Determining when to replace home windows is one of the most important decisions you make as a homeowner. If the current windows are damaged or old, window replacement might be an absolute necessity. Even if you discover more localized problems, you will need to determine where to replace windows in your living quarters.
If your house consists of many rooms, you may wish to replace a select number of windows this year and another batch of windows next year. Whatever you choose, you will need to factor in these considerations as you calculate the costs for window replacement. Learning when old windows require replacement ensures you make the right decision and do it at the most optimal time.
Best Time of Year to Replace Your Home’s Windows
The optimal time of year to replace your windows is in the summer. When you get your windows replaced, the space where the old windows were will stay open as the installers ready the new ones. If you get your windows replaced in the winter, this can let cold air into the house. Summer provides a better backdrop for window work.
You may also need to repaint the windows if you replace them, which means you must open them to ventilate the home. Again, summer is a more optimal time to do this because of the warm weather.
Signs Your Windows Need To Be Replaced
If you are wondering whether it’s time to replace windows in your house, consider the condition of your existing windows and whether or not you like them from an aesthetic standpoint. Knowing when to replace home windows can help you save money in the long run because your house will be better insulated. Whether the time is now or next month, check for the following five signs that a home’s windows need to be replaced.
1. Drafty Windows and High Energy Bills
If you feel cold drafts near your windows, the problem typically stems from small gaps between the panes and frames. These gaps will form through years of expansion and contraction due to seasonal heating and cooling cycles. Other causes include wear and tear resulting from years of use, as well as the effects of condensation and water evaporation.
If you allow these drafts to continue throughout the winter, your heating bills could go through the roof, especially if you live in an area with cool summers. The best thing that you can do in this situation is to replace the windows with new ones.
If the windows are old and single pane, you should also replace them even if you don’t feel the drafts yet. With double-paned, insulated windows, your house will be much better insulated throughout the year. Double-paned windows could help you maintain a warmer house in the winter months and a colder home during the summer.
2. Rotted or Damaged Window Frames
When it comes to window damage, you can reverse some problems and encounter others that necessitate a whole new set of windows. An example of the former would be a recently purchased set of windows that needs new weather stripping. Unfortunately, most problems are not that simple, especially if the windows are older and have already endured countless summers and winters.
If your window frames sag due to soft wood, you need a new set of windows. Soft wood results from years of water absorption, where condensation has seeped into the wood and caused the grains to puff up and expand over time. Wood in this condition is generally weak and prone to sagging, a problem that only gets worse as more winters take their toll. Water damage can also yield mold growth and other issues.
Windows with extensive damage should be replaced as well. For example, a window frame with cracks along the vertical and horizontal panels will only get worse over time and leave the window panes with poor stability. If repairing a window would be an arduous task that would likely cost just as much, if not more, than a new set of windows, you should probably go with the latter option.
3. Renovation or Home Makeover
If you plan to redesign the interior or exterior of your home, new windows could be one of the major upgrades to include in the project. There is no time more convenient to install new windows than when you give your home a major overhaul. Your current windows may be old, and new windows could be one of the major improvements in a series of renovations.
The planning stages of a home renovation offer the optimal time to consider a new set of windows that could fit with the new look you have in mind. For example, if you wish to modernize the look of your house, explore some of the newer window designs and how they might complement your new scheme. Likewise, if you plan to redo your house in a vintage style, you want windows befitting that concept.
4. Storm Damage to Windows
If your neighborhood gets hit by a major storm or endures a natural disaster, your windows might need to be replaced. Even if they remain intact and appear unscathed to the naked eye, your windows may have incurred trauma and stress that will render them weak and unstable. If your house has incurred damage in other areas, chances are your windows are not as strong as they were before the storm.
A hurricane could have devastating effects on a set of windows, especially if your house is flanked with blowing branches and upswept debris. Earthquakes can also cause a lot of damage, even if you only notice a few cracks at first. If you spot a crack on your wall or ceiling after a tremor, inspect the frames of your windows for possible damage.
If you live in an area prone to inclement weather or other natural disasters, consider buying a new set of windows made of fiberglass, which is more resilient in the face of strong winds, sea salt, extreme temperatures and other seasonal occurrences.
5. Difficulty Opening or Closing Windows
If your windows are hard to move along their tracks, the problem could be far greater than a simple issue with one of the tracks. For example, if you have a pair of single-hung windows you struggle to raise and lower, the issue might be due to the expansion and contraction of the wood over many seasons. In this case, the integrity of your frames could be so compromised they will no longer allow your windows to move smoothly.
