View Full Version : Replacing home windows
08-04-2003, 06:13 PM
I have a question that is really bugging me about the windows in my house. My house is just about 30 yrs. old. The double-hung windows are wood case new construction windows, cheap windows, wore out. The siding is aluminum which butts up to the windows with no J channel around them and caulking to seal them. Brickmold around the outside. Here's my question. Rather than put replacement windows in the old casings which I think are pretty much junk, is it possible, feasible or a good idea to take the window completely out and put in a new construction window, same size to fit old rough opening or is that wishful thinking? Or is it much better to just put replacements in the old casings?
Thanks for any help.
08-05-2003, 12:18 AM
I believe you would be best to replace the entire thing, and with the new double glass insulated, low E coated windows.
I bought a standard double hung unit to replace a second door in my kitchen I converted the opening the door was in into a window. I went to Menards and compared two brands, one was the Pella unit, I think the other was Anderson.
Anyway there WAS no comparison, the non Pella windows were constructed mostly of stapled together boards, I seem to remember were plywood but might be wrong.. they were painted
with white primer or was it finish paint... and just stacked on the rack so some of the white paint or primer had scratches and dirty marks from handling.
Price was around $129 and they just looked like cheap CRAP, they were constructed like cheap crap, and were treated like crap the way they were "dumped" onto the display rack stacked on top of each other.
I looked at the Pella, it was about $179.00, fifty bucks more but geez, it was solid wood, it was not simply stapled it was joined and real secure and solid!
It had the Low E coating, double glass, argon filled and clad with aluminum outside with a baked on white finish.
It was shrink wrapped and cardboarded and corners protected with padding!
Like I said, there was no comparision, I took the Pella home.
Trying to fit new sash into the old frames is really a poor idea and one you might regret later, so much better to get an ingregrated UNIT so it's solid, seals well and works nicely.
08-05-2003, 03:36 PM
Hi. Thanks for the reply. I'm not sure I understood the last part of your reply. What I want to do is take out the old window entirely and use the original rough opening and fitting them up to the siding, that's what I'm concerned about . Most people I know that upgrade their windows usually have replacements installed in the old sash casings. I think my casings are pretty crappy even though they are just 30 yrs. old.
You're right on about the Pella windows and Low E ratings from what I've read, I'll being looking in that direction.
Not an expert but I can tell you how the installers did when I replaced a picture window.
Basically you rip out the old window, leaving the rough opening (they sawed mine into pieces with a sawzall). I'd recommend taking off the interior molding and getting an accurate rough opening dimension. This installer was off by a 1/16 of an inch (e.g. new window was too big to fix in hole) Better to have the new window smaller rather than trying to adjust the rough opening.
Since the new window has an exterior flashing they cut back the aluminum siding (with a circular saw plywood blade.) Next the window was put in, shimmed, and nailed into place.
Next they ripped and boards to fit around the exterior of the window - to cover up the flashing and bent aluminum around the wood using one of those aluminum siding benders. Caulk around the joints.
Then on the interior put some insulation into the gaps (don't pack it in tight else it gets compressed and doesn't insulate) - cut and mitered new molding.
Danford C Jennings
08-06-2003, 01:28 PM
This might help:
Casing: Interior trim around the window/door, exterior trim around window/door when brick mould (see below) is not used.
Jamb: Verticle and top member in which the sash/door is affixed to
Sill: Bottom member of window jamb
Sash: "Frame" in which the lights (glass) are in
Stool: Interior trim at bottom of window that projects into room
Mutton: Verticle/horizontal pieces that hold the individual lights within the sash.
Mullion: Verticle member that seperates two seperate window units within a wall
Brick mould: Pre milled exterior trim around window/door
Replacement window: Entire window unit to replace an existing window
Window Restoration: Where individual components are replaced/repaired to maintain originality.
Now that we have some of the basic terminolgy squared away; there is a major difference between window replacement and window restoration. And unless someone is trying to preserve an older home, common practice is window replacement. Because a window jamb and sill are made to fit the sash itself, I seriously doubt that sash replacement only is the SOP in your neck o'the woods, unless you live in an historical district where homes are preserved.
There is no such thing as "standard" window sizes, each manufacturer have their own specs. What I generally do when customers are considering replacement windows is to first determine if they want the same finished openings. As a rule of thumb, rough openings should be an inch larger than the finished but, I can assure you, this is not always the case. Be prepared to have framing lumber on hand.
