New window education


I am ready to have my aluminum windows replaced with vinyl, but I am relatively clueless as to the options and issues regarding window replacement. I don't just want to replace the existing windows, I also want to make a couple of them larger (i.e., wider), and want to add proper-looking casements and trim in and out of the house. I will probably do the trim myself (wood content!).
Before I get some estimates I want to educate myself. Where do I go to find out the current options available? I had an estimate a couple of years ago, but it seemed out of line pricewise from what I was expecting, and I didn't know enough about the windows to know when the salesman was blowing smoke or telling me the truth (although he did start puffing pretty heavily towards the end of the session, offering me various incentives and rebates). Can I trust books in the library? How is the technology changing? How old of a book is still reliable? Are there good magazines to research (e.g., Fine Homebuilding)?
I appreciate all the help you can give me.
--
Sincerely,

John Snow
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Well, you want "replacement" windows, that's for sure. they don't have the nailing flanges that originals have. Reframing for larger is going to be costly, because you have to adjust your cripples and headers, maybe even your siding to make larger openings.
Replacements aren't that bad for a guy with a reciprocating saw and some help shimming. You can get full vinyl double hung with tip-in washing and double glass for a lot less than you think. Use that expanding poly-U "Great Stuff" to stop intrusion, helped by some tape or membrane.
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George said:

PLEASE don't use the standard Great Stuff in a red can - it will bow the window frames - guaranteed! Get the stuff designated for windows and doors.
FWIW,
Greg G.
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The Blue can - non-expanding.
Expanding foam can generate some serious force against window tracks.
DAMHIKT
Barry
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John Snow said:

alt.home.repair is a better place to ask this sort of question. But as one who has replaced many windows, including all the windows in our house, I can give you my opinions.
Pocket windows can be installed without removing the old window frames or disturbing the trim - inside or out. You remove the old sashes and tracks and install in the opening. This is the cheapest and quickest way.
Vinyl - hmmm - never cared for it personally. It's all the rage with manufacturers, cause it's cheap. Tough to paint, deteriorates with exposure to sun and U.V. Better insulator than aluminum, but not as good as wood. There are fairly inexpensive tilt-out wood sash windows made by Jeld-Wen (and Anderson, etc.) that retain the ability to stain the interiors, paint the exteriors, and have composite sills, stops, and brick molding that won't rot, plus Low-E, double insulated glass. Snap on mullions or you can special order them with grills behind glass, but this hurts the R value somewhat because they are generally aluminum. Apparently, vinyl and plastics don't hold up due to the heat between the two panes of glass. Wooden sashes can last a century if properly maintained. Most mfg's offer vinyl and aluminum exterior clad wooden sashes as well. This works OK if the cladding is waterproof, or a rot factory if they seep water underneath.
Changing the entire window assembly, frame and all, requires work on both the inside and outside. The siding may not fit properly against the new windows brick molding unless the windows are EXACTLY the same size. It is impossible to add the proper flashing and sill pan without removing some of the siding. If you have lap siding, this is a time consuming problem.
Enlarging a window's size is a large effort. Any wall opening has to be framed properly and requires stripping the wall to install a new header and jack studs. Proper sheathing, flashing, sill pan, drip molding, caulk, and then the new window. Sheet rock on the inside must be redone, as well as the siding. Sheet rock work is easy, re-framing and siding work is not. Be aware that you could run into plumbing and electrical conflicts when attempting enlarge an opening. This adds to the cost and grief.
Avoid places that sub-contract the work out to others - you will probably get poor quality work, and lots of shortcuts. We're talking Sears, Home Depot, Home Expo, Lowes, etc. Avoid high pressure salesman - they'll say anything to make that sale - and support will vanish after the commission is paid. Find a local installer that has a good reputation and stands behind his work. You want it done right the FIRST time, not after a series of half-assed patch jobs. Ask to see his other jobs - not just the jobs done last week, but years ago. The ramifications of water leakage and such take time to appear on the surface.
Expect to pay anywhere from $75 each for pocket window installs, to upwards of $500 each for custom installs. Average install of a same sized window with no mods to the siding should cost about $125-$150 each. This is in addition to the cost of the window. Cost varies, depending on what part of the country you are in. It isn't cheap anywhere.
If you want to see the installation steps recommended by the manufacturer of your chosen windows, simply go to their web site and download a PDF of the install instructions. Most are fairly thorough.
Good Luck!
Greg G.
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John Snow wrote:

