Replacing your aging windows with something new means opening yourself to going with something new and different. To that end, you will want to consider European windows as well as North American windows. Each of these options offer a variety of benefits. Whether or not one happens to be a better choice for you is something that must be decided after conferring with a contractor.
To help you get started, here are some of the primary areas that you want to consider as you look at different European windows and doors as well as their North American counterparts. Pair this with what you learn from the contractor and making the right choice will be a lot easier.
Considering Design Elements
North American standard windows do come in a variety of designs and styles. They may include different features base on they style that you choose. The goal is to combine functionality with appearance. That will mean considering how well the window style fits in with the rest of the home.
You’ll find that in some cases, the tilt and turn design common with European windows is a perfect blend with the home. At other times, North American designs like single or double hung windows will look better while still providing plenty of control of air flow.
Tilt Windows in Both Arenas
When it comes to European tilt windows, they do bring a little extra to the table. The tilt and turn design is somewhat more versatile than the basic tilt windows common to North America. As long as the style works with the rest of the home, it’s worth considering, especially if the weather in your area allows you to have the windows open during much of the year.
On the other hand, those European windows may not offer that much of a plus if you never open the windows. The only real value would be making it easier to clean the glass. Even then, the ease of cleaning would be only marginally better than North American tilt style windows. Unless you want windows that allow you more control over air flow, European windows may not be worth the cost.
What About the Glass?
Glass is another area where there are differences. With many North American made windows, double pane glass is recommended. It’s usually reinforced enough to provide excellent security and provide enough energy efficiency to enhance the ability to control the climate indoors. While you can get triple pane window glass, the benefits are only marginally better unless you live in an area with below freezing temperatures for most of the calendar year.
Keep in mind that the spacing between each pane may be different. With European styles, there tends to be more space between each pane, allowing more room for argon or some other type of insulating gas. North American double and triple pane glass tends to come with less space between each of the panes.
If you do live in colder areas, it’s true that North American windows & glass may not be quite enough for you. If that’s the case, the triple or sometimes quadruple pane glass that’s common with European style windows would be a better fit. If you’re not sure what would be best based on common weather conditions in your area, get advice from a local contractor.
Options for Various Materials
There’s a lot to be said for the materials for different window styles. In North America, homeowners typically can choose between vinyl, wood, and aluminum. Those choices are also available for European windows, but there may also be choices like polished stainless or brushed nickel.
What happens if you want to go with something like European stained glass windows? Consider going with the nickel, especially if your home tends to use more of the materials traditionally used for European home construction. If not, you can consider adapting the design so that vinyl or aluminum is used. Along with being good choices for energy efficiency, they will also tend to be less costly than the nickel. You get the same look and much of the same function while paying less.
Performance Throughout the Year
Much attention is given to how the windows perform during colder climates. What about during the warmer seasons? Can you expect similar performance from European triple glazed windows during the summer months. The answer is yes, but the overall performance may not be different from what you would enjoy with North American double glazed windows.
The rule of thumb is that the more extreme the weather happens to be, the more practical triple and quadruple pane glass will become. Unless you live in an area where the temperatures reach extreme highs or lows, opting for the more expensive glass is not likely to produce much difference in the way of comfort or saving on the utility bills. With that in mind, opting for a European window installation will mean you pay more without necessarily getting greater benefits.
The Pricing for Each Window
It’s no secret that European style windows Canada do cost more per unit. That has a lot to do with the materials used and the type of glass that’s used. If you really like the look and the function, go ahead. If a North American window would work just as well, there’s no point in spending what could add up to a tidy sum and not receiving better performance or appearance.
And the Cost of Installation
There may also be a difference in the cost of installing those European style windows. It may be necessary to engage in more advance work after each old window is removed. That’s because the framework may have to be adapted a bit to install the windows in a home that was built using North American standards and materials. It’s worth the cost if you like the outcome. When it would be less difficulty and you’re not sacrificing on looks or the energy efficiency needed for your area, it makes sense to stick with North American windows.
Which Ones are Best For You?
A lot depends on where you live and what type of features you want from those new windows. In some areas, the weather will play a major role. While it’s possible to invest in European windows that utilize triple or quadruple panes, that could be overkill if double pane glass is more than efficient to block the heat and cold in your area.
The most practical solution is to seek help from local contractors. Make sure that the windows meet current Energy Star standards and are known to perform well in your area. Doing so will make it all the easier to decide if North American windows offer all the benefits that you want while still being kinder to your budget.