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Windows FAQs

For additional questions, call our office to request a free quote at 847.281.9890 (Libertyville) or 847.304.2882 (Barrington), stop by one of our convenient showrooms, or send us a message.

1. When should I consider replacing windows in my home?

You should consider replacing windows if:

  • Your wood frames are rotting.
  • Your current windows often have excessive condensation.
  • You are tired of painting and staining.
  • You can feel drafts while sitting near your current windows.
2. My windows are old and drafty. What's the best way to replace them?

That depends on what you want for a finished product. Since you can change the entire style of a window, you may choose that option. Custom-sized windows are available but are more expensive. Stocks-size windows can actually be more expensive because they can mean more extensive carpentry in the installation process both inside and outside your house. In any event, the added comfort and energy savings will make window replacement your best option.

3. What exactly is a replacement window?

A replacement window is one that is customized to fit inside your existing window frame. This eliminates expensive carpentry work because your outside and inside window trim remain intact. The new window is fitted to your inside trim for a finished look.

4. What should a homeowner look for when selecting a product?

It is important to choose a company with a proven track record and good references. Make sure you select a company with high quality products and certified installers.

5. Are replacement windows better than my old ones?

Yes, for several reasons. Most modern windows are easier to maintain than old windows. The glass is at least double-insulated (some triple-insulated) to eliminate the need for storm windows. And many windows tilt-in for easy cleaning.

6. Will I save any money on my heating and cooling costs with new windows?

Yes, if they are installed properly. As much as 90% of energy loss in your home occurs through your windows. Making your windows more efficient will save you money on your heating bill. In addition, many new windows also have reflective properties, keeping the house cooler in summer months.

7. What options do I have when buying windows?

The list is quite long. You can change window style. You can add low-e / argon filled glass, several internal grid options, tempered glass, triple glazed, colors, and more. Ask your LandMark Exteriors rep for a list of options available for the windows you choose.

8. What is low-e glass and why should I consider it?

Low-e glass is short for low-emissivity glass. It has a very thin coat of material on the glass to make it more efficient, especially in very sunny, hot areas such as the west coast. It helps reflect standing heat away from the surface of the glass, keeping unwanted heat out in the summer and desired heat inside in the winter. Low-e glass is the most cost effective way to increase the energy efficiency of the windows.

Low-e coatings can also help reduce furniture and carpet fading by reducing the amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation that enters the home. Harmful ultraviolet radiation can alter the chemical structure of dyes and other colorants in carpets and furniture causing fading.

9. What causes condensation on windows?

Condensation is caused by excess humidity or invisible water vapor present in the air. When this water vapor encounters a surface at a cooler temperature, it turns to visible droplets of moisture. To reduce the moisture in the home, use fans in bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms to circulate the air. A dehumidifier can be used to remove excess humidity from the air.

10. What is a rough opening?

A rough opening is the opening in the wall frame that a replacement window must fit into. As a rule of thumb, the rough opening should be a half-inch taller and wider than the frame of the window being installed.

11. How are windows sold?

Windows are sold by the u.i., or united inch (width plus height, so a 40x30 window is 40 inches wide and 30 inches high; 40+30=70 united inches). The rough window opening will need to be several inches larger than the window to allow for its installation.

12. What is a window's R-value?

R-value is the way of measuring the transfer of heat through a medium, that is to say, how easily does heat move through a particular product. The higher the R-value, the better the product insulates. Anywhere from 70% to 90% of a window is glass, so the real heating and cooling savings come from improved glass performance, and not necessarily a high R-Value on the frame. Most double insulated glass units have an R value of 2.5 (measured in the center of the glass). With argon-filled options, this increases to 4.5 (triple-glazed increases to 7.5). In comparison, house walls with typical insulation have R-values of from 10 to 20.

13. What is argon gas?

Argon gas is colorless, odorless, nonflammable, nontoxic, and above all, a safe, inert gas that is heavier than air. Argon-filled glass helps to keep your house more energy efficient and helps keep out unwanted noise.

14. What is low-e glass?

Low-e glass has a microscopically thin metal coating on it, which reflects 99% of ultraviolet rays, making your house feel warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Ultraviolet rays can fade carpet, furniture, draperies, and even woodwork.

15. What's it going to cost me?

Windows are sold by the united inch (width plus height). And each option adds to the total price. The more carpentry (and therefore labor) involved, the higher the cost of the project. Each project is unique. Your LandMark Exteriors rep will create a free estimate based on the details of your project.

16. Do I need a building permit?

Permit requirements vary by individual city. Your LandMark Exteriors rep will know whether your project requires a permit.

17. How involved is the replacement window installation process?

Replacement windows have a fairly easy installation process. The installation can usually be scheduled in about two to three weeks and the average install takes only one day.

18. How much can I expect to save on monthly heating and cooling bills?

In general, your savings will be significant. This, of course, depends on the type of replacement windows you purchase.

19. Which materials are most durable and which will give me the best performance for my money?

Windows are typically made of one or more of four different materials--aluminum, wood, vinyl, or fiberglass. Aluminum scratches easily and is a poor insulator. Wood can be high maintenance, involving painting, caulking and refinishing, but provides the better insulation and, for many, great aesthetic value. Vinyl is more durable and generally less expensive, but can crack in extreme temperatures. Fiberglass windows provide durability and low maintenance without the temperature sensitivity seen in vinyl windows.

20. Do I have to put in the same style window that I have now?

Absolutely not. New window styles can change an ordinary house into the premier house in the neighborhood. For instance, opening the space between two smaller windows to create one larger window will make the interior of your house seem larger and will brighten any room. Hung windows open by sliding up and down, while vent windows slide from side to side. One of the advantages of sliding windows includes more precise control of ventilation. Awning windows swing open on a horizontal axis. Casement windows turn on a vertical axis (like a revolving door). Awning and casement windows are easier to clean because they allow easier access to the glass.

21. In saving energy is the frame or the glass more important?

Approximately 70% of a window is glass, so the real heating and cooling savings come from improved glass performance, and not a high R-Value on the frame.

22. What is a U-factor?

U-factor is a standard measure of heat transfer through an entire window unit. The methods for measuring U-factor ratings were developed by the National Fenestration Rating Counsel (NFRC) at the request of the U.S. Department of Energy and the Federal Trade Commission. The U-factor tells you how much heat would escape through the entire window unit in winter, and how much of your air-conditioning would leak out during the summer. The lower the U-factor, the better the window's insulating ability. (A window's U-factor is the reciprocal of it's R-factor, they both measure it's insulating ability. Look for windows with low U-factors and high R-factors.)

23. What is ENERGY STAR®?

The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed this label for various products including windows. R-Values and U-Values are impossible for a homeowner to verify by inspection so this ENERGY STAR® label indicates a product that meets the efficiency values given.