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installing new windows

Posted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 5:21 pm
by diychick
I have a 1999 Palm Harbor, about 2021 sq. feet. When we bought the house we elected to get sheetrock with a knockdown finish b/c it looks more "house-like". We skimped on the windows tho, and I'm regretting that now. I want "real" windows. My question is, which is better - replacement or new construction windows? I saw some American Heritage windows by Anderson today at Home Depot and love them (so easy to open, close, and clean). I'm not sure that this is something my hubby and I would want to tackle, so I guess I'd have to find someone to install them. I worry about getting someone reputable tho.


I'm in eastern NC too. What area are you located in? I'm not far from Rocky Mount. I saw in one your posts that you got 13 new windows installed. Was that a DIY project or did you hire someone? May I be so bold as to ask how much money it cost?

Thanks all!

RE: installing new windows

Posted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 5:56 pm
by mnc

Posted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:55 pm
by Greg
Hi & welcome. the difference between new construction & replacement windows are the way they mount. New construction mount from the outside with a nail fin (flange) that I feel help to seal the window. Replacement mount into your existing window frames.

There are pros & cons for both types. For new construction windows you will need to totally remove the windows & frames, but if you have the basic "trailer" aluminum windows you will need to do this anyway.

Now sizes come into play, I will bet that few of the windows that you have are stock sizes, so you have two options. You can reframe the opening to the stock size or order the window for the opening you have. Price it both ways, when I changed ours a few years ago I found it was about half the price to use stock size and reframe to a slightly larger size. It is easier to go slightly larger than to a smaller window since you will need to match the siding to fill the smaller hole. your home is new enough, but check the frames for rot when you have the window out, many of the windows I changed needed new frames because they were just starting to rot, plus I had to reframe for the larger window. Greg

Posted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:12 pm
by diychick
Oh geez, making the opening larger? Yikes. I don't like the sound of that. Sounds kinda scary! What (in general) does making the opening larger entail? We had french doors installed about 1.5 years ago, and that required a larger opening. It was more than hubby wanted to tackle, so I'm not sure if the windows will be something he's up for if he has to do alot of cutting.

What did you do about the interior trim around the windows? Did you do the trim work yourself? Also, before you installed your windows, did you have any previous experience?

Posted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 8:16 pm
by Greg
It sounds harder than it is. It is a lot of common sense work, basic carpentry skills are required. I had pictures of the job, but they were on my old computer that crashed.

I do all of my own work, previous experiance? Does building my old log house count? Hey, everyone has to start someplace. As I said it is not that hard to do, I reccomend a visit to a home center that has windows on display in a mockup wall so you can see how they are installed, a good remodeling book may help also. Windows are basic, they install the same in stick built as they do in a mobile home.

For trim, you can go as basic or as fancy as you want. Greg

Posted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:18 pm
by diychick
Heck yeah, building a log house counts! :)

We looked at some windows on display, but it wasn't really a mockup type of thing.

Let me ask you something - what about window sills? I know this is probably a stupid question, but how does that work? Do you fabricate those yourself? And if so, how difficult is that?

Sorry for all of the crazy questions. Just trying to get a handle on what to expect as hubby is considering trying this himself.

RE: installing new windows

Posted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:28 pm
by Yanita
Hi DIY Chick,

I am just outside Greenville, LOL, we are not far from one another.

I had 13 windows put in, BUT, I also had a set of custom sized patio doors and 2 traditional house steel doors. The front entrance door has the 1/2 moon glass, beveled, and the master bedroom exterior door is a 9 light. That door required removing a window, enlarging the opening, rerouting wiring, building a header...

I contracted the job out. With Hubby's work hours it just made more sense for us. Thankfully we ordered replacement windows, double hung double paned, low E...we contracted a local company, the windows ran about 300.00 a piece. BUT...Keep in mind they had anticipated sill rot and replacement, there gain, my loss it needed none of it.

For us we also opted to hire out as there was that wonderful warranty/guarantee, anything within a year and they had to fix or replace any water damages. I still have a warranty on replacement glass.

If you are interested in the company I went through please send me a personal email.


Posted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 12:18 pm
by steve
I have found that replacement windows is easier when you order exact size to fit opening.(dont forget LowE and Argon)
I have to pay helpers and time is expensive.
I think an inexperienced person could do the job if they were exact size however its a trade off for the more expensive window.
You might take a whole day to do the first one but all the rest would become easy.
The key issue is getting a leak proof installation but with basic waterproofing knowledge and this site I bet you could get the job done right and have a few bucks left over

Built a log home?
Ide like to hear more about that.
Can you post in off topic a little history and how much you did? I dont mean to hijack this post.

