The good news about window buying is there is a vast variety of styles and prices at your fingertips. The bad news is that, with this, the choices may be overwhelming. But have no fear, Viva Windows is here! We will make sure you are fully informed to make any necessary decisions and are happy to help every step of the way.

These days, it’s all about energy efficiency. Capitalizing on the general market’s growing awareness, manufacturers have upped their game- which is to the consumer’s benefit, of course. Options including argon-filled double panes and low-E coatings have become more common, and the more companies that offer these features the more companies have to provide competitive prices which causes them to go down. However, unfortunately, some windows claiming to be energy efficient aren’t exactly on par with the standard consumers expect, so it’s important to look for the ones with an Energy Star label. These can reassure the average buyer that the windows meet the performance level set by the federal government. To meet this standard, they will assess the windows’ solar heat gain coefficient (how well it blocks sunlight heat transfer) and the U-factor (insulation value) to ensure they are both .30 or lower. These levels have been standardized by the National Fenestration Rating Council.

An important factor to consider while you’re browsing home improvements is cost. for a 3’x4′ double hung vinyl window with both low-E coating and insulating glass you’re looking at about $150 depending on your state. If you add a fiberglass frame and argon-filled triple glazing, that rises to about $400.

The most common type of window is vinyl, which dominates about 67% of the residential market. Vinyl is low cost, durable, and has a good energy performance, which is a great balance of three important qualities and draws consumers’ attention. It is practically indestructible, including resistance to insects and rot, and entirely unaffected by moisture. It does not conduct heat well, making it an excellent insulator. Another great plus is that it’s easy enough to install that DIYers can accomplish the task themselves with some determination, or the installation by professionals can often be a little cheaper. However, the downsides are that it can be less aesthetically appealing; it appears synthetic and the fusion-welded seams can be unattractive to some. The color choices are limited as well. If being eco-friendly is important to you, you should also keep in mind that the material can take a long time to decompose. But on the bright side, it won’t need to be replaced for a very long time.

Even though fiberglass is not very popular yet (only 3% of the current market) it is durable and maintenance-free which is quickly earning it a great reputation. The price is moderate in the grand scheme of window options, and it’s even stronger than vinyl (although about double the price of it). They do not warp, rot, or crack. They also come in limited colors, but they can be painted whereas vinyl ones cannot. Hollow frames with foam insulation increase their thermal performance.

Read more about wood frames versus aluminum frames.

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