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How To Properly Measure And Install Replacement Windows

The windows in your home take a great deal of abuse, and the material that they are made of will greatly influence their overall performance and durability. 

Wood windows are generally going to need to be re-glazed every couple of years, which is not only an inconvenience, but an added expense to the home. 

While there are some issues regarding aluminum windows, they typically will not have the same maintenance problems as wood. However, aluminum windows are well known for having poor thermal performance. Similar to how radiators work, thermal windows will conduct unwanted heat from outside into the home. During the winter months, aluminum windows will work in the very same way. This transfer of heat will create condensation as well as other issues. Many of the newer aluminum windows on the market feature a thermal break which helps with the issue of condensation and increases energy efficiency. These breaks are designed with vinyl. 

Vinyl replacement windows, like those sold by Window Depot of Raleigh, are what we consider to be the ultimate choice for remodeling a home due to the fact that vinyl is a thermal break and it will minimize the transfer of heat from outdoors to inside. Additionally, vinyl windows look incredible, need little maintenance and offer high energy efficiency. One is never going to need to repaint a vinyl window as they are the same color throughout. And if you can afford it, we highly recommend triple pane windows as they are the most energy efficient windows available on the market.

However, before you jump in and purchase replacement windows, you are going to need to know the correct measurements for your new windows. 

How To Properly Measure For Replacement Windows 

One of the easiest methods for replacing a window is to simply swap the existing window for one of the same size. This is known as a pocket replacement and will allow the homeowner to keep the same trim around the window. However, depending upon the specific construction of your home, you may have to remove the old interior trim to allow for proper measurements of the opening. If there are specific guidelines regarding the measurements of a particular manufacturer's window, it is best to follow those guidelines. 

The first step is to measure the width of the window from one jamb to the other. Depending upon your particular type of window, you may need to remove the interior trim in order to see the rough opening. 

When you measure the existing window for width, it is best to place a tape against the jamb and measure to the other jamb. On a double-hung window, the parting bead that separates the sashes is going to be removed from this area when the new window is placed in. 

Replacement windows will be sold with a standard thickness to fit in the 3 and 1/4 pocket that is designed within the inside stops and outside once the parting bead is removed. 

There are three places in which you will measure the width of a window, the top, bottom and middle. Always use the smallest of your measurements to help determine the actual width of the window. 

The height of the windows will be measured from the top of the jamb to the sill. In most cases, the sill will be sloped to help shed water in the opposite direction of the home, therefore, it is essential to take the measurement from the uppermost area of the sill. 

The next part of the process is to measure the height of the window, this is done by placing tape at the very top part of the sill. You do not want to confuse this with the window stool. which is actually the interior molding placed at the bottom of the window to create a finished look. When dealing with double-hung windows, the sill will be the board that the sash closes onto. Again the sill will generally be sloped to move water away from the home, therefore, it is important to take the measurement from the uppermost area of the sloped sill. Here we will measure from the sill to the top jamb. 

You will measure the window's height in three specific areas including the center, right, and left. The smallest of your measurements is the one which will be used to help determine the height surrounding the window. 

When you have all of the measurements for the existing window, you will actually want to deduct just slightly from the measurements to ensure that your replacement windows are slightly easier to install. Many professionals actually suggest removing 1/4 of an inch from the total width and a 1/2 of an inch from the total height. The purpose of making it just a bit smaller is to ensure that when the windows are installed that they will not be damaged by being forced into the position, which might affect their durability and operation. This additional space will allow for easier adjustments through the use of shims and the addition of insulation. 

It is important to remember that the replacement window is going to need to fit into the opening plumb and square, even if the opening is not. 

You will want to consult with the manufacturer for specific installation instructions as product designs will vary greatly. 

The vast majority of manufacturers offer standard size windows, therefore, it is important that the homeowner purchases one that is going to match their needs as closely as possible, unless they plan on changing the size. Also remember that if the window is slightly smaller than the opening, this can be fixed with shims for a proper fit. However, if you purchase a window that s too large for the opening, you are going to have to replace it or complete a reconstruction of the wall. 

Some manufacturers such as Simonton, will customize their windows to specific measurements and do not offer any standard sizes. 

The Replacement Of Metal Windows In Brick Homes

Metal windows will generally be fastened through a flange located inside the wall behind the brick. In order to measure for this type of replacement, it is best to follow the guidelines detailed above. In order to determine the height, you will measure the brick at just about the bottom to the lintel located at the top of the opening. 

