If it’s time to think about replacing your windows I have good news for you. The return on investment is pretty high! Something every homeowner wants to hear if they have to drop a pretty significant amount of cash. We all know that someone that will set out to replace their windows themselves (maybe that someone is you). That is all well and good, but I want to make sure you are aware of common issues that arise during the window replacement process. You might find that thinking you’ll save money by DIYing will truly cost you.
1. Inserts vs. Full Frame Replacement – choose wisely
When you first start window shopping it’s important to understand the difference between a full-frame replacement and the insert method. With the window insert method, you are leaving the old window frame, sill, and trim intact. This could leave some serious issues left uncovered. Something like wood rot will continue to get worse even with your brand new window inserts. It also means downsizing the actual visible glass in your window. A full-frame replacement, on the other hand, ensures that all parts in and around your windows are brand new and hold up for the long haul. With this option, you’ll be keeping the same or more glass in your window while upgrading the “behind the window” materials like sealants, flashings, and non-expanding waterproof/airproof foams.
2. What Lies Beneath?
It can be tricky to nearly impossible to see whether or not extensive damage awaits below the surface of your old window. I have seen many different scenarios to prove this. Sometimes areas around the windows can show signs of mold or wood pulling away but end up being nothing serious. Other times things can appear to be business as usual only to discover a mess requiring serious attention.
What would you do if you pulled out an old window and frame to discover a horde of ants pouring out of your home? Straight out of a horror movie, right? This exact situation presented itself to a Client. Thankfully, they were able to get things under control and repaired properly. Now, we aren’t suggesting you likely have a bug infestation waiting to be uncovered behind every frame, but you should consider whether or not you are personally equipped to handle unexpected plot twists.
3. Installation Fail
Even if you have a decent amount of experience with home improvement projects, are your windows an area you feel comfortable taking a DIY gamble? If you do not personally have the resources or expertise to handle what could go wrong, then what? You might be stuck with a hole where your window used to be, while you wait on a qualified contractor to fit you into their schedule.
If you do not fear the unknown and are still set on tackling this yourself, there are some more obvious obstacles to consider. You’ll want to spend some serious time researching how to take proper measurements. If you order the wrong-sized replacement window, that’s on you. The headache that will cause requires no explanation. Then there is the fact that you simply need to know what you’re doing so you don’t botch installation! Watching a handful of YouTube videos does not qualify you. You don’t want to end up with whistling windows, serious energy leaks, or worse. Think about the advantages of working with a reputable company. Attempting this project only to find yourself scrambling for professional help is a situation you don’t want to find yourself in.
4. Saving Money Could Cost You
Often people end up at the ‘big box’ home improvement stores when they are geared up to DIY. Could they sell you a cheaper window than some window dealers? Maybe. Is a cheaper window what you want? No. We all know that you get what you pay for when it comes to quality, and clearly we’ve established that you don’t want to skimp on your windows. Even if you find a great deal on a reputable window from one of these stores, the support and customer service you receive could be severely lacking. If you order from them and decide to pay for install as well, you could be dealing with an entirely different kind of headache working with their subcontractors.
Another way people commonly try to save money is by painting or staining window woodwork themselves, after having them professionally installed. Few realize what a delicate art this can be, and many end up needing the pros to come back and fix their flop. Again, more expense, more headaches. The finished product will be on the exterior of your home for the world to see. Don’t be embarrassed by it!