Best practices for replacing your windows.
Even though your rental is not your personal living space, it doesn’t make it any less of a home. If you want your return on investment, as a landlord, you need to consider upgrades that will not only add value to the property, but will also add to your future tenants’ overall comfort and positive experience.
One such upgrade includes replacing old and inefficient windows. New ones are not only more attractive and low maintenance, but they also make the home quieter and less drafty, which is a great plus for the residents.
However, choosing the best windows to fit to your rental property is not easy, as there are dozens of different styles, configurations and models to pick from and they all have significant differences in materials and performance. Here are several aspects to consider when deciding on new windows for your rental unit.
Price and Performance
If you pick double-hung clad wood windows, you might get disappointed, as they tend to be pricey but not the best at keeping cold air and rain at bay. A much better option proves to be a vinyl double-hung clad window, whereas all the casement windows passed the tests with flying colors. Prices generally vary by frame material and it’s up to your choice and preference.
The Window Structure
High quality double-glazed windows have the following structure: a frame that gives the form, cladding that serves as the protective layer of the exterior window and it is usually made of fiberglass, aluminum or vinyl, and the sash, which is the flexible part of the window, that can be moved and tilted in.
Contemporary double glazed windows have insulated glass, which means there’s a sealed space between the two window panes filled with argon gas or air that serves as insulation. The final element is low-E coating that is transparent and essential in improving the efficiency of the glass. In warm climates, it’s applied on the glass exterior to reflect the heat but still let light in. In colder regions, it’s applied on the interior glass to keep the heat inside.
Replacing all the windows on your rental property is a substantial investment, so make sure you get all the information you need. Energy Star and NFRC labels contain important numbers that can provide important information. For instance, U-factor will show the window capacity to keep the heat in – the lower the number, the better the performance. Solar heat gain coefficient indicates the ability to block unwanted sun heat. Once more, the lower the number, the better it is for you if you live in a warmer climate, whereas in cold climates, you’d rather go for the higher number.
Also, look for the overall scores for window ratings and check out the test results for the region you live in. Your choice of windows will depend whether or not you live in an area with high winds and low temperatures.
The Final Decision
There are several more aspects to consider before you make your final choice. Your best course of action is to focus on features that add value to your rental and help you save money. For instance, low-E coating will improve efficiency, but triple glazing will probably be unnecessary if you live in a moderate climate. Double hung window sashes will make it easier for your tenants to keep them clean as they tilt easily and having full screens will enable optimum airflow when the bottom window is raised and the top one lowered. And finally, if you opt for a finer meshed screen, you’ll still have abundant light in and a clear view of the outside.
In order to protect your investment and rental property, make sure you have all the crucial items listed here. There are many mistakes landlords tend to make due to their inexperience with these kinds of upgrades. Make sure you get referrals and check all the references before you even talk to a potential contractor.
Even though it’s your rental property in question, don’t go for the lowest price, as it’s not always the best choice. Most importantly, check if the contractor has general liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance and a current bond required by the state law. With all this at your side, your rental upgrade will go smoothly and successfully, leaving both you and your tenants happy and satisfied.