Curtis Lumber - Taking the headache out of Home Improvement

Selecting the Right Window

There are two main categories of windows, new construction and replacement. In general, new construction windows are used whenever you will be stripping the wall down to bare studs and framing. Replacement windows use the existing window frame and insert into the opening.

New Construction or Replacement Windows?

Determining which type of window you need is straightforward. The following lists should help you figure out what is your best option. If you are still unsure, stop into your local Curtis Lumber and discuss your project. Our friendly salespeople will gladly help you review your options.

Choose New Construction Windows if...
- You are building a new house, adding an extra window, or building an addition.
- You will be removing the interior and exterior trim.
- Your existing windows are drafty, difficult to operate, and aesthetically unappealing.
- The frame of your existing windows shows signs of rot or deterioration
- Your window opening is not square, meaning one diagonal measurement varies from the other.
- You would like to change the size and/or shape of your windows.
- You are unwilling to sacrifice glass space

Choose Replacement Windows if...
- Your existing windows are drafty, difficult to operate, and aesthetically unappealing.
- You want to save your interior and exterior trim and have no intention of changing walls or siding.
- The frame of your existing windows is in good structural shape.
- Your window opening is square, meaning the two diagonal measurements are the same.
- You would like to keep the window the same size and shape.
- You realize that a replacement window has a smaller glass space than your existing window and you are willing to accept it.

Both types of windows can be used in conjunction with each other to achieve your goals.

Window Materials & Construction

Windows are available in a variety of materials to meet your demands. Whether you are looking for classic styling or modern convenience, there is a material available.

Wood - The traditional material for residential windows. Wood windows offer endless options in shape and style, because the material is easy to work with. Wood also makes a great insulator, so the frame will not transmit cold or warmth from the outside. The drawback associated with wood windows is that they require regular maintenance. Frequent painting and staining is necessary to prevent rot and keep your window aesthetically pleasing. Because wood has so many great properties, it is the common denominator in many of the clad window options. A good example of wood windows are Bonneville Windows.

Vinyl - Modern vinyl windows are inexpensive, durable, and energy efficient. Gone are the problems of the past with the advent of more stable vinyl. Today's vinyl windows are an excellent option for window replacement. They are virtually maintenance free, and never require painting. Vinyl windows are available in a variety of colors that permeate the material, eliminating the visibility of scratches and dings. Unfortunately, vinyl cannot be shaped into ultra thin pieces, so they tend to have a heavier appearance and more plastic than other types of windows. Good examples are Modernview and Silverline Windows.

Vinyl Clad - These windows take the advantages of wood and vinyl to create an aesthetically pleasing, low maintenance option. Vinyl Clad windows have a wood frame that is coated on the outside with a vinyl composite material to make them weather tight. This allows the inside to be painted or stained and gives the window all the insulating benefits of wood. The exterior is available in a few colors and has traditional styling because the structural component is wood. Andersen Windows are an example of a vinyl clad window.

Aluminum Clad - Almost identical to vinyl clad windows, aluminum clad windows are a wood frame coated with aluminum on the exterior to create a virtually maintenance free window. The aluminum is bent and folded over the exterior of the window to prevent weather from penetrating into the wood frame. The wood frame can then be stained or painted on the inside. Aluminum clad windows provide more options than their vinyl clad counterparts because aluminum can be painted in any color. This means that the exteriors can match virtually any exterior color scheme. Unfortunately, aluminum can be scratched, dented, and sometimes leak, causing water infiltration. Weather Shield windows are a good example of aluminum clad windows.

Different manufacturers make windows out of different materials. Because of this, you should determine what you want in a window before looking too hard. Curtis Lumber is the ideal place to get an idea of what type of window construction will work on your project.

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