Replacement windows in brick openings


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Old 10-12-05, 02:43 PM
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Question Replacement windows in brick openings

I'm about to have vinyl windows installed to replace old metal single-pane casements. One contractor told me that the brick openings need to be framed out before the new windows can be installed, and another said it's not necessary. A friend who's a general contractor said the windows should just be attached right to the brick. Since the framing would create added work and expense, I'd like to know if it's the right way to go. Thanks for your help!
 
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Old 10-12-05, 05:26 PM
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I've seen it done both ways, but I would never install the windows against the brick if I were doing it myself. Installing the window right inside the brick looks the cleanest (from the exterior) but it presents a couple problems.

1). You likely have a brick threshold along the bottom of your window openings. the edge of these bricks is often not uniform, which means the windows will need to be brought way out to cover the edge of those bricks, which means your windows will be installed near the outer edge of your wall framing. This may not leave you much to screw the window to.

2). Brick is not air tight. Your windows will be caulked to the bricks, but what good is that if air is moving behind the bricks, in the 1" gap between the sheathing and the brick fascade.

3). Brick is not water tight. Windows should always be flashed behind building paper. The building paper is installed on your sheathing. Moving the windows out past the sheathing/building paper (by installing them out onto the brick fascade) will present a problem if there is ever a water leak from above the window. Your windows would need to be sealed to the brick("flashed") with caulk, and we all know that will only last as long as the caulking does.

Adding the framing seems to me the only way to do it right. There are actually 2 ways to do this:

A) install framing that would be of sufficient size to install a window with a nailing fin into the brick opening. The problem with this is that you will be reducing the size of the opening by about 3" each way. This also means that your trim will not cover your old paint lines unless you get wider trim or use some other method, such as covering the face of the added framing with an extension jamb of sorts.

B) make a 3/4" jamb for the window, a 3/4" sill (which is the same slope and level as the brick threshold), install the jamb, flash the brick threshold with aluminum trim coil, flash the sides of the jamb with building paper, install a brickmould and exterior stops, then install a replacement window into the jamb you've created. If the jamb is faced with paint or stain grade wood, your trim will go back in "almost" the same location as it was before. The only difference may be that you will need to install a stool and apron along the bottom, because often the trim won't cover on the bottom if you are using standard 2 1/4" casing.

This is probably to detailed of an explanation, so I guess I would just say that adding the wood is the way to go, but be aware that if they do it as described in "A", you'll have a much smaller window and will need larger trim, but if they can figure out how to do it as I have done in the past, "B", you'll have the largest window possible and keep the trim in close to its original location.

I don't think you just want to caulk a window into a brick opening. That would be against industry accepted guidelines for window and door installation.

As a third option, it may be possible to install a replacement window inside the metal frame, once your casement sashes are removed. Metal frames are not energy efficient, however, and you would do well to remove them. But it's an option that would allow you to leave much of the frame and trim intact.
 
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Old 10-15-05, 08:31 AM
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thanks for that great information

Boy, nothing's ever black-and-white, is it? Well, it sounds like paying the extra money to frame out the openings is the smarter way to go. I appreciate your help - thanks again.
 
 

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