Home Improvement Blog: A Toolbox of Ideas

Top 5 Qualities of Weather Tight Windows

Posted on Tue, Mar 29, 2011

Installing Weather Tight Replacement Windows in your house is one of the best investments you can make. High quality replacement windows will increase your home’s energy efficiency as well as add a “Touch of Class” to your home. Although, choosing the weather tight replacement window can be a more difficult task than just deciding to make it the next project for your home.

Here are the Top 5 Qualities of a Weather Tight Window:



A Weather Tight Design

Replacement window designs vary dramatically from different manufacturers and brands.  Each window will often have its own unique design and features to create a weather tight window to withstand the elements. Make sure you know what to look for in a window design to make sure that you don’t find out that you made the wrong choice after it’s too late. Some replacement windows are designed with sleeker frames and slim sight lines giving the window a contemporary look while not sacrificing energy efficiency. On the other hands, some window are simply designed with large bulky frames which sacrifice the appearance for minimal efficiency gains. Generally sleeker windows with better designs are preferred over massive frames that are only moderately more efficient with substantially less viewable glass area. 

More, unfortunately some windows are designed to be as cheap as possible with the sole intent on being the lowest cost (with the loss of quality and efficiency). These cheaper windows do not look as good either with noticeable differences. It’s important to find a design that meets your needs and desires. If energy efficiency is your most important feature, then make sure you know exactly how the window seals? If security is a key reason, then how do the sashes interlock in the middle? The overall design of a window can really make or break the window.  Be sure to know what features you are looking for to get the best weather tight window for your home.



Low Maintenance

A true weather tight window should be made to endure and resist the elements. Select a window that is made to last a lifetime to make sure the window holds up for many years to come. The window’s warranty is usually a direct correlation to how long it is expected to last.  Lifetime warranties are best for performance and peace of mind.

The window material is one of the most important factors to determining the amount of maintenance you can expect. Vinyl and fiberglass are the most resistive window fabricating materials. Wood windows tend to need maintenance after a few years or so and then every couple years after. Vinyl never needs to be stained or resealed and is the better low maintenance solution. Vinyl and fiberglass will also look great for many years to come.



Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency is a very important consideration in selecting your weather tight windows.  Low emissive glass (also known as Low-E or “smart glass”) keeps the heat out in the summer. During the winter months Low-E glass keeps the heat inside and the cold outside. Low-E glass also reduces UV penetration to protect furniture and carpets from fading.  There are some variations of Low-E glass. Here are two of the latest energy efficient Low-E glass products:

  • Low-E2 (Double stacked Low-E) has two layers of Low-E silver among eight total layers creating a microscopic and invisible energy efficient coating on the glass. 
  • Low-E3 (Triple stacked Low-E) has an additional layer of silver for a total of three layers of silver among 12 coatings total. Low-E3 is more efficient in reducing solar heat gain and slightly more energy efficient.  This is the best glass for UV protection to resist fading from the sun’s harmful rays.  You might be wondering why not have four layers of silver for even better glass?  Well, a fourth layer of silver on the glass would essentially create a mirror and not allow visible light to pass through (hence, defeating the purpose of a window).

Want to learn more about glass coatings?  Read our article on energy efficient window glass coatings.


Weather Tight & Water Resistant

How well can the window weep the water Weather Tight Windows Rainaway when it rains or needs to drain condensation? A well-made weather tight replacement window is able to weep the water away even during torrential downpour. They also are resistant to condensation problems.  On the other hand, wood by nature tends to absorb moisture when exposed to the elements, which can cause the window to warp and begin to leak.  High quality vinyl windows have proven to be extremely weather tight and moisture resistant over time.




Weather Tight Windows SecurityYou will want strong windows to keep your house safe for your family. Choose a window with multiple heavy-duty graduating cam locks, which are pick resistant. Also choose strong materials for your window.  Vinyl is an extremely energy efficient and low maintenance material, but it needs to be structurally supported in key areas on a window.  Make sure the design reinforces safety and security.  Both interlocks should have structural reinforcement from aluminum or steel, or even better yet composite. 

Many windows have dual vent locks that allow the window to remain partially open for extra ventilation while adding a deterrent for intruders. The vent locks are not designed for full security and should not be relied on for full protection.



So, before choosing a weather tight window for your home make sure you don’t just assume that any replacement window will do the job.  Do your research and make sure the window you choose is proficient in its design, maintenance, energy efficiency, weather resistance and security.  This is a project that you should only have to do once and you want to make sure it’s done right. 


Photo credits: Rain on window glass, burglar


Thinking about replacement windows for your home?  Make sure you download our free window guide below. 

Free Window Guide



Tags: Energy Efficiency, Security, Replacement Windows