Advice on buying new windows

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Swing style: Among the products offered by Gilkey Window is this Euro inswing with a designed casement window. The interior is vinyl with an oak look and matching oak interior trim stained to match the customer's home. It also features top venting , and a simualted divided lite grid pattern. | Supplied photo

There are several factors to consider when you are in the market for new windows.

While price certainly is one factor, there are other, equally important, elements to consider before spending your hard-earned dollars on making your home both aesthetically pleasing and energy efficient.

“People really should educate themselves on the various products, warranties and companies out there,” said Dave Canino, general manager with Chicago Ridge-based Gilkey Window Company. “When purchasing new windows, don’t be fooled into believing that ‘energy efficient’ has the same meaning from product to product.

“There is so much more to it than that,” he said.

Canino said consumers should consider four components before buying new windows.

Regulating heat

“The first thing you need to consider is how well the window keeps heat inside your home in the winter,” he said. “You also want to know how good the window is at keeping heat out of your house in the summer.”

Canino said the use of different types of glass serve specific functions.

“Some people prefer the performance of a triple pane glass system for the south and west sides of their home. This approach blocks out the summer sun while insulating against heat loss from the winter cold,” he said.

Canino said homeowners might consider using high-performance double-pane glass on the north side of the home to allow as much light as possible while maintaining a high degree of thermal efficiency.

What if you live near a busy intersection or a train crossing? There’s glass that can be used in windows to help deaden the sound. But what about high winds, severe storms and forced entry – all factors to consider when buying windows.

Getting the glass in

Next is the actual installation. One process is basic installation, or “pocket installation,” Canino said. This occurs when the window sashes (the moving parts of the window) are removed and the new window is installed inside the old window frame.

There is also a complete “gut out” or a new construction installation. He said this process involves removal of the entire window frame and all inside trim. Everything is replaced new, inside and outside.

Canino said a “hybrid” installation involves removing the exterior window frame while leaving all the interior trim intact. He said this type of installation provides the most glass space possible by removing all exterior rotten wood while leaving the interior trim that matches the rest of the home.

Looks count

Another factor to consider is aesthetics, Canino said. Specifically, how is the window going to enhance the home’s beauty. A custom color may be needed on the outside while the frame might need to be stained to match the home’s interior.

“Optimal engineering” is another term making its way into the industry lexicon, he said. Some “custom” companies offer products made of more than one component, using each component where it performs best.

For example, Canino said, there are vinyl windows designed with a fiberglass sill, grained and custom-stained to look like wood that have a preformed brick-mold on the outside.

Small print

Lastly, there’s the issue of warranties. “You really need to ask to see the company’s warranties,” he said. “Companies over and over again say they offer lifetime warranties.

“You need to find out if the lifetime warranty is on the glass, the installation or is there a maximum liability they offer,” Canino said. “You are the consumer. You are the one spending the money. Ask the questions and demand answers to your questions. Talk to professionals and become informed about the best options for your home.”

More information about Gilkey Window Company, 10160 Virginia Ave., Chicago Ridge, is at (708) 229-2340.