Replacement Windows Buying Guide

window wise government rebates

When it’s time to replace worn out windows or you want to update the look of your home you should do some shopping first. There are lots of options for new windows from standard off the shelf versions to custom order.

As we discussed in our previous article, windows – a replacement guide, there are some basic things to look for. The key is to match the style of your new windows to the style of your home. You will also want windows that are energy efficiency. Remember to look for windows with the energy star rating. These are not only a smart choice they might even be eligible for a government program to rebate some of the cost. Ease of operation and maintenance factors are other key considerations.

Consider your budget, your home's style and how you want the windows to perform. Think about the importance of ventilation, privacy, security and ease of maintenance. Decide whether you want to emphasize the windows as decorative focal points or have them serve a purely practical purpose.

The Basics

Windows are typically designated for new construction or replacement. A window for new construction may be a little different. For example a vinyl window has a nailing flange or trim that allows you to secure it in the rough opening of a wall. A replacement vinyl window doesn't have a nailing flange. It's secured in an existing window frame with fasteners that run through the window assembly, making it easier to install. When updating your existing windows, you typically use replacement windows unless the existing frame around the opening needs replacing.

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If you are only replacing a few or single window you might want to match the existing trim. You can order your new window without the trim and use the old trim from the existing window. There are many options you can consider like extending the jamb to make it easier to trim. Or perhaps you are interested in adding window grilles and other accessories. Your chosen building material retailer or window shop can help with these choices.

Windows are either operable (can open) or fixed (cannot be opened). There is at least one sash — a sheet of glass and a framework of vertical stiles and horizontal rails — in a window. A pane is a single sheet of glass framed in a window. As you have learned modern windows have thermo-pane glass . Glazing can refer to either the glass in a window or the process of securing the glass into the framework.

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Window Types

Now that you have familiarized yourself in the various materials and pros and cons of each with our article on replacing windows.  You are ready to look at the various styles and types. Check out the graphic below and the description of each type: 

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Hinged at the top and open outward. Because the sash closes by pressing against the frame, they generally have lower air leakage rates than sliding windows.


Hinged at the sides. Like awning windows, they generally have lower air leakage rates than sliding windows because the sash closes by pressing against the frame.


Fixed panes that don't open. When installed properly they're airtight, but are not suitable in places where window ventilation is desired.


Hinged at the bottom and open inward. Like both awning and casement, they generally have lower air leakage rates because the sash closes by pressing against the frame.

Single and double-hung

Both sashes slide vertically in a double-hung window. Only the bottom sash slides upward in a single-hung window. These sliding windows generally have higher air leakage rates than projecting or hinged windows.

Picture + Fixed

These are fixed panes and are typically a single sealed unit. There is a slight difference to a fixed unit that maybe used together with other operating types. The frame on a picture window is usually smaller to maximize on the view.

Other Styles and Types

There are variations on these basic types too. For example there are lots of applications for glass block windows. They provide light and add privacy without the need for curtains and window coverings. There are also various accent windows like octagons and oval windows. You might have a Bay or Bow window or perhaps a picture and casement combination.  The developments in window manufacturing techniques and materials allow almost any design you dream up come to life. These can all add a touch of character to your home and décor.

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Window Styles

Now that you are armed with some information to start you shopping process let’s talk style. It’s a good idea to get outside from a good vantage point. Take some pictures for reference and to add to you project file. This will be a great addition to the before and after shots you will want keep.  

Having a look around your neighbourhood at other home styles is a simple way to get a feel for this. We want to avoid you getting caught in a sales trap of buying the wrong window for your homes style. For example if you have a craftsman style home. The quintessential window is the double hung version with colonial grills. However today there are casement windows that replicate this style nicely.

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The Location of your Home

We have talked about the construction, materials, types and styles. You should also give some consideration to where you home is located. Depending on the typical weather in your area of the continent will factor in. For example if you are in a northeast coastal environment your top priority might be energy efficiency. So perhaps considering a triple glazed thermos-pane unit will be a priority. If you happen to be on the pacific with milder climates. You may be trying to maximize your view and passive solar impact. Either way, taking some time now to consider you options will help in the choosing process.

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Project Costs

When you install new windows there are many benefits. From improved performance and energy savings to increasing the value of your home. Whatever the reason for your choice, replacing windows is a substantial job that can be expensive. A single window replacement, depending on the size can cost $750.00 to $2,500 per window. Of course the size of the home, type and quality of the windows will all factor into the price.

Probably the most difficult decisions to make are when it comes to choosing the right style and materials. We encourage you to seek out advice form professional and independent sources and not just window providers. Whatever the size and scope of your projects we are here to help with advice and the tools to get your job.

As in so many home renovation projects, this can be sometimes overwhelming. An easy way to ensure you are on track is to use free home improvement project software. It works as your home renovation binder allowing you to keep everything and anything about your projects organized in one place no matter where you shop or which company you work with and it is also accessible from any device!


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