: in the fall and in the spring. Now that fall is here, it’s time to get up on the ladder and clean those puppies out. Use gloves to protect your hands while you’re pulling the debris out. You should also carefully inspect your gutters while you’re up there to make sure they’re still in good shape.

Inspect your HVAC systems

It’s been several months since you’ve turned on your furnace, so it could use a good inspection. Call in the professional to run tests on your HVAC system to make sure it’s up and running well. You should also make sure to change your furnace filter at least once every three months or once a month if you have pets.

Turn off your outdoor hoses

Finally, you should turn off your outdoor faucets before the weather gets too cold. Remove your garden hoses from the faucets and shut off the water too them. Leaving the hoses and water on can cause water to back up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes inside your interior walls. If the temperatures drop below freezing, the water can freeze, expand, and crack your faucets and pipes.

Your home needs regular seasonal maintenance, and the fall time is no exception. While you’re gathering your pumpkins and leaves, make sure you follow these tips to get your home ready for the upcoming autumn season.

Maintaining Your Home: 4 Reasons To Replace Your Windows

One of the most overlooked areas of a house are its windows; most people forget that they need to be regularly maintained, from simple cleaning to general inspection. Unfortunately, that kind of consistent neglect can have a big impact on their functionality. Here are a few reasons you might want to look into replacement windows for your home.

    • They’re busted: This one is pretty self-explanatory, and odds are you were aware of the problem immediately. Broken, warped, and damaged windows let nature — in its entirety — into your home, and also leech it of any heat or cool air that’s been building up inside. Even if the issue isn’t bothering you right now, the repercussions of waiting on the replacement could be much more costly in the future. If your windows are fogging up, drafty, sticky, or refuse to stay open, it may be time to contact a few window installation companies to inquire about replacement residential windows.
    • You want to save money on your energy bill. Heating and cooling your house is one of the pricier aspects of owning and maintaining a home, and one that is easy to forget about during the purchase. If your energy bills skyrocket every other season, it may be because your windows are simply too outdated to keep the inside inside and the outside outside. Replacement windows can significantly reduce that monthly bill, paying off the cost of the new windows and then some within due time.
    • You’re planning on moving. While this may seem counter-intuitive (why would you pay to fix up a house that you’re not planning on living in?), it’s actually incredibly practical. Homeowners who replace their windows get an 80% return on their investment — you can set the asking price much higher when the windows are fully upgraded and brand new, and the new owners will be happy to pay it because you’ll be helping them with their energy bills!
  • You live in an area susceptible to severe storms. Hurricanes and other intense weather events can wreak havoc on many aspects of life, but your windows are exceptionally vulnerable in areas where they occur with relative frequency; investing in ultra-durable replacement windows may be the best choice for the long run.

Take good care of your windows, and they’ll be sure to take good care of you!

When Is the Best Time of Year to Replace My Home Windows?

Did you know that you can actually replace windows any time of year? Some people mistakenly believe that the task of installing windows can only take place in the summer. And while summer weather might be ideal for some people, sometimes your windows will need to be replaced during the colder winter months, too. Here is a basic breakdown of what it’s like to replace windows during different times of the year so you can pick the best time for your residential window installation.

Installing windows in the Spring and Summer

Installing your windows in the spring and summer seems to be ideal for most homeowners. As long as it’s not too hot, installing windows in the spring or early summer prevents cold air from getting into your home during the installation process. One of the downfalls of installing new windows in the warmer months is that excessive heat can get into your home (bugs can too if your window contractors aren’t careful). Plus, window installers are usually busiest in the summertime, so you want to make sure you get your windows ordered in plenty of time so you aren’t waiting around for long.

While the comfort of your home is important, that’s not the only reason to opt for warm weather window installation. If your window replacement company is using caulk to seal your new vinyl or aluminum windows, then the ideal temperature range is between 40 and 80 degrees. Caulk may not cure properly if the temperatures outside are above 80 degrees.

Installing windows in the Fall and Winter

Installing windows in the winter may sound like a nightmare to a lot of people. The caulk might not set well if it’s too cold, the moisture from snow or a fall rain can prevent a tight seal, and the cold air can get inside your home. While this is true, there are advantages to installing your new windows in the colder months. You don’t have to worry about heat or bugs getting into the house. Plus, window installers usually have more availability in the fall and winter. This will save you on time and energy costs.

That being said, winter installation may require some extra preparation, which is why it’s important to work with an experienced residential window installation company. The two most popular materials for modern window frames, aluminum and vinyl, can expand slightly in warm weather. If the seal holding your windows in place is too tight, the materials could expand and crack in the summer heat to come. Likewise, your contractors may need to warm up the calk prior to installation to ensure a proper cure.

What’s the best time of year for window installation?

There really is no time that is better than another when it comes to installing new windows. It all depends on what is best for you and your home. If you have an emergency window break and you need it replaced tomorrow, it’s going to need to be done even if it’s the middle of winter. Everyone has preferences, and if you have a choice, you can go with your own convenience.

Old and drafty windows that let air escape can increase your energy bills by 10% to 25%, so don’t wait too long to contact local window contractors. No matter the time of year, installing new windows can help you save on your energy bills, and they can help increase the value of your home, too.

Looking for experienced and reliable window installation contractors in Chicago? Contact Best Windows Inc. to replace your home’s windows — no matter the time of year!

3 Compelling Reasons to Get Your Windows Replaced Before Winter

window installation companiesThere’s no denying the benefits that come with replacing outdated windows and doors: According to the National Association of Home Builders 2012 Remodeling Market Index, 44% of renovation jobs that year were involved window or door replacement. But what many homeowners may not be aware of is that getting this job done prior to the start of winter may be one of the best times of the year to invest. Here are just a few compelling reasons to consider contacting window installation companies for new windows prior to the start of winter.

