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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
What do you guys do when installing replacement windows? (I'm not talking about box inserts, I'm talking about whole window replacement)

Most older windows around here are wood frame with wood brickmoulds, and most of my customers want a PVC window that will reduce the amount of maintenance they have to perform.

Typically, when I install a window, I:

  • Measure to make sure new window will fit (typically I order new window with the brickmould size 1/4" smaller than old brickmould, as it leaves 1/8" around for easy fit, doesn't disturb existing siding and it leaves a good line to caulk)
  • Remove old window
  • Prep & clean rough opening
  • Measure & cut shims to fit under mullions/edges of window
  • Dry fit new window
  • Caulk the rough opening with clear silicone
  • Install window & fasten
  • Seal the window (all 4 sides) to the exterior siding/stucco etc with a thermoplastic rubber based caulk
  • Insulate ouside edge with low expansion foam, finish insulating with pink, & finish interior

Does anyone do anything differently?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I guess I'm the only one in North America installing windows?

I'll have to raise my prices! :)
 

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To be honest I dislike the type of window you are talking about, which we call New Construction windows here in the Chicago area. Why do I dislike them? Because they are a hassel to bid. Another problem is you have to deal with standard sizes to bring a project into a realistic budget, and if you need a custom size theya re monsterous in price.

Measure twice cut once. Remember that old one? I measure and figure the cost for the project. Then I have my sub measure, after I have sold the job, and make sure the windows I specified will fit.

I have found with new construction windows the siding almost always gets disturbed, and the drywall gets mussed up too.

This is how my subs installs the windows:
remove interior and exterior trims.
measure a 3rd time
remove window.
Check opening for square.
caulk the wall where the fin will meet the wall
Insert window
Shim window
fasten window
membrane flash over nailing fin on exterior wall
insulate window with fiberglass (I never use foam!)
Trim in and out.
 

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Windows and doors...doing one of those jobs right at the moment. I get the responsibility of measuring everything and each job is different it seems. We install mostly wood type windows in either a Pella or Kolbe & Kolbe or Jeld-Wen. All of our stuff is residential and replacement. There are so many variables in wood replacements that I take each job on a case-by-case basis. A lot of what we install has to be custom-sized to make the openings and trim work. I haven't done much vinyl ...it won't sell in the historical areas where do a lot of our work.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Grumpy, thanks for the reply.

In these parts "new construction" windows don't have a brickmould, just a nailing/screwing fin. They're put in place and the stucco (99% of new homes) is applied over the fin.

"Renovation" windows all have a removeable strip on the brickmould. Window is fastened through the brickmould, just like the wood window you're replacing, then the strip is installed to hide screws. All the windows we order here are custom made. I tell them the brickmould size I want, along with the jamb depth, that's how it comes. I've gotten pretty good at measuring, and I can tell right away if we're going to have to cut any drywall or not. If so, it's just a little trimming to make sure we have room to insulate.

We always use a low expansion foam, and foam the cold edge about an inch thick or so, then finish insulating with pink. Once the window is in the hole and screwed in, we'll foam it, finish sealing ouside, clean up outside, then cut new casings, fill in with pink, then nail casings on. Seems to give us plenty of time for the foam to quit expanding, and I've never had a problem with the jamb extension or sill bowing as a result. No call backs on that.

The siding (or stucco) doesn't get disturbed here, as my replacement windows brickmould is 1/4" narrower, and 1/4" shorter than what was in there originally.

I'm always amazed how different things are done in different parts of the world.

Thanks for the input.

Kevin
 

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I started out in the window siding business and have grown into covering the whole scope of things, but there is a soft sspot in my heart for replacement windows....quick easy money, and the way you described is on que of installation.

No flaming me as we've gone through this before. I do millwork installs for the orange box-marketing ploy since you definately could'nt pay the bills with what you make-just my way of reaching and demonstrating skills to new customers. I install 90% Anderson wood windows-this store dropped Pella-and I would'nt have an andeson stuck in my azz. Yes when dealing with wood windows of this nature everything is based off standard sizes if there is such a thing....I aint seen it in 20yrs cuz like you said every job is different and must be treated as such. I often have to build down openings 3-6" width wise and 1-3" on the height since "this is the closest window to that opening we can find" which add big time into the labor/material aspect. Personally I sell custom made units so I dont have to deal with that problem, but have had customers that wanted this or that so naturally just do what's necessary to sell the job.

I've used batt insulation every since I've been installing and can honestly say I've not had 1 call back in all these years due to air coming from somewhere. When i bought this latest house I stripped it and went with all new construct windows and bought that fancy foam gun dispenser and cases of foam to give that a shot. Definately makes "insulating" around the windows alot faster if you have the right amount of gap to get applicator tip in between jamb/window and in 1 years time they seem to be just as air free as my batt counter parts, just costs me more to do foam. Not saying 1 is better than the other as I've had great sucess with both methods, but for ease, lack of messyness, universal range of application I'll continue to use batt insulation.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
We use foam to guarantee a good seal, and we go from -45ºC to 35ºC here. Crazy temperature changes.
 

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99% of the windows i install are anderson type i.e. vinyl clad w/integral or snap-in nailing fin. Replacement window usally meana a vinyl dropin type unit that installs in the existing frame. Wood sash kits and dropins are also availible but can cost more that the anderson type new contruction windows. Since most homes here are woodframe with wood or vinyl/alum siding installing this type of window is fairly easy,for brick veneer the nailing flange is removed and a clip secures window to framing from inside.
 
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