What to Look For in Windows & Doors

victorian-patio-doorThere are a lot of options for windows and doors available out there in the world which can make finding what you need in something that you like can be a confusing task. Price may not always be the determining factor. The cheapest units you can find may not perform at the level you want. However, some inexpensive units may perform as well as, or even better than, higher-priced models. The best advice to keep in mind is that price is not always an indication of quality or performance.

Even though they cost more upfront it is strongly advised that you buy energy-efficient, high-performance windows rather than the standard double-glazed units. Many manufacturers are switching over their entire production line to produce only high-performance units so, in effect, there is no price differential as far as they are concerned. Today, the high-performance window is becoming the industry standard.

But even narrowing it down that far still makes the decision difficult. For example, some window manufacturers include low-E coatings in their standard windows, with gas fills as an upgrade, at higher cost, while others offer gas fills and special coatings as an upgrade. You need to figure out all the costs and some comparing before buying. It’s also good to do some research to figure out what types of coatings will make a difference.

Take a look at your budget and your needs (in terms of number of windows & features you need) and choose the windows that are as energy-efficient as possible within those parameters. Remember that some super high-performance windows may cost considerably more than normal high-performance windows.

There are a few other decisions you’ll have to make too. Be sure to consider the pros and cons of framing materials, as well as the maintenance required and the durability of hardware. Windows are a long-term investment.

Assess samples before choosing your materials. Be sure to take the following features into account before making your final decision.

• Fixed or operable windows?

• The type of glazing will affect how energy efficient the windows are and also how much light will pass through the window.

• The insulating properties of the windows will be affected by frame material. Compare strength, maintenance requirements, price, and longevity of the window.

• You may have to give up some energy-efficiency for price. Don’t feel bad about it; just make sure it fits in your budget.

• Lastly, look at warranties. They vary by manufacturer, check them out before making your final decision.