Choosing the best casement replacement windows is usually a matter of understanding the options and researching the differences between construction methods and materials. In most cases you’ll be able to find a range of casement windows to replace either existing casements or other styles of windows in a home or office. Understanding the pros and cons of what you currently have can be a good place to start, at least in terms of defining your ultimate goals. Sometimes the best replacement will be a direct mimic of what is already in use, though you may also elect to upgrade the materials, the quality of the glass, or the associated hardware. How easy the window is to install and how durable it is against things like high winds and storm water might also be factors depending on your particular situation. In general it’s a good idea to look at a couple of different alternatives before making a choice, and talking with a specialist or window installation expert is often also beneficial.
Casement windows open outward on hinges controlled by a rotating handle. This distinguishes them from traditional sash-style windows, which usually open up and down or side to side on a fixed track. Generally, casement windows offer considerable light penetration and viewing space. Their handles can sometimes be tricky, though; although the handle opens and closes the window with little pulling or pushing, locating and maneuvering the handle can be awkward, especially when blinds have been installed. Many manufacturers offer handles that fold down or tuck away when not in use, and some have locking mechanisms to prevent accidental cranking by children or pets.
Overall Effectiveness and Quality of Construction
When choosing the best casement replacement windows, it’s often really important to consider effectiveness as well as cost. Ideally you’ll want a window that is made of sound material and fits well — and can be sealed well — into your existing window frame. You will usually need to measure the frame or consult a professional to assess what’s already in use in order to get the sizing specifications right. A window that’s poorly made or doesn’t fit well will usually lead to disappointing results.
Consider Different Materials
The building material used can also influence the effectiveness of the window. For example, vinyl casement replacement windows usually are reasonably priced, but early versions in the 1990s often presented leakage and insulation problems. As of 2010, the grade of vinyl had improved to the point where insulation became a minimal concern.
Other types of casements are steel, aluminum, wood clad, and fiberglass. Metal casement replacement windows conduct moisture and heat, which usually makes them less than satisfactory insulators. Fiberglass, vinyl, and wood insulate well, with wood usually considered to be the best. While wood can rot once paint cracks, wood clad typically has a vinyl covering, thereby making the unit maintenance-free.
Vinyl windows are usually easier to install than wood or metal because there is more give in the material. The most natural appearance is usually achieved with wood, followed by the look of manufactured materials. Vinyl products come in various shades with consistent color, which can disguise or at least minimize the appearance of chips or dents.
The Double-Pane Difference
Another consideration is glass construction. Double panes can help keep out extreme temperatures such that a home can remain cool in warmer months and warm in colder months. It’s usually important for you pay attention to both listed R-factors and U-factors for the entire window when considering double panes. The R-factor measures the effectiveness of insulation. In general, the higher the R-factor number, the better the insulation. The U-factor measures the amount of heat transfer, and the lower the U-factor, the better the window is at keeping temperatures constant.
An e-coating can be also applied to glass surfaces, which is something that might be worth considering. This typically helps keep heat from transferring in or out of the home. Krypton or argon gas can be injected between double panes, thereby helping to insulate and prevent heat transfer.