Blog > Category > Posted: 2021-Dec-22, Updated: 2023-Apr-19
For most homeowners, there are five main categories to think about when deciding which window product is best:
What if you wanted the best of everything? This article discusses the best characteristics of each category and provides tips and resources to help you identify what might be your best or most favourable solution/options when replacing existing windows.
What is best for you is something that you’ll have to decide. Before you begin your search to find your best window solution start by prioritizing the categories above.
When looking at new windows judging quality is often subjective, so how do you really know if you are getting the best quality in a window for your money? One of the best indicators of quality is the warranty - look for a lifetime or 25-year warranty and be sure to take the time to visit your choice of window company to see and test the product before you buy.
Also, look at the warranty to see what’s covered and for how long. The glass, hardware and frames may have different or shorter warranties. In a best-case scenario, everything including warranty labour and materials will be covered for life (25 years).
When choosing a replacement window, you’ll want to make sure your new windows reflect the style of your home while enhancing its curb appeal. This means “settling” is not an option. Companies that offer custom windows typically offer tons of options to consider.
The more window options available, the more likely you are to find a solution that will perfectly match your home and vision. In this case, buying the best replacement window means that you will not have to settle on any style, component or option that does not fit your vision in every way - you’ll get “exactly” what you are looking for. Look for windows that offer interior and exterior colour and finishing options, along with a wide selection of grills, glass and interior and exterior trim/brickmould options.
Replacement window companies are not all the same and do not all offer the same flexibility in product design, options or styles. If a window consultant suggests a departure from your plan and vision, take their advice with a grain of salt - it’s probable that the product they are offering is limited in style, materials and options, and perhaps their product is not for you.
When it comes to determining the best price, the window and window replacement industry is made up of hundreds of different companies, all offering their own set of what they believe is the best - best service, best product, best warranty and best price. The only real way to ensure you are getting the best price on replacement windows is by comparing apples to apples (same products and options). Fortunately in the Ottawa area, there are many companies that sell identical products and if you are a good negotiator, you’ll be able to play one company off another to get the best price.
Another thing to consider when looking for the best price is what will you pay if there is a problem with a window after purchase. Will you have to pay for warranty work and materials or will it be covered? Look for warranties that cover labour and materials on both faulty products and installations with no hidden costs.
With Ottawa temperatures dipping as low as -20 degrees in the winter and as high as +30 degrees in the summer, window energy efficiency is arguably one of the most important factors in determining whether you are getting the best replacement windows possible. Especially when you consider that for most homes about 25% of your heating and cooling costs are directly related to temperature gain and loss through your home’s windows.
Not only is energy efficiency directly related to the type of window and the materials that your windows are made of. Wooden windows, although often considered a dated technology offer the best energy efficiency, however, they cost significantly more than vinyl, fibreglass or metal. Unfortunately, wood windows are often too expensive for the average window replacement consumer.
Cost being a significant contributor to the best replacement window formulae, look to other materials such as Vinyl-clad wood or Aluminum-clad wood or multi-chamber vinyl or fibreglass windows. Look for Energy Star-rated products and compare them using tools provided by Natural Resources Canada.
Late fall and early January are the best times to order replacement windows. Spring and summer are usually the busiest time of the year to have windows installed and this often leads to a longer than normal wait on install dates. Delays also often occur during government-backed rebates and in recent times demand has been unprecedented during the Covid-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic winter installations typically took between 4-6 weeks from order to installation and summer typically took between 8-12 weeks. With the high demand that we have been seeing during Covid, it can now take anywhere between 4 to 8 months.
Ok, there is one last very important consideration when looking at replacing your windows, and everything really depends on it - what about installation? You could buy the best window (best of all categories) possible, but if your new windows are not installed correctly, or if premium installation materials are not used, then you may be diminishing your investment - the windows won’t last as long and they may not perform to the set standards. Be sure to use a reputable company that provides lots of positive references and stands by their products and services with outstanding after-sale service and great warranties.
Getting the best window product, value and price
How to ensure a successful window purchase
Top considerations when choosing vinyl windows
Window efficiency by window style
The best window warranty in the window business
Choosing a window style - a practical guide