There are plenty of practical and aesthetic reasons for updating the windows in your home. If they’re starting to look a little out of date, you can completely renew the look of your space, add significant curb appeal, all while upping the energy efficiency of your home and saving on heating and cooling bills.

The benefits of new windows are clear, but it can be a little overwhelming to choose from all the styles, materials, and features that are now available on the market. Also, windows are a feature of your home that should last up to 20 years, so you want to make sure you feel good about your decision. Here are some tips to help guide you through the process.

1. Get your terminology straight

One of the first questions you are likely to encounter when shopping for new windows for your home, is whether you would like new or replacement windows. Of course, your inclination might be to say, well of course I want new windows!

Here is the difference:

  • New windows are usually installed when the homeowner wants to change the size or shape of the current window opening and put a completely new window in its place. This generally requires the work of a contractor to complete the installation and surrounding carpentry.


  • A replacement window, on the other hand, simply involves removing the old window without disturbing the surrounding trim or frame, and inserting a new pane that has been designed to fit the existing opening.

If the frames of your windows are still in good condition and the current trim enhances the overall appeal of your home, it is generally considered wise to go with replacement windows. Although new windows don’t necessarily cost more in and of themselves, you will have to pay for the additional labor and installation, substantially adding to the overall cost.

2. Find the perfect style

The four most popular style of windows can be broken down into four categories: single or double hung, casement, awning, or slider windows. Single and double hung are what you see in most homes, they consist of two separate sash (the actual pane of glass in the inner frame), which open or close by sliding up or down.

A single hung window opens from the bottom only by sliding up, while a double hung window can be opened from either the top or the bottom. Casement windows usually use a leaver to open a large pane that is hinged vertically and can open by swinging outward.

Awning windows are hinged at the top and open by tilting toward the bottom, these are a popular choice for bathrooms. Finally, slider windows open by moving back and forth from side to side. These are great when you’re dealing with limited space outside that would make it difficult to swing a window fully open.

3. Select the right glass

Advanced technology has opened up a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to window glass. In addition to choosing the number of panes, you also decide on the distance between them. You can also choose special features like low emissivity glass, which has a virtually invisible layer that acts to reduce the amount of heart that can flow through the glass itself.

You can also invest in impact resistant glass, which may crack is met with substantial force, with will not shatter or spread glass shards. This can also be a good option for homeowners dealing with extreme weather conditions, as it stands up beautifully to even the fiercest of mother nature’s elements.