If you find yourself sitting on the couch with a draft blowing across your neck and spend more time bundled in your bathrobe than enjoying a toasty evening with a good book or some Netflix, then you might be thinking wistfully about replacing those old widows.
Before you do, here are a couple of things to think about that can help you make the best decision.
Energy Efficiency Is Only Part Of The Equation
You’ve probably heard a lot about energy efficient windows. And while it’s true that they can save you on heating and cooling costs, it’s also true that those savings are probably not going to add up to the cost of news windows for a while.
Unless you’ve got ancient, horribly drafty windows that you cover with plastic and blow dryer every winter, you probably won’t save enough to take that extra trip to St. Thomas in the short term.
Over time, yes, the savings will add up and be better for the environment as you use less energy. But there are more good reasons to replace your windows.
Comfort, of course, tops the list. If you’re perpetually too hot or too cold and can’t stand the drafts, that’s a big incentive.
Beauty matters, too. New windows look better, inside and out. And that’s great for you and great for curb appeal and even the resale value of your house.
If you’re replacing wood with vinyl, you can look forward to much easier maintenance. Vinyl won’t need to be repainted or stained and it’s easy to clean.
Tired of listening to the traffic from that busy road near your house? New windows can help reduce noise from outside, too. And even though they won’t block out every barking dog, they can dampen the sound and make your home more peaceful.
Finally, new windows can stop leaks – and prevent future leaks when old windows begin to give way. Leaks not only cause ugly stains and keep you up on a rainy night with a cloth and bucket, but they can lead to mold in your walls and that can lead to major health problems and a costly cleanup.
There’s Replacing And There’s Replacing
For most new window installations you don’t have to rip out the entire frame. In fact, you typically want to avoid doing this and replace the window within the existing frame instead. It’s the least invasive option and can have your windows replaced and your home back to normal in no time. Vinyl replacement windows are designed to work within the existing frame so you don’t have to replace or repaint trim.
Replacing a frame will be more costly and require more repair work, including molding and painting.
But there are times when replacing a frame along with the window is necessary. If the frame is in bad shape, water damaged, if you’re altering the size of a window (like swapping out a single window for a bay window) or if you’re changing window styles (like switching from vinyl to wood) then replacing both window and frame is a good idea.
Get a sense of what you hope to achieve with your project and what structural needs you may have and that will inform your direction.
Aesthetics And Maintenance Go Together Like Peanut Butter And Jelly. Sometimes.
Let’s face it. We all want our homes to look great. And even the most ardent DIYer occasionally wants the weekend off from home improvement projects.
New windows can marry beauty and ease of maintenance in one tidy package. The only trouble is that “beauty” is truly in the eye of the beholder. Some homeowners like the clean modern look of vinyl windows and others wouldn’t consider anything but the warm look of natural wood.
It’s easy enough to decide on what we find beautiful. What’s maybe not as simple is deciding on our tolerance for maintenance.
Vinyl windows require no maintenance. They are easy to clean inside and out, never need to be repainted and keep the heat and cold out with Mother Nature where they belong.
Wood windows, on the other hand, will require upkeep. You’ll need to paint, stain or seal them and then keep doing that when they start to look a little worse for the wear.
It’s important to think about before you begin a project. Wood may sound like a good idea until you consider the flip side of maintenance. Or you may stick with it to stay true to a certain style of home. Ultimately, it’s up to you!
If You Want A DIY Project, Try Gardening
There is no shortage of “how to” information on the internet. From written articles to YouTube videos you can find plenty of people who will make it seem like a no brainer to save some money and replace old windows yourself.
If you’re a seasoned DIYer then this may be another project in a long line of them that you can tackle successfully. But for the average homeowner whose typical home improvement involves hammering a nail into the wall to hold a photo frame, replacing windows is not something you want to cut your DIY teeth on.
You’ll need to handle tools, manage heavy and easily breakable materials, and if your windows are on the second floor, be comfortable on a ladder while handling those tools and heavy, breakable materials.
Plus, depending on the type or replacement you’re doing, it may require framing and drywall, too, not to mention all the patching, painting and woodworking afterwards.
If you’re thinking of replacing windows yourself, weigh the time you’ll need to invest (and perhaps even the tools you’ll need to buy) against the cost savings. Then check your skills – be honest! If you’ve never picked up anything bigger than a hammer, it’s probably time to call a pro.
If you’re thinking about replacing windows, let’s talk. We’ll give you a free estimate and answer all your questions. And we can even break up bigger projects into multiple phases. If replacing all your windows right now is a bit daunting, we can replace some now and some later and spread the financial impact.