You’re about to embark on building a new home. Congratulations. It’s an exciting time, as well as a busy one. The many tasks can have you feeling a bit overwhelmed at times, and possibly overlooking some critical elements. At Chase Lumber, we certainly understand. So, for this blog we focus on a crucial aspect of your new home that, believe it or not, often receives less attention than the flooring, countertops, cabinetry, trim, or fixtures. And that’s the windows. Yet, once windows are installed it’s more expensive to replace them than it is to do so with countertops, fixtures, etc. So, it’s imperative that you work with your contractor to budget for your windows appropriately, so you get the windows right the first time. And below are some tips to help you reach that goal.
1. Your Window’s Energy Efficiency
Especially in Wisconsin where one season can be 90 degrees and another 9 with every kind of variation in-between, energy efficiency is a crucial aspect to consider when purchasing new windows. Look for windows with high energy ratings, such as those certified by Energy Star, for example, an excellent choice is Marvin windows. These types of windows are designed to minimize heat transfer, keeping your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Double or triple-pane windows with low-emissivity (low-E) coatings and gas fills between the panes provide exceptional insulation and help reduce energy consumption, too, leading to lower utility bills and a reduced carbon footprint.
2. Your Window’s Style and Design
Windows are not just functional they also contribute to the overall architectural style and aesthetics of your home. Consider the design, shape, and size of the windows that will complement your house’s exterior and interior. Choose a style that suits your personal taste and enhances the visual appeal of your home. Popular window styles and functionality include casement, double-hung, sliding, awning, and picture windows. Additionally, pay attention to the frame material and color options to ensure they align with your desired look and maintenance requirements, as well as the size of the framing (will the framing size decrease the amount of glass and, thus, light coming into your home?).
Additional considerations: For kitchen windows and bathroom windows, make sure they are operable and not just for letting light in. This allows you to better control air quality when cooking, showering, etc. Also, consider adding a window in a closet where possible. Natural light helps you see the colors of your clothes better (think black vs navy blue socks).
3. Your Window’s Durability and Maintenance
Windows are a long-term investment, so it’s important to choose ones that are durable and require minimal maintenance (again, especially in Wisconsin). Different window materials have varying degrees of durability and maintenance needs. For instance, vinyl windows are known for their low maintenance and resistance to rot and fading, while wood windows offer a timeless aesthetic but require regular upkeep. Fiberglass windows are highly durable and can withstand extreme weather conditions. Consider the lifespan of the windows, their resistance to weather elements, and the ease of cleaning when making your decision (especially if building your forever home).
4. Your Window’s Noise Reduction
If you live in a noisy area, consider the soundproofing qualities of the windows you plan to purchase. Look for windows with good acoustic insulation, which can help reduce external noise and create a more peaceful indoor environment. Double or triple-pane windows, with air or gas, fills between the panes, can provide effective noise reduction. Additionally, windows with laminated or thicker glass can further minimize sound transmission. Be sure to ask about the Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating of the windows you are considering, as a higher rating indicates better soundproofing capabilities.
5. Your Window’s Installation and Warranty
The quality of window installation is as important as the quality of the windows themselves. Improper installation can compromise the performance and longevity of your new windows. When selecting a window supplier or contractor, ensure they have a solid reputation and experience in window installation. Ask about their warranty policies and the coverage they provide. Reputable companies often offer warranties on both the windows and the installation, providing peace of mind knowing that any potential issues will be addressed promptly and efficiently.
If nothing else, we hope that what you take from this blog is the first rule of purchasing windows for new construction: pay attention. Be involved from the start, research and consult with professionals, then work with your contractor to make sure that what you want and/or need is negotiated in the budget. To begin that process stop into your local Chase Lumber and speak to one of our window experts. With so many top brand options available at both Chase Lumber and our partner, Bliffert Lumber and Hardware, helping you understand your options and choosing what’s best for your new home is what we’ve done for decades. Because getting your windows right the first time will keep you happy and satisfied for a long time.