Replacement Windows

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What to Consider When Replacing Your Windows

Are your window frames are showing signs of wear, some rooms are drafty, or your energy bills are skyrocketing from old windows that are no longer energy efficient? No matter the reason you are considering window replacement, it is time to do your research and make sure that you get quality windows, installed properly by the right home remodeling company.

The good news is, replacing your windows can gain you more than curb appeal and comfort. A window replacement project can deliver approximately 73.4% return on investment based on Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report.

Even though replacing windows can seem like a straightforward project, it is still a major investment. Here, you will find everything you need to know before replacing the windows in your home.

Warning Signs that It’s Time to Replace Your Windows

While some windows have longer lifespans than others, realistically all windows will fail eventually. Windows energy efficient qualities are likely to last 10 years, sometimes longer if they are well maintained. If your windows are past the decade mark, consider the warning signs below. It may be time to call a window replacement expert.

High Energy Bills

When your energy bills are higher than average, your windows could be to blame. Older windows with single panes of glass are not energy efficient and don’t do much to block incoming light, heat, and cold.


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Drafty Rooms

If you have noticed that certain rooms never seem to be the right temperature, feeling drafty in the winter and humid in the summer, then there may be an issue. Older windows become drafty as they age, but even newer windows can have broken seals or air leaks that cause drafts.

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Rotting or Moldy Frames

Mold isn’t just unsightly; it can be a serious health risk. If you have wooden frames, they are prone to rot after years of enduring the elements. Plastic frames can also dry rot, becoming brittle with cracks and holes.

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Difficult to Open or Close

There could be multiple causes to a window being hard to open or close. If you have a wooden frame, it could be deteriorating. Depending on how old your home is, the foundation may have shifted. Finally, the windows may have even been painted shut.

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Condensation

If you have single-pane windows, you will likely see condensation on one side of the glass as they do not do a good job of keeping the humidity consistent. But double-pane and triple-pane windows can also form condensation between the panes when the seal is broken. If this is the case, your windows are no longer energy efficient and it is time for a replacement.

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Common Types of Windows for Your Home

From straightforward window replacement services to custom designs and unique accents, choose the best option for your unique home and budget, including:

Single Hung Windows

The bottom window panel moves up and down while the upper panel is stationary.

Double Hung Windows

Both the lower window panel and upper window panels move up and down and usually tilt out as well.

Bay Windows

These windows, consisting of a large center window and two sides that are set in an angled frame, extend from the exterior wall and create a ledge in the home.

Garden Windows

Similar to bay windows but smaller, these windows are meant for plants and can be used as a miniature greenhouse.

Casement Windows

Hinging on the sides or top, these windows swing out to open and usually come with a pane on the left and right.

Awning Windows

Hinged at the top, these windows swing out from the bottom and usually open and shut with a handle.

Picture Window

Fixed in one position, these windows do not have any breaks or visible frames allowing for an unobstructed and complete view.

Transom Window

A decorative accent window that usually comes in a semicircle but can also be square or rectangular.

Slider Windows

These windows are comprised of two sections of single panes that slide horizontally over each other to open and close.

The Difference Between Single, Double, and Triple Pane Windows

Homeowners have three options for the glass in their windows, single, double, and triple pane. Single pane windows are exactly what they sound like – one glass panel. However, double and triple pane windows have an additional element. Double pane windows have two glass panels that are air-tight and separated by a layer of gas. Triple pane windows are built similarly with three panels of glass and two gas layers.

In the Maryland climate, double pane windows are usually your best option. Single pane windows are less durable and do not offer much insulation. Single pane windows allow the most heat into the home during summer and out during winter, which could add significant cost to energy bills. In fact, many remodeling companies will not even offer single pane windows as an option. And while triple pane windows are the most energy-efficient, they can be overkill for the relatively mild climate in the Maryland area, while also costing more than double pane windows.

Estimating the Cost of a Window Replacement

According to Home Advisor, the average window replacement can be anywhere from $300 to $1,000 per window. So, estimating what you will pay for your window replacement is tricky. A professional window installer can look at your unique home and assess the right installation type, understanding your specific needs and working within your budget. But before you call a professional and get a quote, understand what can affect the price of your replacement windows and installment.

