Shutters on Windows: Everything You Need to Know

Shutters on windows are installed for privacy, to control sunlight and to enhance your home’s curb appeal. Both interior and exterior shutters offer benefits for homeowners, and because there are so many choices on the market today, this guide covers everything you need to know before you decide what kind of window shutters to buy.

What are window shutters?

There are interior shutters and exterior shutters available for homes. Interior shutters are window treatments that are used in place of curtains or blinds. They offer privacy, enable you to control the amount of light in your home and add to the design and style of your home. Exterior shutters boost your home’s energy efficiency, improve its curb appeal and can also enhance your privacy, depending on the type you install. 

Difference between interior and exterior shutters

Shutters for windows have become popular as more and more people discover their aesthetic and practical benefits. If you are wondering which kind to buy, here’s a review of the differences between exterior and interior shutters:

Exterior shutters

As the name suggests, exterior shutters are installed on the outside of your home. Decorative shutters can be installed on virtually any type of home. They are available in a plethora of styles, designs and colors, giving you the freedom to personalize your home’s exterior.

For those living in areas prone to extreme weather conditions, such as earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes, outdoor window shutters can help prevent the windows from getting damaged by debris.

You can also install exterior shutters for security purposes as a deterrent for burglars.

Interior shutters

Since they are installed inside, you have more control over the daily operation of interior shutters to control airflow, lighting and privacy. You can also install interior shutters for energy-saving purposes. Closed interior shutters can trap warmed air in your house during the winter, thus helping you save on heating costs. In the warmer months, shutters can keep sunlight from making rooms too hot.

Materials for house shutters

When installing shutters on windows, one of the primary factors you need to consider is their material which should complement your home’s color scheme and architectural style. Options include:

  • Wood shutters: These are perfect for a classic look. Wood is the material of choice when it comes to plantation shutters. Wood can be painted, shaped and stained in different ways to suit your preferences. However, wooden shutters might not be ideal for bathrooms and kitchens, as they cannot withstand prolonged exposure to water and moisture.
  • Wood composite shutters: Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) is a common alternative to wood shutters. MDF shutters are made of compacted softwoods and hardwoods, thus making the shutters quite durable and economical.
  • Plastic shutters: When looking for a shutter material that can withstand abuse from the elements and moisture, plastic is arguably the best option. Plastic shutters are relatively affordable and easy to install and maintain.
  • Hurricane shutters: Hurricane shutters are made of aluminum or steel and are ideal for all types of homes. They are lightweight and can be installed both indoors and outdoors. Unlike wood or plastic shutters, hurricane shutters are not prone to cracks, rot or warping. On the downside, they are prone to rust and corrosion, particularly if they are untreated.

Exterior window shutters

Installing exterior shutters adds depth and architectural detail and protect the windows from harsh weather. The different types of exterior shutters include:

Louvered shutters

Exterior louvered shutters feature angled slats that allow light and air to pass through. Initially, their sole purpose was for rain protection. Thematically, they best fit Victorian, Colonial and traditional-style houses. Louvered shutters can be fixed or movable, and can be made of wood, MDF, vinyl, aluminum or steel. Standard vinyl louvered shutters cost between $35 and $100 depending on the size and material. Keep in mind that the slats can sometimes get in the way, limiting the amount of light you’re able to let into the room.

Raised panel

Raised panel shutters look more or less like kitchen cabinets or doors. They enhance traditional Colonial, country-cottage, Georgian, Federal and Victorian homes. Vinyl raised panel shutters cost about $32 to $44 a pair, depending on the brand. These shutters might not be ideal for tilt-in windows. 

Board and batten shutters

Commonly referred to as “B&B shutters,” board and batten shutters consist of several boards that are held together by a horizontal or z-shaped panel on the back. These shutters are ideal for barn-style buildings, country bungalows and cabin homes. Board and batten shutters are mostly made of wood, but also come in vinyl. Board and batten shutters cost between $100 and $450 a pair. Compared to other types, B&B shutters require more time to install and are harder to maintain. 

Plantation shutters

Plantation or contemporary shutters have become a common replacement for curtains and blinds. They originated from the South and were used in homes on plantations. They are characterized by tilted wooden louvers which help with ventilation and light control. Plantation shutters are available in a range of materials, with the most common being vinyl and MDF. You can DIY plantation shutters or have professionals install them. Plantation shutters cost you between $50 to $350 per pair, depending on the material. Plantation shutters can be custom-built, which will typically cost more than a shutter you could pick up yourself from a local store.

Cut-out shutters

Cut-out shutters are an example of custom exterior shutters. They can be raised panel or board and batten, but feature a cut-out design. Common cut-outs include hearts, stars and even palm trees for beach homes. The price of cut-out shutters depends on the complexity. As they are custom-made, they tend to be pricier compared to other types of shutters but can add a lot of personality to your home.

Scandinavian

Scandinavian shutters first started in the Alpine regions to protect homes from snowstorms and blizzards. Today, they are typically used in places that experience hurricanes and extreme weather conditions for additional reinforcement to the windows. They are characterized by board and batten designs, bright colors and cut-outs. As the design is more or less like that of B&B shutters, their prices are usually similar as well. As they are more durable to withstand extreme weather conditions, keep in mind they can be harder to operate.  

