There are many types, brands, and replacement window materials available on the market today. Products that were considered cutting edge for your home 25 years ago might be different today with innovations within the industry. The type of window you may choose may be entirely different from what was there before, and the team at Shanco will help walk you through the options and what they all mean. 

Shopping for Home Replacement Windows

There are several material options for your home window replacement project. Gaining an understanding of the merits of each material will help you whittle down which you choose for your home. 

Replacement Window Shopping

Replacement windows for your home will require making several decisions. Gaining an understanding of each material and what it brings to the table will ultimately help inform your decision-making.

What Are The Benefits of Replacement Windows?

1. Reduce Heating and Cooling Bills

Today’s windows are all about energy efficiency. Heating and cooling bills increase every year, and the technology behind today’s windows is to keep the extreme temperatures out of your home. You can reduce your energy consumption by moderating extreme temperature gain or loss. Your

windows can cause up to 30% of heat loss or gain in your home. Investing in energy-efficient windows not only looks great but feels great in the long run.

2. Replacement= Boosts Home Safety

New glass technology causes the glass to shatter into many small pieces. Older panes tend to break into large chunks. Large shards of glass possess a danger to anyone near. Furthermore, new windows open and close easier. If you have windows that are hard to open or close, that is a safety concern if you need to exit your home quickly via windows.

3. Enhanced Curb Appeal

We all want safety and lowered bills, but how about a beautiful home in the process? Increase your property value and keep those breathtaking first impressions of your home with new windows.

4. Save Time

Old windows may require a level of maintenance to keep your home warm. Annual maintenance might come in the form of installing a window cling to keep out a chilly draft. Old windows may require weatherstripping or removable caulking to shore up leaky places. New windows may eliminate that need for your home. 

5. Reduce Noise

Can you hear your neighbors when they are outdoors? Barking dogs, cars? Has it become a distraction if you’re working from home? New windows are built to reduce sound transfer. Make bedtime or zoom meetings a little quieter today!

Wood Replacement Windows

Wood provides natural beauty and sophistication to your home. They are great insulators and give homeowners unparalleled versatility. There is a reason that imitation wood exists. It’s because there is nothing more stunning than the real deal! 

What Are the Pros of Wood Windows?

  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Easily paintable
  • Energy efficient
  • Renewable material

Wood windows do have a higher up-front cost, but their energy efficiency and durability may be a great deal in the long run.

Wood Windows Are Extremely Energy-Efficient

Let’s bring it back to science class. We typically cook with wooden spoons because wood does not conduct heat well. Apply that same principle to your windows.

Wood has 1,800 times more insulation than aluminum-framed windows. Wood will not conduct the bitter winter cold or blistering summer heat. The lack of conductivity will prevent warping and cracking under extreme temperatures. 

Fiberglass Replacement Windows

Fiberglass windows were introduced in the past 20 years or so. They are considered to be a mid-price point between wood and vinyl. 

How Energy-Efficient Are Fiberglass Windows?

Fiberglass is a great insulator. The fibers that compose a fiberglass window do not expand or shrink with the temperature and make it a suitable material for a window.

What Are The Pros of Fiberglass?

  • Fiberglass is extremely strong and durable
  • Energy-efficient
  • Low-maintenance
  • Fiberglass is made up of up to 60% recycled glass

Replacement Vinyl Windows

Vinyl is the most common window today. It makes up roughly half of the residential market. 

How good can vinyl be for your home exterior project?

Is Vinyl an Energy-Efficient Material? 

Vinyl windows are energy efficient. Vinyl is made from PVC plastic which does not conduct heat. 

What Are the Pros of Vinyl Windows?

  • Affordable
  • Low maintenance
  • Wide selection of colors
  • Numerous shapes and sizes to choose from

Aluminum Clad Window Replacement

Aluminum-clad windows are aluminum-covered wood windows. The aluminum exterior is durable and known for being a long-lasting window material. 

Using aluminum-clad windows to update your home will add modernity and a sleek appearance. Modern homes can benefit by using aluminum-clad windows but are they right for you? 

Are Aluminum Clad Replacement Windows Energy-Efficient?

While aluminum-clad windows are durable and tolerate harsh weather conditions, aluminum is a good heat conductor. The windows may get hot or cold depending on the weather. 

What Are The Pros of Aluminum Clad Replacement Windows?

  • Durable
  • Strong
  • Rot and insect resistant
  • Easy to maintain
  • An array of color choices

Different Window Styles

Windows come in many different shapes and sizes. Here’s what you may have in your home. 


