How to Pick New Windows: A Window-Buying Guide to Help You Understand Your Options

A window buying guide

In the market for new windows? You probably already know that all windows are not created equal. There are a variety of features and styles to consider when choosing new windows, and it can all get pretty confusing. To help you figure out how to pick new windows, we’ve created a window-buying guide. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Construction: There are a number of different materials that are used to construct the frames of windows, but the main types are wood, fiberglass, aluminum, and vinyl. Depending on your climate and budget, as well as the type of look you’re after, you’ll be able to narrow down the kind of window construction that best meets your needs. The better the frame, the higher the likelihood that it will last a long time without seals failing, sashes warping, or components breaking. Add that to a high-quality frame’s insulative properties, and you can understand why a splurging on better frames makes sense. Here is a run-down of framing types:
    1. Vinyl: these window frames are very affordable, and while they don’t offer the best insulation, their thermal properties can be improved by purchasing insulated vinyl. They require very little maintenance and come in a variety of styles.
    2. Wood: this kind of frame features a natural, sustainable material that can be painted or stained, adding to its warm appeal. Wood also offers excellent insulative properties.
    3. Fiberglass: fiberglass windows can be pricey, but the last a very long time, offer superior insulation, and require little to no maintenance. They are also very flexible and durable.
    4. Aluminum: this low-cost window framing material is especially useful in hurricane-prone areas due to their impact resistance.
    5. Hybrid frames: hybrid frames are becoming increasingly popular, as they combine the best features of various framing types. While they usually cost more, they are usually worth the cost due to their combination of highly desirable features.
  2. Glass: along with frames, the glass is the most important component of a window, since it covers so much surface area. At least two panes of glass are now standard, due to their safety profile and energy efficiency. While energy-efficient claims run rampant in the window-business, and don’t mean much on their own, you can and should look for R-values (insulative values) as well as look for the Energy Star seal. It generally doesn’t make sense to combine the best glass with low-quality framing and vice versa, because the two work in tandem to reflect heat in summer and cold while letting in the light. That said, unless you live in a very cold or very hot climate, good-quality low-emissive (Low-E) glass will probably suit just fine.
  3. Style: Most window types can be made in a huge variety of styles to suit your home’s aesthetic and add visual appeal. Not only can they be stylized to mirror your home’s design (from period to contemporary and everything in between), they also come in myriad shapes. To boot, you can choose how or if windows will open, if they should be fitted with insect screens, and whether they will have grilles or other decorative elements. Handy features like tilt-in frames, removable screens, and grilles encased in the glass itself can make washing those windows a snap. Depending on the features you choose, the cost of your windows will likely increase, so you’ll need to weigh these convenience and aesthetic features against your budget.

Now that you’ve reviewed our window-buying guide, we hope you feel more better equipped to tackle the topic of how to pick new windows. Regardless of the new windows you think you’ll choose, we hope you’ll consider contacting G.J. Keller and Sons to discuss your options and get a complimentary price quote. We work with some of the best manufacturers in the business, including Andersen and Marvin, and we’ve been working on homes in the northern NJ area for over 35 years! Give us a call at 973-927-0963 today!