Thursday, 9 May 2013

Let's go shopping!

Sounds fun, right? But what if I told you we were shopping for windows? Womp, Womp.  No way does that sound as shopping for a new pair of kicks, freak 'em dress, or hats.  I love shopping for hats.  Why don't we wear more hats? Let's bring back hats! But first, let's get back to talking about windows.
I bought a house that's a hundred years old.  I call him Don Alejandro and I love him, but like any relationship it takes WORK.  And this year, his peepers weren't looking so bright, actually it kind of looked like he was crying.  Condensation had started to collect in between the panes of glass.  That's BAD! So I had to start shopping for some new windows.

I thought that the Home Show would be a great place to start as there would be lots of vendors all in the same place so that it would be easier to compare.  I had also started to do a little Internet reading to try to prepare myself.

But as it turns out, shopping for windows is a lot like shopping for mascara (stay with me guys).  You walk into the store and there's lots of shiny packaging all promising to be the best as thickening, lengthening or straightening, but in the end they are just tubes of black goo that all do more or less the same job. Mascara also tries to sell you bells and whistles, fatter applicators, applicators with more bristles and sticky primers.  But really when it comes down to it, it's how you work it that determines how good it looks.  Do you follow me? No?  Well then let me break it down for you. 

Everybody at the show is trying to sell you their product.  It's business, of course they're going to tell you that their product is the best.  But here's what I discovered:
1-They are all energy star rated
2- They are all use Argon gas between the panes of glass
3- They all have some sort of E coating that helps protect you from all the evil rays of wonderful sunshine.

So forget about comparing all of that.  It doesn't matter. It's all the same black goo.  

But here are the things you should consider: 
I didn't even consider wood window frames because the maintenance is so high and really, who can be bothered with that these days?

These are the key points that I found debated between Fibreglass and Vinyl:
Fibreglass windows offer much less insulation than vinyl windows. PVC windows are designed to trap pockets of air and thus are very efficient in keeping out cold. Fibreglass offers to up to 3 times less insulation than vinyl. So if you are looking for insulation your choice has to be vinyl windows.
Fibreglass is composed of glass fibres and resins which are better able to expand and contract as the weather changes allowing it to maintain its integrity. This makes fibreglass windows ideal for hot climates or climates with extreme temperature fluctuations
Fibreglass windows are relatively durable – they resist rotting, warping, and cracking – but will need routine painting to maintain their colour and appearance..
Vinyl windows are a great option if you are a low-maintenance person.
They are rust resistant, impervious to bugs, and don’t warp or peel. With some minimal bi-annual maintenance, your vinyl windows will be good to go
Fibreglass windows are made from sand and composite replacement windows are made from sand and wood pulp left over after manufacturing of wood windows. That makes them more Eco-friendly than vinyl, a petroleum-based plastic.
Vinyl is recyclable.

OK, so you've picked the material for your frames and you're sold on Argon gas and E-Coating. Great! Now comes what I think is perhaps the most important part.  Installation. This could make it or break it for you.  You could have the Maserati of windows, but if they mess up on installation it's game over. So shop around your neighbourhood and see who's had their windows done and ask your neighbours about their experience.  There are also lots of neighbourhood blogs and the Better Business Bureau will give it to you straight.   

A word to the wise, almost everyone offers a 20 year warranty, but here's the catch.  Some new businesses are really old businesses that shut down and reopened under a new name to run away from their warranty issues.  Sneaky, sneaky! So do your background checks!

The process is exhausting, but hopefully when it's all said and done your place will be warm and cozy in the winter and cool and comfy in the summer all while saving those those all important nickles you're setting aside for your next vacation.