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Windows are made to last, but there will come a point when they’ll need replacing. Of course, you’re going to want the best set of windows for your home, and finding the best is a matter of assessing what kind of replacement option will be most suitable for you.
There are two replacement options you can consider, the first of which is full-frame window installation. As its name suggests, full-frame window installation involves putting a window in complete with the frame that holds the window insert. This is your only option if you’re installing windows on a new home, but there are also times when window replacement calls for a full-frame installation, such as:
- When your old window’s frame is already too damaged
- When local fire regulations demand windows bigger than what your home currently has
- When your windows are no longer energy-efficient because of the sash AND the frame, OR you just want to change to a more efficient set than your previous windows.
- When your window’s old frame doesn’t have compatible replacement inserts available in the market.
To make way for a full-frame window installation, your old window’s frame will have to be removed, which will make the replacement process longer and costlier than window insert installation, your other replacement option. However, the upside is that you’ll have entirely new windows, which will surely last you for years to come.
Window insert replacement entails tearing out a window’s defective sash, leaving only the frame intact. Because insert replacement doesn’t require tearing off the old frame, requiring less materials and effort, it is considered the more budget-friendly option of the two. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s worse, and insert replacement is actually better than full-frame installation in the following situations
- When your old window frame is still in good condition, calling only for minor repairs to be restored, if needed.
- When your window insert is fully compatible with the existing frame, or if the frame only requires minor adjustments to ensure a more airtight fit.
- When the old casing and trim has to stay in place throughout the replacement (in order to preserve your home’s exterior looks).
Remember that when getting help from window contractors, it’s important to make sure that you’re dealing with nothing but reputable experts. Don’t be fooled by low prices! It’s also best to work with local contractors as they have a good grasp of homeowner needs specific to your area.
Whether it’s full-frame installation or window insert replacement, all window replacement jobs follow a series of steps to ensure proper results. It’s a good idea to know how the process goes so you’ll know if your contractor is doing a good job.
Window replacement starts the moment you have an in-home consultation and a window contractor takes measurements of your window. An in-home consultation is ideal because you get to sit down with a window expert and talk about what you’re looking for in a replacement. The window expert will then make suggestions based on your needs, allowing you to choose the best window for you and your home.
If the original window frame does not follow standard sizes, the window is made from scratch to ensure an exact fit during installation. Otherwise, they will prepare a standard-sized window (which quicker and easier depending on the type of window that will be installed)
Once your windows are ready, your contractor will come to your home to carry out the installation on a previously set date. Your home will be prepped for the installation, with furniture being moved and covered to avoid damage and make room for your window contractor to work in.
If you’re opting for a full-frame window installation, your old window, frame included, will be removed first before the actual installation. If you’re opting for window insert replacement, your old window sash will be removed first to make way for your new window.
With your old window prepped, actual installation will now commence. The process could vary in length depending on the type and number of windows you’re having installed. Once your new windows are in place, they will be tested for proper fit and operation. When everything is in order, the window will be sealed and trimmed.
With installation work done, your window contractor will start cleaning up all dirt and debris left behind. Your furniture will also be put back where they belong, making it look like nothing happened at all.
Before you two part ways, your window contractor will also talk to you about how to properly care for your window and give you details about your warranties. After that, it’s just all about finalizing payments and other arrangements, and enjoying your new windows.
Nick Peterson is the marketing manager for Renewal by Andersen locations in Kansas City, St. Louis, and Houston. Passionate about helping homeowners find the right window and door replacement solutions for them, he shares his experiences and knowledge via the company blog. Outside of home improvement, Nick’s passions involve his three sons, the environment, music, and animal welfare.