Types of Replacement Windows and Materials- Tips For Choosing New Replacement Windows For An Old Home

When replacing the windows of your home it is important to be aware of your options. As a homeowner, one must consider a balance the appearance or esthetics of the home with practical factors such as heating and air conditioning factors.

Some of the types of windows include Bay and Bow Windows, Casement and Awning Windows, Double Hung Windows, and Round Top and Special Shaped Windows. A brief description of each follows:

*Bay and Bow Windows-Bay windows are made from a large window in the center with two small windows on each side. A bow window is constructed from multiple windows combined in a gentle curve patent.

*Casement and Awning Windows-These windows are constructed as “push out” windows or crank handle windows. These windows have a sleek and clean look with a top hinge and opening at the bottom.

*Double Hung Windows-These is an energy efficient choice with a classic look and a tilt element that allows the homeowner to clean with ease.

*Round-Top and Special Shaped Windows-If a homeowner has something special in mind, an architect or designer can usually help put it together. tips for choosing new replacement windows for an old home

The frame of any window can be made of a number of different materials or a combination of materials. These materials include vinyl, wood, aluminum, fiberglass, and -fibrex. Each component has advantages and disadvantages. Some of the choices and factors to consider when choosing the type of replacement window which works best for you are:


Being the most common of replacement windows materials, vinyl replacement windows are usually a good choice for most homes. As there is a good deal of space between the inner and outer surface of any window, the space between these areas are of concern due to the potential for heat/cold exchange with the outside world. The spaces inside a vinyl window frame are filled with an extrusion of raw vinyl into the space in the frame. This provided insulating properties which help keep the cool air inside the house in the summer months and the warm air inside the house during the winter months. Unfortunately, not all colors will be available when choosing vinyl replacement windows, but the benefits usually outweigh this drawback.


When looking for an esthetically pleasing choice many people choose wood replacement windows. Wood does require additional work in that the exterior sections often need a vinyl or aluminum covering (clad windows). When left to the natural elements wood replacement windows lose their beauty and often require additional upkeep. To avoid having to deal with maintenance, Painting, or wood treatments, the additional covering is often placed. Despite how attractive wood may be, it often ends up being more expensive than vinyl due to the long term care that will be necessary to keep the replacement windows looking their best.


Aluminum replacement windows are most often used for commercial buildings. Aluminum is a weak choice when it comes to insulation concerns as it allows a good deal of heat transfer. A homeowner that wants to reduce their heat/ac costs will not want to choose aluminum replacement windows. However, aluminum is not a bad choice for framing a wood window’s exterior.


In the past Fiberglass replacement windows had some drawbacks such as structural weakness and few isolative properties. Over time these drawbacks were reduced as the technology of the material improved. Using fiberglass cloth and epoxy resins, a strong and attractive replacement window can now be constructed. These windows may require additional painting if the homeowner chooses to do so for esthetic reasons. It is not uncommon for a wood window to be clad with fiberglass. If however a very large window is needed, fiberglass replacement windows are usually the best choice as they provide the additional strength that the other materials may not provide.


One unique option is a composite material made by Anderson Corporation is called Fibrex. Made from wood and epoxy resins the Fibrex replacement window does not need maintenance as it is resistant to degradation. It is not a clad window, but does have an attractive wood like appearance and can still be painted. Having all these benefits does cost though as these windows are more expensive than the other choices.