Combination

You can mix one or more shutter styles. For instance, you may choose louvered, raised-panel shutters with a cut-out design. These often custom shutters are ideal for people who want to achieve a one-of-a-kind look in their homes. The price of your combination shutters depends on the design you choose. 

What to think about before buying outdoor shutters

To get the most out of your exterior shutters, you need to consider a few factors. The shutters’ size needs to be such that they can cover the windows when they are closed. They should give the illusion that they are usable though they might not be operable. Their color should also complement your home’s exterior.

Another factor you need to consider when choosing your home’s exterior shutters is the shutter material. Different materials have different characteristics when it comes to their appearance, durability and functionality. Due to exposure to the elements, exterior shutters should be strong and moisture-proof.

You also need to consider the type of operation you prefer for your exterior shutters. Some of the most common options are bi-fold, fixed, hinged and sliding shutters. 

Interior window shutters

Interior window shutters have become a common window treatment because of their convenient, flexible, hassle-free and versatile nature. They are great at regulating the amount of light that gets into your home and offering you privacy. The different types of interior shutters include:

Shaker style

Shaker-style shutters are similar to raised-panel shutters, but they have a flat body. These types of shutters are made of wood and are available in a wide range of colors. They are ideal for rooms where you do not want much light coming through, such as a bedroom. On average, shaker-style interior shutters will cost you $150 to $300. Shaker-style shutters are purely installed for aesthetic purposes as they aren’t adjustable.

Café shutters

As the name suggests, café shutters were inspired by French cafés. They normally cover the bottom half of the window and feature a louvered design. Café shutters are available in a wide range of colors, can be made of wood or vinyl and start at $21 per square foot. Café shutters do not provide you with complete light blockage since they cover only half of the window.  

Tier on tier

While these shutters cover the whole window, the top and bottom tiers can be operated independently. This versatility means you can fold back either of the shutters to give you an unobstructed view of the outdoors. As such, they are perfect for living rooms or patios. The average cost of tier-on-tier shutters is $21 to $31 per square foot. These shutters are great for large windows, but they can sometimes overpower small ones. 

Solid panel

A solid panel shutter is neither slatted nor louvered. For this reason, they let in less light compared to other interior shutters. They are made of hardwood and are normally available in a variety of colors and stains. Solid panel shutters do a great job of creating a peaceful and dark bedroom while not completely blocking out the light. An average solid panel shutter will cost you $150 to $300. Keep in mind that since they are opened and closed on horizontal or vertical slats, they can be rather difficult to clean. 

What to consider before buying indoor shutters

Before choosing indoor shutters for your home, you need to consider what style and functionality will suit your home best. Do you need more privacy? What amount of light do you want to let in? You might consider talking to an interior designer or an architect who will help you to settle on a shutter style that suits your needs.

Another consideration is the material used for your indoor shutters. Interior shutters are made of polyurethane, vinyl and wood. Polyurethane and vinyl shutters are long-lasting and require minimal care and maintenance. Wooden interior shutters might need to be treated annually to prevent molding as a result of exposure to moist environments.

Final thoughts on window shutters

Shutters are a practical window treatment option which light up your space and increase your home’s privacy. They can be installed on the interior or exterior of any room. Even cheap exterior shutters and cheap plantation shutters can help keep your windows safer in a storm. Any outside window shutters have the potential to add curb appeal and value to your home while indoor window shutters add interest and control over the light. 

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Bedroom Windows Buying Guide

Bedroom Windows Buying Guide

Bedroom window treatments aren’t given much thought by many homeowners or renters. You might throw something over the window to block out light if you sleep late or skip it altogether if you’re an early riser. But bedroom window valances, curtains or other window treatments can help turn your house into a home, adding a uniquely personal touch. Here is what you should know.

bad bedroom cleaning habits 3
Image: Ant Clausen/Shutterstock

What are bedroom window treatments?

Although curtains are certainly included, window treatments provide a variety of options to dress-up your bedroom window. Ideas run the gamut in styling, from vintage to ultra-modern. Bedroom window treatments include everything from shades to formal drapes, as well as decorative valances, window scarves and cornices that sit above the window.

Master bedroom window treatments are often used to add luxury and serenity to the room, while window curtains for a bedroom in another part of the house might impart a different feel or function. For example, blackout curtains can make it easier for a toddler to nap.

How to buy the best bedroom window treatments

The best bedroom window treatments are the ones that work for you. You might want simple curtains for a bedroom window in a minimalist room or heavy formal drapes topped by valances in a vintage-inspired room.

It’s also important to consider the actual window. Bedroom windows come in many shapes and sizes, and some lend themselves more easily to small window treatments like mini-blinds. If your window glass is thin, thermal insulated curtains can help improve room comfort.

Choose colors that blend with the existing colors in the room, including paint and trim, for a peaceful and harmonious look. Or add drama to the room with contrasting colors and bold patterns. A color wheel can help you select colors that work well together.

Types of bedroom window treatments

Although there are seemingly innumerable styles, window treatments fall into a few simple categories:

Curtains and Drapes

The two terms are often used interchangeably, but curtains and drapes are not exactly the same thing. Both consist of two panels that come together in the center of a window (though single panel curtains also exist), but drapes are thicker, longer and more formal than curtains.

