By Mike Wood, CR, Callen Sales Manager and Exterior Product Specialist
You may have noticed a draft coming through windows, or maybe condensation. Your windows just might be old and in general disrepair. The question is should you get a full frame window replacement or just a window insert?
With a window insert, you remove the sashes and stops and put the new window inside an existing frame. While this is the least expensive way to go, use caution when choosing an insert.
With a window insert, the window will have less glass and also less light because the new window is inside the frame of the old one. It’s possible to lose an extra inch on each side of the sash. The problem of air leaks may not be addressed because although the window may be tight, the frame around it may not be. If the original frame is rotted or not square, a window insert instead of total window replacement will only result in more problems down the road. However, inserts are a good option if the window frame is in good condition with no signs of water damage and the opening is square.
With a full frame window replacement, the entire window, sashes, frame, stops, and intercasing are removed to the interior studs. This results in a secure anchoring of the frame to the house, better insulation and air sealing, and a plumb and square window so it opens and closes properly.
When looking at replacing windows, look at the products Low-E glass coating and its U-Factor. Low-E glass coatings reduce the heating and fading effects of the sun and can help keep your home cool on a hot day by blocking longer-wave radiant heat from entering. On a cold day, it can prevent the radiant interior heat from escaping through the glass. The U-Factor measures the heat transfer through a window and tells how well the product insulates. The lower the U-Factor, the greater resistance to heat flow (in and out) and the better it’s insulation value. U-Factor values generally range from 0.25 to 1.25.
There are also several different window replacement options:
- Vinyl is the least expensive and maintenance free, but color choices are limited. Also there are different qualities of vinyl – think good, better, best. At Callen, we advise to go with the “best” for long-term results.
- Wood is aesthetically pleasing, but requires maintenance such as scraping, painting, or staining, and is susceptible to moisture damage.
- Fiberglass is typically more expensive than vinyl or wood, but it is stronger, more durable, and more energy efficient. Fiberglass is the highest-quality insulating material for replacement windows.
- Aluminum clad: These have wood frames inside and an aluminum shell on the outside for low maintenance.
The most important part of window replacement, whether a homeowner chooses full frame or insert, is to get a qualified installer, a contractor with an established business. That installer is Callen.
To learn more about whether you should do a full window replacement, call Callen at 414-765-2585. We are the exterior remodeling company Milwaukee homeowners have trusted since 1986!