This Saves 1000s of Dollars On Home Window Replacement Every Day

Need Some Window Replacement?
Need Some Window Replacement?

Hi, Believe me or not, but with labor costs on the rise even for the easiest task. I will share with you how you can save $1000s on home window replacement if you follow my step-by-step guide. I also share with you how to choose the best new windows for your buck. And walk you through each step from taking measures to applying that final beat of sealant.

How to Measure For Home Windows Replacement

Whenever you order a window the very first measurement is for the with,
the second one is for the height and the 3rd is if consisted of for the thickness or depth of your window. Below I explain in more detail how to measure replacement windows openings (also called rough opening).

Getting the right measurements is very important! Fortunately, it’s also very simple.

Currently, we are dealing with old double hung wood windows here. If you have single hung, keep reading. If you have Aluminum Windows … scroll down. 

In our case we have wood sash windows.

And you want to measure the width first, and height second. Because, that’s how you will shop or order Windows in America all the time.  So, … WIDTH X HEIGHT.

Take 3 measures for your width,

Image shows where to take measure in the window casing to measure the width
Image shows where to take measure in the window casing to measure the width
  • Measure from the top right corner to the top left corner. Put the tape measure in that 1 1/2″ pocket where the window frame slides. Measure to the sixteenth of an inch.
  • Do the same thing about in the middle of the window  
  • Then, raise the bottom sash and take the same measurement at the bottom.

If you can’t raise the window for whatever reason, go outside and measure from there. You will have to remove the screen though.

Usually those three measurements will be the same. If they’re not the same, use the SMALLEST measurement and subtract 1/4″ from it for some slack.

Write the result down, this is your width for the new window.

Take 3 measurements for the height.

You should know that, for water drainage your window sill outside slopes downward. However, you have to make sure that you measure from the HIGHEST Point of the sill.

Image shows where to take measure in the window casing to measure the window height
Image shows where to take measure in the window casing to measure the window height

Measure from the top right corner, to the bottom right corner. Put your tape at the top where the upper sash closes, down to the high point of the sloped sill. Do this in the middle and on each side. If the bottom has a 5/8″ high inside wood sill, (it prevents water from coming inside) you need to raise the bottom sash and run your tape past the 5/8″ sill. Or you need to add the 5/8” to each measurement.

Once again, take the smallest measurement, but this time deduct 3/16″. This is your height.

meassuring replacement windows

If you order your windows using these dimensions, they should fit easily into place. And leave just enough room to adjust if needed.

The final measurement

The last measurement we need is the depth of the pocket where both sashes slide. By depth, i mean from the point outside where the top sash rests against the outside wood stop to the point inside where the inside bottom sash rests against the inside stop.

This measurement should be between 3 1/4″- 3 1/2″. The reason you need to know this dimension is because not all replacement windows have a 3 1/4″ depth frame. You want a replacement window that’s going to fit right into the existing pocket of the wood frame. If you purchase a window with a 2 5/8″ frame depth, you’re going to have approximately 3/4″ to fill.

However, the 2 5/8″ frame will be easier on a really tight budget, and you really can use some stop or quarter-round trim to fill.

That’s something you need to price and compare. Then you can decide, whether the money saved on the lesser grade window is worth the extra expense and time of installing new trim.

 So, now you have the measurements and it’s time to go shopping.

How to buy quality windows?

Here are some guidelines and the main things to ask about or look for when window shopping. So you will have a better understanding of the quality you are buying / ordering.

Find The Window Replacement Type You Need?

What type of window do you need? Is the first question you need to answer. Here are the most common illustrated.

Here is an illustration of the most common window types. So what type of window do you need? Is the first question you need to answer.

Top Quality Replacement Windows

  • A top quality double hung replacement window will have tilt-in sashes that allow you to clean the outside glass from inside the home.
  • All double hung windows have a mechanism that keeps the window in the open position.
  • The better windows use a state of the art mechanism known as a constant force balance coil.