Curtains and drapes come in a range of light filtering options, from sheer to max blackout:

  • Sheer: Sheer curtains allow nearly all light to filter through. They can help reduce glare without blocking your ability to see out the window.
  • Semi-sheer: Semi-sheer curtains provide some privacy, while still allowing a great deal of light into the room.
  • Room darkening: As the name implies, these curtains greatly reduce the amount of light that comes into the room, creating a soft twilight effect.
  • Blackout: Blackout curtains offer privacy, noise reduction and some insulation while creating a dark sleeping environment even during the day.
  • Max blackout: For a truly dark sleeping experience, consider max blackout curtains, which filter 99% to 100% of light. They also provide maximum privacy and insulation, as well as protection against noise pollution.
  • Thermal insulating: Some curtains or drapes, especially blackout and max blackout styles, have an extra back panel of acrylic foam for further insulation. It’s also possible to buy a separate insulating liner for existing curtains or drapes.

Shutters

Shutters are generally the most expensive window treatment for a master bedroom or other room. However, they add the timeless elegance of wood to your bedroom design. Off the shelf shutters are available, but it’s typically better to have them custom made. This ensures that they properly fit your window for maximum protection, privacy and room-darkening effects, as well as aesthetics.

Blinds

Generally the least expensive option, blinds are also the simplest of the master bedroom window treatment ideas. Slatted and operated with a cord or small handle, blinds can sit inside or just outside the window. They can be a great choice for modern, minimalist bedrooms.

Shades

Shades are a fabric option similar to blinds. They come in several styles, from simple roller shades to elaborately folded roller shades, and in different levels of light filtration. Depending on the style, shades can go with nearly any bedroom.

Valances, Window Scarves and Cornices

Bedroom window valance ideas also include decorative window scarves and cornices, but the three are not exactly the same thing. A valance is a piece of fabric that hangs at the top of a window. Simple valances are casual, while box valances hang straighter and are considered more formal. A window scarf is a long piece of fabric that is draped loosely around a curtain rod. A cornice is a wooden frame that may be painted or covered in fabric and hung at the top of the window.

Valances, window scarves and cornices may be used alone, but they are often paired with curtains or drapes. They can add visual interest, contrast or even drama to a master bedroom window. They are sometimes used in other bedrooms as well, especially rooms with a vintage or shabby chic decorating aesthetic.

Choose the right size

Choosing the right size window treatment is extremely important. But how to measure depends on which type of window treatment you select.

For blinds or shades that will be mounted inside the window frame, measure both the length and width of the window in three different spots. Use the narrowest width and the longest length. If they will be mounted outside the frame, measure the outside of the frame and add 1.5 inches to each measurement to account for overlap.

For curtains or drapes, measure the width of the window and then add 3 to 8 inches, depending on how full you want the curtains to appear. To choose a length, decide where you want the top and bottom of the curtain to be and measure the distance between those points. Formal drapes tend to be floor length, or even puddle on the floor, while more casual curtains may hang just below the windowsill.

Interior shutters are measured similarly to blinds or shades, but exterior shutters are significantly more complicated. Consider having your window professionally measured or follow the manufacturer’s measuring instructions for the specific shutters you choose.

As long as the width is at least as wide as the window frame, you have a great deal of latitude with valances and cornices. Window scarves are the most flexible, as they are draped rather than precisely hung, but for best results choose a scarf that is significantly longer than the width of the frame.

Compare bedroom window treatment costs

Master bedroom window treatment ideas often involve multiple pieces, such as two curtain panels and a valance, so when looking at costs be sure to include everything you will need. You can find window treatments for less than $15 at big box stores, or pay hundreds of dollars per panel at specialty shops. Curtain rods are sold separately and can drive up the price. In general, the bigger the window, the more you will pay to cover it. Floor-length drapes are also typically more expensive than windowsill length curtains, and the material that you select matters a lot in the final price.

Read bedroom window treatment reviews

Bedroom window treatments come in all types, sizes, styles, and price points. Yet none of these factors is necessarily an indicator of quality. The best way to know if you are choosing window treatments that will last is to read customer reviews of them. Look for comments on durability, ease of installation and even whether the indicated sizing is accurate.

Installation

Installing most bedroom window treatments is relatively simple. You will need some basic tools such as a drill, a tape measure, a level and some screws, along with a ladder. You may also need anchors to secure the mounting brackets or hardware to the wall, depending on the type of walls you have and whether you are drilling into a stud. Outdoor shutters can be a bit tougher to install, as can window treatments for windows that are very high or large or are located in an awkward area such as above a stairwell. Always seek professional assistance if you have any doubts about your ability to safely perform the job.

Bedroom window treatment brands

There are innumerable brands for each style of bedroom window treatments, and which is objectively better depends on your individual needs. In many cases, store brands (Amazon, Home Depot, The Shade Store, Bed, Bath & Beyond) are every bit as durable and long-lasting as more expensive specialty brands. Custom window treatments are also available from both national brands and local shops. Focus on features and reviews rather than brand names, and you will find the window treatments that are right for you.

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Best Pella Replacement Windows

Table with windows in background for pella

S_Photo / Shuttershock

Keeping a home comfortable in all seasons and weather conditions is the goal of every homeowner. This often means installing efficient HVAC systems, like furnaces and air conditioners. But old or porous windows can render even the most high-quality HVAC system ineffective and cost you money. So before you open your wallet to replace your furnace or air conditioner, consider upgrading your windows.

