In previous posts we’ve talked about what you need to know about replacing windows along with signs to look for when determining IF you need to replace your windows.
Today, let’s go over your options for replacing windows and questions to ask when you are getting estimates.
2 options for window replacement
1. Retro-fitting windows
2. Full-frame replacements
Retro-fitting windows is more common as it costs less than full replacement, mainly because there’s less work involved so the project can be completed quicker.
Retro-fit windows are also referred to as inserts because the new windows fit inside the existing window frame. The old window stops and sashes are removed and the molding around the window stays in place (both on the inside and outside).
Inserts are NOT an option if the existing window frame is not in good condition, rotting or not square. As we mentioned above, inserts are easier to install as there is less labor involved and that results in the project being less expensive.
This makes this method more attractive to homeowners since there’s less mess and the project can be completed quicker as they don’t want to be inconvenienced any longer than necessary.
The new windows are custom built to fit the exact size of your openings and to match the angle of the existing frame. You can get retro-fit windows with the tilt-in cleaning feature so if that’s one of the reasons for installing new windows, then you’re in luck.
A full frame replacement means the entire window and frame is removed and a new one installed.
With all the extra work, this option takes longer and is more difficult as the contractor needs to remove the existing trim (inside and out), reframe the window, make it all weather tight and replace the trim.
The advantage here is that you can change the size of the opening so you can install bigger windows or change the style of windows. (FYI-for casement and slider windows, you usually have to go with a full-frame replacement).
Plus, with the window frame removed, it allows the installer to better insulate the area surrounding the window, which will decrease any loss of energy. After all, if you’re investing in new windows, you want them to be as energy efficient as possible, don’t you?
Glossary of window styles
Horizontal sliding windows are the style used in most homes. These windows slide open from side to side and are identified as “XO” or “OX”.
Single-hung windows are also known as vertical sliding windows. These open from the bottom up.
Picture windows are inoperable windows used in areas where light is desired but ventilation is not.
Double-hung windows open from top and bottom.
Casements open with a crank so that they are easier to operate and are especially nice in those hard to reach areas, like windows over your kitchen sink.
Muntins (Grids) are vertical/horizontal dividers that give windows a traditional look. These are an optional upgrade and are, generally, found on the street side of the house. The windows provided by Sierra Glass, Inc. use insulated glass units with the Muntins (grids) inserted into the glass unit.
Tilt-out windows means you can clean the exterior while inside the house
Which option is right for you?
When you call for an estimate, the window professional should do a thorough exam of your home’s windows. Sierra Glass specializes in retro-fitting and as part of our estimate process, we inspect the window frames and will give our best professional recommendation as to which option is best for you.
- How long will the project take?
- What level of service do you provide? (i.e., will they remove the old windows)
- Will your work be factory authorized (in case something goes wrong)?
- Who does the actual work- your employees or do you subcontract?
- What warranties are included?
Any window professional should be able to answer the questions above and any other questions you may have. At Sierra Glass, we give detailed written estimates so that you know exactly what you are getting for your money as well as explaining what’s going to happen during your window replacement.
We focus on making the entire process as easy and stress-free as possible. If you’re not sure if window replacement is right for you, give us a call or contact us to schedule your free estimate.
We’ll gladly answer your questions and talk through your concerns about replacing windows in your home.