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Double Pane or Triple Pane Windows?

It’s time to think about replacing those aging windows. One of the first matters that the contractor will want to discuss is whether you want double or triple pane windows. Since you’ve never invested in new residential windows, how will you answer that question?

Are triple pane windows better than double pane? What advantages are associated with each choice? For that matter, what does the contractor mean by double or triple glazed windows? 

Here’s some information that will help you understand the nature of each window option. You’ll also get an idea of what to expect in terms of performance, and why one of these options will be better for your home than the other. 

What is a Double Pane Window? 

A double pane window is sometimes called a double glazed window. With this design, two sheets of glass are used rather than a single pane. A tiny space is left between the two sheets or panes. That space is filled with a gas that helps to increase the insulation properties of each window. 

If your home was built prior to the middle of the 20th century, and the windows you’re replacing were part of the original construction, you may have what’s known as single pane windows. That simply means one sheet of glass was used for each window rather than two. This approach is rarely used today, primarily because the single pane does not offer the benefits that double pane glass provides. 

What’s a Triple Pane Window? 

Think of a triple pane window as being a double pane window with one more sheet or layer of glass added. As with the double pane design, there is a tiny space in between each of the three layers or sheets. A gas is used to fill in the spaces and boost the insulation efficiency of each new window. 

Understanding the R Value and the U Value 

During the discussions about double and triple glazed windows, you will hear references to the R value and the U value. Both of those terms tell you something about how well the window glass will do in terms of helping reduce energy costs. 

Sometimes called the R factor, the R value refers to the amount of heat resistance the window glazing possesses. The U factor or U value has to do with the amount of heat transference that the glass allows. Together, you get a better idea of how well the glass performs in terms of making it easier to heat and cool your home. 

What’s the ideal balance between the two values? Ideally, the glass is able to offer a higher level of insulation while also providing a lower level of heat conduction. This means that you want window panes with a lower U value and a higher R value. 

What’s the R value of triple pane windows compared to double pane windows? You can generally expect triple pane glass to have a value of up to nine or ten. By contrast, many double pane windows will have an R value of somewhere between three and four. 

What is the advantage of triple pane windows as it relates to the R value? If enhanced heat resistance is what you’re going for, then triple pane glass is a better choice. While double pane windows are good in this respect, the triple pane windows are much better. 

Comparing the Expense of Purchase and Installation 

What is the average cost of double pane windows? A lot depends on the window design, whether you can use standard rather than custom sizes, and what additional features you might want above and beyond the basic window itself. At the low end, expect to pay around $300.00 CAD for a double pane window. Add another $40 or so per window for the installation cost. 

Remember that these figures represent the average cost of double pane window replacement per window. You’ll find some window companies that charge less for labor costs or may have discounts on certain styles of double pane windows. 

How does this compare to triple pane windows? As expected, it’s higher than the double pane counterparts. On average, the purchase price per window will be somewhere between $550 at the low end and $850 at the high end. That doesn’t include the installation costs. As of the end of 2019, it’s not unusual for the installation costs to be around $40 per hour or per window. 

If you’re like many homeowners, the cost of purchase and installation will have some influence over your decision. That’s where you want to weigh the benefits of double or triple pane windows as they relate to your home. If double pane windows will accomplish what you want and it’s easier for you to afford, them, go with this option. When the expense related to triple pane windows is within your budget, seriously consider choosing this solution. 

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Options for Window Designs 

One of the areas where you will double pane or triple pane windows are much alike is the range of windows styles and designs. It’s easy enough to find double and triple pane glass used in just about any style that you want. From traditional single and double hung windows to casement windows and even bow or bay windows, you have design options that will accommodate either type of pane that you prefer. 

A tip that your contractor is likely to provide is suggesting that you read several triple pane window reviews related to the window design that you’d like to use. This will help you get an idea of what other homeowners think about using this kind of glass with a particular window style. If you see definite advantages, it makes sense to go with the triple pane glass. 

How About Options for Window Materials? 

Another area where double and triple pane glass can both work is with window sashes and frames made using a variety of materials. it’s easy enough to use wood along with double or triple pane glass. The same is true for metal frames and sashes. If you like the idea of aluminum windows, your choice of glass can easily be included. 

A popular option today is to go with triple pane vinyl windows. Vinyl doesn’t need painting, resists fading, and will hold up well to a wide range of weather conditions. You also don’t have to worry about warping or rotting as the years pass. Combine the vinyl framework with the higher energy efficiency related to triple pane glass and the result is a beautiful look with practical savings in the years to come. 

Remember that not all vinyl used for windows is of the same quality. Check with the contractor to find out who manufacturers the windows. Look into the quality and how it compares to offerings by other manufacturers. 

Your goal is to install windows that provide excellent performance for at least 20 years. In some cases, vinyl windows will last for up to 40 years. The contractor can provide an estimate of how long the windows are likely to last, based on factors like the climate, the amount of direct sunlight the windows are exposed to daily, and a few other conditions. 

Do you still have questions about double versus triple pane windows? Perhaps you’re still a little unclear on what sort of materials to use for the frames and sashes. Sit down with the contractor and compare everything from resistance to conduction to noise reduction. It won’t take long to identify the best combination, obtain a quote, and decide what you want to do next. 


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