Window replacement is advertised aggressively in Austin. Many older homes are being updated, remodeled, especially with the higher home values with the hot home market. The bigger name companies lead the field in TV and radio ad time. They can afford it. (That’s one of the items we will discuss later.) When you are thinking about your windows, replacement often appears to be more of a wish-list item. I almost always hear people say, “We’d like to replace our windows, but….). So how does one decide? Unless you have won the lottery, or are refinancing your mortgage, cost is an important consideration. At the same time, it may not be as expensive as you will be quoted by some of the bigger names. I’ve seen quotes of $150,000 that we would do for $50,000 on a big home. That’s also a big number, but you can see something of the price disparities that are out there. Get a quote from a reputable littler guy who is from around here, lives and pays taxes here.
What types of windows are there? The most common are either aluminum (anodized) or vinyl windows. There are lots of varieties of each to choose from–double hung, tilt sash, casement, etc. And there are plenty of things to discuss about those two. Vinyl windows have gotten a lot better. Not long ago I would not recommend vinyl windows as a replacement option at all. Now many of the new homes being built in nicer subdivisions have vinyl windows. Many were damaged in the recent hail storms with the big rains in the spring, but they are the window of choice by many builders. Hail is an issue for vinyl windows, and many contractors do not know how to do those frame repairs. The result is that contractors are then telling the homeowners that they need to replace those windows entirely. It’s not hard to replace the new vinyl windows, but it is more expensive than needed.
Aluminum replacement windows are still a good option. You can now buy them with a thicker grade aluminum, and a thermal break in the frame, which increases energy efficiency. The general public has less questions about aluminum windows because they have been in use for the longest period of time. They are reliable, durable, and prettier today than in the past.
The third window group is the most expensive–the wood and wood clad window. The nicest homes will have something in this category. They are a rare replacement choice because of the expense, but are a great looking and performing product.