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6 Point Checklist: Read Before Installing Replacement Windows

Not only is your home your castle, it’s also the largest financial undertaking you will ever make. So, you want to take care of it, make it pretty and energy-efficient as much as possible. One way to do this is replacing the windows. But, you need all the facts to make the best decision.

Two Main Distinctions

There are two types of window options: new windows and retro-fit. The former means removing all the old pieces of the window, including the flashing, which requires the stucco to be cut. The latter means the replacement window will be slid into place of the old. There are pros and cons to each method; new windows cost more and over time the stucco cracks between the old and the new portions. Whereas, the retrofit often have an unattractive exterior flange and the windows are slightly smaller overall.

Metal Or Wood?

Your current window type will make a difference on what you will be using for your replacement windows. There are different styles, and some are more difficult to install properly, as gaps may be created.

Metal: Metal is typically used to retro-fit windows to conceal the previous window frame from the outside.

Wood: If a retro-fit window has a sill made to incorporate wood then a wood frame can be used.

Quick tip: Some window professionals use an aluminum wrap to replace the old wood window, but it’s a job meant for a professional so ask to see previous projects that will be done similarly.

What Kind Of Replacement Frame Material Do You Need?

Vinyl is great for a maintenance-free replacement window, so long as you want white or tan, because darker colors tend to fail in direct sun. Older aluminum windows tend to be poor insulators, but the new ones are more efficient and are available in darker colors. Fiberglass ones are the most expensive, as they insulate well and are able to be painted, and are available in a variety of colors. Wood is used mainly in older homes to keep with the original design, as they are found in a limited variety of sizes.

Glass Comes In Many Forms  

Now, there are numerous types; single glazed, dual glazed, low-E, low maintenance coatings and argon gas, to name a few. Each has its pros and cons. The dual glazed helps with insulation, whereas the low-E allows for light without solar heat or discoloration to objects in the room’s interior.

And you may want lites, which are dividers. For aesthetics, framing the glass is better, but for cleaning, it’s a little more challenging.

Research Warranties And Consumer Rights

Lifetime guaranties are not necessarily what they seem, and often only cover parts, not labor. It’s often a set timeline of years and the dual glazed will be at least as much to replace as to initially install. Be sure to avoid a fly-by-night company, so a warranty will be honored. And as for rights, visit the U.S. Department of Consumer Affairs to understand what can and cannot be done on your behalf in case of window, glass or screen failure.

Choose Wisely

Don’t let some salesman pressure you into one type or another. If you feel rushed, look at other options. Always look at customer reviews to know the quality of service you will be getting. Some folks say just about anything to make a sale, without follow-through. Above all, if it feels right or wrong, trust your instincts. Watch out for deals that are “too good to be true”, because your gut might just be right!


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