Replacing old windows can enhance the look of your home and make it quieter and less drafty. Many double-hung windows currently on the market are now easier to clean and maintain than older windows with combination screens and storm windows. Use our replacement window buying guide to learn which materials, types, and features are most important to consider. We also provide unbiased ratings to help you choose.
Top 12 Vinyl Replacement Windows
- Park Ridge Products basement slider window is the perfect choice for your new construction or remodeling...
- Park Ridge Products basement slider window is manufactured with a heavy duty extruded welded vinyl sash...
- Heavy-duty vinyl frame and metal hardware.Very easy to install
- Bottom sash tilts in for easy cleaning from inside your home
- Insulated glass keeps temperate air inside your house
- Fully welded main frame offers a weather-tight seal
- Editors of Fine Homebuilding
- Taunton Press
- Removing existing window shutters
- Installing customer-supplied window shutters with customer-supplied mounting hardware
- Prime Video, NR (Not Rated)
- Running time: 28 min
- White plastic construction
- Spring loaded design
- Vinyl Window Tilt Latch
- Left Hand and Right Hand
- White Plastic Construction
- Spring Loaded Design
- BUILT TO LAST - This Prime-Line sash lock is diecast constructed, creating a solid single unit built to...
- VERSATILE ADAPTABILITY - The single element sash lock can be used on both single and double hung vertical...
- Constructed from white plastic
- Spring loaded design
- For use on sash panels designed to tilt-in and down from the top for cleaning
- 2-3/4 in. wide x 11/16 in. deep x 3/8 in. thick
How to Choose Replacement Windows
How We Test
To find out which windows are best at keeping your home comfortable and dry, we tested double-hung windows for resistance to wind and rain. (We don’t test single-hung windows because they’re less common.) Working with an outside lab, we subjected the windows to heavy, wind-driven rain, and winds of 25 and 50 mph at outdoor temperatures of 0°F and 70°F. We found significant differences among brands.
Ways to Save
If your existing frames and sills are still sound and square, you’ll save money on materials and labor by using replacement units. They’re also known as “pocket replacements” and fit into your existing frames. If your frames are too old and deteriorated, you’ll need full replacement windows.
These include the frame, sill, jambs, and usually what’s known as a nailing flange, which attaches the window to the outside wall around the opening. Federal tax credits for Energy Star certified windows expired at the end of the 2016 tax year. But some utilities, as well as city and state programs, offer rebates or incentives if you buy Energy Star windows.
Finding an Installer
Even the best windows won’t deliver the look or comfort you expect if they’re installed incorrectly. Many major window manufacturers train and certify installers for their specific brand of window. Using the same contractor for purchase and installation can minimize the chances of problems arising later. Get multiple bids and look online for certification from the American Window and Door Institute or Installation Masters. Any bid you receive should include specifics such as window brand and model, number of windows, size, and type, plus any add-on features. Installation details should be noted, and labor and material cost broken out separately.
While the materials chosen for a window frame do influence its thermal characteristics, they play a much larger role in determining its physical properties, such as thickness, weight, and durability. Here are some of the most popular standard window frame options:
– Wood: Prized for their aesthetic value, wood-framed windows are sold in a variety of shapes and sizes. If properly maintained, they can enjoy a long life, rewarding energy-conscious homeowners with a high R-value (a measure of thermal resistance).
– Wood clad: If one downside of traditional wood-framed windows is their maintenance requirements, vinyl- or aluminum-clad wood windows offer the best of both worlds—that is, the warm appearance of wood on the interior and improved weather resistance on the exterior.
– Aluminum: Strong, lightweight, and durable, aluminum windows are considerably less expensive than their wood-framed cousins. The tradeoff between the two is not only one of style but also of performance: Aluminum is prone to condensation, which can in some cases lead to mold.
– Vinyl: A lasting, low-maintenance window material that resists moisture, vinyl costs less than wood, and although it cannot be painted, vinyl windows are available in a wide range of stock colors and a virtually infinite number of custom hues.
Different types of windows have different operating mechanisms and differently structured designs. Among the most common are:
– Double-hung or single-hung: Both feature two sashes in a single frame, but in a double-hung window, both sashes slide up and down.
– Awning: Opening outward from a top hinge, awning windows have one panel of glass and typically appear in conjunction with another window style.
– Hopper: Basement ventilation is the most common application of hopper windows, which are bottom-hinged and top-opening.
– Clerestory: Designed to admit abundant natural light, clerestory windows are usually deployed in a series along the top portion of high walls.
– Rotating: Popularly used to frame views, rotating windows boast uninterrupted glass panels that pivot partially open from a central axis.
– Arched: Also known as radius windows, arch-topped windows are typically fixed in place but are also available in operable styles.
– Bow: Composed of several same-size glass panels assembled into a gentle curve, a bow window projects outward from the wall, rather than sitting flush with it.
Choose a type of window that suits the architectural style of your home, and opt for size in proportion with the overall structure. Success means symmetry and balance; failure results in an exterior that never looks quite right. At retail showrooms, professionals are on hand to help you make decisions in keeping with your home’s architecture, your individual style sense, and your project budget.
For a custom look that doesn’t cost a fortune, stick with standard windows throughout, splurging on one or two standout designs for windows visible from the curb. Bear in mind that “standard” windows need not look run-of-the-mill. Extraordinary products—including round, arched, octagonal, Gothic, and elliptical windows—figure among the stock offered by mainstream manufacturers.