Ottawa window company
Window and Door

Window 101:Must Read Guide for successful window replacement

As a home owner, you might only be replacing your windows once in your life time. It is a big investment and you want to first educate yourself about some window options as well as installation options. This will prepare you to ask the right questions to the window dealers, compare your quotes in a meaning way, of course most important of all, eliminate surprises.

All About Windows

There is HER+ window rebate available. You can refer to the official HER+ web site for details.

These homes do not qualify for the program (excerpted from official HER+ web site):

  • Homes that are not the owners’ primary residence and do not have an active Enbridge Gas account.
  • Multi-unit residential buildings (MURB) with more than 3 storeys or larger than 600 m2.
  • Cooperatives.
  • Homes built less than 6 months ago.
  • Mixed use buildings that are less than 50% residential.

Most ottawa home owners will qualify since the rebate is extended to non-primary residence as long as it uses enbridge gas.

There are 2 levels of rebate:

  • $325/window: ENERGY STAR Most Efficient models meeting the following specific criteria:
    • A U-factor of 1.05 W/m2·K (0.18 Btu/h·ft.2·°F) or lower
    • An Energy Rating (ER) of 40 (unitless) or higher
  • $175/window: ENERGY STAR Certified models meeting the following specific criteria:
    • A U-factor of 1.22 W/m2·K (0.21 Btu/h·ft.2·°F) or lower
    • An Energy Rating (ER) of 34 (unitless) or higher

Window is rated by the ability to be energy efficient and the ability to conduct heat. A U-factor is a measure of the heat transmission through the window. The lower the better.

ER stands for Energy Rating. With a range from 0-50, the higher the energy rating number, the more efficient the product is. It’s important to note that having a high energy rating isn’t always the best for your home. While having a high ER rating could be a great benefit to you in the fall and winter seasons, depending on where in Canada you live, it could make your home much hotter in the summer.

Window Types

There are 9 types of windows:

Operable windows: casement, awning, single sliding, double sliding, single hung, double hung, in-swing egress

Non-operable windows: High Fixed, Low Fixed (Picture)

To qualify for Her+ $325/window rebate, the windows must be casement, awning, High Fixed, Low Fixed (Picture). Qualified manufacturers normally offer these window styles with triple pane glass and double LOW-E 180 coating.

To qualify for Her+ $175/window rebate, the windows can be any type except in-swing egress which is mostly used in basement to meet egress requirement. Qualified manufacturers normally offer these window styles with double pane glass and LOW-E 180 or LOW-E 272 coating.

How to select window type

  1. Window Price: Window of same size with same glass spec, (Casement=Awning) > (double sliding=double hung) > (single sliding=single hung) > (High Fixed) > (Low Fixed)
  2. If you want to apply for $325/window rebate, your choice shall be Casement, Awning, High Fixed, Low Fixed (Picture) or a combination of these window types with triple pane glass. A combination window must be Casement+High Fixed, or Awning+High Fixed. Lowed Fixed window can not be used in combination with Casement or Awning since the frame profile is different.
  3. Do not get windows qualifying for $175/window rebate. The rebate amount covers the price difference. Your out of pocket money is pretty much the same as getting triple pane windows.
  4. If you do not apply for rebate, the dimensions of your window opening will influence your decision.
    • Sliding windows are used in openings that are wider than they are tall. They open sideways, with one pane sliding over the other. Double sliding window will have both panes sliding.
    • Awning windows, also known as crank windows, can also used in openings that are wider than they are tall. The windows are attached to the top of the window frame and swing outward. Awning window can only be opened for 30 degrees which does not meet egress requirement.
    • Casement windows, also known as crank windows, are often chosen for tall, narrow window openings. The windows are attached to the side of the window frame and swing outward. Casement windows are opened and closed with a crank, handle or lever.
    • Hung windows can also be chosen for tall, narrow window openings. This type of window operate similarly to sliding windows but slide vertically.
  5. With rebate program, the windows must meet required criteria. This makes home owner’s life easier since home owner does not need to worry about the window specs like U-factor or ER rating or Low-E any more.

How to select window installation method

Full Frame:

  • Best and standard installation method.
  • Remove the entire window/door, including frame, sash, brickmould, insulation, jamb extensions and interior moulding.
  • Install the new window in the rough opening with the new insulation, jamb extensions, interior moulding and exterior finish.

Insert Frame:

  • This method works best when dealing with basement windows or windows in an older house.
  • Remove the sashes but keep the frame intact.
  • Install the new window inside the old window frame with new insulation and finish the exterior.

