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Buyer's Guide: Replacement Windows

Whether you are looking to upgrade your older windows into something new, completing a do it yourself renovation, or anything in between, finding the right replacement windows is an essential part of the process. There seem to be hundreds of types of windows out there, and finding that ideal fit can be a struggle. However, we are here to help guide you through the process. From new construction versus replacement windows and even what to look for in a window, have you covered the type of window frame to what type of gas you need in your double-paned window. So, let us jump in and explain what replacement windows are to start with.

What Are Replacement Windows?

Replacement windows are new window assemblies that are installed on preexisting window openings. No, you are not getting old or used windows. Instead, replacement windows are replacing your existing window with a new upgraded assembly. Most replacement windows will include housing and new hardware. However, it will depend on the exact type of window and the condition of the window opening. Some replacement window jobs require more work than others, but as an Ottawa windows replacement company, we can help ensure that quotes, labour, and installation are as easy as possible.

Replacement Windows vs New Construction Windows

When considering new windows, you have two particular choices. First, you have the replacement window, and second, you can choose a new construction window. Naturally, each type has its pros and cons and depending on your specific situation, the right fit may differ between homeowners. So, let us start with replacement windows.

Replacement windows are the more common choice that we see as a window replacement company. Replacement windows are manufactured as one single unit, which allows for an easy install, and without the need for installers to remove the exterior siding of the home. Instead, replacement windows can slide into the preexisting window opening. When compared to the other window types, this is where replacement windows average cost really shines. There is little labour cost, and the overall work is generally quicker and easier to complete than another window type.

On the other side of the coin is new construction windows. These windows are designed and manufactured while the home is still in the process of being constructed. These types of windows are the house's original windows, cottage, or extension, and are designed to take advantage of this fact. For instance, new construction windows can use fins or flanges to attach directly to the home's framing, which replacement windows cannot do. New construction windows need to be installed before the exterior siding is in place and will require a significant amount of labour to install for the team. Although generally cheaper to manufacture than replacing windows and frames cost, replacement windows will cost less due to the increased labour costs associated with new construction windows.

With all of this in mind, you can install new construction windows on an older house, making sense to do this in some specific cases. First and foremost, if the wall surrounding a window has rotted or deteriorated to the point where framing and studs need to be replaced, a new construction window might be the best solution for your situation. If you are looking to upgrade siding or replace a wall, new construction windows are ideal. However, for the vast majority of people, the best choice for your new windows will be replacement windows. Now that we have dealt with new construction vs replacement windows let us jump into some of the features you should look for in your window installation in Ottawa.

Energy Efficiency

Although some homeowners might choose to install replacement windows for the look, the vast majority of people look to increase the efficiency of their homes through new energy-efficient windows. In fact, the National Association of Home Builders lists energy efficiency as the second-highest quality that leads to a purchase decision. So, let us jump into the particulars of window energy efficiency.

First and foremost, when looking at windows, you want to see the Energy Star logo. The Energy Star logo notes the window has been independently tested and certified by the NFRC. These testing standards ensure the window meets EPA and Natural Resources Canada standards for energy efficiency. The Energy Star testing tests two specific measures, the windows U-factor and the SHGC. Interestingly, performance standards are not national. Instead, windows are tested by region. As naturally, a window located in British Columbia will need to hold up to different issues than a window in Ottawa.

Although most well-known for the energy star program, NFRC does additional testing and can provide that information on an NFRC label. Besides the heat transfer and sun-blocking testing, the NFRC tests for visible transmittance, air leakage and condensation resistance.




What to look for


Heat transfer/escape


The lower the number, the better the window

Solar heat gain

Measures how resistant a window is to unwanted heat gain


The lower the number, the better the window

Visible Transmittance

Measures the natural light a window lets in


The lower the number, the better the window

Air Leakage

Measures how much outside air enters through the window

Under or equal of 0.3

The lower the number, the better the window

Condensation Resistance

Measures how well the window resists condensation build-up


The lower the number, the better the window

Next, we should talk about low emissivity, or otherwise known as low-E coatings. These coatings are thin and transparent and increase energy efficiency. The lower the number, the better the window of a window by reflecting heat away from home while still allowing light to enter. Low-e coatings are applied to the outside of the glass in warm climates, while in colder climates, the coatings are applied to the inside of the glass. The effectiveness of the low-E coatings will be on the window label, so make sure to check the effectiveness when shopping!

Finally, let us look at the insulated glass and how they are a great choice to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Insulated glass is generally seen in two styles. The first is a double-pane, which means two glass panes, while the second is a triple pane. The panes are separated with foam or metal spacers, and then the space between the panes is filled with gas. Generally, most double pane and triple pane glass windows are filled with argon or krypton. It would help if you looked at insulated glass because the panes and gas between the panes will help eliminate heat transfer no matter the season.

Windows Installation


As a window company, we know that installation is always a concern. It is why our team takes the time to go over the installation process and what is to be expected. Whether you are completing a single replacement window or an entire home, we aim to get the job done quickly and correctly. From fitting the windows to securing the window in the frame, replacement windows are a quick and straightforward installation for our team. When we are done, you will have a perfectly aligned window that will last you years to come.

In general, our team can complete a replacement window installation in a single day, but depending on various factors, it could take a couple of days. We suggest reaching out to our team to find out more about installation deadlines and your specific project.


In terms of warranties, the team at Big City Windows provides one of the best warranties in the industry. We are proud of our work and take pride in delivering a top-notch job each and every time. All of our windows come with an included manufacture warranty, and in addition, we also provide warranties on all of our work. If you are looking to find out more, chat with one of our friendly salespeople, and they will gladly walk you through the specifics when it comes to the Big City Windows Warranty!

Replacement Window Cost

If you are looking around at windows and doors in Ottawa, you know that Big City Windows has some of the best pricing in the city. Give our team a call to get a free quote, and let our experts talk you through the process and provide you with replacement windows cost.

Replacement windows offer you a wide variety of options, looks and vinyl window designs. Whether you are looking for something more traditional or modern, we have the window type to be the perfect match for your needs. If you are thinking about replacement windows in Ottawa or have any questions about window installation services, we chatted about time. Give the team at Big City Windows a call and see why so many in the National Capital Region have trusted our team with all of their needs regarding windows and doors in Ottawa and the surrounding region.

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