Replacement Windows 101—Everything You Need to Know

It seems like we update everything these days! Constantly evolving technology makes for smartphones, smart appliances, and more. Not every choice we make as a homeowner is hinged on “smart” technology though. For example, the day that you decide to put in those replacement windows.

There’s no doubt about it.

We still make some decisions based on good old common sense.

When it’s time, it’s time

There are many reasons to consider replacement windows. If you have discovered damage, it is certainly time to call a professional to get an opinion. Age, of course, is another huge reason decide to get new windows. If your home is older, the energy conservation, alone, gives reason to make the decision. Your windows will eventually pay for themselves!

Out with the old

Have you have ever lived in an older home? If so, you know what we mean when we say it’s easy to envision dollar signs wafting through the window in droves and floating away from your home. We might eek through the winter without actually suffering much from the cold, here, in Florida. However, the temperature is known to get pretty chilly every now and then.

Those sweltering summer days are another story though, aren’t they? We want to keep the cool air inside where it belongs! Not to mention, the heat and humidity need to stay out!

Manufacturers discovered the benefit of creating energy efficient windows years ago. Today, windows are rated for energy efficiency. The savings you see on your energy bill will prove that fact.

Safety features

The windows of our home are considered an easy point of entry for intruders. Home invasion is a serious matter. And, let’s face it, in today’s world it is becoming more and more of a problem. Many people that decide to install replacement windows do so for the upgrade to impact resistant windows.

These amazing windows withstand the force of a 2×4 being slammed against them with the force of a hurricane! That’s one of the ways they earn their rating.

Storm protection and intruder resistant are attractive features.

Speaking of beauty

New windows can completely change the look of your home. Of course, replacing your windows with new ones that are the same dimensions is the most cost-effective. However, if you are doing a major remodel, there are no boundaries!

Well, other than your budget anyway. You’ll want to stick to that.

Noise, noise, noise, noise

Windows that are reinforced, or that provide additional energy efficiency, have an added benefit. Simply put, it’s noise reduction. They actually muffle or eliminate outside noise. No more will barking dogs, neighborhood kids, blaring traffic, or construction equipment interrupt your thoughts.

On the other hand, if your neighbors don’t appreciate your music, you can turn it up without fear of a knock on the door!

Sun burn protection

When you live in Tampa, you understand the value of a good sunscreen. Replacement windows provide sunscreen for your stuff! No more fretting over fading furniture and pulling the drapes to hide your home’s interior from those damaging UV rays.

New windows come equipped with UV protection built-in. You’ll be letting that gorgeous Florida sun shine in to brighten your home.

Premium premiums

Many insurance companies offer premium discounts when replacement windows that are impact resistant are installed in a home. The added protection provided in the event of a hurricane or home invasion is certainly worth the investment of installing impact resistant windows. Added savings on your insurance premiums is icing on the cake!

Contact your insurance agent and see if your company offers these savings. If not, maybe it’s time to shop around for that too.

We’ll also mention that the energy-efficiency rating could equal a tax credit as well.

Facing the facts

Florida’s subtropical climate appeals to many humans, but the salty, sea air sure plays havoc with building materials. In fact, we’ll take the time to mention that exposure to the harsh combination of sun, salt, humidity, and those torrential downpours, causes damage such as wood rot, mold, and mildew to set in pretty quickly. Your windows need periodic maintenance to withstand them. It will increase their lifespan and keeps your home looking its best.

We recommend washing the crusty accumulation of grime from your screens and windows three or four times a year. Use a mild detergent or warm water and scrub away. Be careful not to lose your footing on the ladder!

Giving damage its due

We mentioned above that should you discover damage around your windows or frames that you should consult a professional.

We’d like to stress the importance of that statement.

When a crack in the caulking, or water damage gets a hold around the frame, moisture is able to get a foothold. Left unattended, it grows worse over time. Our humidity, for example, provides a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Not only can it set in at the point of entry, if moisture is left to its own accord, it will find its way into the inner recesses of your home. The humidity will find it’s way there as well.

We shudder to think of the mold explosion that is just waiting to happen in such a case. Moreover, moisture eventually leads to wood rot. Even if you have aluminum or vinyl window frames, the interior framing of your home is wood. Structural damage is the inevitable result.

Repair costs can become astronomical!

In addition, the sun is relentless and we all know the damage it can create. Wood frames are probably the most susceptible. A fresh coat of paint will do wonders in blocking or reflecting the rays. Of course, it reflects rain as well.

Wise decision

The fact that you’re reading this probably means you’re seriously considering replacing the windows in your home. Shop around for the best value. Keep an eye on those energy star ratings. And considering impact resistant windows isn’t a bad idea either. You just never know what the weather is going to throw at us around here.

