Window Buying Guide: How to Choose Replacement Windows


Windows are an important investment for your house, and finding replacement options can be challenging if you don’t know where to begin. We’re breaking down everything you need to know about different window types so you can confidently make the best decision for your home. 

Learn more with this replacement window buying guide.

Identify Your Replacement Window Goals

When exploring how to buy replacement windows, you should begin by identifying your goals. Everyone wants windows that are cost-effective and energy-efficient. However, there are additional factors to consider when picking out the right option for your home, including:

  • Style: With so many diversewindow styles available, you’ll need to narrow down some choices that pair well with your house and personal preferences. Different window materials will transform the look of your home, so explore options like classic wood or modern vinyl that complement your existing colors and decor. Look at your home’s architecture and the space available to you, considering how the windows will look from the inside and the outside. 
  • Design: Design is an essential factor in your window replacement decision-making. How do you want the windows to open and function? What options will fit where your existing windows are?
  • Location: You should also consider where the window is in your house. How will you use it? What room will it be in? The specific location is essential in choosing the right type of replacement window for your home. 

Basic Window Anatomy

While exploring different options for replacement windows, familiarizing yourself with the basic anatomy can help you make a more educated buying decision.

To make it easy for you, we’ve divided window parts into the following two categories: 

Window Frame Parts

Check out the basic parts of a window frame:

  • Casing: Casing refers to the molding around the window that fills the space between the frame and the wall. Casing seals out air to prevent drafts in your home.
  • Head: The topmost horizontal part of your frame is called the head.
  • Sill: Sills are the bottom horizontal piece of your window frame. 
  • Apron: A frame’s apron refers to the decorative slab installed directly below the sill. 
  • Jamb: The vertical pieces on both sides of the window are called the jamb. These parts help the frame fill out the opening, creating a snug fit on each side.
  • Weep holes: Some frames have built-in openings called weep holes along the bottom. This feature allows water to drain and escape from your window, which benefits your home’s ventilation. 

Window Sash Parts

The sash refers to the moveable part of your window. It is made up of the following components:

  • Pane: The pane refers to the glass in your window. Depending on its design, you could have a single piece of glass or multiple. 
  • Lift: The small piece used to handle the window for opening is called the lift. 
  • Spacers: Spacers are installed between each pane of glass to provide insulation.
  • Sash lock: A window’s locking mechanism is called a sash lock. It secures the panels and keeps them from opening. 
  • Muntins: Muntins are the vertical dividers between each glass panel used to hold the pieces together.
  • Window rail: The rail refers to the top and bottom parts of the sash. On double-hung windows, there are two rails along the top and two along the bottom. 
  • Weatherstripping: The material placed along the window’s frame to provide extra protection against outside elements is weatherstripping, and it can benefit your home’s energy efficiency. 

Find the Best Windows for You

To make the best buying decision, you should explore the various kinds of windows available and consider how they could work with your home.

The following are different types of windows and their main features:

Double-Hung Windows

If you are looking for an option especially suited to withstand cold weather, consider investing in double-hung windows. These options are crafted with two sashes, one on the top and one on the bottom. Both can slide up and down or tilt open for easy access when it’s time to clean. 

The Sunrise Double-Hung window from Sunshine Contracting can offer a touch of character and style to any room in your home. 


Sliding Windows

Sliding windows are simple yet highly functional and can add a unique touch to any room. The panels slide past each other, gliding on rollers horizontally as you open and close them. 

When the panels slide side-to-side rather than vertically, they can provide a greater opening for fresh air and sunlight to pass through. Smooth, horizontal opening makes sliding windows suitable for areas like over the sink or higher window placements. If you’re looking for options that are easy to clean and easy to use, consider investing in sliding windows for your home. 

Casement Windows

Casement windows are a classic choice for residential properties. They function using a small crank that you turn to open and close the panel, which is attached to hinges along the side. 

The crank is usually at the bottom near the sill. You can find casement windows in multiple configurations from Sunshine Contracting, including:

  • Single casement
  • 2-lite casement
  • 3-lite casement
  • 4/5-lite casement 

Casement windows are suitable for older-style homes or anyone who wants a bit of charm with their window choice.

Basement and Awning Windows

Homeowners often overlook basement windows because of their remote positioning within the home. However, they have an important role and must provide your lowest level with adequate ventilation while being durable enough to withstand the elements at your house’s base. 

When exploring basement window options, awning windows are often a great choice for promoting airflow. You can also add an awning window above a casement style for even more natural light and airflow.

Bay and Bow Windows

If you are searching for a distinctive and special option for your replacement project, look at bay and bow windows. Their bowed shape allows you to enjoy a panoramic view from inside your home. 

The build of bay and bow windows extends outward. This design creates more space inside, and you’ll be able to utilize the ledge in a myriad of ways. Bow windows are more rounded and suitable for classic home styles, while bay windows are angular and versatile for different dramatic aesthetics.

Garden Windows

Garden windows are one of the most unique and memorable types available for your home. These will transform your living space and the character of any room. Their design features a main, stationary front panel and two side panels that open. 

If you have a green thumb or live somewhere where outdoor gardening space is out of the question, installing garden windows can provide a perfect place for your favorite plants. 

Geometric Windows

Explore geometric window options if you’re looking for replacement windows that make a bold statement. They are available in a wide range of shapes, including:

  • Trapezoidal
  • Diamond
  • Round
  • Triangular 

Whether you’re updating your bedroom or kitchen, there are many unique geometric window options to choose from. 


Explore Replacement Windows From Sunshine Contracting

Since 1993, Sunshine Contracting has provided window replacement services to homeowners in Northern Virginia. Our staff of highly trained experts is here to help you find the right options for your house and style.

Your windows are an integral element of your home’s design. We are here to ensure the upgrades you choose will suit your needs. Sunshine Contracting has something for everyone, with various types of windows available to choose from. 

Interested in learning more about professional window installation services from Sunshine Contracting? Contact us to schedule your free quote today! 

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