That’s where Pella replacement windows come in. The company, which is headquartered in Pella, Iowa, has been selling window products since 1925. Pella has become a leader in the industry, installing millions of replacement windows. They feature several series of windows that use wood, fiberglass, and vinyl to meet a variety of household needs.

Here’s a break-down of the different replacement windows Pella has to offer:

Pella Replacement Windows Series

  • The Architect Series® (wood)

The architect series is a line of windows built to the specifications of standard architecture. These windows can vary, but they typically comply with industry norms allowing for easy replacement in homes built under these standards. These windows can comply with the spectrum of home designs, from classical homes to modern, as long as the home was built using industry standards.

  • Pella Lifestyle Series (wood)

Pella’s Lifestyle series is a wood window product and is one of the highest-ranked offerings due to energy efficiency, value, beauty, and noise-dampening features (based on published STC/OITC and U-Factor ratings). Pella Lifestyle series’ wood windows reduce heat escape up to 79%, qualifying them as an Energy Star rated product. The materials are also designed to muffle outside noise, reducing noise up to 51%, keeping your home quiet as well as comfortable. The Lifestyle series is designed to be modular to accommodate a home’s evolving need for new features, like blinds, shades and window treatments.

  • Pella Impervia (fiberglass)

The Pella Impervia series of fiberglass windows are incredibly strong, durable, and energy-efficient. Impervia is made of five layers of Duracast material which can withstand extreme weather and temperatures. The fiberglass can be molded to resemble wood grain and can be painted to match any decor.

  • Pella 350 Series (vinyl)

The Pella 350 series offers triple pane windows which provide 54% to 83% more energy efficiency than single-pane windows. The 350 series uses InsulShield Advanced Low-E glass with argon, which is designed to reduce radiant heat and ultraviolet light entering the home via sunlight. This helps to control the fluctuations of heating and cooling inside the home.

The vinyl frames offer more insulation than a standard vinyl window, which increases performance. These vinyl frames also hide the welds and beveled edges for a more aesthetic look. The vinyl frames come in a variety of colors to match or accent a home’s interior. These windows are also sturdy and designed to withstand extreme weather, and include HurricaneShield impact-resistant glass.

  • Pella 250 Series

The Pella 250 series is their vinyl option for double or triple-paned windows. The sash and corner welds are designed to be less visible than typical vinyl windows, increasing their smooth aesthetic. The 250 series comes standard with Low-E InsulShield glass, which increases energy efficiency and filters ultraviolet rays. The vinyl allows for a wide spectrum of colors to match or enhance a home’s decor. These windows are made with a multi-pane design to reduce noise. These windows are built with Autolock that latches upon closing for convenience.

  • Pella Impervia (fiberglass)

Pella’s Impervia line is made from Pella’s five-layer composite Duracast fiberglass, which both helps to resist warping and provides insulation to withstand extreme weather. Impervia window frames are powder-coated and can be painted to match a home’s decor. The Impervia series meets Energy Star standards.

  • Pella Encompass

Pella’s Encompass series is an Energy Star-rated product designed for efficiency and durability. This line is made of pre-colored vinyl so the colors don’t fade or peel. These windows are also hardened to resist dings, scratches, and dents. This line includes multi-chambered frames that allow for high-efficiency insulation, strength, and performance.

Pella Replacement Windows Cost

The cost of replacing your windows with Pella products can vary based on product type and the scope of the project. The best way to understand Pella replacement window costs is to request a quote.

Pella Replacement Windows Longevity

Pella vinyl windows last about 15-30 years, depending on series and materials. Wood frames may require periodic painting.

Pella Replacement Windows Warranty

Pella windows have a non-transferable limited lifetime warranty, which you can read about on their website.

Pella Replacement Windows Reviews

Consumer Affairs gives Pella an overall satisfaction rating of 3.5 stars (out of five). This rating is based on 465 reviews submitted in the past year. Positive reviews praised Pella’s quick and detailed installation and customer service. Some reviewers who had problems with their Pella products said the company did a great job of identifying the issues and expediting replacements. But some negative reviews cited product deterioration and unexpected costs as causes for concern.

More About Replacement Window Installation

When deciding what replacement windows are best for your house, it’s important to first understand the important considerations surrounding replacement windows. When building a new home, windows can be customized to fit the home’s specific needs. But when a window needs to be replaced, installation can be trickier. Replacement windows must be able to fit in the existing window opening.

There are two methods of fitting a replacement window into the window opening: pocket installation and full-frame installation:

Pocket Installation

Pocket installation is when the replacement window fits easily into the existing frame. This method only requires that the window sash is replaced, demanding little labor and time.

Full-Frame Installation

Full-frame replacement is more involved. Full-frame requires that the entire frame is removed, including the trim and insulation. This method allows for more flexibility. Once the trim is removed, there are more options to replace the window. This method is more costly, however, due to increased labor and material costs.

But either method can add value to a home, increase efficiency, and improve aesthetics.

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Bathroom Window Buying Guide

clogged toilet

Image: Astronaut Images/Getty Images

Bathroom window buying guide

Changing your bathroom window can help you maximize available light while maintaining privacy. When choosing a bathroom window, you should consider lighting, privacy, and ventilation. A window with the perfect mix of these features can help you create the bathroom of your dreams.

What is a bathroom window?

