It is safe to assume residents of Northern Virginia would agree that it is quite a unique area to live in. One of the major unique characteristics of Northern VA are the vast differences between the age and styles of homes which vary by county or city. For instance, many single family houses in South Riding were built in the late 2000’s and are often Craftsman style, whereas a vast majority of single family houses in Arlington were originally built in the 1930’s and are Cape Cod style types.
Up until the 1970’s, houses were originally built with single-paned windows, whereas double-paned windows became the standard in houses built during and after the 1970’s. Which means these Northern Virginia homeowners are typically spending a few hundred dollars a year more, due to the lack of insulation with single pane windows. In addition, homes built before the 70’s often had aluminum framing which conducts the heat and cold, leading to higher energy costs.
Not only can determining whether you need to replace your windows be a difficult task, but attempting to choose a framing material, glass type and manufacturer, it can feel very overwhelming very quickly. This guide aims to simplify the process by providing ways to easily spot issues that signal the need for replacement, the pros and cons of various window framing materials, an in-depth explanation of window glass types, and an easy to use chart when pricing out the cost of replacing windows in your home.
How Do I Know When I Really Need To Replace My Windows?
In some cases windows may not necessarily be costing money due to energy inefficiencies, but could potentially be costing homeowners who are looking to sell their home money by simply being visually outdated and aesthetically unappealing.
How To Spot Red Flag Window Issues
Some issues can be considered subjective in relation to window replacement, other issues are widely considered as red flags which indicate the need of replacing a window. When inspecting the overall state of your windows, it is important to keep these 5 red flags in mind.
Window Frames Are Rotting Or Warped
Not only do rotting or warped window frames look unappealing, but it is also indicative of water leaks and infiltration. Excessive moisture within window frames leads to possible mold growth, decline in operability and an increase in energy costs over time.
Depending on the severity of rotting and warping, these window frames can potentially be repaired. However, it is highly recommended a professional window contractor evaluates the state of the frames before any windows are replaced. Installing new windows on structurally unsound window frames can lead to the continuation of high energy costs and potential damage to the new windows in the event the rotting or warped frames give out.
Windows Are Hard To Open, Close Or Lock
In addition to compromising the safety and security of your family, windows that become hard to open, close or lock often means either the window itself has been damaged or the window frame is rotting, warped or damaged.
Since these functionality issues all stem from another underlying problem, it is recommended that homeowners replace the window and have a professional inspect the integrity of the framing as well.
Condensation Is Built Up In Between The Window Panes
Once a window starts showing signs of built up moisture or condensation in between the window panes, either the sealing of the window has failed or there are cracks within the glass itself. The purpose of window seals is to contain the insulating gas, which is the main proponent of making a window energy efficient, between the window panes.
Small cracks often means the window can be repaired, whereas the loss of insulating gas due to failed window seals signals the need for a complete replacement.
You Can Feel A Draft Coming In From Outside
There may be a few reasons why you are able to feel a draft through your windows, and it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact reason why. A common reason why homeowners experience “drafty windows” is due to simple wear and tear over the years. A majority of windows, especially original windows of homes built prior to the 1980’s, were simply not designed to last a lifetime. So it is normal for homeowners with older homes to experience drafts coming in through their windows due to decades of weathering and use.
Other root issues not directly related to age or weathering include improper installation, failed sealing or mold building up in or around the windows themselves.
Bugs Are Entering Your Home Through The Windows
Let’s face it, the majority of people would prefer to keep bugs and critters out of their home. But even if you are the select few who would openly invite these creatures in, the presence of bugs around your window sill means that either your window frames or the windows themselves have cracks in them.
Despite the types of bugs collecting around the window, the fact they are there at all means there is a crack or hole big enough for them to enter.
Is There Anything Else I Should Be Considering?
Short answer, yes there is! Existing damage to your windows is only half of the reason why you may be considering a full replacement. Not only should your home be functional, but the value of feeling pride in the aesthetics of your home and being comfortable in your home is equally important.
Improving The Aesthetics Of Your Home
New windows can improve the overall appearance of your home and elevate its style. In Northern Virginia colonial and bungalow style homes are popular. Replacing your windows and modeling the exterior casings off these styles is an excellent way to add personality to your home. There are many exterior casing options to choose from ranging from plain squares for subtle class, to elaborate crown molding to mirror traditional colonial homes.
Increasing The Value Of Your Home Before It Goes On The Market
If you’re looking to sell your house and know that it has older windows, considering replacing them is a step forward to increasing home value. Not only are brand new windows an attractive selling point, but the monthly savings gained from new Energy Star windows help increase home value. If you’re a Virginia resident, you can even get rebates through Columbia Gas of Virginia for installing Energy Star qualified windows.
Lowering Your Energy Bill
The majority of Northern Virginia houses built in the mid to late 1900s were equipped with single glass pane windows. Whereas the standard for houses built in the 2000’s typically have double pane windows, which allow for greater insulation and lower energy costs compared to single pane windows. For homeowners looking to maximize their home’s energy efficiency, triple pane windows can be installed to reduce energy consumption and loss.
