Skip to main content


Renovations are a combination of house “fashion” and function.  Just like that neon of the 1980’s is out of fashion, window styles come and go as well.  The windows in any room can complement, enhance or clash with today’s modern designs.  But beyond that, windows that are outdated, or have a broken seal, can dramatically impact the energy efficiency and structure of your home.

Let’s talk fashion first?!  While many of us think of rectangles and squares, windows can be created in many different shapes.  They can open like a door, or from the bottom (like an awning), they can be fixed or they can slide.  Their size and shape can fit any wall or space—or sometimes there are mandatory measurements.  An egress window is for any bedroom (or any room that is used for sleeping at night), and it often must meet specific requirements for the town or city’s building inspections.  Egress windows allow for escape in an emergency, but they can still be beautiful to look at and through.

Many windows these days have a vinyl (PVC) frame for efficiency; but some are using aluminum, and some are a combination of metal and vinyl.  There are also window options specifically designed for ICF houses (Insulated Concrete Forms).  Of course there are also colour choices for your frames.  Black is currently very trendy.  Another trend we’re seeing is “drywall returns:” this is a window style with very clean lines because it doesn’t require any casing.  Choosing windows that complement your style can be quite a challenge!

When it comes to function, upgrading those windows is almost always a great choice.  Old warped frames can create gaps:  let me just say that water loves gaps!  Oh, and so do ants.  Once the water and ants get in, the concern is for damage to your house framing and foundation.

But enough doom and gloom.  Since up to 25% of a home’s heat is lost through our windows, improving their efficiency can result in dramatic energy bill savings as well as overall comfort.  These days, trimming our utility bill costs is almost mandatory!  Double and triple pane glass simply improves your windows’ ability to help the house stay warmer in winter, and cooler in summer.  Many manufacturers will also add a special coating to the exterior glass that further prevents the sun’s UV light from fading your furniture, carpets or drapes.

What else?  The installation team can make a huge difference.  Generally, we would not recommend windows as a DIY project.  And when comparing prices, you’ll want to compare the warranties for both material and labour.  And does the warranty stay with the house?  Or is it only for the homeowner who purchased the new windows?  Are the windows actually made in Calgary?  That could mean fewer transportation delays … but not always.  It’s important to order your windows early and get a realistic estimated arrival date.  Otherwise the entire renovation might stall while awaiting those precious windows.

For our practical renovators:  windows decrease the home’s carbon footprint and are always a perk to homebuyers when selling that house in the future.  For our aesthetic renovators:  windows can be styled just like countertops, plumbing fixtures and flooring.  If you’re working with a designer, they can walk you through the ideal options for your reno-vision.  If not, it is worth a little extra time on this key design element.