Spring is here — daffodils and tulips are poking their heads through the soil promising a burst of color to chase away the last thoughts of winter. The warmer weather has us thinking of renewal, rejuvenation, and yes, renovation!
Deciding on a home renovation is a huge undertaking, especially if you are also thinking of replacing your existing windows and doors. This important step should be done with serious consideration. To help with that, we have compiled a list of 6 essential points to explore when you are ready to plan your window replacement.
1. Do Your Windows and Doors Need Replacing?
There are many reasons to consider replacing your old windows and doors — it will be a significant portion of your budget — so this question is important to think about. One key reason for replacement is to increase the energy efficiency of your home. Windows and doors can be a major source of heat loss, so replacing them with modern, high performing products can significantly lower your energy costs. When choosing new windows and doors, look for those that are ENERGY STAR® rated for your climate zone. Window/door frames are made from a variety of materials including: metal, wood, fiberglass, vinyl, composites or a combination thereof. Depending on the materials used, the profile may have a low thermal expansion rate, have more than one chamber — multiple chambers increase insulation value and structural strength — and may be fusion welded to provide a permanent, leak-free connection. Other features that increase energy efficiency is the glazing (double or triple pane), gas fills used between the panes, the use of insulating spacers, (metal or foam), the kind of glass coatings, if any. The overall energy efficiency of windows and doors can be increased by combining a thermal resistant frame with high performance glazing. Ask your sales consultant to explain how their windows are designed to be energy efficient.
2. Where are the windows and doors manufactured?
Choosing windows that are made locally is a sound decision. — buying locally manufactured products supports your local economy, and you can be sure that your windows and doors comply to government regulations and standards and are designed specifically for your climate.
3. What type of windows/doors should you choose?
There are several different types of windows and doors that you can opt for, depending on the purpose desired. Some features to keep in mind are: security, ventilation, ease of operation, and maintenance. Ask your sales consultant to fully explain and demonstrate the window and door operation to ensure that you understand the working parts of the various products. Ask about the locking mechanism, basement/bedroom egress requirements, glass options, finishing choices, and accessories. Inquire about the lead time. The more information you have about your choices, the better equipped you will be to make the best decision for your needs.
4. What is the cost of the products?
Your replacement windows and doors are a big investment. Discuss the pricing structure with your sales consultant. Inquire if there are any government rebates or grants available that your purchase would qualify for.
5. What does the warranty include?
Ask about the warranty – most window warranties are similar in what is warranted and for how long. Some are transferable to new owners. Make sure you understand the warranty before you buy your windows, to prevent any surprises down the road.
6. Who will install your new windows and doors?
Does the company have their own installation team? The advantage of using in-house installers is that they will be trained in the best method of installing their own products.
It is extremely important that your windows and doors be installed properly for optimum performance. Ask for references from previous customers. Even the best windows and doors will not perform as expected and will result in loss of energy savings, if improperly installed. You may risk voiding your warranty if you decide to install the windows yourself.
When making a major purchase such as new windows and doors, it is worthwhile to be as informed as possible. Asking questions will help ensure that you will be satisfied and happy with your decision for many years to come.
Energy Efficient Windows, Doors and Skylights – National Resources Canada