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Getting The Most For Your Money: Choosing Replacement Windows For Your California Home

Aug 17, 2007
For years, homeowners have had two main materials options to choose from when purchasing replacement windows; wood and vinyl. Recently, a newer, more modern material called Fibrex has emerged as well, creating 3 strong options for window replacement materials, but which is the right choice for your California home's replacement windows?

Analyzing Window Replacement Options: Wood, Vinyl, and Fibrex
When you're considering making a significant upgrade in your home such as replacing windows, there are several critical factors you'll want to consider before finalizing a choice: insulation, appearance, longevity, and cost.

Insulation:
Homeowners normally replace their windows with the intent to better insulate their home from weather and noise and also to improve the look of their home. As far as insulation is concerned, dual paned windows far outperform single pane windows time and again. However, there are different types of dual pane windows available and it's important to choose those that offer the best insulation quality.

An effective dual pane window functions as an insulator system and its value is more than just the sum of two panes of glass. For example, the Low-E4 glass that is part of a Fibrex window uses a patented low-conductivity spacer between the 2 glass panes that minimizes thermal transfer to better insulate from heat, cold, and sound. No only does the Fibrex dual pane system work effectively, but when installed, these windows can reduce energy bills by up to 25%.

Aesthetics:
In terms of improving aesthetics, beauty is in the eye of beholder. Generally, the look of wood windows tends to be considered more elegant than that of vinyl, and is generally found in more upscale neighborhoods. However, wood windows require more maintenance than many people realize and have a tendency to rot or warp over time.

Because of this, Fibrex, a material composed of wood fiber and thermoplastic polymer that has the look of wood windows, has become a very popular option in upscale homes. As an added benefit, the strength of the Fibrex material allows windows to have 35% more glass surface than that of wood or vinyl, another feature that many homeowners find highly aesthetically pleasing.

Longevity:
Understandably, many homeowners never consider the lifespan of different types of materials before purchasing replacement windows. However, every type of window has an average lifespan. This is where the three different window materials really begin to differentiate. Vinyl frames have a tendency to warp over time, thus resulting in window leaks. This is especially the case in California where a cycle of hot daytime temperatures and cool nights can really wreak havoc on a vinyl window.

Wood windows on the other hand don't have the exact same problems as vinyl windows, but are susceptible to rot and decay. Additionally, wood windows, like other wood products, require maintenance in order to function as intended over a long period of time. Providing the best of both worlds is Fibrex, a material that looks and acts like wood in strength, but is impervious to rot and decay, and resists expansion and contraction in heat or cold which greatly increases longevity.

Cost:
Assessing cost can be a tricky practice, especially when it comes to home repairs. Out of pocket costs are one factor, but so is the percent of the cost recouped upon the sale of the home, maintenance, longevity, and the enjoyment factor. In terms of out of pocket costs, vinyl windows are the least expensive to purchase and install. However, wood and Fibrex recoup a proportionately higher percentage of their cost at sale time. Factor in longevity, and the actual cost of each type of window actually inverses to where Fibrex claims the lowest overall cost, followed by wood, followed by vinyl.

Window technology has come a long way since single pane aluminum windows were the norm. Today's windows are not only more attractive, but insulate from weather and noise better, require much less maintenance, and greatly increase the resale value of a home. Before you purchase your replacement windows, look around online for specials. Oftentimes, window replacement companies offer huge money saving discounts that can shave thousands of dollars off the cost of your project.
About the Author
Author is a writer for Hall's Window Center. For more information about

replacement windows in California
visit
http://www.hallswindowcenter.com.
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