Living area of a spacious home with new windows

Are you feeling a draft? Do you have fog or condensation between the window panes in your home? Are the frames around your windows rotting? If you answered yes to any of these, it may be time to update your windows.

With so many choices out on the market, the decision to purchase replacement windows shouldn't be made without thorough research. After all, this investment is a once in a lifetime expense and shouldn't be regretted after the fact. Not sure exactly what type of replacement windows to buy? Below are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for replacement windows.

Safety First

If you have young children or pets in the home, consider investing your money in double-hung windows. Not only are they the most popular window in the United States, but they're also the safest. Now, that's not to say that single-hung windows aren't safe, both are safe designs. However, the difference between the two is in their operation.

Only the bottom half/sash opens in a single-hung window, leaving room for safety hazards. With a double-hung window, you can leave the top sash open while closing the bottom sash, allowing cool, crisp air to come in without the worry of an unfortunate accident.

Functioning Properly

Replacement windows are beneficial if your current windows don't function properly. If your windows don't lock or aren't strong enough, they aren't safe from burglars or severe weather. Having energy-efficient windows installed can play a pivotal and essential role in home safety.

The Architecture of Your Home

When selecting replacement windows, you'll obtain the biggest return on investment if you match the window type with the architectural style of your home. Also, take note of how light and heat enter your home. Depending on where your windows are located and what, if anything is blocking them, will determine how much money you'll save on your utility bill. According to Energy Star, a typical household will save between $27 and $465 a year by switching to energy-efficient windows.

Once you've taken into account the structure of your home, now you'll need to decide what features you want in your windows. While this may seem distressing, think long-term goals.

Compare Frame Materials

Vinyl is the most popular frame material because it's easily manufactured while still maintaining beneficial properties. If strength and cost is your primary concern, aluminum frames may be a good choice. If you're uncertain about which frame material is best, it's important to know the advantages and disadvantages of each because they function differently with age.

Some of the most common frame materials are:

Vinyl (PVC)

Advantages: Energy-efficient | Least expensive Disadvantages: Weaker material = Thicker frame | Expands and contracts | Deteriorates over time


Advantages: Inexpensive | Thin, solid and strong Disadvantages: Very low energy-efficiency | Not very durable


Advantages: Thin | Doesn't expand or contract | High energy-efficiency | Durable Disadvantages: Expensive


Advantages: Thin | High energy-efficiency Disadvantages: Deteriorates over time | Expensive


Advantages: Beautiful | Natural | High energy-efficiency Disadvantages: High maintenance to preserve durability | Most expensive


Advantages: Low-maintenance Disadvantages: Water infiltration = Problem at seams if not caulked


Hiring a reputable contractor is best when installing replacement windows. Not only do they have access to high-quality manufacturers, but they're also insured, trained, and up-to-date on best practices. Even the most expensive window won't perform effectively if it's not installed properly. The installer makes the difference.

While many replacement windows look comparable, the truth is, there's a big difference when it comes to price and performance. Researching replacement windows may seem like a lot of work, but knowing you did your due diligence makes the investment that much more rewarding.

For a complete start-to-finish replacement window project that'll help improve your energy efficiency, reduce your utility bills, and increase your comfort level, contact Graves Bros. to arrange for an onsite evaluation or call 585-288-3390 today!