Whatever you decide, you won’t regret making the decision to go for it.

The view’s going to be amazing.

Replacement Windows — DIY or Hire the Pros

So, you’re ready to upgrade the hurricane protection in your home and replacement windows are at the top of the list.

Good call, friend.

Living in Tampa puts us at risk during hurricane season. Granted, we may not see even one make landfall. However, if it happens, preparation is key not only to your home surviving the onslaught.

Your family’s safety hangs in that balance as well.

Replacement windows rated for hurricane protection go through serious testing. To earn the rating, they must remain intact throughout all tests. Cracking is allowed, but the glass can not break into pieces or blow out. They add to the overall protection of your home in a big way!

Who’s handier

If you’re handy with tools and know a thing or two about construction, it may be tempting to replace your windows yourself.

Surely, you and your buddies can knock it out in record time, right?

You’ll be hitting the beach before you know it!

Before you jump head first, we have a few things for you to consider. Installing replacement windows is more involved than it appears. Hiring a professional installer may be a wiser choice.

Decisions, decisions

First things first, there are two types of replacement windows. Will you use full-frame replacement windows or go with the insert, also known as a pocket, replacement window? Knowing which is best for your home can be tricky.

Full-frame replacement windows

This option replaces the entire window unit right down to the house frame. It is necessary to use these windows if the existing frames are old and damage is evident. It is a more advanced project, so considering a professional for the job is wise.

Insert windows

An insert window only replaces the existing sashes with smaller windows that fit inside the existing frames. The frames that are currently in place must be in good shape with no evidence of damage. This project is more likely to be taken on by a DIY enthusiast.

Step by step

First off, if you aren’t someone that reads the instructions, we’re leaning more toward your hiring a pro for the job. Manufacturers provide installation guidelines and specifications. You need to adhere to them or you may be causing more harm than good.

Not to mention, rendering your guarantee useless due to improper installation techniques.

That’s a sobering thought.

Another important thought, if fractions aren’t your thing, then by all means contact a professional. Window replacement requires exact measurements. Failure to do so is asking for trouble in the long run.

Level, shims, plumb, and square

We’re going to put our take on things right now.

If you aren’t familiar with these terms, a professional is for you because they are crucial to success.

Level windows are essential. A window that doesn’t sit straight may not open and close correctly. Also, it makes it easier for insects to find their way inside your home. Not to mention that the outside elements have access, too. This can lead to significant damage to your home over time.

The process includes shimming the window to achieve the exact placement. A window shim is a thin piece of wood placed beneath or around the window to make it fit correctly. Using multiple shims is not out of the norm.

Not only must your replacement windows be perfectly level, they must be plumb. Plumb means something is straight up and down. Your windows must be parallel with the force of gravity. Failure to ensure that they are leaves you open to a host of problems down the road. Sagging corners are likely for one. This allows moisture and insects to enter at will.

The definition of square is simply that you have a 90 degree corner. However, many find such a simple concept is harder to achieve than it sounds. It’s important to succeed in this endeavor, though. Failure to do so causes problems with operation of the window and improper sealing between the sash and frame.

Flashing and moisture barriers

Both of these steps are necessary to ensure that you keep moisture out of your home. Water penetration eventually causes wood rot, mold, and eventually even structural damage.

Different water control systems exist.

  • Surface barrier systems are used on masonry, concrete, or brick homes. The window frame must be joined carefully with the surface barrier.
  • Drainage membrane systems provide a way for any water that gets behind the cladding to escape over the drainage membrane.

Window flashing installation varies depending on the type of window that you have installed.

Caulking

You also want to caulk around your new windows as a final preventative measure. It repels moisture and makes the window unit as air tight as possible.

This makes your home more energy efficient. Not only does it save on your energy bills, it also helps your replacement windows pay for themselves!

Don’t flip a coin

Carefully consider your decision regarding whether or not you tackle replacing windows on your own or hire a professional.

Not only must the installation be done with perfection, removing the old windows can result in breakage. And, if ladders are involved that’s something to think about in its own right.

This job can be dangerous.

If you are inexperienced, it just isn’t the best idea to DIY this one, friend. Sure, you’ll save money now. However a poorly installed window opens you up to a host of costly problems further down the road.

Wouldn’t you rather just allow a team of pros knock it out for you?

You can rest assured that the job is completed to perfection. If an issue arises, you have guarantees in hand. Manufacturers provide a guarantee for their product and installers usually offer a guarantee of a job well done.

Not to mention the fact that you will be free to hit the beach a lot sooner.