There are a number of factors that motivate homeowners to consider window replacement. Deciding when to invest time and money into this project can be challenging, so let’s look at this checklist to see if it’s time to replace your windows:
☑ Operation: Are you having trouble opening them? Once open, are they loose? Can you close them without resetting the hardware track? Do they lock properly?
☑ Maintenance/structural integrity: Do you have to repaint them annually? Is the wood beginning to rot or has mold started to grow? Are casement windows sagging and difficult to open and close?
☑ Condensation: Do your windows collect condensation on or between panes of glass? Does water pool along the bottom edge of the window? Has the glass lost its seal and allows the window to fog up?
☑ Air leaks: Is the room drafty? Can you feel cold or hot air flowing around the frame? Have your energy bills increased over the years because you’ve had to turn up the thermostat or turn down the air conditioning to keep your home comfortable?
☑ Overheated rooms/faded furniture: Clear glass windows provide no UV protection and your only recourse is to block the windows with curtains or other treatments. Do you notice a marked temperature difference in rooms where the sun shines through? Is upholstery or wood furniture faded from years of sun damage?
☑ Age: Are your windows more than 15 years old?
If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, it’s time to start researching your options and this window replacement guide can help.
Window replacement options
The experts at Ecoline Windows, an established Canadian window manufacturer, explain the different options available for replacing your existing windows.
Only the glass and window frame are replaced. This type of installation is less expensive because it uses the same frame as the previous window. It also takes less time and maintains the previous style of your home. It does not address any structural issues. The opening must be rot-free and square. Window sizes may vary slightly from your old windows, so you may need to make some adjustments to trim.
The entire window, framing, jamb, trim, and brick mould is removed and a brand new window is installed. This will give the contractor an opportunity to evaluate the structural integrity of the building, while looking for rot, mold or insect infiltration. You also have an opportunity to reframe and change the window size if you want.
If you choose the retrofit replacement option, you’ll be limited to the window style you presently have. However, a full-frame installation allows for a wide variety:
- Casement (operable and fixed): These tall, narrow styles open outward by hand or a crank mechanism, or can be stationary. They offer excellent ventilation and can provide a lot of natural light.
- Awning: Opens from the bottom for good ventilation, maximum light, and easy accessibility. It can be opened in most weather conditions while still protecting the interior of your home.
- Slider: Can be combined with movable and stationary sashes or a combination of both. Some tilt in for easy cleaning.
- Hung: Stacked square sash can be configured to include a single movable sash or two movable sashes. This style has a larger glass area and most tilt in for easy cleaning.
- Bay (operable): This style is often used to provide additional floor or seating area inside the room. They are usually made up of one large, fixed window and two angled casements.
- Bow: To create a bowed effect, four or more casement windows (fixed or operable) are cantilevered away from the building in a curved shape.
The main reason homeowners cite for replacing their windows is to improve energy efficiency. To attain the maximum effect from your new windows, you’ll want to follow ENERGY STAR® guidelines established for your Climate Zone.
Natural Resources Canada has set guidelines for the minimum energy efficiency required for residential windows. By purchasing windows that meet the recommended efficiencies for your zone, you’ll be saving energy, lowering your utility bills and reducing environmental impacts.
Ask your contractor what efficiency elements are required for windows installed in your Zone. When you compare new windows to your current ones, you’ll notice a few upgrade options such as:
- Double or triple pane glass provide significant thermal-insulation properties.
- LowE (low-emissive) glass coatings block harmful UV rays and reduce heat loss.
- Argon and Krypton gas are injected between glass panes to lower heat transfer.
Window replacement costs
Window replacement costs are based on several factors including the type of installation (full frame or retrofit), style of windows, upgraded features and time of year.
While the average cost for all new windows is approximately $10,000+, according to the Appraisal Institute of Canada (AIC), that home improvement alone can provide a return on investment of 50% to 75% when you sell your home.
Even if you’re not ready to move, replacing outdated windows can help you reduce your home’s energy loss by as much as 20%, representing a significant savings on your heating and air conditioning bills.
You may also qualify for utility incentives, low-interest loans, contractor financing packages, or discounts for doing the work during slower winter months. Whether you conduct a whole house window replacement or one at a time, this home improvement project is a smart investment and well worth the time and money.
It’s also important to note that one benefit of buying a new preconstruction home is that you will have new windows that will last you years and years, and most builders strive for ENERGY STAR qualification.