John,
I replaced all 12 of my aluminum windows last year with vinyl (lifetime warranty), but the only improvement I made was to replace two side-by-side windows with a single large casement window. I have a mix of brick and wood siding on my house. The brick siding was easier for two reasons. First, I was less worried about damaging any siding when removing the old window. Second, since the new window was deeper than the old window, and the brick framing around the window is significantly deeper than the windows, I didn't have to cut away the interior trim to make the new window fit flush.
The wood siding was more of a pain. I had to pull away the framing I had put up the year before, had to be more careful when prying out the old window frame, and had to cut away drywall from the interior because the new window was deeper.
In the end, though, it took me about 6 hours from opening up the workshop to get the ladder until I finished vacuuming per wood-framed window (sans any re-painting).
The cost for 11 windows (including the one casement that replaced two) was a little over $2000. And it cut over $40 per month off my heating bill in the winter, and keeps the house warmer.
--
Michael White "To protect people from the effects of folly is to
fill the world with fools." -Herbert Spencer
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Thanks for the advice. I'll trot on over to alt.home.repair now. Didn't know it existed.
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No direct rely here, but here's what happened to my parents. They bought new windows from Sears with a guarantee that included the feature of cleaning the outside window panes from the inside. After the works was done, they discovered that none of the windows could be tilted in for cleaning. They had serious discussions with Sears, followed with a letter from my Dad. In two weeks all the windows were replaced with ones that tilted in for cleaning. Although this job was subcontracted, Sears made the installation good. Bottom line, pick a job where it is guaranteed, insured, and bonded--and get all of this in writing, talk is cheap.
On Sat, 29 Oct 2005 10:25:58 -0700, "John Snow"

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I did all that. Got a lifetime garantee. I now (seven years later) have a sliding glass door that clouds up. It's still under warrenty (I'm still alive) but the company is out of buisiness.

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This is to inform home owners interested in purchasing replacement home windows about one couple's experience with a Northern Virginia firm, CONSUMER CONSTRUCTION, INC.
In June 1999, Consumer Construction, Inc., Woodbridge, VA 22191, 703-491-0745, http://www.consumerconstruction.com, furnished and installed 13 ea. replacement vinyl windows, Carefree brand, with Low E glass and argon gas. Cost: $4,200.
Initially my wife Robin and I were generally pleased with the product, however one double-hung unit toally filmed over within three years on the inner (sealed) surfaces. Those surfaces cannot be cleaned.
We left several phone messages with Consumer Construction, Inc. (hereinafter called the "company') but received no response. In June 2004, we sent the company an e-mail mesage via its e-mail response line. A male from the company phoned and agreed to inspect the window, but never showed up.
We subsequently contacted the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Greater Washington, D.C. (202-393-8000, www.mybbb.org), which made contact with the company. A company representative came to our house in May 2005, and found that nine (9) windows had some degree of filming due he said to "inner moisture."
The company agreed to contact the manufacturer to obtain an on-site inspection, but a few weeks later, it was determined by the company that the manufacturer of Carefree brand windows had gone bankrupt and out of business. The company subsequently told us that it, therefore, would not replace at no cost any of the filmed windows, since the manufacturer was no longer in business. "I am at a dead end," we were told by the company manager, Mr. Mitchell.
We went back to the BBB with this information; the BBB agreed to try to arrange for arbitration of our case, but were met with silence on the matter. The case remains in an unresolved category.
To summarize my wife's and my position, we believe that, at a minimum, Consumer Construction, Inc. should be willing to replace at no cost the two windows that are completely filmed over, especially since the company's own inspector remarked, "You don't need blinds for these [filmed windows]."
Consumer Construction's position is unacceptable to us, as customers, and we believe it fails to meet standards of responsible business practice as well. Consumer Construction SOLD us windows that failed; THEY bear primary responsibility for resolving this case to our satisfaction. The company's position is like a food market telling a customer to go to the farmer who raised the steer from which a spoiled cut of meat was originally obtained!
(It would be interesting to know how many of the company's other customers have incurred problems such as ours.)
Ken Spalding Dale City, VA
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

At a "minimum"??? What warranty was offered and by whom was it underwritten--the window manufacturer or the installer? If the latter, you have some recourse, if the former, they're gone.

Well, as noted above, unless they warranted the windows themselves _themselves_, they did what they said they would do...sold and installed you a set of windows.
I'll agree it would be nice if they would make some compensation but it's not clear how much actual responsibility is theirs from the data provided.
As a auto dealer w/ whom I had dealt for a long time and was good personal friends w/ told me when I was moaning about the clear coat failure on a relatively new automobile back when that was such a problem for all the manufacturers owing to the EPA-mandated changes in paint formulations--"I didn't paint the car, I only sold it". It isn't necessarily so that it really is the installer's fault here. I can feel your pain, but you need to see what your warranty documents acutally say and then go from there.
How much money is actually at stake here? You may need to ask for a legal opinion on what your rights are and consider small claims court if you do have a leg to stand on. Realistically, all you can probably hope to get will be a partial credit on a replacement for these windows.
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