Absolutely mystified - Replacement windows?

Old 11-08-02, 05:25 PM
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Question Absolutely mystified - Replacement windows?

My husband and I are purchasing a 1930's home in Lehighton, PA. While we have a long 'wish list' of things we hope to update, one of the top items is to replace the windows. We're unsure how old they are, but many are painted shut, have broken cords that don't allow them to slide up and down easily, are peeling horribly, etc.

While my husband is very capable of much of the work in the house, neither of us has ever tackled replacing a window -- we don't even know where to start -- and we're hoping to keep costs down by doing it ourselves instead of paying for professional installation.

Someone just tell me honestly... Are we kidding ourselves here? We're looking at replacing 11-12 relatively 'basic' (standard? normal?) windows, plus a front bay window. We have plenty of eager, albeit unskilled, labor in friends willing to work for beer, but zero knowledge.

Should we not even attempt it? I'd rather pay the money in the long run than make a mess of the job if it's way over our heads.

Any input, advice, tips greatly appreciated!
Old 11-08-02, 06:16 PM
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I am working on my second home window replacement. It is not that difficult and I think you will get a lot of help from the experts here. So hold on help is coming.
Old 11-08-02, 08:17 PM
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Hi Is; I've been absent from this forum for several months, summer is over, and the fire is going, I'm back.

Residential contract construction and renovation is my background, and there is absolutely no doubt that I could have installed the new windows in our 1822 "Georgian" home. We also needed new windows. I knew exactly whose product I was buying, and pondered the installation question. I actually took my wife's advice and had them installed. Greg the installer, and his assistant, showed up at 6:15 a.m.!, and drank coffee while they awaited daylight.

The old windows were removed, new windows in, shimmed, plumbed, insulated, capped, caulked, cleaned up, and they started their truck to leave at precisley 11:47 a.m.

Greg has done nothing but retrofit windows for 21 years. As you may well know, you never can tell exactly what you are getting into in an old home, but there is nothing a pro hasn't seen.

Worth every penny, even though you can do it yourself.

Good luck
Old 11-09-02, 03:51 AM
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The "standard" windows you can do yourself with the proper info.....you won't come anywhere close to the time frame above or the ease that someone that does it for a living does......I average 30-40 minutes a window for a complete job personally...but you can do it.

The bay window I would advise you get professionally installed as they can be quite "interesting" even for a pro....I really earn my money on those..

The biggest challenge for a DIYer is capping the outside trim with aluminum trim coil. Sheet metal brakes are availiable for rent at some Rent Alls, but the learning curve to use one is bit longer than most DIY have to spend. That is the one area a pro will beat you in.
Old 11-09-02, 04:16 AM
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Thanks for the replies, this is a very much a learning experience for both of us.

We're first-time home buyers, and my husband -- who can build walls, hang doors, construct bed lofts from scratch, lay carpet, and tear apart a car engine like nobody's business -- is eager to lay out his tools and get to work. I'm much more the 'are-you-sure-we-shouldn't-pay-someone-do-it-in-case-we-screw-it-up-and-then-have-to-have-it-fixed' person.

After reading the posts and some other information on the web, our thought is to buy ONE window, try installing it ourselves (somewhere it can't be seen from the street!) and if we're not filing for divorce or beating on each other with the broken pieces after it's in, go for the rest.

We've given ourselves a two month window between closing and actually moving in just to get the messy work done, so I'm not as concerned about the time frame.

And thanks for the bay window comment, I agree -- I shuddered a bit just looking at the size of it and would feel much better having it done professionally.

I'm sure I'll be back when the project gets underway! Thanks again, this place is a godsend.

Old 11-09-02, 11:14 AM
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Good choice. Trying one will certainly answer your questions about DIY or hire it done. Pick the one you attempt carefully. If possible, choose one that is a unique size, and is apart from the other windows in the house. And you might want to have a person from the glass shop (or wherever) that you would be buying the window(s) from come out and do the measuring. They will know what part of the frame comes out and what stays, and order the window accordingly. You may even be able to pick their brain for a few pointers. Good luck.
Old 11-10-02, 09:56 AM
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Lightbulb Installation

If the old winodws are is such bad shape they need repalcing the trimwork probably isn't far behind.
What I did is ripped everything out to the rough opening and "rebuilt" everything from scratch.
If he can build a wall he can install a window.
The hardest part for me was making the new trimwork, installing the window itself is simple.
Getting a good window install is all about doing great prepwork and trimming it out well.
Of course make sure that it is square and caulked/sealed properly.
Count on 4 hours per window to do everything from tear out to final trim cutting and installing.
Old 11-11-02, 08:27 AM
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Where can you buy wood-interior replacement windows?

At Lowe's/Home Depot, they have wood-interior new construction. They also have vinyl-interior replacements. But no wood-interior replacments.

Is this just something that's not available to the do-it-yourselfer?
Old 11-11-02, 03:14 PM
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I've heard that Marvin window company will custom make them, but haven't any firsthand knowledge of that.....

For the most part, wood windows with cladding ( aluminum or vinyl) are only made for new construction.....you make your hole fit their window. They are generally a higher priced window and if they were to build custom sizes, I guess the price would just get flat outrageous. But you can often find them in sizes just slightly smaller than your openings and use fill-in techniques to make them work.

There are companies that make "sash" packs, where IF you have a fairly standard wood window now, you can replace the spring tracks and sashes with these and they come clad with wood interior.

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