Myths and Tips for Windows Replacement Projects

Aug 26, 2019

There is so much information everywhere about replacing your windows that it can become very overwhelming at times. However, a window replacement project need not be a difficult undertaking; just remember it pays to do your research before choosing a replacement window material or hiring a window installer. Learning more about the product as well as the process will help you find the windows that will best suit your home and make the project enjoyable and rewarding.

1. Replacing my windows will disturb the existing structure of my home.

Many people believe that a window replacement project requires extensive reconstruction, but generally this isn’t the case. Most good window installers can replace your windows without tearing out brick, sheet rock, or stucco. In addition, the majority of projects can be completed in two days without the need for extra stucco, sheet rock, or masonry work.

Tip:

Ask your window installer to explain their installation process to you so you will know what to expect.

2. Window replacement isn’t rocket science, anyone can do the job.

This is the biggest misconception that people have about window replacement. Installing windows is actually an acquired skill, so the more experience an installer has, the better the result will be. Several contractors will say that they can install windows, but not everyone can do it well.

A window will only function properly if installed right. A poorly set up window can be leaky, drafty, and difficult to open and close, among other things. Therefore it is important to do your research and find the right installer to ensure the long term performance of your new windows.

Tip:

Again, ask your window installer questions regarding the project, and determine their level of comfort with carrying out the job before you hire them.

3. U-value is the most important factor in calculating the energy performance of a window.

U-value is the amount of heat transferred across a window. A lower U-value means that less heat passes through. While the U-value does measure the energy efficiency of a window, there are other factors that should be considered, such as visible light transmittance and solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC).

Your location also determines the significance of U-value to your situation. If you live in a colder climate, you will want to choose low U-value windows to keep the heat in your house from escaping. On the other hand, if you live in a warmer climate, the SHGC is more important as it measures the amount of solar heat that is transferred through a window. Windows with lower SHGC are better for houses in warmer climates.

Tip:

U-value is more essential in colder climates because you want to capture as much of the sun’s radiant heat as possible.

4. I must use vinyl for my replacement windows.

Vinyl is the most popular material for replacement windows, but you have other options. If you live in an older home, you can substitute your current wood windows with more energy efficient clad/wood windows. These have a clad exterior, usually aluminum or vinyl, and a wood interior to match the appearance of your existing windows. The good thing about these windows is that they can usually be installed inside the “pocket” of your old windows without having to renovate your home.

Fiberglass is a newer replacement window material that has similar thermal properties to wood. It is also very durable and stronger than aluminum or vinyl. Fiberglass can be painted, so you have more color choices.

5. I don’t need safety glass if I don’t live in a coastal area

Many people think you are required to use safety glass only in coastal areas, but the truth is there are some areas in your house that requires it no matter where you are located. As a professional contractor, Everest Siding and Windows is aware of windows installation building codes and ensures your new windows installation project follows them for your protection.

Some areas in your home are required to have tempered glass, for instance if:

  • The glass is larger than 9 sq. ft. in total size
  • The bottom edge of exposed glass is within 18” from the floor or walking surface
  • The top edge of the glass is more than 36” from the floor or walking surface
  • There is a walking surface within 36” horizontally from the edge of the glass
  • Glass in a tub or shower-space when the bottom exposed edge of the glass is less than 60” from the walking or standing surface

Tip:

Tempered glass is 4 to 5 times stronger than regular glass; it shutters in small pieces and less likely to cause injury. Make sure to ask your contractor if there are any areas in your home that requires the use of tempered glass.

6. MYTH: “A repaired window has no manufacturer’s warranty.”

Fact:

A damaged window usually loses its warranty, even if it is just a damaged nailing fin. However, many window manufacturers will extend their warranty if the VinylDoc method is used to repair the window. VinylDoc has repaired thousands of windows in which manufacturers’ warranties have been retained.

The reason they feel comfortable in maintaining their warranty is that VinylDoc, established in 1998, has proven the value of their repair method through time and quality. With that said, it is important to note that manufacturers will not warranty the repaired section. The person making the repairs is responsible for the warranty of their work.

7. MYTH: “A restored window is not as desirable as a new window. Only a new replacement window will appease the new homeowner.”

Fact:

If replacement is a simple process and the window is inexpensive, it is better to replace the window. However, if replacing the window requires causes a major disturbance and expense, then a repair is the best option. Liability for home damage and scheduling multiple subcontractors, such as stucco, siding, sheetrock, carpenter, painter, etc. often makes window replacement problematic.

By contrast, a typical VinylDoc restoration can usually be completed in one day with minimal exposure to liability, inconvenience, noise or mess. When a window is repaired using the VinylDoc method and products, it will pass all the certification tests of a new window.

8. MYTH: “Broken nailing fins don’t need repair. On retrofit windows we just cut them off.”

Fact:

A nailing fin is part of a permanent barrier designed to prevent water infiltration. Unless the window has been certified without nailing fins, it no longer meets the criteria for which it was tested. When nail fins fail, they can develop what is known as the ‘straw effect’ that draws water from outside to the inside of the house. Caulking does not solve the problem. Failure to repair the flange can lead to financial liability. More and more building inspectors are beginning to demand that broken nailing fins be addressed.