What are the Best Windows for New Construction?

New WindowsWith many options available, it can be hard to determine which windows are the best for new construction homes. There are many factors that need to be considered before deciding on a window, and you may find that you need several different kinds of windows for different areas of your new home. Here are a few of the most important things to keep in mind when making a decision.

The Design

Before deciding on windows to use, it is important to consider your overall design for the home and for each particular space within it. If you are planning a bright sun-lit room, thick triple-glaze windows with Low-E treatment may not be the best choice as they are not as bright as standard double-glaze windows. On the other hand, a large room facing north may need extra insulation to make it comfortable. Once you know exactly what your goals for each space are, it is easier to decide which windows work best to accomplish them.

How Many Panes

It is the glass that truly makes a window, and there is a variety of choices available. One important choice to make is between double-glaze and triple-glaze glass. Double-glaze windows consist of two panes of glass with a layer of air between them to improve insulation. Triple-glaze windows add another pane of glass, for a total of three layers of glass and two layers of air between them. While triple-glaze windows are more energy-efficient than double-glaze ones, they are also thicker, heavier and more expensive than similar double-glaze options and let in a little less light.

Gas Filling

Most commonly, the space between the panes of glass in double and triple glaze windows is filled with air. However, recently using either argon or krypton gas has become more popular. While adding to the cost of the window, vacuum sealed gas filling makes those windows significantly more energy efficient. Argon provides a good increase in insulation for a reasonable price. Krypton gas is an even better insulator, but it is more expensive, which is why krypton fill is only found on higher-end window styles.

Low-E Coating

Another optional feature popular with new construction windows is Low-E coating. It is a special layer applied to the glass that reflects heat while letting light pass through. That improves the insulating quality of the window. While Low-E coating can be beneficial in a warm climate or for south-facing windows, it can actually make your home less energy-efficient during the winter, as less of the sun’s heat reaches your home, requiring your heating system to pick up the difference. A good overview of various options to maximize your window’s efficiency can be found on the US Department of Energy Web site to help decide which of those options is best for you.

The Frame

It is also important to choose the right frame for your window. Vinyl is an inexpensive and fairly efficient choice, but it is usually not as aesthetically pleasing as other options. Wood frames insulate windows most effectively, but require frequent maintenance or replacement in wet or cold climates. On the other hand, aluminum frames are the least efficient, but they are very durable and light-weight. A new option is a fiberglass frame. Fiberglass is very sturdy and makes for a good insulator. The only drawback is that it is so new: there is not as wide a variety of styles available, and they tend to be more expensive than other materials.

A World of Choices

There is no one best window design. However, once you decide on the design for your home, it is not difficult to find the best window for your new construction.

Related Resource: Best Siding for New Construction