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7 Things to Consider When Changing Your Windows

windows calgary renovations

Embarking on home renovations of any kind can be stressful and replacing your window is no exception. It is not as simple as ordering a meal online–at least, not for most people! We have put together a number of important points to consider when selecting a window and some tips to make your window replacement process as seamless as possible.

Reason for window replacement

There are many reasons that may make changing your window necessary. 

But you should first ask yourself if you really need to.

There are weatherstripping options in Alberta for sealing leaky windows so that your home can feel more comfortable and less drafty in those cold months. Broken locks and handles can be replaced. You can get a ‘new look’ by repainting or restaining some window frames. Noise or light cancelling curtains can also solve certain problems. So before you go on to replace your windows, you may want to get another opinion. 

EnerClear would be happy to provide you with an honest consultation and give you all the options you need to make an informed choice. Our services also include expert window repairs in Calgary, getting it right the first time!

Window aesthetics

If you are looking for an energy-efficient visually appealing window, then you should get PVC (also called vinyl) or hybrid window frames. Although wood is elegant offering several tree and staining choices, EnerClear Exteriors does not recommend wood frames for Calgary’s climate except when they are metal-clad on the outside. Fortunately, vinyl window frames in Alberta come in a variety of colours and with colour customization options. 

The beauty of your window does not stop at the frame choice.

Frosted, tinted, stained and carved glass are some of the aesthetic options for window panes. You can also achieve a classy divided window look by incorporating interior grids or inserts into vinyl panes. This window grille is gaining a lot of popularity these days.  And aesthetics is not limited to your frame and glass choices. The style of your window (discussed later in this article) also plays a huge role. 

Ease of window maintenance

Close up of a bay window

If you don’t want to constantly bother about repairing your window frames, retreating surfaces, checking for damages or whatever else, then you should go for PVC (vinyl) window frames and panes. The only maintenance you need is your usual cleaning, using a soft cloth with any popular commercial or mild household products

Unlike PVC windows, wood frames require a lot more than simple wiping. Due to the weather conditions in Calgary, you would need to do regular inspection for cracks, signs of warping or rot, and for fading stains/paint. On a number of these checks, it may be time to fill, varnish or treat with UV protector or even replace the frame entirely.

Value for Money

If you are most concerned about saving costs, then you would hardly get better value than with PVC (vinyl) windows. This is why PVC windows account for about 85% of the window that EnerClear Exteriors installs in Alberta. To start with, PVC frames are considerably cheaper than wood or the pricey fibreglass. They are also weather-resistant and durable than wood, allowing you to breathe easy during hailstorm season for instance. This means that you don’t need to worry about repairing or replacing your windows at intervals.

Apart from low initial cost and minimum maintenance, PVC ranks pretty high in energy efficiency.

This virtually translates to a reduction in your utility bill, saving you even more. costs. The icing on the cake is that with ENERGY STAR certified windows like the ones that EnerClear Exterior carries, you may be eligible for some government rebates. There are also other ways to help in financing your home renovation. Bottom line: PVC (vinyl) windows are by far the most cost-effective option for your window replacement project. 

Bay window with 5 window panels

Window style

So you have a good idea of what material your window frames should be made of and the aesthetic options for your glass panes. How about the type of the window itself? There are many window designs, each with its own features. Ideally, you should select one that blends with the overall style of your home

Of all the styles, the casement design provides the most ventilation and unobstructed views to your lovely Albertan outdoors. Similarly, the awning window allows full ventilation with an unobstructed view but you would not be able to take advantage of controlling the direction of airflow like in casement. A unique thing about the awning, though, is its ability to keep the rain out even when open–unlike other window styles. With sliders and double or single hung windows, ventilation is significantly less. Fixed/picture windows offer no ventilation but they allow maximal daylight in. If you have the width and your main goal is to extend the room, maximizing the outside view and daylight in the process, then what you need is a bay or bow window. 

The most energy-efficient windows are fixed/picture windows, which are not designed to be opened. This is followed by casement and awning window sashes that close firmly against their jamb. Single-hung is next, as it has a permanently closed sash. The least of the energy-conserving options are the sliding and the double-hung, both of which suffer the most air leakage. Heat loss from the large surface area of the bay or bow windows can be massive but this can be significantly reduced with using the right materials PVC (vinyl). 

For ease of cleaning casement and awning designs are favourite choices, as are sliding windows which have removable sashes. Double or single-hung windows that tilt are also easy to clean. EnerClear Exteriors has different types of windows to offer you in Calgary and its environs.

Sean Bradlkey posing in fron tof a house with snow on the lawn

Sustainable Windows? 

There has been a recent shift toward sustainable building options in Canada. For instance, it is now common to find instructions on window reuse or repurposing for building greenhouses and similar projects. Likewise, your home renovation choices can reflect your views on the environment. 

Because PVC is a type of plastic, vinyl frames and panes can be recycled. However, not many companies in Alberta have taken up this challenge yet. In any case, your vinyl windows are expected to last a very long time so this should have changed by then!

Energy conservation

According to Natural Resources Canada, up to 35% of heat loss from a home depends on the windows.

This fact should be taken seriously in a place like Alberta that falls into zone 2 of the climate zoning range. Your windows require insulating measures that reduce air leakage, heat conduction or radiant transfer, resulting in more energy-efficient windows. As mentioned earlier, this would depend on your choice of window styles and frames. However, a major factor is selecting energy-efficient panes. We recommend PVC (vinyl) panes that are at least double (if not triple) glazed and/or have a low-E coating. This will help keep your home more comfortable and you will be contributing to save the planet as well! EnerClear Exteriors offers a variety of energy-efficient windows, including ENERGY STAR certified products in Calgary.

Go ahead!

New door installation by Enerclear

Whether you are installing a new window or changing old windows anywhere in Southern Alberta, EnerClear Exteriors will handle your home renovation with the utmost care. If you wish to only replace a window sash, have a frame and sash inserted to an existing jamb, or replace the entire window unit, we would be right on it!  

As experts in exteriors, we also install and repair doors and sidings. Do take a look at some of our previous work. And if you haven’t noticed yet, we are always happy to share our knowledge and discuss it all with you. All you have to do is to get in touch with us