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Square double hung replacement windows?


Capable_Wife's Avatar
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03-22-14, 01:25 PM   #1  
Square double hung replacement windows?

We're currently negotiating a contract on a different house that is going to be our new home/DIY project. Since we're on a budget like everyone else these days, we had to settle for a less than perfect house to fix up over time rather than starting with a nicer one.

Anyway, it was built in the 70's and has some square double hungs. They might have originally been TOL, but now they're cloudy and so we're thinking they'll need replaced. The only catch is, they're square and I can't seem to find a "standard" 36x36 double hung vinyl window. We don't have a custom window budget, so I'm hoping I just am not looking in the right places. If I were to go to Lowe's or HD is that something they could order inexpensively, or is this going to be a deal-breaker?

Also, is more expensive really better? My IL's have some that were super expensive name brand and they've replaced 3 of them within 2 years of install and a couple of others are looking like they'll need replacement too. In contrast, we put in some cheap no name ones that are holding up great...did we just get lucky? Or is there little difference in quality for the price?

 
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03-22-14, 04:01 PM   #2  
Have you considered sliders instead of DH?

 
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03-22-14, 04:48 PM   #3  
What do you mean by sliders? I'm open to other options, I guess I just thought double hung because a) I'm familiar with them and b) that's what's already there...and c) they come in for easy cleaning and this is a story and a half, so that's a must.

 
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03-22-14, 06:44 PM   #4  
Almost all replacement windows are custom. Thats a very odd size though. The price between off the shelf and custom ordered isn't normally that different.

To clarify....are you just removing the sashes and installing a replacement window insert...or will you be pulling it out frame and all?

As to quality, there are some regional brands that are much better than the national companies. There are also some national companies that make a good product. Not familiar with whats available in your area. Best to check with a building supply or lumberyard that deals in windows. Some will say the stuff thru HD or Lowes is junk...and if you go bottom of the line...I'd have to agree. Every brand has a low, middle and high range.


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03-27-14, 10:50 AM   #5  
To clarify....are you just removing the sashes and installing a replacement window insert...or will you be pulling it out frame and all?
You can do this?! Wouldn't you have to replace with the same brand or something to get the sliding parts to match up? We've always just replaced the whole shebang, but I'll confess that replacing the sashes sounds like a WAY better deal that screwing around with full-on replacements on a house with brick overlay...it probably sucks on non-brick too, but I wouldn't know from experience.

 
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03-27-14, 11:11 AM   #6  
I assumed that since you said the house was built in the 70's that the windows were wood? If so, the replacement insert windows are easy. If they are vinyl...then no...I don't think you can use a replacement. If they are aluminum, most areas where those are common (AZ, CA, NV, etc) they make specific types of replacements that are just screwed to the old frame.


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03-27-14, 11:19 AM   #7  
Capable_Wife,

It's more difficult that just taking the sashes out and replacing them. Since you seem surprised that this is even possible, I'll take it back a few steps and use incorrect words that I'm sure you will understand. (then others will yell at me).

If you remove the sashes, and possibly the aluminum track that the sashes ran in, you will have opened up a nice quadrangle for a new window. Since you are replacing the whole unit, it doesn't matter what brand you use. Your local Big Blue or Big Orange store can order a custom vinyl (or better) window to fit in that opening. I personally think those look bad and create a much smaller opening than could otherwise be there, but it's still better than a leaky aluminum window.

The more expensive and, I think, better way is to tear out the entire frame and put in a larger custom window. This is much more labor and probably not a DIY project for you.

You should be able to find examples of each with some searching online. In doing so, you might run across ideas on how to simply repair what you have for a while.

I'm dealing with 120 year old windows that are repaired a different way, so I'm just trying to guess at what you have and explain some options. Best of luck.

 
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03-27-14, 11:36 AM   #8  
To add to what Michael said...

It's true vinyl inserts will reduce the clear opening, but if done correctly, they could be the best option.

Another option I had forgotten about is a sash replacement kit. They won't reduce the opening at all. These will only work with wood windows, but include 2 new sashes and new tracks for the sides. A bit more expensive, but not outrageous. With all the computer controlled manufacturing, custom sizes are almost as easy as standard sizes.

All depends on what kind of windows you have now.


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12-04-14, 11:04 AM   #9  
I know that it's a bit late, but I wanted to thank you all for your help! We did ultimately buy this "project house", and we just replaced the first of the windows last weekend. I ended up ordering 1/3 sliders, not sure of the technical term, but we made it just one wide window instead of the two and the panes are each 1/3--we were looking at doing 1/4, 1/2, 1/4, but liked the idea of the bigger opening better (they are in bedrooms after all). I'm not sure they qualify as "egress" windows, but even my overweight self fits through the opening with plenty of room to spare (yes, I tested it...the hammer I needed was on the floor inside. ;-)) We're going to replace the back windows that mirror these with 1/2 sliders. I've worried a bit about the slider being difficult to operate when it's so large, but they're the same brand and the 1/3's slide like a dream. And we use the windows when the weather is nice, so we'll know if they need maintenance, which will surely help.

Since we're also replacing every square inch of siding/trim, we opted for new install vs. replacements. With the exception of two rotted bottom boards, they went in with minimal fuss (even the one on the second story!), and they are SO much nicer than the old single pane painted metal ones we took out!

So again, thanks so much for your input!

 
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