Only knowing that you want to replace your existing windows and nothing else precludes me from offering more specific help. Andersen (they don't make vinyl replacement windows, vinyl clad yes), Pella, Pozzi are just a few to check out. Definetly stay away from the "cheep" all vinyl units, they are junk. Personally, I prefer the aluminum clads but have found that the Andersen vinyl clads to be an outstanding value. These would be their 200 series windows and are available in sliders, casement, awning, picture, and double hung. They are double pane Low E with a 15 year warranty on the jambs and lifetime warranty on the glass....FWIW.
Ah Ha Edit: I see that you have aluminum siding. "J" channel will be needed regardless of trim. Standard brick moulding is 2" wide and about 1 1/4" thick at the outside edge. So the actual dimensions of the window are going to play an important role if standard brick moulding can be used for exterior trim. The width of the flanges on the window also need to be known, if they come with them. Personally, I think those nailing flanges are more of a PITA since the window ends up getting set by nailing throug the jambs and sill any who, I rarely use them. Knowing the exact thickness of your walls will determine whether or not jamb extensions are required.
08-06-2003, 09:10 PM
Thanks for the post Pete. I'm starting to get a better picture of what I can do. I just don't like the idea of replacements for my installation. I know people who had small windows to start with and had replacements put in and ended up with this small windows that look kind of weird. I want to keep my same size window basically. Hopefully I won't have to cut any of the aluminum siding which doesn't look very tight to the brickmold which by the way doesn't have J channel around either,(cheap construction).
08-06-2003, 09:46 PM
Thanks Dano for the info. Yea, I want to basically rip out the old window and brickmold and use the old rough opening without disturbing the siding. Will I be able to put J channel on the new window and get the siding fitted to it? I'm somewhat familar with siding and know that you put J channel around the windows first before you run your siding which I guess doesn't apply to what I'm wanting to do.
So what do you think, just run a sawzall around the window from the inside and free it up that way?
Danford C Jennings
08-07-2003, 12:07 AM
No problemo for the info....
Well I wouldn't go quite as far as saying whip out the ol' Sawzall and have at it...
First step is to remove the window casing on a couple of windows to get an idea what you're in for. Remove it carefully using an utlity knife to score the paint at the joints and a Vaughn mini "wonder bar" (you may want the casing back on waiting for your windows). You don't want to blitz the sheet rock either. This will enable you to determine the RO and (hopefully) if nailing flanges were used.
Given that the home was built 30 years ago, it's more than likely the windows were set using #16d finish nails through the jambs and there is the posibility that they have nailing flanges too (more on that in a minute). This is where the reciprocating saw comes in handy in cutting the nails. If I recollect correctly, the existing siding abuts the window w/o any "J" channel, correct? If so, run your utility knife through the caulking along the the jambs and sill. Removing the windows are really a two man job, have your helper stand out side to "catch" the window. You'll be inside "popping" it out. I've found that it's actually easier to remove windows as a unit any time save by ripping them out is lost due to clean up of all the debris. At least remove the sashes from their jambs before you start blitzing away, most manufacturers back then had a window stop that was nailed or screwed to the jambs so the sashs could be removed. Remove the old brick mould by scoring the calk first and use a regular "wonder bar" to remove it carefully so the siding doesn't get bent. If there are nailing flanges and you can't get at the nails without blitzing the siding, just lop 'em off with the utility knife, then try working the nails out with your "wonder bar". Left on you'll have problems with tight miters on the exterior casing.
The aluminum siding is going to be a pain left on the wall. Rarely, if ever will the new finished opening mathch up to the old. If the new finished opening is smaller than the old then you widen the new brick mould by nailing strips on the outside edges, use galvanized #8d finish nails. If the new finish opening is larger, then the aluminum will have to be cut. While it can be cut using a hand held circular saw it's gonna get severly marred from the saws base plate. The reciprocating saw will be even more of a pain in the ass. My suspiscion is that if this siding is original it's probably pretty chalked up and faded, I don't suppose you are thinking about residing too are you? Yeah, that's what I thought...Well then, if you were hiring me to do it I'd probably turn you down. You don't want to hear that either. Hmmmmm, you'd probably have the best luck with a circular saw with strips of duct tape on the side edges along the bottom of the base plate using a cheapie 40T carbide tip blade, safty googles, ear muffs, and long sleeve shirt buttoned at the wrists and up to the collar. Use a straight edge for a guide after you've laid out your cut lines. Aviation snips would also work, you'll need both a right hand and left hand. Cutting out all that aluminum with 'em will get awfully old after the first window though....Be sure to allow for the width of the exterior window casing, be it brick mould or what ever, though. Good luck on finding "J" channel that matches the siding.
