Windows of Opportunity
Whether you want to bring in a stray breeze on a summer day or just watch the falling snow, windows are your inside connection to the outside world. But that’s not their sole benefit: Experts say that the daylight windows provide boosts our sense of well being. And, with some smart up-front planning, windows can even help heat your home, while making a bold statement about how it looks.

If you’re building a new home or just remodeling, you’ll want to weigh your options carefully—and you do have plenty of choices to consider. From the size and shape of a window to how it’s framed and glazed, you have many decisions to make before your final purchase.

Frame of Reference
Your window’s frame protects the glass, keeps out moisture and insulates your home. As you review these four common options, consider what’s most important to you: Do you need windows that are low maintenance? Or is visual appeal your biggest priority?

Material
– Aluminum
– Vinyl
– Wood
– Metal-Clad
– Wood

Cost
– Least expensive
– Low mid-range
– High mid-range
– Most expensive

Pros
– Popular in southern states where heat loss is less of a factor Durable
– Durable Low maintenance Energy efficient
– Can match any architectural style Energy efficient Durable
– Metal shell on exterior Reduces maintenance Preserves visual appeal of wood on interior

Cons
– Low energy efficiency
– Simple, cookie-cutter look Can’t be painted
– Vulnerable to insects and decay if left untreated High maintenance
– Less energy efficient than wood Exterior color options limited

Get the rest of the guidelines for buying windows in the August/September 2005 issue of Timber Home Living.