Of all the different types of home renovation projects, window replacement is one of the most common. Not only does it enhance the home’s appearance, but it also improves comfort and may even winterize or weatherize homes enough to reduce energy bills. Below are some tips and guidelines for selecting the right window glass.

Single, Double, or Triple Glazed

When referring to a window as double glazed, it is the same as saying it is double-pane or has two pieces of glass. Single glazed windows can still be found in some homes, especially in more mild climates or in older, historic homes. They offer little in terms of insulation, so is not a top choice. Triple glazed windows offer exceptional insulative properties but can get expensive for the average homeowner, so they are far more common in parts of the country with extreme temperature swings. Double pane or double glazed windows are the best balance between thermal qualities and cost. They offer the right amount of insulation for nearly every climate. Double hung vinyl windows, where both the upper and lower sash are mobile to allow the homeowner to open the window in a number of ways, are the most popular replacement window type in the country and double hung double glazed windows are increasingly sought after due to the many advantages.

Explaining Spacers

Another important consideration while selecting the right glass for vinyl replacement windows, are spacers. Homeowners may not be aware that different window manufacturers utilize different materials for spacers. Once upon a time, almost every manufacturer used standard metals, but this posed some issues. Conductivity was a major concern, but most homeowners found that condensation was the true problem.

Metal tends to retain heat or cold far longer than glass, wood, vinyl, and aluminum – the materials found in windows. When warm air trapped between panes of glass condenses on metal, it causes unsightly streaks or fog, reducing visibility and setting the stage for mold development. These days, many manufacturers have turned to treated metal or absorbent foam spacers between panes that can prevent condensation. The best in the industry is Better yet, use of a polycarbonate duralight spacer system. This best-in-class system absorbs even more heat and offers benefits over any foam and metal spacer systems.

Choosing Air or Inert Gas

Choosing the right window glass also includes understanding how inert gases between panes can solve common issues. Though some manufacturers still utilize air between panes of glass, this can create issues. The air between the layers of gas will rise as it warms up, creating a warmer area at the top of the window and a cooler area at the bottom. As the air continues to circulate, and as the temperatures inside the glass shift, condensation can form. To combat this condensation, today’s window manufacturers utilize one of two inert gases between panes of glass: krypton and argon.

Argon is the most popular inert gas as it costs far less than krypton, provides a great deal of insulation, and prevents condensation. To be effective, argon needs about half of an inch between panes, which allows manufacturers to use it in double glazed windows without increasing the windows’ depth. This consistency in depth is important for replacement windows. Krypton, on the other hand, is just as effective as argon, but it is far more expensive. However, it only needs 3/8” of space between panes to be effective. It is ideal for triple glazed windows since it allows manufacturers to provide the benefits of an inert gas without making the window too deep for a standard frame.

Being informed about glass options, spacer material, and the use of inert gases helps homeowners make decisions on window replacements that best fits their needs and budget.

Considering replacement windows, but have more questions? Since 1981, Paradigm has been providing quality vinyl windows with quality service for new construction or remodeling, for both commercial and residential applications. Paradigm strives to find the perfect, custom fit for every customer and works with local professionals to ensure that installations are performed with the best customer service and support available. Reach out to Paradigm for more information, or to find a local Paradigm dealer in your area.