All replacement windows will have double glazing, meaning there will be two panes of glass in each sash separated by a 1/2″-5/8″ spacer material around the edge of the unit.

  • A quality window will use an intercept spacer or something called a super spacer.
  • Find out the U-Value of the window. The lower the number, the better insulating properties. You want a window with a U-Value under .40.
  • Most new standard quality windows include LowE Glass (U-Value under .40)

Best Budget Windows

  • You can buy an economical replacement window that will not have the tilt-in feature.
  • Single Hung Windows let you move only the bottom sash and that saves cash big times
  • In medium grade windows, the mechanism that holds the window open will consist of a block and tackle assembly made up of a spring and string.
  • In lower quality windows the mechanism is called a spiral tube balance. And are notorious for failing after 5-10 years.
  • The spacer material used on lower quality windows will be aluminum or something called swiggle seal.
  • Sometimes the U-Value of lower grade windows can be up around .50.
  • However even those have LowE Glass
You can score  additional savings if you buy your window replacement at e-bay or thrift stores
You can score additional savings if you buy your window replacement at e-bay or thrift stores

Remember that a window that uses a super spacer are more than likely a better grade system.

Once you make the decision and purchase your windows, it’s time to get them home and take out your old windows.

Next How to remove the old wood windows?

Update Article

Here are Today’s Top 10 Window Supplier

Finding the best replacement window brand for your home window replacement depends on what you value the most. The main factors you will want to consider when choosing the best window brands are the cost of window replacement, the window styles, and energy efficiency.

Andersen Windows

andersen logo

Andersen Windows are one of the leading window brands in the industry. Andersen windows are known for being made from top-quality materials.

Andersen Window Prices

The average cost of a Double Hung Vinyl Andersen 200 Series window costs around $280 per window and averages around $350 to install

Pella Windows

pella logo

Pella Windows are known for aesthetic and being well-built They are well known for and very commonly used around here in NC

Window Prices

The cost for Pella windows will depend on the series you choose. Pella Encompass Double-Hung Window costs around $150 per window and the average cost to install would be around $250. Each window comes at a different price point depending on the series you choose as well as the features you want for your new windows.

Jeld Wen Windows

 Jeld-Wen windows can be found at local retailers such as Home Depot or Lowe’s.

Milgard Windows

milgard windows buying guide

Milgard Window Prices

  • Average window costs for a standard aluminum single hung window would price out at around $185 per window or around $400 in total installation costs.

5. Harvey Windows

Harvey logo
  • The average  Harvey replacement window ranges from $285 to $450 per window

Loewen Windows

Loewnen  windows logo

Loewen replacement windows, a long-established Canadian manufacturer.

You could expect to pay around $985 in installation costs for a Loewen Woodclad Double Hung Window. 

Simonton Windows

simonton windows logo and link

Window Prices

A standard Simonton window prices for a double hung vinyl Vantage Pointe Series would cost around $325 per window and $450 to install.

Ply Gem Windows

ply gem windows logo

Those Windows are a reliable vinyl window brand, known for foam-filled vinyl windows. Ply Gem replacement windows are in the mid tier price range costing around $400 per window from the Premium Series. 

Alside Windows

window review

Vinyl Window costs are affordable and of high quality. An Alside Window from the Century line (the most affordable series) would cost around $200 per window and cost around $386 in total replacement costs.

PGT Windows

PGT Windows is a Florida-based manufacturer of vinyl and aluminum windows that distributes their products globally. The average

The PGT window prices of  Classicvue Aluminum Single Hung Window series would cost around $485 per window.

pgt windows reviews

How to Remove Double-Hung Wood Windows?

In the last chapter I told you how to measure your wood window openings to properly order your new replacement windows. Now I like to assume that those windows arrived, the weather is nice, and you are ready to start installing the new windows.

Double Hung Window Reference for window replacement
Double Hung Window Reference for window replacement.

