More often than not, the signs that you may need to replace or repair your window are too obvious to ignore. You may see moisture seepage along the seams, the panes or sashes may not slide smoothly as they used to, or it takes quite an effort to shut them properly. Sometimes the whole frame of the window may become misaligned or even warped (as what happens quite often with wooden frames), which will certainly necessitate a replacement project.
Other times, the signs that you need to do something about your window may not be too obvious. A sudden spike in your electric bill may be a sign that heat or cold may be escaping through the windows and that they are no longer capable of insulating your home efficiently. If shutting the window creates an unusual hollow sound, the frame may be rotting from the inside out. When you notice both these obvious and subtle signs, what should you do next?
A window replacement or installation may look like an interesting DIY project. However, it is one that should be reserved only for those who have the skills and experience to do the job properly. You don’t want to start working on it and end up realizing that you just don’t have what it takes to complete the project. Worse, you may end up turning a simple project to a more complex one that will cost you a couple of hundred dollars more. So what does a typical window replacement project look like?
Tools that you need: Multi-function drill or driver and bits, caulk gun, oscillating tool and blades, box cutter, level, hammer, measuring tape, protractor, putty knife and vacuum. If you are missing a few of the tools, mentioned here, you may want drop your DIY plans while you’re ahead.
Materials: Your replacement window, flashing tape or roll flashing, silicone caulk, wood filler, latex caulk, spray foam insulation, window wrap, fiberglass insulation and shims.
Steps: This project usually starts by taking proper measurements of the window and then purchasing the right replacement size. Most windows have stops on both the inner and exterior side. Determine where you’ll work from, whether it is from the inside or outside the home. If you choose to work from the outside, you don’t have to remove the inner stop and vice versa. Most modular windows are best pulled out and replaced from the inside of the home.
Next, carefully remove all the parts of the window, making sure not to discard parts that are not included in the replacement window. Clear away any remaining dust and grime along the edges where the frame used to be with the vacuum cleaner. Check the studs for any damage and use the wood filler to fix holes in the frame. Check if the sill is level and use shims to make sure that the replacement window will be plumb. Install the new window and secure it in place with screws. Apply expanding foam or caulk along the seams, ensuring that the gaps are well-covered. Replace all the stops and trimmings to finish up.
If you are able to determine that all you need to do to fix your window is to replace damaged parts, such as the window hashes, then the DIY project may save you some labor costs. However, it will still be a good idea to take pictures or better yet, a video of your faulty window and ask experts on advice on how to fix it. Take measurements of your window so the pros can better determine the right replacement part for your window.
When you suspect that you need to have experts check on your windows to see if they need repairs, choose only an established and reputable window installer. This will be especially important in Reston, VA since homes and other residential properties come in a wide range of styles, materials and eras. Hiring window installers that have ample experience with different window designs and styles will go a long way in making sure that your window is replaced and repaired the right way.
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