Better Insulation

It should come as no surprise that replacing outdated single pane windows with dual pane windows is much more efficient in terms of energy and heat insulation, which makes an even bigger difference during the winter months. According to the Department of Energy, 45% of the average energy bill goes toward heating, but the right windows can reduce this percentage by keeping heat in for longer. This isn’t just speculation, it’s fact: Dual-paned windows are about two times as effective at retaining heat and air conditioning compared to single-paned ones.

Tax Credit Potential

In general, you’ll save up to 15% a year on your energy bill if older double-pane windows in a 2,600-square-foot house are replaced with energy-efficient windows with low-E coatings, according to the Efficient Windows Collaborative, a coalition of government agencies, research organizations, and manufacturers that promotes efficient window technology. However, many homeowners don’t fully understand the tax credit possibilities that come with eco-friendly investments like new home windows. Tax credits vary depending on a number of factors, but in order for you to be eligible to claim the credit for the current tax year, you have to make sure they’re installed in time.

Decrease Injury Risk

There’s no denying that winter weather can bring with it some seriously dangerous conditions, from blizzards to hailstorms and more. Old windows are more susceptible to damage in the event of a windstorm or other serious winter weather-related event. The glass becomes increasingly brittle and cold, and getting them replaced will keep your family safe and comfortable all winter long.

Ultimately, there’s no bad time to get your windows replaced, but understanding the benefits of hiring window installation companies prior to the start of winter can help you make the best decisions for your home.

Energy Star Tax Credits: Which Home Improvement Projects Qualify?

energy star tax creditsTaxpayers who upgrade their homes to improve energy efficiency may be eligible for tax credits to offset the costs for those upgrades. Here is a basic guide of which home improvement projects qualify for the energy star tax credits.

Equipment upgrades

  • Solar panels, or photovoltaics, for generating electricity. The electricity must be used in the home.
  • Solar-powered water heaters. The water heated by the system must be used inside the home, and at least half of the home’s water-heating capacity must be solar. (Solar heaters for swimming pools and hot tubs do not qualify.)
  • Wind turbines that generate up to 100 kilowatts of electricity for residential use.
  • Geothermal heat pumps that meet federal Energy Star guidelines.
  • Fuel cells that rely on a renewable resource (usually hydrogen) to generate power for a home. The equipment must generate at least 0.5 kilowatts of power.

Qualified energy efficient improvements

  • Home insulation
  • Exterior doors
  • Home windows
  • Certain roofing materials

Residential energy property costs

  • Electric heat pumps
  • Electric heat pump water heaters
  • Central air conditioning systems
  • Natural gas, propane or oil water heaters
  • Stoves that use biomass fuel
  • Natural gas, propane or oil furnaces
  • Natural gas, propane or oil hot water boilers
  • Advanced circulating fans for natural gas, propane or oil furnaces

You can claim Energy Star tax credits for 10% of the cost of qualified energy efficiency improvements and 100% of residential energy property costs. With that being said, there are some limitations. Those include:

  • This credit is worth a maximum of $500 for all years combined, from 2006 to the present.
  • Of that combined $500 limit, a maximum of $200 can be for replacement windows.
  • The maximum tax credit for a furnace circulating fan is $50.
  • The maximum credit for a furnace or boiler is $150.
  • The maximum credit for any other single residential energy property cost is $300.

Replacing different features of your home can be costly at first, but it really pays off in the long run. This is especially true for new windows. When you replace your old windows with new ones, your energy bills will likely decrease a lot, saving you money every month. Then, you get to claim Energy Star tax credits on your income tax return for replacing your windows, giving you a higher return. Finally, homeowners can see up to 80% of their investment back when they replace their windows, according to the National Association of Realtors. So, you really win in many different areas just from replacing your old windows.

Why Are My Energy Bills So High?

install windows

Do you complain every month that your energy bills are too high? While it’s natural for your energy bills to fluctuate from season to season, there are some things that can cause them to be unusually high.

You need to install new windows
You might notice that your windows are old and drafty. This allows air to escape and means your HVAC unit needs to work harder to regular the temperature in your home. The simple way to fix this is to install windows that are new and energy efficient. Dual-paned windows are roughly two times more effective at retaining air conditioning and heat compared to single-paned ones. So, call some window installers to replace your home windows.

Your home needs to be insulated
So you’ve decided to install windows for energy efficency. Great! But if your home’s insulation is weak, you may face the same problem. When it’s hot out, it’s going to be hot in your house, and when it’s cold out, it’ll be cold in your home. This will also cause your HVAC unit to work harder to regulate the temperature inside. All you have to do is beef up your insulation and your energy bills should go down.

Your appliances need replacing
So, let’s say your windows and insulation are up to date and energy efficient, but your bills are still high. It could be because your appliances are old and inefficient. Your hot water heater, washer, dryer, oven, furnace, and dishwasher all suck your energy when in use, and if they’re old, they might be sucking a little too much energy. Look into getting newer, more energy efficient appliances to fix this problem.

You need to unplug things
Even when you’re not using them, your electronics are drawing electricity from the outlets when they’re plugged in. This is especially true for larger things like the coffee maker, a gaming console, or an air conditioning window unit. So, try unplugging things when you’re not using them and see if that brings your bill down.

If your energy bills seem unusually high, try testing your windows, insulation, appliances, and electronics to fix the issue. It could be something as simple as unplugging the gaming console when it’s not in use, or it could mean you’re getting all new windows.