A bathroom window protects your home from the elements while offering natural light. You should be able to open at least one window in your bathroom to allow for proper ventilation. Opening the window for 15 minutes after showering can decrease the likelihood of your bathroom developing mold or mildew. A good bathroom window also offers privacy.

How to buy the best bathroom windows

Bathroom windows are available in various types, sizes, and prices. Additionally, consider whether you plan to use a window covering, like curtains, or if you prefer the window itself to provide privacy. This guide includes bathroom window privacy ideas to help you choose the best option for your needs.

Types of bathroom windows

There are many types of bathroom windows available. Below are several common choices for homeowners.

Crank windows

This type of window opens and closes using a hand crank. Crank windows come in two styles: casement and awning. Casement windows open to the outside, like a shutter, which can allow rain and snow to get inside. Awning windows open from the bottom and keep out rain and snow, even when open.

Crank windows can accommodate window treatments, including any of your bathroom window curtain ideas.

Hopper windows

Hopper windows open downward. They provide excellent ventilation but allow rain and snow inside the bathroom. These windows are typically placed higher on the wall, so they do not require window treatments.

Textured glass or glass block windows

Textured glass windows provide privacy without any window treatments. Textured glass is available in various textures and patterns, which each offering a unique level of transparency and light filtration. The more difficult the glass is to see through, the less light it allows inside the bathroom. Homeowners who do not like the appearance of window treatments often choose textured glass windows.

Glass block windows comprise stacked bricks made of opaque glass.

Transom windows

A transom window is a single long, skinny window placed high on the wall, often above the shower. This type of accent window provides ample sunlight, and its location encourages privacy.

These decorative windows do not open and provide no ventilation.

Choose the right size

The ideal size of your bathroom window depends on your budget and how much light you want. For example, a wall of windows would cost more than a small transom window above the shower. You may also want to consider your desired level of privacy and whether you plan to use a bathroom window covering.

Compare bathroom window costs

Any simple bathroom window generally costs less than a window with complicated mechanisms. Transom windows are typically the most affordable, followed by sliding windows and hopper windows. Crank windows are usually the most expensive. However, crank windows let out less air than other options and may reduce heating costs.

Read bathroom window reviews

When shopping for a new bathroom window, reading customer reviews can help you make an informed decision. Visit Freshome.com for advice and insights on installing a new bathroom window.

Installation

The price of installation is one of the most significant costs of a new bathroom window. Installation costs include labor and supplies, as well as necessary changes to the structure of your home. Installation costs are lowest when replacing a window with one of the same size. However, any necessary adjustments to the window frame or the siding of your house increase the installation cost.

bathroom remodel

Image: ImageFlow/Shutterstock

Bathroom window brands

When choosing a bathroom window, consider various brands and manufacturers. Researching options can help you select a window that seals tightly and is energy efficient. To discover the best replacement window brands of 2019, read reviews at Freshome.com.

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The Benefits of Double-Pane Windows

You’re curled up on the couch in your living room on a cold day, and suddenly feel a draft that makes the hair on your neck stand up. The window isn’t open, but it’s allowing heat to escape and letting the cool air in.

The Department of Energy reports that approximately 25 to 30% of energy loss for the average American household can be attributed to the inefficiency of single-pane windows. By simply replacing them with double-pane windows, you could prevent 50% of that warm or cool air from escaping through the windows. In turn, you could slash your energy bills by up to 20–30% each year. 

But that’s just one potential benefit from switching out a single pane of glass for double-pane windows. Let’s take a look at what a double-pane window is, what makes it a superior option, and how your household could benefit from this change.

What Is a Double-Pane Window?

The main difference between single- and double-pane windows is their structure. A single-pane window only has one layer of glass and is not an efficient insulator during extreme seasons. A double-pane window, on the other hand, has two layers of glass with air between the sheets for maximum insulation. Some double-pane window designs may even have argon between the layers. Argon is an invisible gas that optimizes thermal efficiency and reduces heat transfer. 

Benefits of Upgrading to Double Panes

Affordability

Today, over 118 million American homes have double- or even triple-pane windows. This accounts for nearly 60% of all U.S. homes — but this means that 40% of homes still rely on old window technology.  While many people opt for single-pane windows for the low initial price point, these types of windows will cause the homeowner to spend much more on utilities in the long term than if double-pane windows were installed.

Environmentally Friendly

The Energy Information Administration stated that, in 2012, homes comprised a fifth of primary energy consumption in the U.S. and were responsible for approximately 20% of nationwide CO2 release. If a greater number of American homeowners made a concerted effort to switch to double-pane windows, this energy consumption could be reduced.

No matter what type of heat source you use to warm your home (i.e. a fireplace, a gas furnace, or an electric central heating system), double-pane windows limit the need for heating sources to be used as often. When you don’t use as much heat, you burn fewer fossil fuels and lessen your CO2 greenhouse gas emissions — and therefore, reduce your carbon footprint. Upgrading to double-pane windows is a way to contribute to helping the planet. 

Improved Security

Unlike single-pane windows, double-pane windows feature a more substantial locking mechanism and their tight seal prevents intruders from breaking the structure to get into your house. Double-pane windows are also stronger and do not shatter easily when struck. Your home is more secure with double-pane windows. 

