So you’re building a new home and you’ve thought it all the way through.
Or so you’ve thought. Did you know one of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when building a new home is not thinking through lighting?
When building a new home light fixtures and outlets should be plentiful, but so should windows. Windows should be present in every room and as large as possible. And natural light should be the main source of light. That’s why it’s so important to spend time researching the windows you want for your new home.
We know researching new windows and navigating unfamiliar window terminology can be daunting, so we’ve broken down the window buying process into a few easy steps. Let’s go through each of these steps, so you can make an informed decision about the windows on your new home.
Six steps to buying windows for new construction.
Step 1: Do you want new construction or replacement windows?
If you’re building a new home you’ll probably want new construction windows. The main reason you should consider new construction windows is because they’re installed differently from replacement windows.
New construction windows are designed to be installed on a new home or an addition to a home. Unlike replacement windows, they come a with a nail fin so that the window can be nailed directly into the frame.
Replacement windows, also called retrofit windows, are designed for existing homes. These windows allow your installer to install your windows without removing any siding or other building materials from your house. Because this process is less invasive, retrofit windows can be installed from the inside of your home without removing any trim.
Step 2: Which window material is best for new construction?
New construction windows, like replacement windows, can be made from a variety of materials. Here are pros and cons of three of the most popular window materials, wood, vinyl, and aluminum.
Wood is the most traditional window material. However, wood windows tend to cost more than other window types.
Vinyl windows perform similarly to wood windows when comparing energy efficiency, but are significantly less expensive and require less maintenance. This makes vinyl windows the best alternative to wood windows.
Aluminum windows are the least expensive and are low-maintenance, but they also offer the least energy efficiency of any window material available.
To learn more about the differences between wood windows and vinyl windows click here.
Step 3: Determine the best window styles for each room of your home.
There are a number of different window styles to choose from for your new home. Below are the most popular window styles and the best rooms for each style.
Single Hung & Double Hung Windows
Hung windows slide up and down to open and close. Double hung windows have two operable sash (the part that moves and holds the glass in place). This means, unlike single hung windows, double hung windows can be opened from the top and the bottom. This design makes opening and cleaning these windows a breeze.
These windows are the most common window style and work well in any area of your home.
Casement windows, unlike the more traditional double hung or single hung windows, are hinged at the side. This means instead of lifting or pulling your window open, you can simply use the crank at the bottom to easily ‘crank’ open the window. Casement windows are a great option for hard to reach areas in your home, like above your kitchen sink.
Awning windows are hinged at the top and open outward. The crank handle on awning windows makes them super easy to operate and perfect for hard to reach places where you still want ventilation. The hinge at the top makes the awning window the only window style that can be opened when it’s raining. This makes awning windows ideal for those frequent and quick Florida rains because you can leave your windows open all day long without worry of rain getting into your home.
Bay & Bow Windows
A bay or bow window creates dimension. These windows project outward, creating a stunning visual display and add curb appeal to your home. A bay window can also add seating or storage inside your home.
Picture & Geometric Windows
Picture windows and geometric windows are fixed in the window frame, which means they don’t move. Because they don’t move or let any air flow into your home, they are the most energy efficient window styles. These windows come in any just about any size, shape, or combination you can imagine and are ideal for rooms where you don’t need airflow, but want an expansive view.
Garden windows look like mini bay windows that jut out from your home. They are typically found in kitchens above the sink because they offer lots of natural light and add more space.
Step 4: Choose energy efficient glass options.
The most important aspect of a new window is the glass package. Different glass options, such as gas fill, the number of glass panes, and Low-E, can all affect your window’s energy efficiency.
What is a gas fill?
Either Argon or Krypton gas can be placed in between the glass panes of your windows to provide greater insulation than just air.
What is Low-E?
Low-E is a film that is placed on the inside of your window panes. It helps reflect infrared light to keep keeping heat inside in the winter and outside in the summer. It can also help keep your carpets and furniture from fading.
Double pane or triple pane?
Is double pane or triple pane glass better? Triple pane windows are more energy efficient and are more resistant to condensation. This makes triple pane windows ideal in cooler climates where homes tend to retain higher levels of moisture in the winter months. However, they are more expensive than double pane windows, so in warmer climates, their benefits don’t always outweigh their cost.
ENERGY STAR Certified Windows.
If you’re looking for the most energy efficient windows for your region consider ENERGY STAR certified windows. ENERGY STAR is a government supported program that uses specific criteria to define what makes an energy efficient window. The guidelines are determined by measuring four different parts of the window: the glass, the gas, the spacer, and the reinforcement. The combination of these factors make up the ENERGY STAR performance level.
For more information about window glass options, click here.
Step 5: Consider custom style options for new construction windows.
Depending on the style of your new home you may want custom options for your windows. For example, if you want a bold pop of color on the outside of your home, you can choose from a number of different colors, such as chocolate, pine, or tan. Or, if grids are more your style, you may want to consider a perimeter grid pattern. There are a number of ways you can customize windows to fit your personal style.
See some of Simonton’s custom window options here.
Step 6: Send your window options to your builder.
Now that you’ve learned everything you need to know about new construction windows, what’s the next step? Start designing your windows with Simonton’s “My House” tool. “My House” allows you to organize the number of windows and window styles you want by room. And after you’re done choosing the windows you want you can easily send your choices to your builder, so they will know exactly what you’re looking for. Get started creating your new windows here.