Replacement Windows – Evaluating Your Choices
Today’s replacement windows can make enjoying your Madison WI home easy.
Window replacement can change the character of a room in your Madison WI home.
Selecting replacement windows can be a challenge. There are scores of options to consider, everything from the many window manufacturers to the different new window replacement styles and materials.
When shopping for replacement windows, one good way to bring all the options together for an accurate comparison is to consider the energy efficiency the windows represent. No matter who makes your new windows or what they are made from, there are two energy-related components that are most critical:
U-Factor—measuring how much indoor heat escapes to the outside through the replacement windows. With U-Factor, the lowest number available represents the most efficient window replacement. This insulation factor is usually a range from 0.25 to 1.25
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC)—measuring the amount of heat from outdoors that enters to the inside through the replacement windows. Again, the lower the SHGC value, the better your new windows block heat from coming inside. This insulation is typically in a range of 0.25 to 0.80.
In Madison WI, these two considerations are key to controlling and improving seasonal heating and cooling costs.
Another measuring tool available to new window buyers in this area is the Energy Star rating system. Energy Star-rated windows are labeled based on climate in four U. S. climate zones so replacement windows found locally will be rated according to the zone for Southern Wisconsin. The ratings are also based upon the U-Factor and the SHGC and these will be shown along with the Energy Star rating.
Consider Style and Materials Available For Replacement Windows
There is a wide variety of styles to choose from and an assortment of materials to consider in selecting new windows for your home. Here’s a review of the most common materials –
Vinyl Replacement Windows—this material represents the largest portion of the replacement windows market and is available in a range of prices. It can be the least expensive, but may also fall into a mid-price range depending upon style of features.
- Pros: The most maintenance-free of the materials in window replacement; provides good insulation – especially when air cavities in frames are filled; are moisture-resistant. Higher end vinyl windows swell and shrink less with extreme temperatures and resist yellowing, cracking and warping.
- Cons: Colors and textures for new windows may be limited – some are paintable.
Wood and Clad Wood Replacement Windows—often considered “older” or standard, wooden windows are usually at higher price points than vinyl.
- Pros:Dimensionally stable, naturally insulating and aesthetically appealing. Treatments are available to increase durability and reduce maintenance, including exterior metal or vinyl cladding on new windows.
- Cons: Susceptible to moisture and insect damage. Typically among the most expensive material.
Composite Replacement Windows—blending the best of wood and vinyl.
- Pros: Constructed of wood and polymer to resemble wood. Frames have strength and insulating values of wood and the moisture resistance of vinyl. Frames may be textured, stained and painted.
- Cons: Virtually none
Fiberglass Replacement Windows—made from materials similar to car bumpers, are virtually maintenance free.
- Pros: Strong, durable and dimensionally stable; can be painted and molded to resemble wood; when air cavities are filled these replacement windows have insulating values similar to wood.
- Cons: Relatively new so availability may be restricted; on the higher price end.
Sims Exteriors and Remodeling are window replacement specialists serving the Madison WI area including Middleton, Waunakee, Fitchburg, Oregon Verona, McFarland, Stoughton, Cottage Grove, Sun Prairie, DeForest and all of Dane County.
Call or email Sims Exteriors and Remodeling – 608-825-4500 – for assistance in selecting the best replacement windows for your needs in Madison WI.