question re: replacement windows


  #1  
Old 03-06-03, 01:22 PM
mgazer
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question re: replacement windows

I have had some replacement window contractors come to my house and I need your help! My house was built in 1961 (brick) and I am being told that I should be looking for replacement windows that are "retro-fitted" as opposed to installed "brick-to-brick"...I told the sales rep that my assumption was that when a window is replaced, ALL of the trim and wood is removed and the the window is fit into the resulting hole.

The rep told me that due to the age of the house and the fact that they have no idea what is behind the walls, it is too risky to do a brick-to-brick installation. He recommended the "retro-fit" route which involves them simply removing the existing glass and INSIDE FRAME, leaving the perimiter trim in place, and fitting the new window in the space.

Does anyone know if is a good route to follow or is the rep steering me towards a "easier installation for them" and a crappy end-product for myself!
Thanks,
M
 
  #2  
Old 03-06-03, 03:48 PM
Tn...Andy
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He's probably steering you in this directions because it's the only thing he sells. Very few replacements are done "brick to brick" simply because of money. The window will cost more and the labor will DEFINITLY cost more....there just isn't much market for it.
I get requests for it occassionally and it usually goes away when they get the price.

There's nothing wrong with retrofit windows >IF<

...you existing frames and sills,etc., aren't rotted

...you get a decent window

...you get it installed well
 
  #3  
Old 03-06-03, 10:19 PM
L
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The sales rep and Andy are right.

IF you get a decent window, and IF the existing frames are in good shape, and IF you get it installed right, you will have no problems (and it will leave a lot of your money in your bank account.)
 
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Old 03-08-03, 06:37 AM
A
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Guys,

Could you explain to me please what is "retro-fitted" an what is "brick-to-brick". I don't know if this applies to my situation but I am going to replace basement windows and I need to take both window and wood frame out as they are old and damaged leaving just plain hole in concrete wall. What window should I consider?
 
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Old 03-08-03, 08:51 PM
L
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What Andy and mgazer are referring to when they say retrofit is leaving the wood frame that is attached to the bricks in place, and installing the new window inside that wood. Brick-to-brick is removing that wood frame as well, and installing the window directly against the bricks (the new window now reaches brick to brick). A lot of the additional expense involved is anchoring the new window directly to the bricks. And, if this is just a brick veneer over a framed wall, you could really be opening up a can of worms.

Now, in the case of your basement windows --

You say the wood frame is damaged. That frame is probably anchored to the concrete and should be fairly easy to remove. I would simply build a new wood frame and anchor it right back in the hole. The key is to SEAL between the wood and the concrete. Use a sealant, like Sikaflex or Vulkem. DO NOT use a silicon caulk.

Once the frame is in place, you could wrap it in aluminum trim coil, if you can rent a brake to cut and bend it with. The coil can be obtained from any vinyl siding contractor, in any of about 30 or 40 colors. Get the window installed (again, use the sealant) and trimmed -- NOW you can use the silicon caulking to finish the joint between the wood or coil and the concrete, and the joint where the window meets the wood or coil.

In a different thread you were asking how a retrofitted window is held in place. Same thing here -- the 3" (or, in this case, maybe only 2-1/2") deck or sheetrock screws.
 
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Old 03-08-03, 09:52 PM
A
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Thank you very much for your detailed answer. You mention that "A lot of the additional expense involved is anchoring the new window directly to the bricks". Why? When asking about basement windows a HD rep advised me about their American Craftsman vinyl windows that are directly mounted to concrete window opening through four predrilled holes, two on each side. He said "then just caulk the window".

A couple of more questions to your response. Must frame be wrapped into foil or can be just painted? My basement windows are below siding.

A final question. do you know where can I get a good instructional book or better video how to install windows?
 
  #7  
Old 03-09-03, 07:34 AM
Tn...Andy
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Lefty was giving you instructions for installing a new wood window, which since you had wood windows now, I guess we were assuming that is what you were going back with........

But you can do what you're asking about the vinyl.....you'd have to know the "concrete to concrete" measurement for the new vinyl, which MAY involve taking out the old wood window to actually get that measurement, or may not depending on how the inside of the window is finished or not. You vinyl window does have 4 mount holes, but the screw that come with it are meant to be used for a wood replacment situation and assume you are screwing into wood. To mount in concrete, you will have to position the window, mark thru the holes to the concrete where the screw would hit, take the window back out and drill holes for plastic anchors or Tapcon screws, then mount the window. Little more work, but doable. Then you can caulk the widnow-to-concrete meeting point, and not have any other trim work to do.......assuming you can get the window to fit tight enough to caulk.......that again depends on YOUR opening.
 