Split Frame

  • Works best for clients who want to keep their interior moulding.
  • Remove the entire window, including frame, sash, brickmould, insulation.
  • keep the current jamb extensions and interior moulding intact.
  • Install the new window in the rough opening with new insulation and finish the exterior.

How to select window interior moulding

Interior Jamb extension options: solid wood primed or Vinyl or vinyl Wrapped up to 4 1/2″. The wider jamb is normally not provided by manufacturer and this needs to be customized with more extra cost.

Interior Casing options: Solid pine primed, MDF primed, Vinyl (must use vinyl Jamb as well). Most window dealer offers 2 3/4″ MDF or Vinyl casing as standard option. If you want solid wood casing, you must specifically request it.

Be aware, the non-vinyl Jamb or casing is primed white but not painted. Window dealer/installer does not paint the trim. Do not be surprised the finished installation is not that nice since the trim needs to be painted. We recommend painting the moulding within a few days to prevent shrinking. Home owners may have to paint it themselves or hire a home reno handyman to paint it.

As you may see from above diagram, Casing is the trim that goes around your window on the inside of the house. Although casing does not play a part in making your window more or less efficient, it is an integral part of creating a specific look for the windows in your house. This is also an area where you can express yourself and customize to make sure you get exactly what you imagined.

Windows casings are usually made from vinyl or mdf, or wood. MDF is standard offering now.

A look of Vinyl casing:

Why pick vinyl casing?

Vinyl casing is an ideal solution for a modern, complete look in your home since it does not deteriorate or rot with time. It will also perfectly match your new vinyl windows. There are also numerous options when it comes to selecting rosettes (trim corners), that will add a unique look to your windows. Although clean and polished, most vinyl casings tend to look similar and offer little in the way of customization for a pickier customer.

Benefits of wooden trim

If you really want your home stand out or have a specific idea for how you want your windows to complete the look, you may want to consider wooden casings. Made from a variety of materials, they can be ideal in getting exactly the look you want.

Oak is a popular choice because it is easy and quick to stain. Because wooden casings can be stained or painted, and come in a variety of height and width profiles, they can be made to match your baseboards or another moulding in your house. The drawback with wooden casings is that they have a much shorter lifespan than their vinyl counterpart. As moisture levels change in your house during different seasons, the wood expands and contracts, meaning your casings may need to be changed long before it is time to change the window.


Painted window casings can make a big difference in the overall look and feel of your space. Many people ask about the difference between MDF and wood. This summary should help you make an informed decision.


MDF is medium density fiberboard and usually made offshore. MDF is a very cost effective material for casings. MDF has zero imperfections. It is always primed and ready for paint. MDF and has zero warps or twists in the material. However, MDF is soft and less durable over time. The extra fine dust created during cutting and installation can be hard to clean and unhealthy to breathe. Another important consideration with MDF is that the nail holes are more difficult to fill properly in comparison to wood. It is difficult to repair MDF if it gets damaged. Some people refuse to work with MDF, while others love it.


The most commonly used wood material for trim work is primed Finger Jointed Pine. Finger Jointed Pine is often made offshore and usually pre-primed. However, being a softwood, Finger Jointed Pine is less durable and more susceptible to moisture changes in the air.


We mostly recommend vinyl casing for its clean look and zero maintenance. There is no right and wrong way to choose casings for your home. It really depends on what you envision the final result of your replacement project to be. Vinyl casing is generally more durable and long-lasting while wooden casing allows you to create a custom look to make sure your new windows match your home ideally.

How to select window exterior finishing

There are many ways to finish the exterior of the window so it’s a good idea to understand what are your options on window exterior finishing. It can make a huge difference in how satisfied you are with the final product.

The exterior finishing around a new window is often referred to as capping or brickmould. The goal is to provide home owners with some visual comparisons to ensure the exterior finishing results are as expected.


Capping refers to applying aluminum coil along the window edge where window meets wall frames.


Brickmould is attached to the window and is designed to cover the gap between window frame and exterior wall. Various sizes are available but brickmould will make the window smaller. Brickmould is made of Vinyl and will last the lifetime of the window. Some might prefer the look of brickmould.

The diagram shows a window with or without brickmould.

About Manufacturer and installation warranty

Most manufacturers warrants glass crack for 1 year. Vinyl component or glass foggy inside the pane for 20+ years. The hardware like cranking handle life time.

Installation warranty can be long or short, as long as it is more than 2 years, you should be fine since most issues show up in first year.

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