How to Select New Windows for Your Home

Whether it's replacement windows or windows for a new home, you don't want to make your choice too hastily. Homeowners today have a number of options for their new home windows, including choices about the frame material, the glass itself, and the overall style. Since you probably need to live with your windows for years to come, note a few tips on how to select just the right option for you.

Frame material

Wood is very traditional but is probably the material that requires the most maintenance, and carries the most risk for damage. Even when sealed, wood can allow in moisture that leads to rot and mold, and which softens the wood so it may get warped. Wood windows need repainting regularly as well.

Vinyl is a very affordable and lightweight option so that you don't need to worry about the overall structural strength of your home, if you're enlarging a window frame to add in new windows. It also requires virtually no maintenance. Fiberglass frames are stronger than vinyl and they are often stamped to have an artificial wood grain, so they may be more attractive; however, fiberglass may be more expensive than other options, so your budget may be a concern.


Don't be surprised if you're asked to choose the glass for your windows when shopping; single pane glass is very outdated and rarely used, whereas double panes or double glazed windows are more popular because they offer more insulation. Low-E glass has an invisible coating of metal on one side to help with thermal insulation and to deflect harmful UV rays from the sun. Double glazed windows are usually filled with a gas like argon or krypton for maximum insulation, although you might choose air as a filler to save on costs. Air won't insulate as well as a gas, but the added glazing of the windows can still help reduce your heating and cooling bills.


When choosing a style, note how much of an uninterrupted view you want out the window. A casement window is in one piece and it opens with a crank that directs the piece inside or outside the house. A double hung window has two pieces, one on top of the other. The top piece can slide down and open so you get more ventilation into the home, but the spacer bar between the two pieces does interrupt your view. An awning window slides outward from the bottom so the window pane forms a type of awning over the open window; these are good for very rainy climates where you may want to open the window but keep the rain out as well.