Window replacement question

I live in a condo, and during the next painting and and wood replacement cycle, someone suggested that I consider replacing the windows on the side of my unit. The idea is that the contractor that the association uses to paint and replace the wood would be removing all the the wood on the side of my unit, and then replace my windows and properly flash them, and then re-install the siding re-using any old boards that are still in good shape, with some new boards too. I would be paying for the cost of the window installation.
If I were to have the windows replaced, then would it also involve any work the inside of the house too? If so, then what needs to be done on the inside? Would any drywall have to be cut away and put back, and then repainting/wallpapering?
Below is a link to a picture of what my windows look like on the inside of the house. Is the white wood frame that meets the inside walls part of the window itself? In other words, would that frame need to be replaced during the installation, and would doing so disturb the drywall, etc.?
http://members.verizon.net/vzeofpch/windowpic.jpg
Is there typically any difference between how a window is installed when replacing a window versus installing a window at the time the building is built? When windows are replaced, is the entire old aluminum frame removed, and then an entire new window frame put in the same way it would be installed into a brand new building? Or do they try to cut out the visible part of the old window frame and try to retrofit a new window to that? If it's the latter, then I am concerned leakage in that situation, or something going wrong when cutting the old frame. Is the latter really a good way to install a window?
Anyway, the kKey issue is whether proper window replacement could be done without disturbing the drywall on the inside that would result in my needing to repaint or rewallpaper, etc. Could it be done without any work on the needed inside my unit?
Thanks,
Jay
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Is there any compelling reason to replace your windows other than for the contractor to make more $$? Unless the contractor uses the absolutely identical model of window, there will be a great deal of interior and exterior modifications to make everything fit, with additional cost. Replacement sashes are used for renewing ordinary double hung windows, but this may not be true for casements. Caution advised here.
Jpe
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Joe wrote:

is damage or rot showing on the outside, they should be good for another cycle of siding. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. What sort of condo allows owners to replace windows a few at a time, anyway? While they have the siding off, they could address any caulking or flashing (air or water leak) issues you have.
If it is a stock size, and the new windows use the same rough opening, all that should have to come off on the inside is the casing (trim) around the window. Done carefully, all that would be needed afterward is a little filling of nail holes and touchup paint.
'New construction' windows, which is what they are pitching to you, are nailed to outside of house via a nailing flange hidden under the siding. 'Old Work' windows come in 2 types- inserts, which screw into the existing casing (and usually have slightly smaller glass), and flangeless full size windows, which are basically the same as new construction without the nailer flange, also screwed through the sides into the wall framing. This latter kind can be tricky to water-seal. Pulling old windows without removing siding is a real PITA, but it can be done with artful sawzall work to saw the nail flange off, or by tearing the the window apart in place, and going in sideways to cut the nails.
But the bottom line is- if you aren't having any problems, why replace the windows?
-- aem sends...
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The windows are aluminum. They only look bad (to me at least) on the outside because the brown paint on the aluminum frame looks powdery (for lack of a better term). But I suppose that doesn't justify replacement since the association at some point could choose to paint those frames. Also, not mentioned in previous post, is that some of the aluminum frames have had developed cracks in corners but I have sealed those with silicone. The cracks are noticeable when the window is open and looking down at the metal frame.
Please see my reply to the previous poster. I've had problems in which the old vinyl seals of the windows were letting water in, but I THINK I resolved those by replacement. However, I've had siding/ flashing issues in which water was getting behind the nailing flange and into my condo.
It sounds like you are saying that the white wooden frame that meets the drywall on the inside would have to come off and be replaced afterward, but that it could be possible not to damage the drywall.
However, you are also saying that it might not be worth going through the trouble to replace, since it is unclear that replacement is really necessary. Please read my previous reply, if you get a chance, and let me know if your opinion stays the same or not.
Thanks,
Jay

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JayN wrote:

