Tips for Helping Customers Choose the Right Window Styles
As a designer or builder, you may have a good idea or strong opinion of what window styles and trim make the most sense in your client’s home. When working on a new construction or remodeling project, the window style is one of a thousand decisions you need your client to make. At Davis Window and Door, we help homeowners through the selection process every day, so we thought we’d share some tips with you.
To Davis, it’s not about selling windows – it’s about making sure homeowners get the right windows for their environment, budget, and lifestyle. We want them to be happy with their choices for the next 20–30 years.
Choose the Right Window Styles:
1. Consider the Purpose
Obviously, a house needs windows, but it goes deeper than how many and what style. In new construction, the designer, builder, and even the homeowner may first be considering the size of home, floor plan, flow between rooms and overall style. Then they pop windows into the plan like they’re dotting their i’s.
But windows deserve more consideration. The aesthetics and functions they provide have quite an impact on the comfort and enjoyment of the home, energy costs, and the resale value down the road. Get your client thinking about what they need and want from their windows. Do they want to maximize natural light? Do they love to have windows open in nice weather for lots of cross ventilation? Do they have a great view on one side that could become a focal point? Do they have an ugly view on one side but still want the natural light? And in our Atlanta heat, energy efficiency should always be a consideration.
2. Optimize for Home Location
The Atlanta heat isn’t the only environmental consideration. Some houses are located near highways or close to public areas, so noise reduction or security features would be ideal. How much shade will the house have? What kind of outdoor space will there be? Designing a window wall to open a room of the house to the outside could be an incredible feature.
3. Explain Material Options
Windows can be made of wood, aluminum-clad/wood, vinyl, fiberglass/fiberglass or fiberglass/wood. You can achieve the aesthetic style your client wants regardless of material. But the things they also need to consider are performance and maintenance.
Wood Window Frames
A lot of homeowners want wood windows for the look, but they should know that eventually, the exterior will need to be repainted. Some clients want the nice hardwoods, but those just can’t stand up to our climate. For Atlanta, Davis recommends pine. It’s the best wood option for heat and humidity as it has good resistance to rot and pests. Aluminum-clad pine is even better. It can handle all our rainy days and sweltering humidity, and it’s virtually maintenance free.
Vinyl Window Frames
Vinyl is a very affordable option and great for Atlanta. Vinyl doesn’t absorb moisture, doesn’t warp, rot, or distort with age. Vinyl windows are made from the same material as PVC pipes, which are so durable and water-resistant they’re used in plumbing. Vinyl windows can handle the Atlanta rains.
Fiberglass Window Frames
Fiberglass is also an ideal material in our climate, especially the Marvin brand. Marvin’s proprietary fiberglass is 8X stronger than vinyl and 3x stronger than vinyl/wood composites. It expands and contracts at the same rate as glass, so they work well together. It maintains its shape and resists chipping, chalking, peeling, and fading even with darker colors. It’s essentially maintenance-free. Fiberglass will prove to be a great value for your customer for decades to come.
We consider wood/fiberglass windows to bring the best of both worlds. These are fiberglass on the exterior and wood on the interior. All the strength and resistance to the elements, with almost no maintenance, and warm homey wood inside.
4. Local Dealers Offer a Better Selection
You’ll find a broader selection of windows when you shop locally because we don’t bother with windows we don’t recommend. For example, a big box store will have relationships with only a handful of manufacturers. This allows the store to offer a selection that covers the largest segment of their customer base, but none in particular. Local dealers will not waste valuable floor space on a window that is inappropriate for the region.
5. Provide Guidance for Choosing Colors
Window frame colors deserve some thought, especially if your customer is choosing aluminum clad, vinyl or fiberglass. The color they choose will be the color 20–30 years from now. There’s no repainting them. The safe option is to go with white or a neutral, such as beige or gray. Wood is also neutral.
The exterior of a home has a minimal color scheme: generally the walls are one color, the door and windows a contrasting color, and trim, such as shutters, may be the same as the door and windows or a third color. It’s simple. And lasting. The exterior look of the home will stay in style for decades and is unlikely to be changed even with new owners.
The inside of a home is a whole different story. Walls, floors, doors, cabinetry, countertops, fixtures, etc., must cooperate in a color scheme, and then there’s all the furnishings. And that could differ from room to room. It’s complex. And temporary. People change up their interior look, if only paint color, every few years.
All that’s to say, it’s easier to go with bold colors on the exterior than the interior. Unless your client is choosing wood or wood/fiberglass, the windows will be the same color inside and out. Venturing beyond the neutrals for the interior will create a fantastic look that sets a home apart from the ordinary. But your clients should love it a lot because all their other color choices will need to play nice with the windows for decades to come.
6. Highlight Black Windows
Black windows are the hottest trend right now, and for good reason. They look amazing. If your clients want them, let them know the pros and cons. They are a great choice for a lot of homes and the people who live in them, but they’re not for everyone.
- Fit the architectural style of most any residential home
- Have a bold and confident look – the wow factor
- Work great on exposed brick and homes with a neutral color scheme
- Look great without window treatments
- They are more expensive
- Black steel, aluminum and vinyl black frames absorb and transfer a lot of heat
- Can limit interior color schemes to what works with black
- Fewer window treatment options work with black windows
- Prone to color fading
- If you go without window treatments, you may go without privacy
To make sure your client will love their black windows, suggest they see some houses that have them and take a look in person (rather than just look at great photography of designer homes).
7. Talk About Privacy and Security Options
Depending on where your customer’s home is located, they may need additional security or privacy. Marvin windows and doors now have a home automation sensor option that works with most home security systems. The sensors are factory installed rather than an add-on, so they do not detract from the look. They can be wired or wireless and detect when windows and doors are closed and locked, or left unlocked.
Some rooms of the home may face an area where people can easily see in. If window treatments are not desired, there are options to use decorative glass or glazing that bring the light in without allowing people to see in.
Win New Customers with These Trending Window Design Ideas
A good discussion with your clients about their window design options and what they can expect will position you as an expert. The team at Davis Window and Door are happy to help you guide your clients to choices they will love. Hopefully, using these tips will get you the job, and will get them through the decision process faster and easier.