Reduced Noise

Whether you have noisy next-door neighbors or you live on a busy street with lots of traffic, excessive noise can take a toll on your sanity. Ambient noise can only do so much to cover up the sound of the incessant honking, loud music, and heavy-duty vehicles passing by. Switching to double-pane windows can help you enjoy a quieter and more peaceful home. The two layers of glass offer insulation from the outside world so that you and your family can relax without the constant ruckus. 

Less Condensation

Window condensation during the cold months might not appear to be a big deal, but a buildup of moisture is indicative of a bigger problem. It shows how inefficient the windows are at preventing heat transfer, and it can lead to problems with mold over time. With double-pane windows, you can consider your condensation problem solved. 

Added Home Value

In spending a little up front to upgrade your windows, you add value to your property. If you decide to move in the future, double-pane windows are a drawcard for potential buyers, and you’ll see a return on your investment once it has sold. 

Newer Style Options

Upgrading to energy-efficient windows has a positive effect on your house’s aesthetics. Window technology has come a long way — and so has window design. Double-paned windows come in a variety of styles, including the sliding window, or double-hung window. Double-pane windows are worth the expense when you consider that the windows are known as the “eyes of your house.” Updating windows to a newer style has a great impact on your curb appeal.

Choosing the Right Double-Pane Windows for Your Home

Before choosing double-pane windows for your home, it’s important to know your options. Double-pane windows come in all sorts of styles, materials, and designs. And because each house is different, your window selection may be different, too. 

Most window companies have several materials for you to choose from: vinyl, aluminum, wood, clad wood, and fiberglass. All of these materials are available in various styles, including the following: 

  • Double-hung: Double-hung windows can move both up and down because both window frame sashes are operable.
  • Single-hung: Single-hung windows are similar to double-hung. The only difference is that one of the sashes is operable, while the other is fixed. 
  • Casement: Casement windows have a traditional charm. Many are operated with a crank and swing outward for a clear view. 
  • Awning windows: Awning windows operate on a hinge, allowing them to open at an angle, which provides both ventilation and rain protection. 
  • Picture windows: These windows are fixed and cannot open. They are ideal for large spaces, and let in lots of natural light. 

Make an Informed Decision. Explore Your Options Today.

Double-pane windows are a cost-effective visual enhancement to your house and a primary way to reduce household energy costs. Explore your options today by speaking to a qualified window professional in your area.

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How to Choose Energy-Efficient Windows for Your Home

Replacing the windows in your home might not be the most eye-catching upgrade you can make, but it is one of the most cost-effective ways to touch up your home. Invest in energy-efficient windows to save money on energy bills and receive numerous other benefits. Check out the infographic below to help you select the right windows for your home.

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Andersen Windows

Andersen Windows is the largest window company in the world. Founded in 1903 as a lumber company, it was named the top window brand for wood and wood-clad windows by Builder Magazine.

Second story window shot above garage

romacoma / Shuttershock

Andersen Windows products

Andersen has six main product lines of windows. Here they are, listed from least expensive to most expensive:

100 Series

Featuring the lowest Andersen Windows prices of all the collections. Available as a window replacement or new build, 100 Series windows are made of Fibrex composite, which is more durable than vinyl. The perfect entry-level window for a starter home that doesn’t skimp on quality.

200 Series

Quality windows that keep the cost down because they’re only available in the most popular sizes and options. They feature a wood interior frame with a vinyl exterior that holds up to the elements. The wood interior casing of the 200 Series windows work well in traditional homes.

400 Series

Andersen’s most popular series. It’s similar in construction to the 200 Series but offers more size, finish and hardware options. The perfect choice if you want quality, lasting windows when you have unusually-sized windows that require specific dimensions.

Renewal by Andersen

This replacement window line comes with an at-home design consultation and installation by Andersen for a full-service experience.  

Architectural Collection E-Series

These windows are made to your exact specifications and have a contemporary design for homes that are more modern in style.

Architectural Collection A-Series

Andersen’s top-of-the-line collection featuring all-wood construction and the highest efficiency of all. Other features include:

  • A selection of natural wood species
  • Painted or factory-finished stain options
  • Designed to hold up against hurricane-force winds

The A-Series window collection is durable enough to withstand the harsh weather of coastal regions.

Andersen Windows reviews, ratings and customer satisfaction

Renewal by Andersen wins J.D. Power’s highest rating in customer satisfaction.

Reasons why Andersen Windows is a great option

Whether you’re replacing your windows or working on a new construction project, Andersen offers a wide variety of windows including awning, bay, gliding and casement styles. Here are some of the features that make Andersen a great choice:

  • They can be further customized by choosing from the many hardware options.
  • Art Glass is available as an upgrade to add color or a unique look to your windows.
  • All Andersen windows are energy-efficient.

Andersen Window Prices

Prices can vary dramatically according to style, hardware options and area. The average cost below is for the most popular size and hardware option, according to Andersen Windows. Prices will vary depending on the authorized dealer in your area.
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Window style  Average Window cost Average Installed Window cost
100 $250 $380
200 $270 $360
400 $395 $500
Renewal N/A $975
E-Series $975 $1100
A-Series $1090 $1250

Andersen Windows Warranties

Andersen breaks their warranties down into three categories:

  • Materials/Frame: 10-year transferable warranty.
  • Glass: 20-year transferable warranty against defects. 
  • Labor: Renewal is the only series that covers labor for 10 years.