Well, let me explain the best way to remove your old windows.

If you follow these steps, and you measured your new windows correctly, they should slide right into place. And the last step, the window install will take no time at all.

The majority of wood sash double hung windows in America are alike. Starting from inside the house and working out, you have a wood stop approximately 3/8″ X 3/8″. Then the lower sash (a sash is the piece of glass and surrounding wood frame). Then you have another wood stop (called a parting bead) between the lower sash and upper sash. This stop is approx. 1/4″ X 1/2″. Then you have the upper sash, and finally, the outside wood stop (called a blind stop) that is approx. 1/2″ X 3/4″.

Window – image

What tools do you need?

Before beginning,

  • be sure to wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from debris, 
  • and gloves help avoid splinters and cuts from paint
  • you need a hammer and
  • a stiff blade metal putty knife or a painter’s 5 in one tool

If have old Craftsmen Windows, there are ropes attached to the top of the window sash that run over a roller into the cavity of the wall beside your window. Actually there are weights attached to the other end of each rope that keep the windows open. The first step should be to remove the inside stop.

Old Craftsmen Double Hung Window Schematics
Old Craftsmen Double Hung Window Schematics

Try not to damage any stops, as they might be re-used after the replacement windows are put in.

No worry if you do break one because

  • we might not even need it and
  • you can easily find a replacement.

I usually use either a metal putty knife or a painter’s tool and tap the blade with a hammer into the grove with the stops. That will help to loosing it tight fit or break any paint. You could also use a blade to cut the grove a little but you need to be careful not to run the knife all over everything or even cut yourself.

If there are many layers of paint from years of painting, you should drag the blade tip from top to bottom to chip away the paint. Then put a stiff blade putty knife into this seam and pry the stop away from the frame.

It is best if you start in the middle of the stop, because there is the most flexibility and play. Work the putty knife from the middle to the top, then from the middle to the bottom.

The number of nails used to install can vary…

That will also determine how difficult the removal will be.

I have seen some stops that have just 3 nails, while others have had 6. Most of the time there will be stops around all four sides of the opening, but I have seen some openings that didn’t have a top stop, and others that had no bottom stop.

Ones you removed the inside stops, you should be able to pull the lower window sash out. If the windows were painted shut at some time, you might have to pry the area where the lock is located to separate the sashes.

The key advantage of using double hung window replacement is that they are easy to clean on each side as shown in the picture above
The key advantage of using double hung window replacement is that they are easy to clean on each side as shown in the picture above

Now, once you get the lower sash out, it will still be attached to the cords (ropes) that hold the window up when you raise it. You can cut those and let the weight fall into its cavity. We will not need those anymore.

Window Replacement of Craftsmen Window with Aluminum Track

If you have modern Craftsmen (they have an Aluminum track around the window sash) the sash will still be attached to the metal cords. And you can either cut those with a pair of tin snips. It is fine to do so while you maintain the tension on them. Because, then the cords will recoil back into the assemblies. Now you can remove and store the lower sash. – Or — You just remove all interior stops, and all staples, nails and screws that installed the aluminum track to the window casing (wood housing). Once you done so you can slide the complete assembly out of the window casing.

However, if there is no aluminum track continue here …

Once you removed the bottom sash, you need to remove the middle stop, (also called “parting bead”). This piece will not be reused so don’t worry about breaking it. The parting bead is only along both sides and in the top installed. The bead should be nailed into a recessed groove.

If you removed all of the 3 parting beads, the upper sash should slide out. If it’s covered with paint and is stuck to the outside stop. You can pry the sash from the outside stop by taping & driving a stiff putty knife between the window sash and the outside stop. Be careful and try to avoid damaging the outside stop.

Window Replacement of Single Hung Window

Single hung windows are easier on the budget because the top sash does not move.
Single hung windows are easier on the budget because the top sash does not move.