dozen?
If you go with the contractor doing the outside work, are you locked in to getting the windows through them? Hard to say one way or the other without seeing things in person. I'd call around, or at least to the supplier the contractor plans to use, and see if you can get a site visit from a field rep for the manufacturer of the current windows, to eyeball the windows and give an opinion. If the windows are a name brand, they will sometimes come out to look at older windows, not just new installs. Based on the style and apparent age, I strongly suspect these are metal-clad windows, not metal frames. (The cracks in the corners that you caulked are a common problem, and if the windows were actual metal frames, any cracking would have shown up as a wobbly window.) The fix could be as simple as a proper cap flashing over the windows when they reside, and proper sealing of the side joints before the siding goes up. (A 'picture frame' of that black sticky membrane used for ice dams, over the top flange of the cap flashing, and over the nailer flange on the other 3 sides, does wonders to reduce leaks behind the siding where nails go into the wall.)
But you do raise a valid point about future finger-pointing if leaks recur. If this isn't a budget issue, and you just wanted to avoid a mess inside, you may want to spring for new higher-efficiency windows just as a sales point if you decide to sell the place. Ordering an exact-fit replacement means the inside trim is the only thing that will need to be redone. You make sure it is done right by reading a DIY book showing the procedure and being there when they do it. And if the old windows are basically intact- since you own them, insist they be taken out non-destructively, and donate them to Habitat for Humanity ReStore, or whatever similar local charity you have in your city. If you don't have access to a truck, many of these charities offer a pickup service.
Just for laughs, I'll throw in that the same sealing and flashing issues also apply to any sliding doors, french doors, and ordinary exterior doors you have, at least those without a porch roof protecting them. If the siding works gets into those areas, need to make sure the flashing and sealing on them is up to snuff, as well. In the picture, that looks like t-111 plywood or OSB siding, which loves to suck up water. Anywhere that is over a door or window, there needs to be cap flashing, and preferably a crack below the wood so it isn't sitting in a puddle all the time. The horizontal part of the flashing should be sloped so it drains well. (It doesn't on my house, which happens to be almost the same color with the same corner trim detail.)
-- aem sends...
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Thanks for the reply.
I probably wouldn't be obligated to using the same contractor as the association. The association uses a division of the management company that is hired to manage the property. I'm actually not too impressed with them to date. If I go with them, the reason would be so that they can't point any fingers in case of future leaks if they did both the siding and the windows. But I'd also hate to spend all kinds of money only to find out they install them wrong and I were to still get leaks, or if I needed to do a lot of refinishing work on the inside afterward.
I don't think the siding is OSB. I think it is supposed to be cedar installed rough side out, although the cynic in me is suspicous they could have substituted something cheaper..
The person suggesting I replace the windows is someone who is leaving the development and who used to be on the board. It doesn't affect him either way.
There are a total of 5 window openings. Two of these house double- windows (two windows sharing same opening) and the other 3 house single windows.
I believe you are likely correct about them being aluminum clad.
The photo taken is actually of the windows facing the back of my unit, but they are the same windows as the ones that face the side of my unit.
Nobody has any idea who is the manufacturer of the existing windows. There is nothing whatsoever on them anywhere that identifies them. My mom lives in the same development and her windows say Hurd, but they have thicker insulated glass panels than mine. Hurd won't admit to having manufactured my windows.
Jay
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Main reason to replace is because I have experienced water leaks, and sometimes it is hard to determine if the window itself is the cause of the water leak, or if it is a siding/flashing issue, and I was thinking that brand new windows could rule out the windows themselves. If a window is the cause of a water leak, then it's supposed to be my responsibility and not the associations. If there were new windows installed, then it would be a way to avoid potential arguments about the window being the cause.
I've had leaks involving the window itself but I THINK replacing the seals on all four sides of the sash have stopped those leaks.
However, I've also had leaks that strongly appear to have involved water getting behind the metal flange from the outside, via the exposed gap where siding meets the aluminum frame. I highly doubt these windows were properly flashed. I suspect they simply nailed them in without any flashing membranes. The association's solution is simply to caulk that exposed gap around the window frame, and it seems to have helped thus far. However, I'm still concerned that if water should ever get behind the siding from above the window, either via cracks, or vertical gaps tongue-in-groove gaps between vertical boards, then it would have nowhere else to go but inside.
I'm actually most concerned about ensuring that the windows, whether the existing ones, or new ones are properly flashed under the siding in case water ever gets behind the siding. Otherwise I would have to hope water never gets behind the wood siding above any of the windows.
Granted these windows not being the best in quality in terms of efficency, and the insulated glass units losing their seals. Granted, I have fears that the association could argue that my windows are the cause of future leaks, or feas that my sash-seal replacement isn't going to hold up and the windows themselves could still leak. However, I don't know if these are compelling reasons to replace. The glass panels could be replaced without replacing the window.
Based on what you are saying, it sounds like replacing the windows would be opening up a big can of worms in terms of interior work, and I that should try to get the association to properly redo the siding (and hopefully properly flash the window beneiththe siding).
Jay
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No. If nothing else, trim will be removed.
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Usually yes, interior drywall, and yes. Instead of putting a duplicate window into an existing frame it is often faster to fit a new window and frame set, thus cheaper overall. This requires repair or replacement of interior trim.

Anything can be done if you allow enough time, thus accept extra labour charges. The only installers I ever encountered were fast and skilled at invisibly repairing the drywall. (If you know what you are doing, repairs truly cannot be seen when finished.)
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
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Read your condo agreement. In many areas windows are "common elements" and are not owned by the condo owner, but by the condo corporation. In these cases you cannot change the windows on your own because they don't want one unit to look different to the rest of the units in the project.

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