Once the aluminum is dealt with, you're ready to install your windows. Instructions will be provided with the windows. Best advice here is to have a helper (the guy "in charge" is inside, the helper outside), have accurate 2' and 4' levels using the longest level whenever possible, make sure the window is centered in the opening, perfectly square, plumb, and level, use good shims and set them tight but not so tight that there is movement in the jambs. Deviate from that and you'll be sorely disapointed in your windows, regardless of their quality. Once set, your ready to trim out the exterior and interior....Hope this helps.
08-07-2003, 12:20 AM
"Mutton: Verticle/horizontal pieces that hold the individual lights within the sash."
Are we eating the meat from a sheep, or dividing the lights in a sash with a muntin?
Danford C Jennings
08-07-2003, 12:29 AM
Thanks for correcting my spelling, hehehe.....
....When I saw I mispelled it, the time to edit had elapsed was wondering when and by whom the mistake would be spotted...
08-07-2003, 07:39 PM
>Hi. Thanks for the reply. I'm not sure I understood the
>last part of your reply. What I want to do is take out the
>old window entirely and use the original rough opening and
>fitting them up to the siding, that's what I'm concerned
>about . Most people I know that upgrade their windows
>usually have replacements installed in the old sash casings.
> I think my casings are pretty crappy even though they are
>just 30 yrs. old.
Ahhh ok, I guess I thought you were considering the cheaper alternate of just replacing the two glass sash sections with new ones and re-using the old "track" which would be a terrible idea but people DO do it and this was done in my house but at least they installed new storm windows.
>You're right on about the Pella windows and Low E ratings
>from what I've read, I'll being looking in that direction.
Good, I sure will be buying Pella again as eventually all of my windows will be replaced with new insulated/low E. Right now I have a temporary window in place where there was a redundant entrance door, seems the house originally had this door to the dining room and not 5 feet away but turned at 90 degrees is another entrance door to the livingroom, I got rid of the one to the dining room and the window there lets much more light into the room now.
It's a wider opening of course since it was a doorway and rather than trying to fool around with filling in with new pieces of clapboard which will always show as different, I will have to get a custom sized Pella window to fit. I got the first from Menards off the shelf, not sure how custom orders work, if I have to go physically to the store to fill out paperwork or if I can do it over the phone (they are 40 miles away.)
08-07-2003, 07:43 PM
>Removing the windows are really a two man job, have your >helper stand out side to "catch" the window.
Awww but isn't it MORE fun to just cut the older sucker out and let 'er fly ;)
Honestly now, where else would get THAT level of entertainment of watching the old windows just smash into smithereens? Heck I'd almost buy a ticket to see that!
Danford C Jennings
08-07-2003, 08:13 PM
Hehehe, yeah but......
Speaking of entertainment: Reminds of a time when I was a young framing carp. We were the subs on a 244 unit apartment complex that involved a significant bonus if all the units were framed and ready for the mechanicals and the rest of the subs ahead of schedule. Any who, the owner of the company I worked for managed to convince the general that the last two buildings could be framed in on the foundations even though the slabs weren't poured yet (these were three story buildings) saving the first floor's interior framing until the slab was poured.
There was one guy on the crew that had the shortest fuse I've still yet to see. This guy would go into rages so loud they could be heard around the entire site and beyond if he bent a nail; a very serious anger management problem. 'Course in those days those types were simply referred to as *&%# heads. Well, Arnie (the owner) didn't like the guy either, so he put him on the interior frame-in "detail" with a 20lb maul to set the walls with. The sounds coming out from those buildings, I'm sure, have not ever been heard before or since.
After two days, the guy finally threw the maul at Arnie and stormed off the site. I was gettin' paid to be there so the "entertainment" was double the fun...
08-07-2003, 08:48 PM
LOL Randall. Yea, it wouldn't hurt my feelings watching those windows smash to the ground. I would take the glass out though. I hate cleaning up glass.