Window Style: The type and size of the window you choose will be the biggest factor in cost. For example, a basic single-hung window will cost much less than a large bay window.

Materials:
Vinyl windows are the most common as they are less expensive while still maintaining durability. However, wood windows are another durable option, it just depends on your aesthetic preference and budget.

Window Frame Replacement:
Are your window frames cracked, warped or moldy? They will also need to be replaced with the rest of the window.
Windowpane Types: As mentioned above, single, double, and triple-pane windows vary in cost. So, consider the energy-efficiency savings along with the price tag.

Labor Costs:
The cost of labor will vary by how difficult the replacement is and how many labor hours it will take.

Warranty:
A warranty will protect your investment, both the physical windows and the installment. It should come standard, so make sure to ask before work begins.

Proper Window Installation

While most windows will look similar in the end, proper installation will consider the size of the openings in your unique home. Many smaller contractors install “one size fits all” windows, meaning there may be gaps between the window opening and the physical opening. This approach requires filler materials around the edge to help seal the window, which poorly insulates your home. These windows may look great from the outside, but with subpar insulation, they lose energy efficiency. Additionally, the filler materials fail sooner, meaning you will have to replace them much earlier. At Brothers, we work with the manufacturer to ensure that the windows we install are custom made for the opening in your home. That way, your new windows not only look great but also create a seal that protects your home from outside elements.

On the other hand, specialized window companies are just that; they only focus on windows. While they will install custom windows, it is unlikely that specialized window companies will have the tradespeople and equipment to cut into your home’s siding to create a larger opening or a new opening for a window. If you have a project that involves cutting into your home’s siding, or creating a skylight, opt for a full-service remodeler. Full-service remodelers are experienced in all parts of the home and can do work on the windows, surrounding walls, and even the roof for skylight projects. They will consider your entire interior and exterior when planning a window replacement, ensuring that your windows work as an energy-efficient system along with your doors, siding, insulation, and roof.

How to Maintain Your Windows

Extending the lifespan of your windows is possible with proper maintenance. No matter the age of your windows, you should inspect them annually and make any repairs immediately to avoid further damage.

CLEAN YOUR WINDOWS AND WINDOW FRAMES

Your windows face the elements all summer and winter, meaning they can build up with grime, mold, and oxidation. For gentle cleaning, fill a spray bottle with one-part vinegar and two-parts water. Spray the frames and let sit for a few minutes, then wipe or gently scrub with a cloth or soft bristle brush. Spot clean any mold or oxidization with a specially formulated household cleaner, or a mixture of one quart of bleach with one gallon of water. Harsher chemicals can harm vinyl frames, fading them in appearance and making them look aged.

REPLACE CRACKED GLASS PANES

Aside from being a safety hazard and eyesore, as the strength of the windowpane is compromised when the glass is broken. A shattered windowpane negatively impacts your home’s energy efficiency and your energy bills. Additionally, if you have a single pane window, your home is directly exposed to the outside air. If you have a double or triple paned window, cracked glass will break the seal in between the panes allowing the gas to escape. Check the warranty on your windows and see if glass breakage is covered before you start the project.

CAULK AND SEAL WINDOWS

Inspect the areas around the window frame for any open cracks, holes, or seams that need to be sealed with caulk. These openings not only allow air in and out, decreasing efficiency, they also allow in moisture. And moisture leads to mold and mildew. In addition to caulking and sealing, you should also weather-strip around each window. New weather stripping can be purchased at your local hardware store and is relatively easy to install yourself.

We were delighted with every aspect of our roofing project. All of our questions and requests were responded to in a timely manner. It's seldom that we can highly recommend all aspects of a service provider, but this is the case of Brothers.
Walter Family, Middle River, MD
Fantastic company! Brother Service did a full roof tear out and replacement for us and the job was done expertly and there was no mess. Clean up was excellent and we are very happy with our new roof.
Schaefer Family, Harwood, MD
Workers were there at the time that was set. Did their work and completely cleaned and inspected the area prior to leaving. I didn’t even find an errant nail after they were gone.
Ron K., Bel Air, MD

Warning Signs that It’s Time for a Roof Replacement

Repair or replace? That is the question that homeowners often face when it comes to roofing problems. While repairs can extend the life of your roof, they’ll only take you so far.

