When choosing windows for your home, it helps to keep in mind where they’re being placed and what they’re being used for, as well as how they will look. Here’s a short guide to finding what you want.

Replacement Windows vs. New Windows

Replacement windows fit into the existing frames on your house. If the frames are in good shape, you might be happy with replacement windows. New windows include a new frame. New windows allow you to change the shape, size and style of your windows. They don’t cost more than replacement windows, but more labor is involved in their installation.

Window Styles

  • Single-hung and double-hung windows are the most common household windows. Double-hung windows have an upper sash that slides down and a lower sash that slides up. With single-hung windows, only the lower sash moves up.
  • Casement windows swing open on one hinge, which can be vertical or horizontal. They provide excellent ventilation in small spaces that may be hard to reach.
  • Sliding windows have panels that slide along a horizontal track. One or more panels is usually fixed in position.
  • Fixed windows that do not open are often used as accent windows to let in light and to show off a view.

Window Materials

  • Wood is a popular material for windows. Wood insulates and resists condensation well. It can be painted or finished in any color.
  • Clad-wood windows are wood on the inside. On the outside, they are clad with a tough, weather-resistant material, such as vinyl. These are popular on modern homes and easy to maintain.
  • Aluminum windows are durable, light and easy to handle. Insulating layers prevent heat loss and condensation.
  • Vinyl windows are less expensive and less durable than other windows.


Safety can be an important consideration. Tempered glass crumbles when broken and is a good choice for windows near the floor or ground.

Additionally, windows are a source of heat loss. Double-glazed windows are much more efficient at preventing heat loss than single-pane windows. Triple-glazed windows are even more efficient but heavy. Energy-efficient glass with a low-E coating reflects back heat from the sun in summer and keeps heat in the house in winter.

Take into consideration your needs for ventilation, natural light and temperature control. Choose windows that provide the style and the practicality you want for your home.

Image by George Rex and licensed through Creative Commons.




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