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Ultimate Window Buyer's Guide

Get the FactsAbout Replacement Windows

We understand buying replacement windows can be a daunting task. Our Ultimate Buyer's Guide will equip you with everything you need to make the best decision for your investment. Download your guide today.

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Ultimate Window Buyer's Guide

Top 10 Tips for Buying Replacement Windows

Buying replacement windows for your home can be overwhelming. With so many options available, do you know what to look for or what questions to ask? We have put together an educational buyer's guide to help you do just that.

Our Ultimate Window Buyer's Guide provides 10 important tips to consider before you buy. Learn what to look for in quality replacement windows and get helpful tips and advice to aid you in the decision making process. Once you have a good idea of what the buying process is and what questions to ask, you’ll be ready to research your window options.

1. Research and Compare Window Companies and Brands

What Questions Should I Ask When Researching Window Companies?

Buying Replacement Windows Tip - Review Background, History and Online ReviewsMake sure you're working with a well-established, reliable and reputable window company. Review their background, history and read their online reviews. When talking to a window company, be sure to ask the following questions:

While these seem like simple questions, you may be surprised by the answers you receive from other window companies. Many window companies don't make or install the windows they sell. Ask for references, check out their online reviews and ultimately, find a company and a brand you can trust. Learn more about how to search for replacement windows online as well as other key factors to look for during the initial process.

Tips
  • Do your research
  • Ask questions about manufacturing and installation

2. Compare Replacement Window Costs

Should I trust $189 Window Prices?

In today's market, there are several window companies touting a sweet price of $189 or less, per window. Be careful when choosing these companies.

The $189 price is misleading, because it often represents a smaller-than-average window size or a lesser quality product. Many times the price only covers a partial window installation and not the complete job.

Once you select window options and the window installation is complete, the actual cost ends up being several times the advertised price!

When it comes to buying quality windows, you get what you pay for. Need help researching replacement window companies? View our window company comparison chart for more information on the top brands in the window industry. Windows are an investment in your home, and if you want a product that is going to look great, perform and last longer, expect to pay a little more. Learn more about what goes into the price of a window and what you should expect the cost to be.

Replacement Window Price Comparison
Builder / Construction Grade Windows $$+
Stanek® Premium Quality Windows $$$+
Ultra Premium Architectural Windows $$$$+
Tips
  • Window prices of $189 can be misleading
  • You get what you pay for

3. Choose the Right Replacement Window Style

What Should I Consider When Choosing a Window Style?

Most window companies offer a variety of window styles to meet your individual needs and match the unique style of your home. These styles may include double-hung, bow, bay, sliding, awning, casement and custom shape windows. Visit a showroom and see for yourself which styles are best suited for your home.

You should always consider any obstacles that could inhibit the use of the window in your room and the outdoor space it faces. For example, a double-hung window over a kitchen sink may be more difficult to operate than a casement window, which simply cranks open.

Whether you need windows for a new construction project or windows to replace your old ones, keep in mind that there are only a few companies that offer custom designs and shapes to fit your unique needs. Other important considerations when choosing a window company include color options and hardware finishes. Some companies offer a very limited number of options, while others, like Stanek Windows, offer limitless combinations to create the window perfect for your home.

Double-Hung Windows

Double-Hung Windows Learn More

Sliding Windows

Sliding Window Learn More

Awning Windows

Awning Windows Learn More

Casement Windows

Casement Windows Learn More

Bow & Bay Windows

Bay Window Learn More

Custom Shape Windows

Custom Shape Windows Learn More
Tips
  • Consider function when choosing a window style
  • Ask about customizable options

4. Choose the Right Replacement Window Material

Should I Replace My Home Windows with Aluminum, Wood, Fiberglass or Vinyl Windows?

If you're replacing old windows, now is a great time to consider options for different window materials. Wood windows, although beautiful, are prone to swelling and rotting, and requires regular maintenance to maintain its appeal.

Aluminum windows tend to oxidize and can form condensation or frost inside a window when it is cold outside. Aluminum doesn’t hold heat in well, so this material may not be the best choice in cold climates.

Fiberglass windows need to be painted, can chip over time and are the most expensive window type. A fiberglass window frame also has less insulation than a vinyl window frame, which may lead to air, water and dust infiltration in. Over time, fiberglass windows tend to weaken at the corners of the frame.

A typical vinyl window frame may be foam-filled to help with insulation but will lack structural integrity. However, Stanek vinyl replacement windows are built to last, using FIBERMAX® and a fusion welding process, which is the strongest and most energy-efficient way to construct a window frame. Premium vinyl windows are a great choice if they are fusion welded and made with reinforced uPVC. Unplasticized PVC, or uPVC, is eight times more impact resistant than plasticized PVC and has one-eighth of the expansion and contraction potential. When you compare the look and feel of quality uPVC vinyl to plasticized vinyl, you can see and feel the difference in quality.

Our Stanek vinyl windows are also available in a variety of interior and unlimited exterior colors to complement your home. If you like the look of wood but don’t like its upkeep, consider a woodgrain vinyl option. Woodgrain offers the look of real wood without the maintenance headaches.

Tips

5. Consider the Quality of Your Replacement Windows

What is the Importance of Having a Quality Window Frame and Sash?