At a certain point, you’ll have to decide that repairs aren’t enough and it’s time for a full roof replacement. The challenge is identifying when that is for your home. Waiting for an emergency to strike to invest in a roof replacement is a surefire way to overpay and rush your decisions. 

If you want to avoid the high costs of emergency replacement, keep an eye out for these key warning signs:

Understanding Your Window Replacement Warranty

Your window replacement company should offer a warranty on labor. This means that if the window is installed incorrectly, they should fix the issues at no cost to you. Additionally, if any damage occurs to the windows or your home during the install, that should also be covered. The window manufacturer will offer an additional product warranty. The manufacturer warranty should cover issues such as accidental glass breakage or hardware that malfunctions.

Before work begins, make sure to ask your window installer what kind of insurance they and the window manufacturer offer before investing in new windows. Brothers Services offers a 10-year labor warranty on installed replacement windows and a lifetime warranty on all parts, including accidental glass breakage.

Choosing the Right Window Replacement Company

With so many options out there, finding the right remodeling company for your window replacement can be daunting. As with any home improvement project, make sure that the contractor you choose is licensed and insured. If you are installing larger windows than your current ones, cutting into your home’s walls, you may need additional permits. Check with the contractor to make sure they will pull the permits for you. Finally, avoid any handshake agreements. While most window replacements are fairly straightforward jobs, you should still get a full scope of work and detailed proposal in writing before any work on your home begins.

Brothers replacement window installers have decades of experience working with all shapes, sizes, and styles of windows. From straightforward window replacement to custom designs with unique accents, the windows we install are custom made for your home so that they fit the opening perfectly. Our consultants help you find the right windows for your home, and our tradespeople get the job done right, the first time.

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Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt is by far the most common roofing material. These shingles can last anywhere between 15 and 20 years if properly maintained.

Not all asphalt shingles are created equal, though. First of all, you can purchase asphalt shingles with different impact ratings. Be careful in the decision-making process. Not every manufacturer will disclose impact ratings. If you can’t find an indicator of impact resistance and durability, it may be best to choose a different option.

With asphalt shingles, you also have to choose between architectural and 3-tab options:

 

  • Architectural Asphalt Shingles: These are heavier and more durable than traditional 3-tab options. The dimensional look can add a unique aesthetic to your home, boosting curb appeal and improving home value at the same time. You’ll pay more for this option, but you’ll get a longer warranty in return as well.
  • 3-Tab Asphalt Shingles: These flat, uniform shingles are the most basic roofing option you can choose. You’ll save a lot of money, but cheapest isn’t always best when it comes to roofing materials.
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Wooden Shingles and Shakes

In an ideal world, wooden shingles and shakes can last between 30 and 50 years. They’re usually made of cedar or redwood to improve fire resistance, but they’re prone to cracking if not properly maintained.

As a natural insulator, wooden roofing materials offer excellent energy efficiency but you’ll pay more upfront for wood versus asphalt. When considering wooden materials, you should also consider the added costs of maintenance. While asphalt is a generally low-maintenance material, wood has to be inspected and treated regularly to avoid insect infestation and rot.

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Metal

Metal roofing is gaining popularity as costs come down. However, the fact remains that steel, copper, zinc, and aluminum roof replacements come at a higher cost than more common options. 

With that added cost comes high impact resistance, little-to-no maintenance, high energy efficiency and a lifespan of up to 50 years. Not only that, but metal roofing is made of recyclable materials and 100% recyclable itself.

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Slate

Slate is one of the most expensive roofing materials available but has the longest lifespan. In some cases, a slate roof can last over a century. They’re fireproof, highly energy efficient, and essentially invincible in the face of heavy winds, hail, and snow.

However, these benefits come at costs beyond high prices. Installing slate roofing is a difficult task. Despite its weather resistance, standing on a slate roof can cause cracking. And worse yet, the significant weight of the material requires more intricate framing, adding additional labor and costs to your project.