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Old 03-09-03, 07:52 AM
L
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Sure, you can install a vinyl window "cement to cement", just like Andy described. And, like Andy said you will be ordering the window to fit the size of the hole in the cement. If it were me, and I was going to install it "cement to cement", I would order the window with the exterior trim molded right to the frame. That you give you about 1-1/2" of vinyl laying against the concrete all teh way around the window and would be fairly easy to insure that you are able to seal it.
 
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Old 03-09-03, 05:09 PM
A
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Thank you very much guys for giving me your valuable advise. I really appreciate this. I never installed windows myself nor I saw how to do it. I am completely remodeling my basement and need to replace windows that are very old and leak terribly. So I am investigating various options what type of windows to buy, what the difference between new construction and replacement windows and other options. I will also be replacing other windows in my house some time in autumn. For house windows I want to use only wood windows, probably Andersen or Pella as I really like their look. I want to increase the opening for several windows before installing a new one. I checked quotes for windows and installation and found out that to install a new construction window costs twice as much as window itself though being expensive itself. So while I can afford cost of windows I really cannot afford cost of installation. So I will try to install windows myself with my Dad's help.
However for basement windows I will probably choose vinyl as wood windows are a bit expensive for basement. I have no problem taking existing window frame out I can also measure window opening very precisely before taking that frame. BTW, which vinyl windows are good? The manufacturers mentioned in this board are almost all operating in West Coast. I am in NJ, so which ones are available in NYC metro and are good and priced fair? For installation I really need either good instructional video or a book with step-by-step instructions and preferably pictures. I also thinking about hiring a windows contractor to install one or two windows an check how he is doing this. I don't know if it is a good idea. Thank you again for sharing your expertise and advise.
 
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Old 03-09-03, 06:46 PM
L
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Agalkin,

Using vinyls for the basement makes sense. You asked about brands. You are going to find brands in NJ that I (in Ca) have never heard of. You will also find some brands that are distributed in all 50 states and several other countries. Those will include names like Alside, Simington, Milgard, ...

Compare warranties, efficiency, and price.

When you get to the windows in the house, you are thinking Andersen or Pella. Either is top of the line, along with Marvin and Sierra Pacific. Not too many ways to go wrong there.

You also mentioned that you are thinking of increasing the size of some of the house windows. Depending on the direction you are thinking of enlarging, that can be fairly inexpensive and easy, or it can become difficult and costly. Lowering the sill is the former -- expanding sideways or up is the latter. It all has to do with the header above the window. As long as the header remains unchanged, not much to it. But as soon as you decide to lengthen or raise the header, you turned a 2 hour project into a 2 day project, and you know what they say about time being money.
 
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Old 03-10-03, 05:15 AM
A
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May I ask a couple of more questions?

1. How are windows compared by efficiency? Is there a number to depict it? I also found that some windows have energy star logo? Are these windows most efficient?

2. While I understand that expanding a window opening in horizontal direction is difficult I don't quit understand why lowing a window is considerable easier then raising it. I though there are just two horizontal studs that form window in horizontal direction. Lowing or raising it is just relocating a stud lower or upper or both.
 
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Old 03-10-03, 06:15 AM
L
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Efficiency --

All windows are required to have an NFRC festation rating sticker posted on them when new. This sticker will have 3 numbers -- the U- factor, the SHGC, and visible light transmission. In the case of the U-factor and the SHGC, the lower the number, the better. Most vinyls, with low-E or low-E squared glass will have ratings in the range of .31 to .35. The visible light number tells you how much (or how little) light the window will allow to pass through -- how much it may darken a room. The higher the number, the more light passes through. Most will be in the range of .55 to .60.

The Energy Star logo is a place to start. To have that logo displayed, the window has to meet a certain criteria of efficiency. If one window just barely meets that criteria, it has just as much right to display the sticker as the window that exceeds it threefold.

Expanding the opening --

The rough opening is formed by the studs on each side, the header above it, and the sill across the bottom of the opening. Moving the sill (a 2X4 or 2X6, usually) up or down and adjusting the interior and exterior finish of the wall to match that move is fairly quick and easy. Nothing below the header is bearing. LOWERING the height of the window is about the same situation. RAISING the height of the window depends on exactly where in the wall the header is located and what, if anything, is below it. If the header was framed in at the bottom of the top plates of the wall and has cripples between it and the top of the rough opening of the window, then raising the height of the window is just like adjusting the sill height.

The expensive (and more difficult) size adjustment will be when you have to move or replace the header. That along with the 2 trimmer studs and the 2 king studs that support it are the bearing members of the opening. As long as the new opening is going to be less than about 4' or 5' wide, it's not that big of a thing. But if it is getting much bigger that that, you will probably have to supprt the ceiling joists and rafters that bear on that wall while you are enlarging the opening. Plus, if you are making the opening wider, you are buying a new header.
 
 

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