Replacement windows - exterior trip/wrap

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Old 04-30-19, 11:28 AM
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Replacement windows - exterior trip/wrap

Hello All - I've been DIY'ing - out of financial necessity and enjoyment - forever and can't believe I'm only now finding this forum. Just wow, the Internet constantly amazes me how many generous people there are in the world.

The question: I'm looking to DIY replacement windows and trying to decide between new construction and replacement windows (sometimes called "pocket", but basically fit inside existing frames). I plan to still get mid/high quality windows with low e-glass, 2 or 3 pane, gas filled, etc. Some other research (Reddit has a few great threads on this) tells me that the mid-higher lines of Crestline (Menard's) and Reliabilt (Lowe's) are both solid choices....but brand is less important than install and trim process.

Background details: Two story home built 1993 in Ohio. 24-25 windows I think, all but a few of existing windows are single-hung Acorn brand metal frame (aluminum I think). House has newer, insulated vinyl siding so residing it not in consideration. Windows on front of house have wood trim as perimeter and vinyl siding butting up to that. Windows on sides and rear have vinyl J-channel butting right up against (and caulked to) side of window).

My thinking on New Construction windows:
Pros: By far the biggest for me is not messing with exterior trim wrap. Works for all but 2-3 windows. Can be positive about good seals to house wrap. Cheaper per unit generally. Could even build up rough opening to fit a stock (cheaper) window size. I have all the skills, tools, experience here - but more work per window and I really HATE heights.
Cons: working from exterior of home involves heights and complexity for 2nd story. Longer and more work per window with sealing and trim reinstall, paint, caulk.

My thinking on Replacement Windows
Pros: Faster, install from inside, generally find more higher end window options on replacements
Cons: Never worked with trim wrap (vinyl coated alumnium) and would have to fashion a DIY brake to mold it. Not positive of size needed and condition of existing window frame. Unsure how/where to caulk everything to maintain water tight to building envolpe AND trim wrap. Acorn metal frame single hung windows are supposedly tough to remove, could be a rough sawzall around the edge.

Bottom line: I'd love to do Replacement Windows, but how & where to do the aluminum wrapping is giving me a lot of pause. New Construction I know I can do, but will hate the heights and it's a much slower/longer process with all the extra work of cutting back siding, new j channels, and new wood trim.

Skills and tools: I would say I'm somewhere between a weekend warrior and a low-end professional in terms of skills. I've installed about 5 rooms/showers/backsplashes worth of ceramic tile, built decks/fences/swingsets, built-in shelves, relocated a laundry room including all mechanicals. All that is probably nothing for this forum, but what I'm trying to say is intermediate DIY skills are covered between myself/brother/dad.

Thanks to anyone who can offer anything - especially about exterior trim wrap for replacements!!!

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Last edited by PJmax; 04-30-19 at 11:47 AM. Reason: reoriented/resized pictures
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Old 04-30-19, 11:55 AM
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Few more photos of some of the windows.

I am considering a one-window test with a new construction window - likely a stock 32"w x 54" tall size. It would be a first floor opening so that I could get at everything. Cut siding back, then fully remove old window at the fins. I'd probably demo the existing window with replacement windows in mind and evaluate the opening and how it would need to be caulked and sealed and trimmed out. Would not be the end of world if this window was different from rest of windows as it's tucked against neighbors house and fireplace with a window blind over it. It's probably a weird strategy but would give me a lot of intel.

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Last edited by PJmax; 05-02-19 at 12:53 PM. Reason: reoriented/resized pictures
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Old 04-30-19, 02:39 PM
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I really don't think your windows are candidates for replacement windows at all. You will need to do new construction. And personally, I would order every one custom and not reframe anything.

That way every window should have the same formula if you measure your existing windows outside. Then remove all the interior trim and double check that those measurements will give you at least 3/8" -1/2" of room in the rough opening on each side on the inside.

If you dont already have a couple 24' extension ladders, but them. Then get yourself a pair of Werner ladder jacks. You can lay a plank on them. Easy peasy.

You will want all new j-channel around all your windows in all likelihood unless you happen to get windows exactly the same size as the old ones.