Your replacement windows should be custom made to fit your openings precisely without the use of expansion pieces or fillers. The openings should not need to be altered unless you plan to change the style or size of the window.

Window frames and sashes should always be reinforced. If windows are not fully reinforced, the sashes will sag and warp over time, resulting in leaky windows that don't lock properly. The sash is the part of the window that holds the glass in place and is surrounded by the frame. Sashes must be multi-chambered, fusion welded, and reinforced on all four sides with a material that does not conduct heat or cold.

Beware of foam-filled windows! The foam fill does not add any structural support and offers very little in the way of insulation value. Learn more about window sashes and why they are important for your windows long-term performance.

Casement and awning windows should also have fully reinforced frames. A full, four-sided reinforcement will ensure your windows won't distort over time. Again, look for multi-chambered, fusion-welded designs, which increase strength and thermal efficiency.

Tips
  • Make sure the windows are made to fit your openings
  • Ask about full structural reinforcement for strength and stability

6. Understanding Energy-Efficient Window Ratings and Terms

Understanding Replacement Window RatingsWhat Terms Should You Know About Energy Efficiency Windows and Ratings?

The more energy efficient and sturdy the window, the higher its cost, due to the materials and technology needed to manufacture the window. However, the energy costs you will save throughout the life of your energy-efficient windows will offset the initial cost of the windows many times over.

What makes a window energy efficient? According to ENERGY STAR requirements, an energy-efficient window is typically made of quality frame materials, multiple panes, Low-E glass, gas fills and warm-edge spacers to reduce heat transfer.

What is an energy efficiency rating? The efficiency of a window is measured according to the U-Factor, solar heat gain and design pressure of the window. Learn more about each of these terms below:

  • What is the U-Value/Factor of a window? The U-value/factor is now the industry standard by which an entire window or door unit is rated. U-value rates how much heat is lost. The lower the number, the more energy efficient the windows are.
  • What is solar heat gain? Solar heat gain, or SHG, refers to the increase in temperature in a space as a result of solar radiation. Windows with a low solar heat gain value offer increased energy efficiency and will keep your home cooler in the summer.
  • What is design pressure? Design Pressure, or DP, is an important value that rates a window against wind and water loads. The higher the number, the stronger the window is. If you live in an area that is prone to high winds and heavy rain, this rating is key.
Tips
  • Understand the meaning of window ratings
  • Know the long-term benefits of good ratings

7. Window Ratings: Certification Labels to Look For

What Window Performance Ratings Should I Look for When Replacing Windows?

Labels from the American Architectural Manufactures Association, National Fenestration Rating Council® and ENERGY STAR® indicate that a window has met important performance requirements. These certifications are important and are intended to provide unbiased facts that homeowners can use to evaluate different window products.

When shopping for windows, don't accept a verbal promise that a company's windows are certified. Ask to see documentation of the certification and make sure each window you are planning on purchasing has a certification label affixed to it. Unfortunately, some companies will test a modified window for a "high performance" label, but unless the window you purchase has the certification label attached to it, it isn't certified and may not be the same window that was represented during the sale.

Replacement Window Performance Ratings

Tips
  • Ask to see certification documentation
  • Make sure your windows are labeled

8. Installing Replacement Windows: Ask About the Process

Who Installs the Windows?

While most homeowners spend hours researching replacement windows, they tend to leave out one crucial consideration – the installation.

The window installer is just as important as the window manufacturer, and in many cases they are different. If a window isn't installed correctly, it will perform poorly and may not be covered under warranty. Most window companies don't cover problems they believe are caused by installation. This can cause drastic implications and leave you with an ill-performing window.

Be cautious. Some window companies do not install their own windows and hire other companies or contractors for this work. If your windows are installed incorrectly, they will not deliver the same aesthetic appeal due to sagging or cracking window frames. They also won’t deliver the same level of comfort due to air leaks.

Tips
  • Ask who installs the windows
  • Make sure the installation is covered in the warranty

9. Ask About the Window Warranty

Why is it Important to Get the Window Warranty in Writing?

A warranty is only as good as the product on which it is placed, and only as good as the company providing it. Insist on reading a copy of the warranty. Make sure the window installation is covered, and don’t accept verbal promises! If you don't have it in writing, then you probably won't have a guaranteed warranty.

If there is a warranty claim, find out who will service the product– the manufacturer, the installer or the dealer -if they happen to be different. If the warranty is a manufacturer's warranty and the company you purchased windows from is not the manufacturer, find out how to schedule service in case any issues arise.

Tips
  • Ask about the warranty
  • Find out what is covered

10. Window Samples: See the Window in Person

Why is it Important to Request to See a Sample Window and Not Just a Brochure?

Some window companies try to sell you their products from a brochure, which doesn’t offer you the full user experience of the window. Insist that you see full, working window samples so you can examine the window completely before it is installed in your home.

When inspecting the samples, open and close the window and test the locks. Since you will be using your new windows almost daily, it’s essential that you like the way the windows look and operate before you buy them.

Remember, new windows should be a one-time investment for your home.

Tips
  • Ask to see actual window samples, not just a pretty picture
  • Test the sample: open and close, test the locks, etc.
Window Company Comparison Checklist

Download this FREE checklist and use it as a guide when comparing multiple window companies. Your window shopping just got easier!

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Stanel Windows Catalog