The decision to replace your windows is an exciting one. In only a few short days, the entire look of your house (and the cost of your energy bills) can drastically change. However, before you run off to pick out your new frames, there are a few questions that need to be answered first.
1. What is My Budget?
The principle is the same no matter whether you’re considering buying a pair of pants or a new set of windows: determine how much you’re willing to spend before you do anything else. Otherwise, you run the risk of falling in love with something out of your price range or agreeing to something that you can’t easily afford.
Consider whether you’re building with resale value in mind. For example, if you plan on staying in your home long-term, it might make sense to go ahead and splurge on a big, dramatic custom window. Installation of new but basic replacement windows would make more sense if you’re renovating with the intention of selling sometime in the near future.
Plan for 10-15% of your budget to go towards unexpected surprises, especially if you’re installing the windows on your own. Window companies can give you a quote for their services, but it’s always a good idea to have a safety net built into your budget from the get-go.
2. Do I Need A Permit for My Window Installation?
The answer to this question will depend on your specific location, but generally, you’ll only need a permit if you need to make structural changes or widen an existing opening. If you’re planning to replace your windows with new ones of the exact same dimensions, you should be fine.
However, if you’re finally getting those custom-made windows you’ve been dreaming about and you’ll need to open a wall, you should consult your local municipality for the requirements specific to your area.
3. Is Design or Energy Efficiency More Important?
Thanks to advances in technology and manufacturing, most windows are designed with an eye towards efficiency. However, there are still trade-offs to be made, and you should decide early on whether you place more value on the design of a window or the energy savings it can offer you. For example, a wooden frame provides excellent insulation and a gorgeous look, but they can also be more prone to rot or mold in certain climates. Vinyl frames may not sound particularly fancy, but they’re produced in modern designs, they’re very energy efficient, and they won’t corrode or rust.
4. How Long Will the Project Take?
If you’re ordering custom or specialized windows, be prepared for the project to take a bit longer. While off-the-rack windows might only need a few days to be installed, custom projects can take weeks. The finished product will be worth it, so plan accordingly around any other house renovations you have occurring at the same time.
5. Will I Do the Window Installation or Hire a Company?
Performing a DIY window installation is certainly a viable option, especially if you already have the skills, experience, and tools that you need to do the job. However, if you’ll be installing or replacing multiple frames, it may be worth your time to consider nearby window companies. They bring the added benefit of providing installation warranties, so if an accident happens, you won’t have to shoulder the cost. The same can’t be said for the DIY option, where a dropped or bumped window can mean a few extra hundred dollars for a replacement.
All of this can be summed up in two words: plan ahead. It’s fine to window shop (pun not intended) and daydream, but before you sign off on a purchase, you should make sure that you’ve considered all angles of the project.
If you have any questions about window installation, or if you’re just curious about the types of windows available, call (705) 737-1554 to speak with one of our design specialists. Alternatively, if you’ve already done your homework and you know what kind of project you’re interested in, you can request a free, no-obligation quote online.