You could use Boral or Azek trim... both hold paint really well. L.P. Smarttrim is okay. Or vinyl brickmold. Avoiding wrapping with trim coil is my recommendation. You don't have the right style windows that need wrapping.

The windows in the brick.... you might want to make them 4 1/4" smaller than the brick opening so that you can still use the nail fin and then surround them with vinyl brickmold.

Dont get a brown window unless you go fiberglass.
 
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Old 05-02-19, 09:49 AM
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Sleeper - Really helpful perspective....gives me a lot to think about. Thank you. I'm going to respond to pieces and parts because I have questions.

"I really don't think your windows are candidates for replacement windows at all."
Are you saying that because of something specific to Acorn, or the frames themselves, or the single hung? Asking because as I demo that first test window I'm wondering what I should be looking for to determine if replacement windows would be workable in the rest.

"Easy peasy"
For you maybe, haha, but carrying a new construction window up 10-15 feet and heights in general is not my cup of tea. However, I did do some research of ladder jacks and I think I could get comfortable enough. Might even spring for the wide stabilizer arms but we'll see.

"order every one custom and not reframe anything"
I'm wondering why not.....Most of my ROs are approx 36w x 60h, which I think is a little on the larger end but what do I know. I'm not in love with any one brand or retailer - and have reconsidered Crestline and Reliabilt after some additional research. That decision comes later. But since I'm going to wrap with new wood trim around each window (in the 3-5" wide range), what is the harm of slighly adjusting the RO. Anything other than less glass that I'm not considering?

"Dont get a brown window unless you go fiberglass"
Curious about why not....something wrong with biscuit or tan colored vinyl. I was almost certainly going to do white vinyl inside and out for cost reasons. I'd love to go fiberglass....especially the Pella Impervia black exterior/black interior, but I think those windows are in the mid $400's.

Last topic to cover.....One of my neighbors down the street got windows a few years ago....vinyl replacements of the same old Acorn single hung window. Looks like their trim is some sort of standard trim kit coming from the frame into the edge of the replacement window, and then vinyl/aluminum wrap for the outside perimeter. I could probably achieve the coil brake cuts and angles for the exterior pieces, but I think the inside pieces are a special vinyl trim kit specific to those windows. A picture of his window is attached.

Thanks again........can't tell you how much I appreciate all this.

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Last edited by PJmax; 05-02-19 at 12:49 PM. Reason: reoriented/resized picture
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Old 05-02-19, 01:03 PM
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A replacement window goes in an existing frame. Once you tear your old windows out, there is NO FRAME LEFT, just your rough opening. And putting a replacement window (the ones in your photo don't have nail fins) in a hole and caulking it in, like you show in the last picture is a real poor install. You use nailing fins to install windows, they are your flashing and incorporate the window with the WRB, your housewrap. Any window installation that relies on caulk to keep water out is not going to last long.

Custom sizes = less work. Maximum glass.

Brown is brown. Like the crayon. Brown is not biscuit or tan. Dark colors get too hot and even if some companies sell a dark brown vinyl window I would not trust it. Fiberglass can withstand the heat.

If you are even considering Crestline you should think again. (Biting my tongue) Your neighbors windows (the windows themselves... not the install) look decent. They remind me of Softlite Pro series / Gorrell 5300 series, which are decent windows. (Softlite bought out Gorrell a few years back.)

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Old 05-02-19, 02:14 PM
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Man, can't thank you enough. Makes a lot of sense. In all my research, I really could not find a video or picture where my style of existing frame was getting a replacement window.....so this gives me some definite reassurance about pursuing new construction.

Yeah, my neighbors windows are very nice. 3 pane, gas filled, low e glass coating. I think he paid $800-1000 per window though and I have 26 windows.....so no can do.

Hear you on Crestline. I should not have even mentioned brand names as I'm not even close on that end yet.....lot of reading left to do. If I can afford fiberglass, I will be going that route but otherwise and likely white vinyl.

I will post some progress pics and feedback as I get into that test window......especially of the existing window frame demo. Thanks again.
 
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