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How to Find Dream Windows for Your Home

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Whether you are renovating, adding a new addition or building a new home, one of the most aesthetically important choices you will make is selecting the right windows for your project. Windows add architectural detail to a home and significantly affect energy efficiency. There is a window style to fit every lifestyle and budget, so the choices are nearly endless.

First up, let the light in, making your home feel bigger and more cheerful! Placing a new style of window in just one or two key rooms can make a huge change in the visual appeal of your home; take a dark, unappealing room and add beautiful windows allowing lots of light to make it inviting and attractive.

There is a current trend toward larger windows, as well as adding very high wall windows and ceiling windows to add natural light. You can now purchase windows with “extra” efficiency due to a particular type of coating, and they can impact your energy bills and prevent wall paint, art and furniture colors from fading. Savings from using energy efficient windows could total as much as 10 to 15 percent of your current energy bill, according to industry experts.

“When it comes to window trim, vinyl seems not only to be the most popular, but also the most energy efficient and cost-effective. And, options have evolved to offer authentic wood interior laminate which can be stained and varnished to match interior woodwork. Also, bronze exterior colors are now being used to emulate old aluminum clad over wood windows that have failed or rotted,” claims Shane Hunter, Outside Salesman for Midway Wholesale in Topeka, Kansas.

Here are some suggested steps to finding the perfect windows for your home:

  • First, figure out how much you have to spend on your new windows, and decide if this is a DIY project or if you are going to contract it out. If you are going to contract it out, start interviewing professionals who specialize in window installation, as they know the ins-and-outs of the process, and are well-versed in all the options out there. Ask friends and family for referrals; you can use social media to ask a lot of acquaintances in a short amount of time. Get references and read online reviews for your “finalist” companies.
  • Regarding the budget, if several styles are going to be cost-prohibitive, there is no point to spending time pouring over the endless information out there. Once you know what you can pay, it will help you figure out what features are most important and which ones you can “pass” on. Hunter notes there are strategic ways to create a “richer” window look for less money. “Grids between the glass of various styles can add value to your purchase for a small increase in cost. You can also utilize different sizes of grids within the same window to add visual interest. Finally, create different configurations to eliminate windows in a given unit. For example, take a 4-lite quad unit and turn it into a triple with a large picture window in the center.”
  • Do your research and check out styles and options on specialty websites like HGTV.com and Houzz.com, as well as Pinterest to familiarize yourself with the vast array of choices available. 
  • Evaluate colors, finishes and hardware that appeal to you and “fit” with your home.
  • Think about what kind of opening options you want. A good way to do this is to stop by your local home improvement store or a window showroom, if available in your area. There is an added benefit to shopping in person: it will allow you to be familiar with how the windows operate and troubleshoot styles that you don’t care for before they are installed.
  • Explore energy-efficient options that enable you to customize your windows to help you achieve the maximum energy savings - including the number of panes in each window, size and the gas that is between them. Remember there are a variety of grid patterns available to accentuate the aesthetic appeal of your home. According to Hunter, there have also been many smart technological advances in several solar products for skylights, attic vents and even solar shingles.  
  • Make sure you check out new technology that can provide comfort, ease, security and energy savings, such as electronic between-the-glass blinds and window security sensors, both of which can be operated from a smart phone.

“When shopping around, stay clear of high-pressure sales pitches. Check out three reputable contractors for an apples to apples comparison. Always read the fine print on ‘lifetime warranty.’ A warranty is only good if the company is still in business,” advises Hunter.

Good luck and here’s to hoping you enjoy your new view and energy savings for many years to come!

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Categories: Smart Spending , Strategies for Saving , Your Home

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