Window Replacement – 10 Things to Know
Considering replacement windows for your home? Here’s what you need to know, from choosing to installation:
Check for Functionality
A good quality window will eliminate the need for storm windows, however, you will probably still want screens. In addition, check for low maintenance options where windows tilt in for easy cleaning.
Check for Energy Efficiency
Every window has energy performance ratings, some better than others. If you have trouble understanding what those numbers mean, be sure to ask your salesperson before buying so that you know exactly what you are getting.
Extra Panes Save You Money
If you can manage it, triple-paned windows are the way to go. The gas typically housed between the panes helps with insulation, so they provide significant energy savings and will pay for themselves quickly in the extra savings you’ll get on heating and cooling.
Follow Safety Codes
Tempered glass, which shatters into small, blunt pieces when broken instead of sharp glass shards, is required in windows adjacent to a door or inside a shower or bath.
Ask for Help
Don’t be afraid to get a friend to help out if you’re going the DIY route on installation, to avoid any major disasters. Most window manufacturers also have certified installers available who are experienced and efficient for a hassle-free installation experience. Having the windows professionally installed will save you many of the potential pitfalls below, but the points are still good to know so you can check the work of the installers.
Get an Exact Fit
If not properly installed and insulated, even triple-paned windows won’t save energy. When installing, leave a little extra room for shimming and insulating, and make sure the existing trim work is secure and big enough to accommodate the new window. Check for drafts by holding a candle up to the window and watching for flickers.
Tape Measure All the Way
Use a tape measure to square off the window opening, rather than a level. Measure from the top left corner to the bottom right corner first. Then measure from the top right to the bottom left. If the measurements are the same, the window is perfectly square.
Use Proper Flashing
The most common place for a window to leak is on the top. If flashing isn’t properly installed with a drip cap, your new windows could be ruined. Be sure to take the time to install the drip cap and fit the siding over it.
Check the Shims
In order for a replacement window to open and close properly, it needs to be shimmed for a perfect fit. When installing, double check your shims with a level to make sure there are not bulges in the middle of the window.
Spring for New Trim
If at all possible, invest the extra money for new trim. Reusing your old window trim increases the odds of it being damaged. Plus, chances are the old trim won’t match your new windows.