Replacing drafty windows and exterior doors with energy-efficient new technologies often pays off immediately in the form of lower energy bills. It can also provide a dramatic lift to your home’s curb appeal and market value.
According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2010-2011 Cost vs. Value Report, these projects delivered some of the highest returns of all moderately-priced home improvements.
New Windows and Doors Boost Curb Appeal & Make You Money
Nearly 1/3 of the energy used to heat or cool the typical American home escapes silently through windows and doors. Replacing drafty old models with energy-efficient designs is one project that pays off right away – and the savings are printed in black and white on a homeowner’s utility bills.
6 great reasons to replace older doors and windows
1 Superior Curb Appeal: Renovating with good-looking classic or modern styles can add architectural distinction or personality.
2 More Comfortable: New technologies reduce air flow between the interior and exterior which helps to maintain a more consistent temperature inside your home.
3 Lower Maintenance: Durable designs and modern materials minimize upkeep and may be covered by manufacturer warranties for many years.
4 Safe and Secure: Some models offer multiple-point locking systems and have been designed to resist forced entry.
5 Peace and Quiet: High performance windows can stifle some traffic sounds, commercial clatter or other types of noise from outside.
6 Higher Resale Value: All of these benefits may also appeal to potential buyers, so a significant portion of the cost could be recovered when the property is sold.
The front of your home is what neighbors, guests and buyers see first – – installing a new steel entry door or roll-up garage door is a relatively quick and easy project that can have a dramatic impact on the look of your home’s exterior.
Moderately priced window and door replacement projects produced some of the highest returns for home improvement investments in 2010.
|Window and door replacement bang for your buck
|Return on Investment (ROI)
|Steel entry-door replacement
|Window replacement (10 insulated, wood-clad)
Annual energy cost savings for homes with high performance windows
Heating Costs in Cold-Weather Climate Reduced up to 26%
Cooling Costs in Warm-Weather Climate Reduced up to 35%
Pick the Perfect Window to Frame Your View
When selecting new windows and doors, there are several key things to keep in mind.
- Choose a style that emphasizes your home’s character, including its overall design and other important architectural features.
- Try to match the general construction quality and the price point to that of the existing structure. It typically does not make financial sense to put high-end materials in an entry-level home or budget products in a luxury property.
- Choose frame materials and special features (such as upgraded glass, multiple panes or inert gas fillings) that are suited to the climate in your area.
Correct measurements and installation — including anchoring, insulating and sealing —are necessary to ensure the windows are airtight and waterproof. Make sure to use a knowledgeable dealer with plenty of experience and good references.
What You’ll Get for Your Money
$ Most Affordable— Products made of vinyl (or PVC) provide good insulation, require little maintenance and are resistant to moisture. Good-quality vinyl windows stand up to temperature extremes and are less likely to crack or warp.
$ $ More Costly — Fiberglass or composite window frames offer plenty of insulation and are highly durable. They are also dimensionally stable, since they generally do not swell or shrink as temperatures fluctuate. They can be textured, painted or stained to look like wood.
$ $ $ Priciest Options — The look of natural wood works well with the classic styling of traditional or upscale homes, but it can deteriorate due to moisture and insect damage. Today’s modern clad wood designs have wood on the inside and metal, vinyl or fiberglass on the exterior to maximize durability and reduce maintenance.
Learn the Lingo
U-Factor: a measurement of how well the window keeps warm or cool air from flowing between the inside and outside of the home; a lower number (typically between 0.20 and 1.20 ) means the window insulates better and is more energy efficient.
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC): a ratio between 0.25 and 0.80 that indicates how well the window blocks heat caused by sunlight; a lower ratio is best in warm climates.
Low-Emissivity (Low-E) Glass: a metallic coating that lets in light but reflects UV rays, reducing the amount of heat that passes through the glass.
Energy Star-qualified: a product that meets certain performance standards and is labeled to specify which of the four U.S. climate zones (northern, north central, south central and southern) it’s most suited for, based on the listed U-factor and the SHGC.