RE: installing new windows

Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 10:33 am
by oldfart
Well now M'am here's my suggestion...for what it's worth. Have Hubby pick just 1 (one) window and replace it. Then see if he wants to do another one..or all of them. Removing the old one is easy enough..just take off the trim and remove the screws. Installing a new one might be tricky but not beyond the reach of most mere mortal men. In most cases enlarging the opening isn't too turrible hard..but it means removing the inside drywall/paneling to install new studs the correct width and height to fit the new window. The outside alum./vinyl siding can be cut with a utility problem. Fitting in the new trim around the window can be as simple or as difficult as you make it. A tablesaw or a compound miter saw is a blessing when cutting corners and angles. The most important thing in my opinion is making sure the window is water-tight. If it leaks..yer gonn'a get to do this all over again very shortly. AND..if this is Hubbies first time...start the job bright and early on Sat. morning. This first window will take all day and thennnnn some. I've replaced 8 in my ca. 1970..12x70 in the past few years and every one took an entire weekend to finish. I am not a carpenter...but I've been working for carpenters for the past 20yrs.+! YMHS...Audie...baker by trade..carpenter/plumber/electrician/roofer as required...

RE: installing new windows

Posted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 8:59 pm
by JD
The following is a post from July last year regarding New Construction, vs Remodel/Retrofit windows. To clarify the post further, I call windows that fit completely within the window opening, requiring exterior trim, a remodel window. Windows with the built in exterior trim fin are Retrofit. The windows with the thin flange with the nail slots in the flange are New Construction.

Provided the fasteners holding your existing windows are not hidden behind the siding, Retrofit windows are by far the easiest to install. Basically, you remove your existing window and slide in the retrofit window. No framing or adding exterior trim required.

To trim the inside of the window, you fill the gap between the new window and the existing window sills and jambs with the insulation of your choice and use the matching vinyl trim strips to close that small gap. They are peel-n-stick and really couldn't be easier. You can further seal the trim with a bead of caulk.

Well, here is that post from July. It is a bit out of context, because it is a reply to a different post. But it has pictures of the install process that I thought would be helpful. The pictures show installing retrofit windows to aluminum siding. The windows install easier to hardboard style siding panels.


Greg's advice to resize window openings to fit "in stock" windows will save some money on the windows. Sometimes this will be the best option. But if the framing around the window is sound, remodel / retrofit windows will be a fraction of the work to install. Below are some pictures of a remodel window installation. You can see it is very simple to do.

As to whether to get single/double hung or XO type sliders, that may depend on your window sizes also. If these are huge windows, you may need a window design that is half fixed and half single hung, due to the size and shape of the window. These windows go way up in price. Standard single hung is a little more expensive than a slider. But when you put the extra frame piece in the middle and the fixed glass, they go up a lot. Also, if this is an older home with short windows, they may not offer a single hung window for that size. I think the minimum height is 24". In the same regard, if the window is very narrow and tall, they would not offer a slider. Depending on width to length ratio, sliders or single hungs can bind up and be a problem to open and close. Both window types have minimum height and width restrictions. Then if you must have a couple of sliders on a side of a home, do you want to mix in single / double hungs in with them, or vice versa?

Personally, I prefer the remodel windows. They come with the trim built in to the window itself. Being made of heavy vinyl, they won't crack, warp or ever need paint. Also because the material is vinyl, the windows seal up to the house very well, The vinyl frames now come in more colors than white, but all colors are light.

Well, here is a remodel window install. First remove the screws holding in the mobile home window. Measure the opening from side to side and up and down. Subtract 3/8" from the side to side measurement and 1/4" from the up and down measurement. This is your "box order size", or the actual size of the part of the window that slides into the window opening.

Clean off all sealants and if needed, tack down the siding around the window opening.

Install 2 heavy beads (3/8") of window caulking (DAP Dynoflex 230 or similar) around the entire trim flange.

Push window into opening in one smooth move. Have a person hold the window snug to the wall while the other person goes in to adjust and fasten it.

Screws are installed in the sides and sometimes the top and bottom, depending on size and manufacturers instructions. They vary from different manufacturers.

And there it is. A crew of two can easily install 8-10 windows a day, even if the are new at it. That does not count interior trim or sill repairs mentioned earlier.

Here is how the windows look on wood siding. The windows on the right were ordered with Milgard's SunCoatMAX for extra protection from the harsh sun coming in those windows. You can see the tint to them. Great stuff. Keeps carpet and furniture from fading and has much higher insulating qualities.

I would like to add that if this were new construction or done in conjunction with new siding, I would opt for new construction style windows. They also make new construction with a built-in heavy duty J-channel specifically for lap siding, like vinyl siding. But other than that, I like the remodel windows for their performance and ease of installation.