Triming before window replacement ???

Old 02-20-05, 11:42 AM
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Window replacement help !!! ???

My wife and I are slowly refinishing each room in our new house. The previous owners did a pretty poor job of installing the window trim in each room so we are replacing/ redoing as we go along. Also, we are planning to replace all the windows in the house as each is of poor quality and very drafty.

My question is: when the windows are replaced, will the installers replace the interior and exterior trim pieces as well? Also, would they replace the interior window sill and wood pieces which frame the window?

Sorry for the newbie question. I'd just hate to be spending a lot of time doing work which will be only be replaced/ redone when we get new windows?

Any help would be most appreciated.

... Oliver
Old 02-20-05, 12:25 PM
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Dear Oliver,

there are basically 2 ways to replace windows. The first way is called a "retrofit". It involves removing your old wood sashes, installing the new window into the existing opening, and replacing the interior stops. In some cases, where there is no removable interior stop, the window is installed from the outside, and the window pushes up against your existing trim. Installing windows in this manner usually does NOT involve changing your existing trim. However.....

you stated: "we are planning to replace all the windows in the house as each is of poor quality and very drafty."

If the windows are drafty, simply replacing the sashes with a replacement window may not solve this problem. If the old window jamb is not well insulated and is drafty, this will not solve the problem of drafty windows. Commonly, though, most people's complaints about drafty windows are from a lack of weatherstripping around the sashes, and a quality replacement window WILL take care of that problem.

The 2nd main way to replace windows is with a total tearout. Your old window jamb is removed as well as the interior and exterior trim... everything. The new window comes with a nailing fin, and the new window is shimmed, insulated and nailed into place. Something must be done to the outside to cover up the nailing fin (some sort of trim) and the interior must also receive new trim, with the goal of covering up the paint line that is left where your old trim once was.

So it sounds like you need to decide which route to go. Retrofit costs less, since the windows are quicker to install, and generally do not involve a lot of work retrimming the inside and outside. Total tearout is the way to go if you want to ensure the highest quality results, and are willing to pay for it.

The thing that confuses many people is that replacement windows can be installed in these 2 manners. Either as a retrofit (going into the old frame) or with a nailing fin (total tearout).

Once you choose a window, you will need to discuss with your salesman the issue of trim. If you already know what you want- such as wanting it to match the rest of the trim in the house- it's simply a matter of making that clear before you sign the contract. For instance, if you decide to get a retrofit window, the contractor will not assume you want new trim. You would have to tell him that you ALSO want new trim, because that is certainly not included in most retrofit installations, whereas it is assumed you need new trim in a total tear out.

Is this clear, or am I confusing matters even more?
Old 02-22-05, 07:17 AM
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Many thanks for your reply and your quick primer on window replacements. You answered my question perfectly.

Our plan is to replace all the windows with ones which are more efficeient and easier to clean. If we can swing it financially, we'd also like to re-side the house at the same time thereby taking care of both projects at once. At this pint I think our best bet is to leave the interior frames off (of those rooms we're refinisihing) until we have new windows installed in the "tearout" fashion you mentioned. The existing windows are clearly not installed properly as you can see that they are crooked within the opening. A quality replacment of the whole unit should assure a better, draft free fit.

Given our main priority is to secure "efficient windows which are easy to clean" without killing our budget (primarily we have 5 standard single windows and 3 doubles). Anderson and Pella both make fine windows though they are a bit bit in bit on the pricey side. Are there any mid level windows you could recommend for our needs?

Again, many thanks for your help.

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