New Construction Windows: Three Ways the Best Saves You the Most

April 01, 2011

The best new construction windows will save you money now, while you live in the house, and if you sell your home. But the best new construction windows for your Naples, Florida, home will be a different choice from a home in Eau Clair, Wisconsin. And the best windows in San Jose, California, will be a different choice from either of the two other cities.

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Factors That Affect New Construction Windows Choices

Fortunately, labels on residential windows at your windows display room help you make your choice. And dealers won't carry windows suitable for Fairbanks, Alaska, in a Tallahassee, Tennessee, showroom. But you'll still have choices. Visit window showrooms so you can specify to your general contractor the quality you need and want. Here's what you'll need to consider when selecting the best windows for your home:

  1. Frame materials. Choices include vinyl, aluminum, clad wood, and fiberglass. In a really wet, humid climate such as Ketchikan, Alaska, or New Orleans, Louisiana, maximizing resistance to swelling of the frame materials, and minimizing the potential for dry rot, termites, and repainting will save you many problems and expenses down the road. In a comparatively dryer climate such as Salt Lake City, sure, buy clad wood windows that have vinyl or aluminum on the exterior and natural wood exposed inside.
  2. Glass. Choices include double and triple panes with either air or an inert gas sealed between them. Low-E coatings (low-emissivity) and thermal break material are other very important options. In mild climates double panes with air between them may be perfectly adequate. In more extreme climates, or if you have large windows, triple panes with an inert gas sealed between them are desirable for energy efficiency. Inert gases are more dense than air and insulate better. Metal thermal breaks (the material separating panes) are undesirable almost anywhere, as they facilitate condensation and readily transmit heat and cold. Low-E glass coatings vary by climate. They are microscopically thin invisible metal layers that reduce heat gain or cold infiltration very effectively.
  3. Style. Awning windows (top hinged) allow some natural ventilation even in a wet climate. They reduce the chance of precipitation damage to sills and interior drywall better than double-hung or sliding windows. A protective porch roof allows styles that might otherwise be undesirable.

The window installation process greatly affects even the best windows. Be on hand. Inspect for insulation gaps. Match your exterior door quality to that of your windows, and you'll enjoy savings, comfort, and maximum resale value. Purchase ENERGY STAR windows by December 31, 2010, for a tax credit up to $1,500. You can save now--and save later, too!

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