A stunning window replacement makes a big difference at home, both practically and aesthetically. When deciding types of replacement windows that fit best, use our buying guide to look at factors like window temperature, light, and ventilation. Our installation team can also help to replace your windows to ensure you get the best fit and service.

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One of the most direct ways to change the look of your home and instantly add resale value is to upgrade your windows. The right window not only looks good, it can help moderate temperature, add plenty of natural light, and increase the amount of ventilation in any room.

The Difference Between New & Replacement Windows

New windows are typically used in new construction. They feature a nailing flange that attaches them to the rough opening in the wall. These types of windows are secured with nails to the exterior sheathing around the window opening.

Replacement windows are also “new” windows, but they fit into an existing frame and have no nailing flange. Unless the existing frame is damaged and needs replacing or extra insulation is needed between the frame and the wall, replacement windows are much easier to install and the preferred choice.

Note: Installing windows requires very high precision. It’s much better to have a professional do it so your windows will fit perfectly in place. Schedule a free consultation with our trained specialists and we’ll send a Lowe’s Authorized Sales Expert to your home to help.

Styles & Types of Windows

  • Image of sliding windows

    Sliding Windows

    These windows may have one or more fixed panels, and one or more panels that slide in horizontal tracks. Although only half of the total window may be opened at one time for ventilation, sliding windows are great at sealing in energy.
  • Image of double hung windows

    Double Hung Windows

    Classic in style, these types of windows feature an upper outside sash that slides down, and a lower inside sash that slides up. Hidden springs, weights, or friction devices help lift, lower, and position the sash, with certain types of sashes able to be removed, rotated, or tilted for easy inside cleaning. If only one sash slides, the window is called vertical siding or single hung.
  • Image of casement windows with a small table in the foreground

    Casement Windows

    Casement windows are hung singly or in pairs, and are operated by cranks that swing the sash inward or outward. Because they open fully for easy cleaning and offer excellent ventilation because they can scoop in breezes, they're a popular choice for both replacement and new construction windows.
  • Image of picture windows in a bedroom

    Accent or Picture Windows

    The wide variety of styles are key drawing features of accent and picture windows. They're available in unique shapes, such as round, octagonal, bay, bow, and traditional rectangular.

Window Materials

Windows are made from a variety of materials, including wood, aluminum, steel, vinyl and fibreglass, or from a combination of these materials. In general, those that offer better weather protection cost more, but they usually pay off in terms of lower maintenance and higher energy savings.
Piece of red oak wood moulding used for windows

Wood Windows

Wood tends to be the most popular window material, as it doesn’t conduct cold or allow for condensation as much as other materials. They typically come unfinished unless ordered otherwise; if you intend to paint them, purchase them primed on the frame and sash to save yourself extra work. You can also order pre-painted wood windows in some standard colours to skip painting altogether.
Image of a wood window clad with vinyl

Clad Wood Windows

These are windows that are wood on the inside and clad with a tough, attractive jacket of extruded aluminum or vinyl. Available in a few stock colours, the cladding covers both the sash and frame and keeps windows virtually maintenance-free for years. With vinyl, the colour permeates the material so scratches don’t show. Aluminum may scratch, but it’s tougher, available in a wider variety of colours, and easier to paint. Neither type will rust or rot.
Image of a double pane single hung window made of vinyl

Vinyl Windows

Vinyl windows are made from rigid, impact-resistant polyvinyl chloride (PVC), with hollow spaces inside to make them resistant to heat loss and condensation. They’re a popular choice for the replacement market.

Window Construction

Most wood windows come pre-hung in complete frames, which fit into a rough opening in the wall. They are secured in place with nails driven through the exterior wall sheathing (the part that’s around the window opening).

Vinyl or aluminum windows (and some wood ones with a vinyl or aluminum cladding) have a factory-installed nailing flange on the outside. You attach this flange to the perimeter of the window’s rough framing.

Different Ways Windows Can Be Opened

  • Image of a crank handle used on a casement window


    Casement, awning, and hopper windows utilize cranks for opening and closing (older types use push bars). Some manufacturers offer cranks in non-metallic finishes (notably white) and some new types have fold-down handles that make them less conspicuous.
  • White sliding window sash lock

    Latches & Locks

    Latches on the frame are used to hold the window tightly closed. On hinged windows, two latches are recommended on tall or wide frames. On double hung windows, sash locks pull the upper and lower sash together to minimize drafts. Keyed sash locks can improve security. On sliders, look for security locks to keep the operable sashes from being jimmied open.
  • Image of double paned sliding window

    Sliding Mechanisms

    Most sashes on vinyl or aluminum windows are lightweight enough to slide in the sill tracks. But large, door-height sashes must be supported by rollers.
  • Image of a double pane window made of vinyl


    On double hung windows, the sash is counterbalanced on the sides by weights or another counterbalancing measure, such as torsion screws. In some replacement windows, friction may be all that holds the sashes in place.

More Helpful Tips Before Buying a New Window

South-facing windows let in the most sunlight and are desirable in all but the hottest climates.

North-facing windows provide soft, diffuse light.

Because of the low angle of the sun in the morning and late afternoon, light from east- and west-facing windows may be intense.

Glass isn’t good at conserving energy as an insulated wall, so glazed windows should be chosen carefully to preserve the home’s energy.

Storm windows and window coverings can help lessen heat movement, but the surest and most effective way to save energy is to utilize high-performance glazing. Look for windows that are Energy Star-compliant.

There are two ratings to look for: the R-value and the overall U-factor.

An R-value measures a material’s resistance to heat transfer. The higher the R-value, the better the insulating properties of the glazing.

The U-factor measures overall energy efficiency. It tells you the rate at which most heat flows through the entire window, door, and frame. The lower the U-factor, the more energy-efficient the window or door.

Insulating glaze typically has two, or sometimes three, panes of glass sealed together with either air or argon gas trapped between the two, which acts as an insulator. Some units have a plastic film suspended between two glass panes.

If the unit is properly sealed, condensation shouldn’t occur between the panes. Sometimes a drying agent called a desiccant is used in the spacer (the strip inside the panes, which helps keep them apart) as added insurance against condensation.

Low-Emissive (or Low-E) glazing has a film applied to one of the glass surfaces or is suspended between the panes. This coating or film allows light in, but prevents some solar rays from being transmitted through the glass.

A Low-E coating can help keep your home feel cool on a hot day by blocking longer-wave radiant heat from entering. On a cold day, it can prevent the radiant interior heat from escaping through the glass.

Tinted glass is given either a bronze or grey casts. It reduces glare and limits the amount of light and heat from the sun (solar gain) in your home.

Safety glass is a good option if there’s any risk of a person walking through a window. Tempered glass is heat-treated during the manufacturing process and crumbles, not shatters, if broken. Laminated glass has a film of plastic that holds the glass together if broken.

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