08-07-2003, 08:53 PM
That's hysterical. I call those flash tempers. I've been around a few of those. Those people could use some anger management. LOL
08-07-2003, 09:23 PM
Thanks Dano. I would like to reside, which would be the proper thing to do considering the window situation. Sidings in good shape and needs another paint job in the near future. But the bugdget's tight and the air comes right through these windows, glass is even loose in the frames, just wore out. By the way, not that this matters, from my recollection of a little window job I did about 25yrs ago, when I knew even less than I do now, I put in a couple of windows that were just like these except they were double pane (when double pane first came out) the ones I have now are single with storm windows (cheap)Ok what I wanted to say was they are MALTA brand windows if I am thinking right. Sound familar? Anyway, I may have a false memory on this, but I'm thinking back then the windows had the brickmold on from the factory and I slapped them in the framed up opening with shims and nailed through the brickmold and a few through the jambs. I did have someone put siding with J channel on. I'll quit rambling here but have a couple of questions. I'm ;not following you when you say the new ro probably won't match the old ro. I'm under the navite impression that when I remove the old window I will be back at the original ro plus some of that black fiber board layered around it and of course the siding.I think there is at least an half inch of caulking between the siding and brickmold, not to tight of a fit. If I can get a new window back in and finished like the old ones I guess it would work.
I appreciate your help. Some people I talked to said , you can't do that you have to put replacement windows in. I didnt like that idea.
Danford C Jennings
08-07-2003, 10:51 PM
Hey man, no biggie; that's what this site is all about....
Yeah, Malta sounds familiar....No wait, I'm thinking of Yalta as in the Yalta Agreement...go figure. Any who, there are probably still manufacturers that have the brick mould on their windows. There's so many of 'em these days I can't keep track...Now, on to your two questions.
Well Fred, I've studied my previous replies and can't find where I said, "...the new ro probably won't match the old ro." Could it be that you misread the part on old finished openings vs. new finished openings? What's your other question, can't find that either. ;)
Some people I talked to said , you can't do that you have to put replacement windows in. I didnt like that idea. Now you have me really confused, since this is what we've been discussing...
08-08-2003, 03:28 PM
Dano. Sorry for all of my confusion. I was somewhat sleep deprived and in a hurry. I must have misunderstood what you posted about the old and new finished opening. You aswered my question with that topic. I thought you were talking about the ro I would have once I took the old window out. The replacement windows factor didn't come across right either in my post. I'm looking at removing the entire window which leaves me with nothing in the ro. I'm under the impression that a replacement window fits inside the old jambs, sill,etc. This is where my confusion is. I want to use new construction windows for replacements of my old windows, I guess that is my question. There is a difference between replacment windows and new construction windows or am I not thinking right on that? Am I totally way off base with that assumption?
If I were to use a replacement window, I would just pop out the window sashs and installed the replacement in that opening and finish the interior casing trim and exterior trim. Should I not be thinking about new constructions windows at all? That's probably where I am confusing myself and you.
My Malta, yalta windows are wood construction with some kind of funky spring loaded metal track that the sashs slide on. The spring tension is adjustable for ease of lower or raising. Great for leaving air to come through.
I'll leave it at that for now. Sorry if you feel like you are bouncing your head off the wall here reading my post.
08-09-2003, 05:21 AM
There are many manufacturers that make a replacement window - and they are custom made to fit the opening. The replacement unit is measured to fit between the side jambs and the sill and the head jamb. To install, you use a flat bar to pull off off the stop that holds the lower sash. Once removed, you take out the lower sash. Older windows will have a weight attached to the window by a small rope- cut the rope and the lower sash will be free.
You then will remove a piece of parting stop - the piece of trim inserted into the jamb between the two sashes. Then remove the upper sash.
We have installed a ton of replacement windows over the years and I can say that the replacement window technology has vastly improved over the years. Many of them are made of vinyl - but a some offer a replacement window with a wood interior - pine, oak, and walnut. We order Simonton windows generally - as they are the best replacement window I have seen.
The advantage? They are easy and quick to put in and they do not require you to redo the exterior and interior trim. I can install a replacement window in 45 minutes while I would figure on a half of a day to tear out an old window and replace it.
The disadvantage? While replacement windows have improved - they are not quite as nice as a good manufactured window. (We use Anderson almost exclusively. I have some Pellas from the box store in my own home - and while I don't have reason to cuss them - they are not as nice as the Anderson window...but they were also 100 cheaper an unit. I do not recommend Crestline or Eagle.
Old aluminum siding is a bear to work with if you have to increase the window size. We generally will order a new window a little smaller rather than a little over the original size. It may mean patching some plaster/drywall. If the new window is a bit smaller - we will install 5/4 boards around the exterior of the window and then wrap them with aluminum.
08-11-2003, 02:34 PM
Thanks Bob. You packed some good information in your post.