The Ugly Truth About Replacement Windows
For nearly 40 plus years vinyl replacements windows haven’t changed much. True, the current day vinyl window is vastly superior to its predecessor of the 1970’s, mainly because of fusion welding, opposed to a mechanically assembled frame, but the fact is from 10 feet away they all pretty much look the same. Advancements in IG (Insulated Glass) such as better sealers, nonmetallic spacers, along with Low Emissivity or Low E Glass have improved thermal efficiency, and the introduction of inert gasses such as Argon and Krypton have helped lower U-Values and Raise R-Values, but that aside, the replacement window and the way it’s sold and installed hasn’t changed much since its inception.
If you’re in the New Jersey area and would like to speak to a qualified window installation contractor about replacing your cheap, builder-grade vinyl windows:
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A typical installation or pocket installation is performed from the inside of the home. Replacing a typical wood window with a 3.5” pocket requires the removal of the inside trim stop, (not the entire interior molding) so the bottom sash can be removed, then the removal of the parting bead to free the top sash. Now that the old window has been removed, the new window can be installed into the 3.5” pocket. Most replacement windows are manufactured with roughly a 3.25” frame so it can easily fit into the existing 3.5” pocket. To complete the job, nail back the original trim stops, cap the exterior trim with a good quality PVC Coated Aluminum Coil stock and seal with a commercial grade silicone caulk and viola, you’re done!
I may be over simplifying here, but for the most part that is how replacement windows are installed, and have been for decades. There is nothing really wrong with this type of installation, done correctly, assuming the applicator has some knowledge of basic carpentry, knows how to use a break to bend coil, can use a caulking gun, the new window should last for years.
So what’s the problem?
The biggest complaint, other than a faulty installation, is the FACT that replacement windows, installed the way I just described, do nothing about addressing the actual window frames that were there when the structure was built. Furthermore, doing a typical pocket installation causes glass loss, in other words, there is less viewable area to look out, and to let light in. This is because the new window is being placed in the pocket frame of the old window and not the actual frame.
Basically what the industry has established as a norm is placing a smaller window into the original opening.
In New Constriction applications the opening is being created to accept the specified window size, in remodeling, or retro-fitting, the window is being made to accommodate the opening. In New Construction there is a good chance the openings are square, in remodeling, since we’re dealing with structures anywhere from 20 to 120 years old, this is seldom the case. This means taking a perfectly square window and placing it into an opening that can be out of squares, in some cases as much as an inch or more, forcing the applicator to improvise in order to make the window, a.) Operate properly, and b.) Look as level as possible, at least long enough for the homeowners check to clear.
This opens up the opportunity for a list of challenges down the road, including by not limited to:
- Difficulty in locking properly
- Sash Slop (Horizontal movement of the sashes in a Double Hung Window)
- Air Infiltration
- Hard to operate
- Uneven appearance
The folks at Sunrise Windows™ have come up with a practical, easy and sensible way of replacing windows that will be a welcome to many a homeowner and contractor. Full-Frame Replacement, wherein the entire frame is replaced, including interior molding and outside brick molding, making for a nicer looking installation, no loss of glass and a proper fit every time.
Full Frame Replacement isn’t something new; many carpenters will argue that’s the ONLY way to replace a window properly. They look down on the practices of vinyl window applicators as 2nd rate and unskilled. So why doesn’t everyone do a Full Frame Installation?
For starters, the old method costs considerably more, mainly in man hours. To properly do a full frame installation on an existing home, both interior and exterior moldings had to be replaced. This meant either making a new brick mold (exterior) out of wood and capping or painting it, or using a composite material, which can add considerably to the overall cost. Next, new interior trim would have to be applied, this means, new stools, stops, aprons and molding, that would all have to be hand cut and fitted, then painted or stained. All this not only adds to the material cost, but drastically increases labor, making it cost prohibitive for most.
The Sunrise Solution
Sunrise Windows™, a manufacturer out of Temperance Michigan, has developed a window system that encompasses both an exterior brick mold and interior trim, wherein your new windows can be ordered with a factory assembled brick mold and furniture quality interior trim, either painted or stained, and pre-cut. What this means is, the installation can be performed in almost the same time as a pocket installation because all the materials that used to be made by hand have come, pre-assembled, with your new window.
The exterior brick molds come in a variety of colors to match just about any pallet, and the interior trim comes in several styles, such as simply picture framing, to more elaborate, traditional style trim with stools and aprons, in your choice of woods and stains.
As for the window itself, Sunrise uses a narrow line frame reinforced with composite material and foam insulation, creating higher R-Values, along with a wide variety of super energy efficient glass packages, including Heat-Mirror™ which can bring U-Values as low as .18.
To sum it up, Sunrise Season-Tech Full Frame Windows Provide You
- Alternative to the typical pocket installation
- No Loss of Glass Space
- A true new construction installation
- Removal of the old frame
- Allowing for the inspection of sub frame
A True Maintenance Free Interior & Exterior