Understanding The Different Types Of Window Replacement

When a homeowner needs new windows for his or her home, one thing to consider is the installation. A professional installer is typically the one who will be doing the installation, but it’s not a simple approach. When you get quotes from several installers, you want to be able to compare the method with the price.

There are several types of replacement methods that can be used. The method that the installer will use to replace your home’s windows will depend on the type of windows you purchase, as well as the condition of your home. Here are the most commonly used methods.

Insert Installation

The most common type of window replacement method, it’s also the easiest and cheapest way to replace your old windows with newer ones. It’s commonly used for fiberglass and vinyl windows and is not as intrusive as other replacement methods. The installer uses the existing frame, so the entire unit doesn’t have to be removed. The old window or screen, as well as the existing hardware, is removed from the frame and the new window is precisely sized so it fits right into the existing opening. It’s a simple remove and replace, but still requires time and tools to remove the old window, prepare the new window, square it, install the flashing and caulk in the window. The trim usually does not need to be replaced, but this depends on the condition of the wood.

New Construction Method

This type of installation methodinvolves putting in a whole new window system, but it’s not as difficult as it seems. It takes time to square up the new window, but other than that, the process is relatively easy, especially for a professional window installer. This is because most new windows come with a nailing flange, which is put around the window system. An opening is created in the wall and the window is placed inside it and squared up. The flange is nailed to the outside of the wall. Caulking and weather seals must then be applied under and over the flange in order to prevent water from entering the home. A jamb extension may also be needed, especially if vinyl windows are being installed.

The rest of the installation can be finished in various ways. It depends on what the homeowner sees fit. Some put the siding against the window system, while others may add an exterior casing first. Inside the home, you can add sheetrock or window trim, whatever you desire.

Full Extraction Method

Also referred to as full frame replacement, this method is the most elaborate. It is also the most costly, as it involves removing the existing window system. Everything must be removed, including the trim. The interior trim is called the casing, while the exterior trim is often called the brick mold. The brick mold often covers the flange of the old window, so it usually needs to be replaced. Sometimes a portion of the adjacent siding or sheetrock must also be removed in order to get the new window to fit in properly. Once everything is removed, you have what is called the rough opening. At this point, the installer can increase or decrease the opening as needed. Weather stripping and flashing is needed to keep the window watertight. The new window is then inserted with wood shims to keep it squared up. This part can be time-consuming.

Once squared in, the window must then be fastened per the manufacturer’s instructions. If there are any spaces betweentherough opening and window frame, they should be filled in with foam. It must be the right type for best results. The interior and exterior trim can then be added based on the homeowner’s preferences and what looks good.

What to Know

Each method is different, but the goal is the same: to add a new window to a home. There are many steps involved in proper windows installation, so unless you are highly skilled in this area of home improvement and have the time, tools, energy and patience to perform such a complicated task, it’s best to leave this job to the professionals. A professional installer can determine the best method for your home.

Featured images:
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: shutterstock.com
  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: shutterstock.com

Gina Brewton has been in the home improvement industry for the past 7 years. She is presently working at a residential cleaning company in Toronto. She is also a part time interior designer. She has her interests in cooking, photography, craft and painting. Follow her on twitter@ginabrewton.