Frequently asked questions

How much do windows from Andersen Windows cost?

Andersen makes windows for every style and budget. Windows cost as low as $100.

What types of windows does Andersen Windows sell?

They’re known best for their quality wood windows but also offer a 100-Series fiberglass composite style that’s budget-friendly and more durable than vinyl windows.

Where can I buy Andersen windows?

Enter your zip code in their dealer finder page to find where you can buy Andersen windows near you.

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Pella Windows

Pella has been in the window and door industry since 1925. They provide a wide range of wood, fiberglass and vinyl window options. They also offer top-of-the-line windows with smart home technology that continues their tradition of industry innovation. Their Insynctive technology adds security sensors to every window and door in your home. You can monitor your home with their free app on both Android and Apple devices. Whatever your needs, Pella will have the right style and type of window for your home, including completely customized pieces.

Table with windows in background for pella

S_Photo / Shuttershock

 

Pella Windows products and pricing

Pella offers three different frame materials and several style options, including completely customized windows. The first step is to choose between wood, fiberglass and vinyl windows. 

Architect Series®

Wood windows come in traditional and contemporary styles. Their Architect Series® Traditional Windows were also voted an ENERGY STAR Most Efficient 2019 product and are compatible with their smart home technology.

Price range: $136 – $355 (for Pella Lifestyle Series Double Hung Windows)

Impervia® Series

If durability is important to you, their Pella® Impervia® fiberglass windows are a good option. They include Duracast®, “The most durable material available in windows.” Duracast is made of five layers that protect your windows from both extreme heat and cold.

Price range: $131 – $240 (for Pella Impervia Series Double Hung Windows)

350, 250 and Encompass Series

Vinyl windows are a great option if you’re looking for something simple, affordable and that are easy to maintain. Pella offers three options, including their 350 Series, 250 Series and Encompass by Pella® series — one of their most affordable options. And they’re not just affordable. They are some of the easiest windows to maintain, also making them one of the longest-lasting.

Price range: $109 – $220 (for Pella Encompass Series Double Hung Windows)

Note that pricing for windows varies based on each individual project. To find out what your windows will cost, it’s best to contact a local dealer and get an estimate. They will also be able to tell you about specific warranties for each product.

Pella Windows reviews, ratings, customer satisfaction

Pella is well-known in the industry. They have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and received a “better than most” score in operational performance and durability in the Windows and Patio Doors Satisfaction Study (Manufacturer) (2018) by J.D. Power.

Reasons why Pella Windows is a great option

Pella replacement windows can offer homeowners a ton of benefits, including windows that exceed ENERGY STAR requirements in all 50 states, enhanced noise reduction and innovative technologies like integrated blinds and built-in security sensors. Few companies have as big of an impact in the industry with prices that are affordable and materials that stand the test of time.

Pella offers a limited lifetime warranty on many of its products, including wood, vinyl and fiberglass windows. Pella replacement windows also come with the Pella Care Guarantee for customers who purchase and install through a local Pella Window and Door showroom.

Pella windows FAQs

  • How much do windows from Pella cost?

The cost will depend on the size of the project. You can expect to pay anywhere from $80 to $1,325 per window installed, depending on your choices and the price of installation. 

  • What types of windows does Pella sell?

Pella sells wood, fiberglass and vinyl windows in a variety of styles. For more information, click here.

  • Where can I buy Pella windows?

To find a local dealer, visit this link and enter your zip code.

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Kitchen Windows Guide — Find the Right Choice for You

From sipping coffee in the morning to cooking family dinners at night, we spend a lot of our day in the kitchen. For most homeowners, it’s important for the kitchen to be a happy and cheerful space. One of the most effective ways to do this is through kitchen window design. Kitchen windows let in natural light and, if done right, can brighten the mood of the entire room. Use these kitchen window ideas to transform your home kitchen into the family gathering space of your dreams. 

Kitchen window and sink

Anna Andersson Fotografi / Shuttershock

Your Guide to Kitchen Windows

Kitchen windows come in many shapes and sizes. They range from the kitchen bay window over the sink, which allows you sweeping views of the outdoors while you do the dishes, to the kitchen pass-through window, which can open the kitchen up to an indoor dining space or outdoor patio. As an integral part of the room’s design, your kitchen windows will help set the mood for the type of kitchen you want to create.  

Kitchen windows overview

There are two main components to a kitchen window. First is the design of the window itself, including its size, shape, and how it opens and closes. Second is kitchen window decor, or how you choose to dress the window with curtains and valances.

For kitchen window design, there are a few pro tips to keep in mind. Window types that worked in the rest of your house won’t necessarily work in your kitchen. For example, you’ll want the kitchen sink window to be functional and easy to open while still letting in enough natural light. The best choice for this is often a bay window or side-by-side casement windows.

In terms of decor, the most popular way to dress things up is with kitchen window curtains. Ideas include using colors and patterns to brighten up the overall scheme. Of course, kitchen window valances are also an option for a slightly different style.

Kitchen windows pros

A main advantage of kitchen window curtains is the added privacy that they provide. If you’re concerned about safety, or even just the curious eyes of neighbors, curtains will be your first line of defense to maintain privacy in your kitchen.

If privacy isn’t a concern, there are endless kitchen window valance ideas to add style and sophistication to your kitchen without sacrificing the view. Valances sit at the top of your kitchen window and, when used effectively, will make the entire room feel larger. The kitchen is one of the easiest places to use valances, which is a huge pro in our design books.