  • Casement windows open like a door. Hinged on one side and open inward or outward. 
  • A crank is usually used to open and close them. 
  • Casement windows have a high energy efficiency when closed as they close snugly.
  • Screens are interior mounted and can be easily removed.

Awning Windows

  • Awning windows are hinged at the top and open outward from the bottom. 
  • Crank handles are typically used to open and close them.
  • Awning windows are a versatile choice for vertical and horizontal applications. 
  • The hardware found in these windows is exposed less to the elements than in other windows. 
  • An awning allows for better ventilation than sliding and hung options. 

Double Hung 

  • Double-hung windows have two moveable sashes that raise and lower vertically. 
  • The sashes meet and latch shut in the middle. 
  • For space savings, double-hung windows are great as they only move up and down instead of in or out. 
  • No mechanism to move up or down 

Single Hung 

  • Single-hung windows have one moveable sash that raises up from the bottom. 
  • Single-hung is a great option when working in tight spaces, especially when accessing the top sash may be difficult. 
  • Easily accommodates window air conditioners


  • Sliding windows, just like sliding doors, open and close horizontally.
  • A sliding track holds them in place. 
  • Sliding windows have large glass exposure to let considerable light into your home. 
  • There aren't any mechanisms to open or close them.
  • Provide unobstructed ventilation when open.


  • Picture windows have a fixed frame and are non-opening. 
  • They provide great energy efficiency and allow plenty of natural light into your home. 

Bay and Bow Windows

  • Bay and bow windows are a combination of operable and fixed windows. 
  • They curve outside the exterior of your home. 
  • The spread of windows gives you panoramic views of the outdoors and brings in natural light. 

How Much Do Replacement Windows Increase House Value?

Replacement windows always improve the outward appearance of your home. A common question is; 

What is the return on investment for replacement windows? 

The ROI for replacement windows can vary. It depends on what type of material you select. The ROI can be as high as 85%. So, if you spend $10,000 on replacement windows, you can expect the value of your home to increase by $8,500. This is average and isn’t necessarily indicative of the housing marketing in your area. 

How Can I Tell When I Need Replacement Windows?

How old are your windows? Some window materials are more resilient than others. 

  • Vinyl windows have a life expectancy of 20 to 40 years. 
  • Wood that is regularly maintained will last for 30 years. 
  • Fiberglass will last thirty years as well. 
  • Aluminum clad will last for 20 years. 

These numbers are under optimum conditions and can vary due to weather exposure or other natural occurrences.  

Signs of Window Failure

There are several telltale signs to look for when your windows start to fail. You may see one or several of these symptoms with your current windows. If you are experiencing any of these signs, call Shanco for an estimate. 

  • Air leaking or draftiness around the windows

Drafty windows can occur when seals fail. When a seal fails, the argon gas between the panes of glass escapes, and energy efficiency is greatly reduced. Draftiness can occur with an improper installation, or the windows are very old and inefficient.

  • Windows are difficult to open or close

Over time dirt and debris will get into the channels and mechanisms that open and close the windows. This grime will cause difficulty in opening and closing. 

  • Seal failure leads to condensation between the panes of glass

Condensation may form in between the glass panes when a seal is compromised. Unaddressed condensation may lead to wood rot, mold, or damage to drywall/ plaster. 

  • Difficulty locking

Your home will shift over time and may cause your windows to be misaligned. It is a safety issue if they are hard to open or close. Contact a window specialist about a replacement immediately. 

  • Single-pane glass

If you’ve placed plastic over old inefficient windows during the winter, then you are due to get a window replacement. Single pane windows are not energy-efficient and will let cold air permeate. 

What Savings Can I Expect With Window Replacement?

There are different Energy Star requirements depending on the region you live. Shanco sells and installs windows from a variety of vendors. You can read about the best type of windows for your region.

What Are ENERGY STAR Windows? 

ENERGY STAR doors and windows are put through independent tests to meet energy-efficiency standards set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Households that replace their windows with an Energy Star window save 12% on energy bills on average. 

Find A Replacement Window Contractor Near Me

Shanco serves the Washington DC metro, NOVA, and Richmond markets. We got our start in the roofing industry in 2002 and expanded into all facets of home exteriors, including siding replacement and replacement windows. We're proud to have earned the Angi Super Service award in 2020. Contact Shanco today to book your free estimate.