In a single hung Window only the bottom sash moves up and down and in this case you top sash should just slide out.  However, should you be replacing a double hung window, you still have to cut the cords. Just like on the lower sash before, by cutting the cords under tension.

Okay, at this point you should have all the inside stops removed and stored for later. Also both sashes removed. As well as the parting bead removed. All that is left is the outside blind stop. That one should stay undisturbed in place.

Final Prep Work

You should now double check for obstructions in the opening such as nails, or the metal anchors from the window screen, etc.

As final step you should scrape off any old caulking from the inside face of the outside blind stops. You can use either a stiff putty knife or a painter’s tool for that.

Believe me or not, I get asked how I am measuring for a replacement window all the time...So here are few pointers on how to measure replacement windows ...
Home window replacement made easy like 1-2-3

This should be clean, because the replacement window is going to rest against it. Finally clean up all loose debris from the opening.

You are now ready to install your replacement window.

Usually there are installation instructions supplied with your replacement windows.

You best follow those closely so the WARRANTY will not void

How to install & seal a vinyl window replacement?

In this chapter I explain how you properly seal your vinyl retrofit or replacement windows to avoid future leaking problems.

These days a lot of homeowners are replacing their old windows with vinyl windows using the retrofit style of window frame.

The number one argument against using retrofit is that it is susceptible to water leaks. Well, that’s true if you don’t seal it properly. Plus if you do a complete tear-out of your old window down to the studs, to use new construction windows the window replacement is most times going to be too expensive. Therefore, I like to tell you the best way to install your retrofit windows that will ensure that water cannot get in.

Window replacement parts for double hung windows
Window replacement parts for double hung windows

Window Replacement on Stucco Exterior

If you are installing retrofit frames in a stucco house, you want to put a thick bead of sealant right on the outside face of the old window frame, all the way around. Latex caulk should work fine, but if you want to spend a little more to get the best sealant available, use 100% silicone.

Depending on the number of windows you will be doing, this extra cost can add up. You pay approximately $4 for a tube of acrylic latex caulk, and $6 or more for a tube of 100% silicone. You are easily going to use 1-3 tubes per window, depending on the size.

Some window replacement options
Some window replacement options

Here is a trick that can save a little money;

The most vulnerable part of your installation is the top and the sill of the window. Gravity will let the water running down from the roof to the ground. It’s not likely that water is going to find its way through the sides. So, you could carry two caulking guns, and load one with the silicone, and the other with the acrylic caulk. Now you simply apply the silicone across the top and bottom of the old frame, and caulk the sides.

Then, install your new window into the opening. Best have a helper hold the window firmly in place while you plumb and level it. Then install the required screws to fix it into place.

On wide multiple windows above it is cheaper to choose a picture frame window in the center and double hung window replacements for each side.
On wide multiple windows above it is cheaper to choose a picture frame window in the center and double hung window replacements for each side.

After the window replacement is installed

You should caulk where the retrofit lip meets the stucco. Here again, you can use to use white silicone on the top and bottom, and caulk on the sides.

You now have a double barrier against water infiltration. After about a week, check the sealant around each window for signs of cracking. Because your silicone or caulk beat shrunk, there could be gaps that were larger in some areas than in others.

If you don’t force the caulk into the gap to completely fill it, the caulk can sag before drying, causing a crack to form. Simply refill any cracks that you see.

You should check the silicone on top as well. Even if it dries like a rubber substance, and there could be cracks.

Arched window replacement options
Arched window replacement options

Window Replacement in Wood Casing

The replacement window should fit into the wood casing of old wood windows. And wood trim is surrounding the opening.

If you are using the retrofit lip, you can trim it down to fit between the wood. And you should still apply a heavy bead of Silicone to the old window frame before you install the replacement window. Make sure you apply sealant along all the stops before you set the window.

After setting it, seal around the whole window where it meets the wood. And finally, you want to make sure that any trim above the window has a proper Silicone seal to the facial finish applied. 

Now, no water can run down the facial wall and get under the top piece of wood-casing.

