Grands Living

Replacing Windows – Replacement vs New Construction – Grands Living Grand

Replacing windows can provide a huge bang for your buck.  Since the house was built in 1968 and basically everything is original, the upgrades are extensive.  We will be replacing all the windows and interior and exterior doors.  Why replace the windows?  Several reasons:  1) economic reasons, we will replace with energy efficient windows to help reduce the electric bill and 2) for aesthetic reasons.


The windows have had numerous coats of paint over the years which is peeling and unappealing (it would require weeks of work to scrape, caulk and repaint).  When remodeling one should always consider your personal effort not just cost.  Today we plan on measuring all windows and doors and spend some time pricing replacement windows.


Replacement Vs. New Construction Windows

Replacement windows are designed so that you don’t have to remove any exterior materials around the window.  The windows are measured to fit the existing window opening perfectly and special ordered.

New construction windows are designed to be installed into a brand-new home, an addition to a home, or when the studs are exposed. The new construction window is nailed directly onto the frame.

We will use replacement windows.

Accurate Measurements are Essential When Replacing Windows

We will use replacement windows.  Removing the trim first makes the measurements simple.  Measure the “rough opening” for a perfect fit.  A rough opening refers to the framed opening of a window.  A window frame, however, has a header across the top, a sill plate across the bottom and vertical trimmers on either side.  Because these elements take up space, a window that measures, for example 3 feet wide and 4 feet tall has an actual window measurement that will be slightly less than this to accommodate the installation system.

Simple Steps to Measure for Replacing Windows

Follow these simple steps to measure for rough opening when you are not removing the window trim:

  • Measure the width across the window top of your opening between the inside faces of the framing on each side.
  • Measure the width across the bottom of your window opening between the inside faces of the framing on each side.
  • Measure the height of the opening between the header and the top of the sill on the left, right and center of the opening.
  • Measure the thickness of the flashing needed.

Deduct ½ inch from the measured width and 5/8 inch from the measured height to allow room for paper flashing on each side of the rough opening.  Once you have the openings based on these measurements, you are ready to order the windows.

Group Similar Efforts

Grouping similar tasks will save you time and effort.  As we moved from room to room removing window frames we also removed all the door trim.  Group tasks where the effort and tools are the same.  In a few hours we were able to remove all the window frames and interior door trim.  While it is a seemly simple task, there were 16 doors and 12 windows.  We did leave one door at our only working bathroom since we will be living in the house while completing the remodel.

Replacing Windows can be Pricey

We will start pricing windows today.  It can be a vert very time-consuming process.  Of course, our first visit was to Lowe’s.  Lowe’s has all custom windows 15% off, what great timing.  When you are pricing be sure to compare apples to apples.  There are so many options available.  Identify the essential design elements you desire and the code standards required for your region.

After trips to the competitors and a few hours of price comparison we had decided on a few design changes.  We eliminated one competitor because of timing.  Six to eight weeks for delivery.  Remember your time is sometimes more important than costs. We revised our window order at Lowe’s to include Energy Star, a special grid and a three-window unit for the living room.  The price difference was a little less (slight over $500) than the competitor, so we placed our order with Lowe’s.  (


Delivery in less than 4 weeks – Installed in 1 Day!

Remember To Hunt for Specials

While at Lowe’s, we found a discounted storm door with blinds inside the window panes that we really liked.  Hopefully this is the first of many purchase savings.  A $300 customer returned door for $90.  If you are wondering, I am tracking all actual costs against the planned cost.  Always have list of required material on hand and shop the deals.