Another bonus of kitchen window treatments is their cost effectiveness. Kitchen renovations are expensive, in fact the average cost of a kitchen remodel is over $60,000. For a tiny fraction of the price, you can give your kitchen a facelift with updated window treatments. Save even more money by trying your hand at DIY kitchen window decor and create a totally custom look that suits your individual taste.

Kitchen windows cons

When the purpose of kitchen windows is to fill the room with natural light, curtains can block some of this light, putting you at a disadvantage. One popular kitchen window curtain idea is to use sheer curtains that filter some light in while maintaining privacy. You’ll have to test a few different weights of fabric to find the right amount of sheerness.

While kitchen window curtains and valances are relatively inexpensive, any modifications involving the design or structure of the windows themselves will add up quickly. This can become a huge drawback if you’re on a budget. However, don’t ignore the signs if you really do need new kitchen windows. Windows that are damaged, warped, or poorly insulated should get replaced as soon as possible before they cause further problems.

Kitchen window reviews

The sky is the limit when it comes to designing kitchen windows. Start on a site like Pinterest to get inspiration and read reviews from other home remodelers. For product reviews on hundreds of individual windows, check out Home Depot’s website. You can also find customer reviews on window treatments from similar retailers such as Lowe’s

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3 Best Replacement Window Brands of 2019

If you’re looking for new replacement windows, there are a lot of factors to consider before deciding which is the best window brand for you. What do you value most when it comes to replacement windows? Here are some of the questions you should answer before purchasing:

  • What is your budget?
  • What style of replacement windows do you like?
  • Do you want energy-efficient windows?
  • What type of frames do you need?
  • What warranty options are available?
  • Do you need your replacement windows professionally installed? 

This deep dive into the three best replacement window brands of 2019 considers all of these factors in order to help you decide which replacement windows are right for you.

new replacement windows with green trim

Noel V. Baebler / Shutterstock

The 3 best replacement window brands

Pella Windows

If you value high-quality, energy-efficient windows backed by years of experience, then Pella is a great option for you. The company has been around for nearly 100 years and is a true leader in window innovation. Additionally, they offer an energy-efficient product line with “options that will meet or exceed ENERGY STARⓇ certifications in all 50 states.” And no matter your favorite styles, colors and materials, Pella offers the perfect replacement windows for you.

Pricing: The price of Pella windows depends on the style and material you choose. Double-hung windows from Pella cost between $124 and $355.

Andersen Windows

Andersen Windows is another best brand for several good reasons: they’re long lasting, energy efficient and low maintenance. You can trust that these replacement windows, which offer a modern style,  will hold up well over time. Best of all, Andersen allows you to design your own replacement windows so you get a good match for your home.

Pricing: The design-your-own option will vary depending on the type of window you need, but the average replacement double-hung window from Andersen costs between $409 and $674.

Simonton Windows

If you’re looking for vinyl replacement windows, Simonton is the brand you want. While they’re known for their vinyl, their customer service and impressive warranties are proof that this brand is committed to quality. In fact, they’ve won multiple awards for their quality and performance. When you’re looking for durability and customer satisfaction from your replacement windows, Simonton is a great place to start. 

Pricing: The cost for Simonton double-hung replacement windows can range from  $150 to $1000, depending on the size of the window, the type of vinyl chosen and the thickness of the glass..

Window Warranties

Even with the best window brands, there is bound to be a defect from time to time. It is essential to consider the warranties offered when choosing a replacement window brand. Without a good warranty, you could lose hundreds of dollars to remove a bad window and then reinstall a new one.

Pella offers a variety of warranties on their products. One of the best offers is The Pella Care Guarantee, which “is available exclusively for replacement customers who purchase and install Pella products through their local Pella Window and Door Showrooms.”

Andersen also offers a warranty on all of its products, and it can even be transferred if you sell your home.  If/when you sell your home, you can transfer your warranty to the new owner with their exclusive Owner-to-Owner limited warranty.

Simonton’s warranties have helped them win awards for customer satisfaction. Like some of Andersen’s warranties, they are also transferable. Many products from Simonton come with a limited lifetime warranty.

window open in home

Regfer / Shutterstock

Window Replacement Process

Once you decide which is the best replacement window brand for you, next you’ll have to find the right supplier/distributor to purchase them from. Some companies have local showrooms that sell their products. Another great option is to visit a home improvement store, such as Lowe’s or Home Depot, or to shop their sites.

After you have purchased the replacement windows, you’ll then need to hire a qualified local installer to install the windows in your home. The companies often train their preferred contractors and dealers so that your replacement windows are installed quickly and perfectly. Before you hire anyone, be sure to search for them online so that you can read reviews from other customers. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. 1. What is the best brand of replacement windows? 

The best option for your home will differ depending on your budget and window needs. Consider costs, available styles, energy efficiency, frame types, warranties and professional installation options.

  1. 2. How do I buy replacement windows?

The best place to start is the company’s website. They make it easy to purchase directly from them and often have contacts for qualified installers to install the replacement windows in your home. 

  1. 3. Where can I buy replacement windows?

In addition to purchasing online from the company’s website, you can also go to your local home improvement store, such as Lowe’s or Home Depot. These stores often sell the best window brands.

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