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It’s Getting Old

If you have records of when the existing roof was installed, you can get a good idea of how long it should last. If your asphalt roof is over 20 years old, you can bet it’s time to start thinking about a roof replacement. However, the expected lifespan of materials alone isn’t enough. Variations in maintenance, ventilation, and other factors can impact lifespan, so it’s important not to lock into a specific number of years.
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Damage to the Shingles

It’s important to inspect your roof after serious, inclement weather. Hail, high winds, snowfall, and downed trees can damage the shingles on your roof, leading to cracks and leaks. On a small scale, repairs can keep moisture out. But if there’s extensive damage, you may need to invest in a roof replacement.
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Moss and Algae

Many homeowners grow overly concerned with rooftop moss and algae. While these may point to moisture problems, they’re really just cosmetic concerns. If those cosmetics are impacting your home’s value, you may want to go with a roof replacement. Most importantly, don’t try to power wash the problem away—you can do more damage that way.
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Spread of Granules

If you have an asphalt roof, the shingles are coated in granules to protect against damage from the sun. When the granules wear off, shingles take too much heat from the sun and can start to bubble/crack. Finding granules in your gutters or scattered on the roof can be a sign that it’s time for a replacement. Keep in mind that a brand-new roof will have loose granules. This is more applicable for mid-life roofs.
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The Deck Is Damaged

Roofing isn’t all about shingles. The deck of support beams that keep your roof intact is also important. If you see beams sagging or showing signs of water damage, it is time to replace your roof.
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Energy Bills on the Rise

There are many factors that impact a home’s energy efficiency. Your roof plays an important role. If energy bills are rising unexpectedly and you can’t find another cause, the roof may be contributing to the problem.
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Flashing Wear and Tear

Another aspect of the roof you want to pay attention to are the flashings around vents and chimneys. This material seals the seams to weatherproof the roof and keeps your home safe from water damage. (Note: if your home still has cement flashing, you should consider upgrading to metal).
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Warning Signs that It’s Time for a Roof Replacement

Repair or replace? That is the question that homeowners often face when it comes to roofing problems. While repairs can extend the life of your roof, they’ll only take you so far. At a certain point, you’ll have to decide that repairs aren’t enough and it’s time for a full roof replacement. The challenge is identifying when that is for your home. Waiting for an emergency to strike to invest in a roof replacement is a surefire way to overpay and rush your decisions. If you want to avoid the high costs of emergency replacement, keep an eye out for these key warning signs:

It’s Getting Old
If you have records of when the existing roof was installed, you can get a good idea of how long it should last. If your asphalt roof is over 20 years old, you can bet it’s time to start thinking about a roof replacement. However, the expected lifespan of materials alone isn’t enough. Variations in maintenance, ventilation, and other factors can impact lifespan, so it’s important not to lock into a specific number of years.
Damage to the Shingles
It’s important to inspect your roof after serious, inclement weather. Hail, high winds, snow fall, and downed trees can damage the shingles on your roof, leading to cracks and leaks. On a small scale, repairs can keep moisture out. But if there’s extensive damage, you may need to invest in a roof replacement
Moss and Algae
Many homeowners grow overly concerned with rooftop moss and algae. While these may point to moisture problems, they’re really just cosmetic concerns. If those cosmetics are impacting your home’s value, you may want to go with a roof replacement. Most importantly, don’t try to power wash the problem away—you can do more damage that way.
Spread of Granules
If you have an asphalt roof, the shingles are coated in granules to protect against damage from the sun. When the granules wear off, shingles take too much heat from the sun and can start to bubble/crack. Finding granules in your gutters or scattered on the roof can be a sign that it’s time for a replacement. Keep in mind that a brand-new roof will have loose granules. This is more applicable for mid-life roofs.
The Deck Is Damaged
Roofing isn’t all about shingles. The deck of support beams that keep your roof intact is also important. If you see beams sagging or showing signs of water damage, it is time to replace your roof.
Energy Bills on the Rise
There are many factors that impact a home’s energy efficiency. Your roof plays an important role. If energy bills are rising unexpectedly and you can’t find another cause, the roof may be contributing to the problem.
Flashing Wear and Tear
Another aspect of the roof you want to pay attention to are the flashings around vents and chimneys. This material seals the seams to weatherproof the roof and keeps your home safe from water damage. (Note: if your home still has cement flashing, you should consider upgrading to metal).