If you notice drafts in your home, it might be time to replace your windows and doors. Energy-efficient doors and windows can save you money on your heating and cooling bills.
Sometimes an errant ball or strong storm can leave a window cracked or shattered, creating a hazard to your family. Although an emergency window replacement is an unplanned expense, the silver lining is that you can install the windows you’ve always wanted.
Some companies can match single windows, or you can update multiple windows at once. When contacting companies for your project, ask window replacement professionals if they have a job minimum, as this is not uncommon.
Options for a replacement door are endless. You can get a special custom design, or you can choose from all kinds of pre-made doors in different materials and styles. Replacing your door can simultaneously jazz up your curb appeal and reduce cooling and heating costs.
It’s important to have your windows and doors installed properly if they’re going to protect your home from the elements and increase energy efficiency. Call a Northern Virginia window and door replacement Best Pick to help you with your home improvement project.
Types of Windows
There are a lot of window options out there. You’ll want to consider frame style, glass options, and how the window opens and closes.
Window frame styles
Single-hung windows have two sashes arranged vertically (the sash, fitted into the window frame, is the part of the window that holds the glass); the top sash is fixed while the bottom sash can be raised to open the window.
Double-hung windows have two sashes stacked vertically, like single-hung windows, except both sashes move.
Slider windows have a fixed sash and another sash that moves sideways.
Casement windows are hinged on one vertical side and use a crank to open outward. These windows are good for insulation because the sash is pressed against the frame when it is closed, creating a secure seal.
A fixed window is a permanently fixed pane of glass in a window frame. These windows are very energy efficient, since there are no places for air to leak in or out.
There are many other types of windows, including bay, bow, hopper, awning, garden, and skylight windows, to name just a few. If you have an unusual window in your home that needs to be replaced, a Best Pick window replacement company should be able to help you find a custom replacement product.
Window frame materials
Vinyl windows, an affordable option, are made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride). They are good for insulating your home. However, this material is not as strong as wood, aluminum, or fiberglass.
Wood windows, with proper maintenance, can last as long as other durable window materials. Some homeowners feel that the extra cost is worth the look of wood windows. Keep in mind that wooden windows need to be repainted periodically—if the wood isn’t protected by paint or stain, the frames can suffer moisture damage and rot.
Aluminum windows, durable and low-maintenance, are impervious to mold and rot, and they have a nice modern look. However, they are not known for their energy efficiency, and they are one of the pricier options—more costly than vinyl, but cheaper than wood.
Fiberglass windows are good insulators, and they are resistant to changes in weather and temperature. This material is durable and low maintenance, and it can be painted. Fiberglass windows tend to be on the higher end of the cost scale, but you’ll likely receive a good return on your investment.
Single-pane windows, common on older homes, are not very energy efficient. If you have single-pane windows, it’s best to get them replaced with multipane windows when you can. The savings you’ll see on your energy bills will help recover the replacement cost.
In double-pane windows, the space between the two panes is filled with an insulating gas, usually argon or krypton (or a combination of both). Double-pane windows are available from many manufacturers and in a variety of styles and frame materials.
Product quality and proper installation are important factors in double-pane windows that last for decades, so be sure to consult your window installer about selecting the best option for your budget.
Triple-pane windows have, you guessed it, three panes of glass, separated by gas between the panes. These windows are heavier and more expensive than their double-pane counterparts, but they do provide more insulation and better noise reduction. Consider whether the added cost of triple-pane windows is worth it, compared to double-pane windows.
Low-E glass has a low-emissivity coating that helps reduce heat transfer. In the summer, low-E coated glass keeps heat from entering your home, and in the winter, it helps keep heat in. Coatings are usually applied when glass is manufactured, but there are some film coatings available that can be applied later. Ask your window installation professional about the different low-E options available.
Types of Doors
Door replacement companies typically offer entry doors, sliding doors, and French doors. If you need help replacing interior doors or have unusually sized doors, ask a door replacement professional if they provide this service.
Exterior door materials
Wood doors are attractive and provide good insulation. If you’re looking to make a statement with your entry door, the higher cost of a solid wood door may be worth it. Wooden doors require repainting or refinishing every year or two to protect the door from warping or other damage.
Fiberglass doors have foam cores, which makes them lightweight and good for insulating your home. If located in a sheltered entryway, fiberglass entry doors can go without needing to be repainted for a long time. They come in a variety of styles, some of which look like real wood.
Steel doors are usually composed of insulating foam coated in steel, which can be painted. This material is an affordable and low-maintenance option. While they offer a strong barrier against intruders, steel doors may not last as long as wood or fiberglass doors if exposed to heavy rains or salty air.
Exterior door styles
Panel doors are a very common style for both interior and exterior doors. Sometimes called stile-and-rail doors, they come in different configurations of panels, or inset rectangles—usually four, six, or eight. Neocolonial and colonial revival homes often feature panel entry doors.
Windowed doors come in a variety of styles, with different configurations and numbers of glass panes (sometimes referred to as lites).
Dutch doors are divided so that the top part of the door can swing open while the bottom section stays closed. This style allows you to enjoy nice weather without letting pets or small children out.
French doors are typically used to access outdoor areas. They come in pairs and are divided into multiple panes. These can add a sense of grandeur to a home.
Patio doors maximize the view to the backyard, patio, or deck with a large pane of glass. Many patio doors are sliding doors, where one door panel is fixed and the other moves.
Storm doors are installed in front of entry doors to add protection from the elements. Some have removable panels, so you can use glass in winter to help insulate your entryway and a screen in the summer to get fresh air without the bugs.
There are many types of doors available, so be sure to research your options and ask yourself and your door replacement contractor the right questions before making your final decision.
Window and Door Replacement in Fairfax, Loudon, and Prince William Counties
Best Pick Reports has researched quality window and door replacement companies, and based on our surveys with Northern Virginia homeowners, we have compiled a list of the best professionals in Fairfax, Loudon, and Prince William counties.
Survey responses from homeowners like you provide a picture of the most competent, experienced, and timely door and window replacement companies in Northern Virginia. We are proud to present homeowners with the results of our annual objective research in an easy-to-consult format. When you hire a Best Pick, we guarantee that you’re selecting from the best of the best in your area.