It’s generally quite easy to tell when you need to replace your windows. In the winter time, frost is present on the glass’ interior layer, water damage is clearly visible and you can also see the drafts blowing the curtains. While this is all very apparent, it’s quite hard to decide on the right window replacement options and the appropriate installation methods.
The good news is that you can choose from 3 different types of replacement windows, including complete unit replacement, frame and sash replacement, but also sash replacement. As expected, each of these methods have their own pros and cons.
- Complete Unit Replacement
This refers to whole new window that features new insulation, caulking, sealants and flashing and is the best option to consider for those having greatly damaged or compromised openings and windows. To some people, this may sound like a very invasive method, but if it’s considered properly, then it can offer the best possible performance of all other options. With that in mind, when you’re looking for high quality windows for your house, you should consider the following key areas:
- A rugged frame with several chambers (with composite and vinyl frames) for thermal resistance and support and reinforced corners (completely welded on the vinyl units).
- Accessories like screens, snap-in grilles, blinds between the glass and so on need to be durable and not negatively affect the window’s look. It’s also recommended that you buy the best windows you can afford, even if that involves considering an entire house replacement in 2 or 3 stages instead of all at the same time.
- For easier maintenance and cleaning, go for tilt sashes.
- Easy to operate and smooth sashes.
- Identify the weep system and make sure it can effectively drain moisture properly.
- All mechanisms and hardware should be well attached and sturdy.
- Make sure to use adjustable screws on jamb liners for fine-tuning the squareness of the frames.
- Instead of caulking, the water management system should depend on flashing.
- Sash and Frame Replacement
If air leaks between the frame and the sash or if the windowsill shows signs of moisture damage, then the sash and frame replacement can be a great option. Usually, a single unit will be fit into the old jambs and then nailed or maybe screwed into them. Click – window frame construction – for more info.
While in terms of cost this is the most expensive option to consider, you can save a lot of money thanks to the reduced labor costs. Also, compared to the sash replacement, this option can considerably reduce the daylight opening as well.
- Sash Replacement
If the window opening is still true and square and the window frame has no signs of water damage, then sash replacement is a great choice. The way this type of installation goes is that the old parting stops and sashes are removed in order to install new jamb liners.
The majority of replacement sashes are also compression fit into the liners, which means they create an airtight seal. On the other hand, the general performance compared to the other 2 options is lower and this method can also make the sash and frame a bit bulkier.