It would be nice if window replacement were as easy as a two step “snap in, snap out” process. For some fortunate homeowners, it is.
However, the majority of window replacement jobs require a few more steps, if not many more, for a safe and efficient installation.
1. Know Your City Codes
Even if you’ve hired a contractor to do the job of replacing your windows, you should always research your city’s most recent construction codes. This is not an issue to trifle with. Many cities require a permit for something as simple as window replacement. Failing to secure a permit will often result in severe financial penalties and the negation of any illicit construction work that has been done to your home. Do make sure that your contractor is up-to-date with the latest codes and requirements and familiarize yourself with these as well. NEVER work with
a contractor who is willing to begin construction on your home without a necessary permit. Such a company does not have your interests in mind.
2. Be Aware of Your Home’s Needs
There are many different kinds of window materials on the market. Are you looking for more insulation? Do you need special safety glass in certain rooms? Talk to your contractor regarding all your options. Doing so may greatly affect the interior of your home.
3. Consider Your Energy Costs
Your windows are a critical point of insulation. Energy efficient windows trap both heat and cold which can result in significant energy savings over time. In order to reap the benefits of quality windows, the next point is every bit as important.
4. Make Sure Your Windows are Properly Sealed
A major reason to upgrade or replace windows is to improve the insulation of your home. Choosing double-paned and special types of glass can enhance your home’s energy efficiency, but ONLY if the installation is done properly. This means there must be no opportunity for air to escape, and this can be a real challenge when working on older homes that require more customized work. Everything needs to be tight and properly caulked with a quality sealant.
5. How Much Customization is Necessary?
Always talk to your contractor regarding every detail of the replacement process. Many homeowners are caught off guard when they learn that their “simple” window replacement process will actually involve invasive construction. Are the new windows the same size as those being replaced, or will cutting into the wall be necessary. Will the trim pose problems? Homeowners should always be prepared for complexities.
6. Look Forward
It is always good to look ahead when it comes to any form of home construction. Certain changes will affect both the performance and resale value of your home. This is why you’ll want to research the various materials thoroughly before making a decision. Cutting costs initially can sometimes lead to higher costs in the long term.
7. Research Common Errors
You’ll want to familiarize yourself with common window installation errors, even before the job is done. Poorly fitted frames, frames bowing out, unsealed areas that can lead to elemental damage over time are not that uncommon. You’ll want to be able to address these issues with your contractor immediately, rather than later. Otherwise, you may find yourself waiting an inconveniently long period of time before the company returns to fix the error.
8. Choose Your Contractor Wisely
Maybe replacing your windows isn’t quite as involved as renovating an entire home, but it is a job that requires attention to detail and a certain level of construction. You want a reliable contractor who patiently listens to your questions, and who comes with a large amount of references.
Even simple construction jobs can go terribly wrong. For this reason the underlying theme of each of these points is that homeowners plan ahead. Research the job and know your home. Doing so will help prepare you for what lies ahead, as well as aid you in choosing a responsible contractor. A good contractor will have the experience necessary to answer your questions, and will be able to predict issues that may arise during your window replacement.