For metal windows that are in brick walls, you will want to measure the width where the window will go from brick to brick. To measure the total height of your metal windows, go from the brick at just about the bottom to the lintel located at the top. To measure the height of metal windows, go from the brick at just about the bottom to the lintel located at the top. 

In this case, you will want to use the smallest of the two openings to determine the correct replacement size. 

You will take three measurements for the height of the window and three measurements for the width of the window. The smallest of your measurements for each dimension will be used. 

Getting To Know Your Style 

If you are thinking about replacing your windows, it is essential to understand you general style toward windows. When discussing the style of a window, it typically denotes how the window operates. Some of the more popular styles of windows include Slider, Picture, Casement, Bow, Bay, and Double Hung. 

In order to get a better understanding of the various windows and what they do, let's take a quick look at a number of various styles that are offered by Simonton Windows. 

Double hung windows will allow you to keep the bottom sash closed while the top sash remains open for ventilation. 

Double hung windows have a sash that are independent from one another. This allows for one to be open while the other sash remains closed, this is ideal for ventilation aspects. This is a good choice for individuals who have pets or children and want to have fresh air enter the home, while at the same time keeping the bottom sash closed enough to keep everyone safe. 

Single Hung Windows will have just the bottom sash available to open while the top sash remains closed. 

Casement windows feature a sash that is hinged on the side and the window will simply crank open at a 90 degree angle for ventilation needs. This is actually a pretty neat option for homeowners who want to avoid hurting their backs with the general operation of double hung windows. 

Slider Windows will have a number of panels that are designed to slide on a track. There is actually an option that allows for a fixed panel that will not open in addition to the windows that slide and glide open. Once again, this is an ideal solution for older homeowners who are looking for an easier option for their shoulders and backs. 

Picture windows do not have the ability to open at all. These types of windows are generally installed for the absolute best view. 

Bay windows are designed by placing three windows together at angles of either 35 to 45 degrees. These windows can either be fixed or operational  or even a combination, depending upon your needs. These windows are designed to be a focal unit in the home and are generally seen in kitchens, living rooms, and the master bedroom. 

Bow windows will typically have a more rounded look to their Bay counterparts. These windows are created by placing windows at 10 degree angles. A Bay window will generally have three units, Bow windows can have 3, r, 7, and upwards of 9 separate windows! 

Awning windows have a sash that is hinged on the top and the window will open out and upwards. 

Basement windows are quite similar to the Awning window with the exception that the sash is hinged at the bottom and the window will open up at the top for ventilation. 

Geometric windows are generally quite fashionable and tend to be fixed units. They are available in geometric shapes such as rectangles, octagons and triangles and will generally be paired with an operable window to allow for additional light and ventilation. These can also be found in the more secluded and private areas of a home such as the bathroom, foyer, and hallway. 

Should You Install Your Own Windows? 

A homeowner with the right skills and tools should be able to install their own replacement windows. However, first timers would be better suited to have an experienced professional show them how it is done. If windows are not plumb or installed properly, there are a number of problems you may face in the future. Sliders and Double Hung may not be fully operational. Casements sashes may not completely operate in the correct manner due to an excessive drag being placed on the sill.

Every window installer whether they are professional or a do it yourselfers should take the time to consult with the guidelines from the manufacturer in regards to installing a unit properly. 

Windows must be installed plumb, square, and level even if an opening is not. With this in mind, professionals will typically deduct from the average window size measurement to ensure a tight fit for the replacement window. 

How To Find The Best Installer 

If you have been thinking of contacting a professional to replace your windows, you want to take the time to find the best installer as you did with finding the best replacement windows. It is actually easier than you think to find a qualified installer in your area. In addition to the typical ways of finding an installer such as searching online or looking in directories, there are a few other ways in which you can search. 

The best step is to start at the manufacturer's website to see if they have any form of preferred installer programs. Many window manufacturers will require installers to go through a specific form of training to ensure they fully comprehend all of the specifics around properly installing their windows. When they have received the preferred window installer status, these professionals are promoted through the company in a geographic breakdown, allowing consumers to find them in an easy manner. 

If you choose to purchase your windows through a home improvement center such as Lowes or Home Depot, you may want to look at their installer program. In many instances it is possible to hire an installer at the same time you purchase your windows. Above all else, we always recommend you hire a local window replacement expert that has been installing and replacing windows for at least 10 years.