If your windows seem to go ajar each time you raise them, that should serve as a sign wear and tear have taken their toll. Windows that fail to open or close properly can be costly and dangerous. For the very same reason the windows do not align properly with the tracks, gaps may exist that could diminish your home’s insulation. Furthermore, a window you have difficulty raising might lack the traction to remain elevated and come crashing down abruptly if you leave it open.
How Difficult Is It to Replace Home Windows Yourself?
The task of window installation is best handled by a professional with experience in this line of work, which requires precision nonprofessionals do not possess. So many things can go wrong if a measurement or placement is even a millimeter off.
For example, you might take a set of measurements with a tape measure and then purchase a window that matches these dimensions. The trouble is, you will need to make sure the placement is precise as you set the window into the wall slot. If the fit is even slightly off, your home could be subject to costly wind drafts. During the fall and winter months, as wind and rainfall abound, drizzle could make its way inside your home if the gaps are wide enough. Even worse, an ill-fitted window could progressively destabilize and need a premature replacement.
How to Measure a Window for Replacement
If you are intent on performing a DIY window installation, there are a few things you must do before buying and installing a new window. First off, you will need to take proper measurements of the window space. To determine the measurements of your current window, perform the following steps:
- Make three measurements across the horizontal width of your window between the edges of the jams within the frame. Take one measurement across the top of the window, a second across the middle and a third across the bottom.
- Write down each measurement and circle the smallest. For example, if your measurements come out to 36.5 inches, 36.3 inches and 36.4 inches, circle the second measurement, as that will be your width size.
- Make three measurements from top to bottom to determine the vertical height of your window within the frame. Take one measurement at the far left, a second at the middle and a third at the far right.
- Write down each measurement and circle the smallest. If your measurements come out to 72.2 inches, 72.1 inches and 72 inches, circle the third measurement, as that will be the height dimension.
If your window has a rounded or triangular top, take a vertical measurement at the center to determine the tallest point and add an extra half-inch to that measurement. From there, you will be ready to look through catalogs of replacement windows and contact a seller for a quote.
As you prepare to replace your windows, envision the final look and what you might need to do to achieve that. If you wish to have frames in an unusual color, you will need to select frames with paintable surfaces. This limits you to wooden frames because fiberglass, vinyl and metal are not suitable for paint adhesion. Consider also if you want window screens, how you would like them to fit and whether you want them on each window.
Costs Associated With Replacing Your Home’s Windows
As you consider new windows for your home, prepare to set aside some money for the project. Consider the cost of the window design you desire and multiply that figure by the number of windows that you plan to replace throughout your house.
The price of a window will be determined by:
- Frame material
- Pane quality
A window featuring a wood frame will sell for more than a window with metal frames. Likewise, a window with double panes sells for more than a window with single panes of glass.
Consider also the labor involved in window installation. A professional can install a single window in 30 minutes or less, providing the window has a conventional design and everything goes as anticipated. Your pre-existing window is taken out, after which the new window is fitted into place. You may need extra time for priming frames made of wood.
Other factors that can prolong a window installation include the material the walls are made from and obstructions that may exist around the area in question. Windows installed in brick walls will take longer than if the walls consist of more conventional materials. The job could take considerably longer if you order custom windows that have to be assembled at your house from sets of ordered parts.
Labor and Extras Influence the Cost of Window Installation
However long it takes to install windows, you will need to assess the hourly or half-hourly cost of labor and multiply that price by the number of windows you need to have installed throughout your house. Other prices to factor in may include anything else you might add to the finished look, such as:
If you wish to have your frames painted a certain color, you will need to select an appropriate paint type for the surface in question and apply it carefully to the sills, stiles and muntins.
If you choose to handle the installation on your own, you can subtract the cost of labor, but the task is likely to take longer, especially if you have never done any prior installations. Granted, delays could result from miscalculations and an incomplete arsenal of equipment. You might end up spending more amid several false starts as you take stock of all the must-have tools for the task at hand. A professional window installer can get the task completed within a reliable timetable, much more quickly than self-installation.
Contact Add Ventures for Tri-State Area Window Replacement Services
Installing new home windows is a large undertaking best handled by a professional. When you consider the steps it takes to extract a pre-existing window from your wall and slot in a replacement, the added cost of labor is worth the ease, excellent quality and satisfaction of using a pro window installation.
For homeowners in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, Add Ventures is the trusted name in window installation. For more than 20 years, we’ve installed a range of window designs in houses large and small. In residential and commercial properties alike, Add Ventures completes tri-state window replacement. Contact us today if you live in the tri-state area and need window replacement.