Becoming More Eco-Friendly
Many homeowners are becoming more environmentally conscious, and are looking for areas to improve their home that align with their lifestyle. These eco-friendly homeowners should consider replacing their current windows with double pane windows or triple pane windows, with the option of adding Low-E glaze, which adds an additional layer of insulation and reduces the volume of ultraviolet light entering the home.
Reducing Noise Pollution
Loud noises are inevitable, especially in Northern Virginia. There are constantly construction sites in progress, highway noises, trains, kids, and loud pets, just to name a few. Although completely soundproof windows aren’t currently available for the residential market, there are noise-reducing windows that can greatly minimize unwanted noise from outside of your home. Noise-reducing windows not only offer you comfort in your home, but if you ever decide to sell they can increase the value of your home.
How Do I Choose The Right Frame Material & Glass Type For My Windows?
Types Of Window Frame Materials
When choosing your window frame materials, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind. Do you prefer a window frame which requires little maintenance and costs less, but isn’t the most eco-friendly? What about a window frame that is both eco-friendly and highly durable, but costs considerably more? Choosing the right window frame material may sound like a daunting task, but fortunately, we’ve put together a list of pros and cons so you can make the most informed decision based on your needs and budget.
Fiberglass window frames are the supreme window frame currently on the market. If you are in the market for high-quality windows that will last significantly longer than the average window, fiberglass is the way to go. Let’s look into the details:
- Energy-efficient: Fiberglass windows are the ultimate insulators. They will not transfer cold or heat and will expand and contract very little, making them less likely to form air gaps.
- Low maintenance: Due to this material’s durability, fiberglass frames do not require much upkeep.
- Paintable: Unlike vinyl, fiberglass window frames can be painted to match the aesthetics of your home, allowing for more customization.
- Durability: Fiberglass, unlike other materials, is weather resistant and can withstand extreme water temperatures, and will not rot, warp or crack.
- Costly: if you like all the benefits fiberglass frames have to offer, they do come at a higher price than other materials such as vinyl. However, fiberglass is still relatively less expensive than wood.
- Few color/design options: There are few options when it comes to the colors and design of fiberglass frames. However, this material can be painted to match your home.
If you are in the market for cost-effective and energy-efficient window frames, vinyl windows may be the best window frame option for your home. With vinyl windows, you will not have to worry about painting or staining the frame since they come ready for installation. Let’s dig deeper into the specific advantages and disadvantages of vinyl windows.
- Energy-efficient: Vinyl frames are great at keeping the heat out during the hot summer months and in during the winter. Making it a great option to keep your energy bills low.
- Affordable: Vinyl is known to be the least expensive window material in the market, but this does not mean they are not good quality. Vinyl frames are still very durable and will not rot.
- Low maintenance: The vinyl material can be easily cleaned with soap and water. Additionally, vinyl is almost 100% stretch free.
- Durable and strong: Vinyl windows will not rot or decay due to moisture or insect damage.
- Customization: If you are looking to customize the shape of your window frames, vinyl may not be the best option to choose from. Once the frame is manufactured, alterations and changes cannot be performed. However, customization can still be done with proper planning, but does come at a higher cost. In addition, vinyl materials can not be painted over. Therefore, if you are looking to paint your home, ensure you are getting a frame that will match your plans.
While wood-clad window frames are not as common today as they were in homes constructed in the mid-1900’s, many homeowners are still inclined to go the wooden window frame route. If you are in the market for the classic traditional-style home look, or own a colonial-style Northern Virginia home, wood-clad frame windows are a great option. With the many customizable advantages that these wood-clad window frames offer, there are a few drawbacks as well.
- Aesthetic: There’s a reason why all the other materials in the market try to mimic the look of wood. Wood is has a classic look to them and they are solid. Wood-clad window frames also come in a variety of different colors.
- Durability: If cared for properly, wooden frames last for many decades.
- Insulation: Wooden window frames are a great insulator, they will keep the heat in and the cold out.
- Adds Value: Due to the initial cost of wooden window frame replacements and the classic feel and look they bring to the home, this is a great way if you are looking to add value to your home.
- Costs: Wood clad window frames are among the most expensive on the market today.
Types Of Glass For Windows
Similar to window frames, there are a variety of window glass options available to meet the varying needs and wants of Northern Virginia homeowners. Whether you are looking for an energy-efficient glass, glass that offers noise reduction, or one that blocks UV light from the sun, there are ideal window glass options for you. Let’s dive into the common glass for windows, and the pros and cons they offer.
Insulated window glass is one of the most commonly used window glass types in Northern Virginia, which offers many benefits. Insulated glass comes in double-pane and triple-pane windows, and the panes of glass are separated with space filled with argon or krypton gasses. These gasses create insulation between each space, allowing them to block heat rays and be more energy-efficient.