Home Window Replacement using Block Frame

We often decide not to use a retrofit style frame and rather use a replacement block frame instead. If you choose to do it this way, you may have to add trim to the outside.

You still want to apply the sealant to the old frame, and then apply your trim to fix the new window into position. As well as fill the old frame.

As long as you follow the above outlined steps, you won’t have to worry about any water penetrating into your home, I don’t care how hard it pours!

Metal Windows Replacement with Vinyl Windows

Learn how to remove your metal frame windows and replace them with energy efficient vinyl replacement windows.

Metal frame windows
Metal frame windows

In our past chapters I talked about all the steps required to properly replace your old wood sash windows with energy efficient vinyl windows. I told you how to measure for the new windows. Then we discussed the removal of the wood sashes and parting bead. Finally, I told you how to install, seal, and trim the vinyl replacement windows.

 And now I like to describe …

Aluminum window replacement

Earlier when we discussed the proper frame style for replacing the wood sash windows, I explained the difference between new construction frames versus replacement frames.

To replace aluminum windows, there is another option. It’s called a “retrofit” frame. As a quick refresher let’s go over each frame type.

Sliding Bi fold Windows
Bi fold Windows

Window replacement using new construction window with nail fin

This window replacement requires a complete window removal, opening the facial around the window down to the framing

  • remove the exterior around each window opening,
  • pull out the nails holding the aluminum window to the studs,
  •  nail in the new vinyl window,
  • apply flashing,
  • caulk, and
  • re-install the exterior around each window. (I get tired just thinking about it!)

In addition to being a whole lot more labor, you can also run into major problems trying to install the exterior product around each window opening.

For example If your home has stucco, you have to try and match the rest of the stucco. It can be done, but probably not by you. Plus even most professional stucco guys can’t get a perfect match.

Window Replacement & Wooden Lap Siding

Well, you could cut away 2″ of the siding around each window to get to the nail fin, then you can apply 1 X 2 or 1 X 3 trim around each window. Certainly not as much work as the stucco home, but probably more work than the average homeowner cares to tackle.

Window replacement & lap siding

Window Replacement & Brick Veneer

Let’s not even go there! You would have to remove the bricks, then re-install them all when finished.

Bottom Line:

Unless you need to repair or replace your exterior finish, you don’t want to replace your old aluminum windows with new construction vinyl windows. You want to use some replacement frame that easily fits your existing openings.

brick veneer and bay window replacement
Bay Window on Brick Veneer

Window Replacement using a retrofit frame:

It is popular out west where stucco is a common exterior. Since the procedure for measuring is the same regardless of the frame style chosen, you can look it back up if needed.

The retrofit frame has a fin about 2 inches wide, located flush with the outside face of the window. This is the best choice when replacing old windows, but not all jobs.

If you have a stucco exterior,

If you replace aluminum windows retrofit is the way to go. You install the new window from the outside, and the flush fin covers the old aluminum frame that you are going to leave in place. Then you screw the new window in using deck screws through the side channels as well as the top header. We will get into more detail on the actual installation in a future article update.

window replacement on stucco facade
window replacement on stucco facade

If you have a stucco exterior, but there is a wood trim around the opening of the window where the flush fin would normally go, you can still use the retrofit style frame. However, you would need to remove the wood surrounding the opening, install the retrofit window, then purchase and install new wood trim. The old trim will no longer fit since the retrofit window frame dimensions will be larger in width and height than the old window frame. So a regular replacement window would be faster and likely cheaper.

Brick Veneer

Here is the use of the replacement style frame best as well. You just need to install a trim to finish to the window casings. If you are able to get a retrofit frame with a relatively thin fin, you can also trim down the fins so the window fits between the brick or wood. That would eliminate the need to trim out the outside. Some manufacturers of retrofit frame, will have grooves in the back of the retrofit fins. You can simply run a utility knife in that groove. Keep scoring it until you are able to break off that piece of the fin.