Replacement Window Comparisons: Don't Automatically Replace Existing Styles
March 30, 2011
Replacing worn, drafty windows is a great idea. Today's windows are beautiful, smooth-operating, well-insulated products. But don't automatically replace the type of window you now have--double-hung, casement, awning, or another--without rethinking whether that type works optimally for you.
Replacement Window Comparisons Reveal Customized Solutions
Different window types affect how and when you use them as well as cleaning issues.
- Double hung windows: Yes, they offer ventilation at the top and/or bottom. Pricier tilt-in models make cleaning safe and simple. The inside locking system is easy and positive. But ventilation on rainy days creates wet window sills and draperies. And the internal springs and ropes of double-hung windows, which raise and suspend the heavy sash, eventually need tricky replacements.
- Slider or gliding windows: These windows open by moving one sash sideways within parallel tracks. Slider windows are trouble-free if the tracks are kept clean, which is easy. There is no complex internal mechanism. For emergency exiting, they offer more head room than double-hungs. On drizzly days they can be cracked opened a bit if winds are mild. They're often used on one-story rambler, ranch-style and Southwestern homes. They usually have double locking hardware for a very positive, sealed closure. Small, wide slider windows are often installed below fixed panes for ventilation.
- Awning windows: These very versatile windows are probably not given adequate consideration. They're hinged along the top and swing out at the bottom. Awning windows can be stacked or installed above or below fixed panes. Awning windows keep out moderate precipitation even when cranked open. Some models permit disengaging the hinged arm to tilt the window inside--a great feature for cleaning upper story windows.
- Casement windows: A casement window is an awning window rotated for a left or right hinge. Unlike an awning, it can only be opened a small amount on rainy days without getting the sill and window treatments wet. On summer days, crank a series of them wide open for a sunroom effect. Some models allow disengaging the hinge for cleaning from inside.
- Center-pivoting windows: Rectangular, arched, and circular windows are all available with center pivots. The pivot may rotate either horizontally or vertically. Pivoting windows bring the outside in and turn decorative circular stained-glass window into a ventable window. Cleaning from inside is a snap even on steeply sloped lots.
When your replacement window comparison for window types is finished, study the benefits of fiberglass, clad wood, vinyl, and aluminum framing materials for maximum cost effectiveness. The monthly savings on utility bills and the freedome from hot and cold drafts begin immediately.