Low-E glass is another great glass option that keeps heat in homes during the winter and blocks heat from entering the home during the summer months. This type of glass also blocks UV rays which have been shown damage skin, in addition to furniture within the home.
One of the greatest benefits of using tempered glass in your home are the additional safety measures that it brings. Tempered glass is treated with special chemicals that increase the durability and make them harder to damage or break.
Popular Window Brands To Consider
When deciding on which brand of window to use, there are a few things to consider such as the quality, cost, and design. To make the process a little easier we’ve categorized the windows selection into three categories, based on your overall budget and needs. Here at Adelphia Exteriors, we categorize window brands and relate them to car manufacturers, as it makes the differentiation between brands more relatable and easier to understand.
The Porsches Of Windows
If you are most interested in quality and design, and price is not a barrier, the following brands are the ones we recommend for you. In addition, the following brands offer the most customizable options for your buck.
Marvin (we recommend)
If you are looking for the top of the line windows, Marvin windows are an excellent choice as their unbeatable durability is able to resist all types of weather conditions. You will never have to worry about your windows cracking, peeling, fading and rotting again.
The Camrys Of Windows
If you’re in the market for high quality windows at an affordable price, the following brands are the ones we recommend for you. Many of these brands still offer a variety of styles, materials, energy efficiency and durability, just at a lower price.
- *VinylMax (we recommend)
- *Provia (we recommend)
- Thompson Creek
- Simonton (Home Depot Brand; 6500)
- Window World
The Kias Of Windows
We like to call the following brands the Kia’s of the windows because they are the most affordable windows in the market. We recommend these windows if you are trying to quickly replace old windows and have no interest in adding value to your home.
- *WinCore (we recommend)
- Ply Gem
- Jeld Wen
How To Price Out The Cost Of Replacing Your Windows In Northern VA
Pricing Based On Window Material
|Window Material||Price Per Window|
|Vinyl||$450 – $850|
|Wood||$750 – $1,500|
|Fiberglass||$650 – $1,500|
Pricing Based On Window Type
|Window Type||Price Per Window||Price Per Installation|
|Single-Hung||$400 – $550||$300 – $350|
|Double-Hung||$450 – $650||$250 – $350|
|Bay||$2,500 – $3,500||$1,000 – $2,000|
|Casement||$600 – $1,000||$250 – $350|
|Sliding||$450 – $650||$250 – $350|
To get a better understanding on how much you are looking to spend on your project, contact us at Adelphia Exteriors. We provide free window consultations, and can provide you with an accurate and fair estimate.
Frequently Asked Questions By Northern Virginia Homeowners
What Is The Average Timeline When Replacing Windows?
The window replacement timeline from start to finish can vary. It may take from a couple of weeks from the moment the windows are ordered to several months. As many are aware, the pandemic has impacted the production lines of many different products including the manufacturing of windows. Although, as the window manufacturing industry is slowly normalizing, we still like to be transparent with our clients and warn window orders can get back ordered pushing back the due date of the project.
However, once the windows are delivered and ready for installation the timeframe of replacing the windows is much shorter. Depending on the number of windows getting replaced and the type of windows the installation can take from one day to a couple of days.
Can I Stay In My House During The Replacement Process?
At Adelphia, our goal is to replace your windows as quickly and efficiently as possible, while still providing quality service and experience.
Homeowners can definitely stay home during a window replacement project. However, we do warn clients that it will get noisy, dusty and chaotic. We ask that the space is cleared for our contractors, so they are able to freely and safely work. For our clients with pets, we ask that all furry friends are placed away from the working area to avoid any accidents.
Do I Need Obtain Permits To Replace My Windows?
If your home is under the Homeowners Association (HOA), typically they require approval to make any changes to the exterior of your home. Window replacement does fall into this category.
There are a few factors the HOA committee looks into before approving or dismissing permits such as:
- Do the replacement windows match those found throughout the community?
- Will there be any additional construction to the project? Ie: enlarge the window space?
- If applicable, who is responsible for city permits?
- Who will be held responsible for any damages that may occur during the project?
As difficult and time-consuming it can be to receive approval from an HOA, it is still possible. When you are submitting your case to the committee, ensure you are providing a good cause as to why you need to replace your windows. Examples include fixing damaged windows, removing rot, increasing energy efficiency, etc. Additionally, take a look at the HOA’s approved vendors list. Complying with the vendors they work with can facilitate and expedite the approval process.
On the other hand, if your home is not under an HOA, the permits you may require are all dependent on your local building authority. For example, in Fairfax County, no permits are required for window replacements, in Prince William County, permits are required and in Arlington County, window replacement permits are not required unless you are changing the size of your window.
Reach Out To The Experienced Northern VA Window Replacement Contractors
After reading this guide, we hope the information was able to provide a little more clarity and confidence in your window replacement decisions. Regardless of your level of certainty, our experienced Northern Virginia window contractors are ready to help you choose the best options and start replacing your windows today! Give us a call at (703) 386-7357 or request a free estimate online today!