Replacement Windows: 4 Points to Ponder

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Watch any home improvement show and the work looks easy. Vinyl siding goes up without a hitch, flooring goes down without a single hiccup and windows always fit perfectly into the spaces designed for them. However, any homeowner who has been around the remodeling block a time or two will tell you that careful editing of hours of film is what actually made those projects work beautifully.

The reality is that you can expect a significant amount of research, maybe a little hassle, more research and then a long process of buying, bidding, scheduling and installation before any project is complete. When it comes to replacement windows, many of the steps you take before and during the purchase itself can help determine how smoothly the work goes.

Before you jump into the project, keep these points in mind. They could have an impact on your choices and bottom line.

1. Replacement windows might involve some construction work

Over time, houses shift and settle. It is especially clear with older houses, where floors might be sloped and windows might not close or open properly. But even newer homes can face that same kind of settling after a few years. That’s why despite all the careful measurements, windows that are supposed to fit perfectly might not. That could mean some minor construction work, and that could add to your bottom line. Make sure your budget has a cushion for that, just in case.

2. Understand how energy-efficient windows really work

The best energy-efficient windows in the world are only as good as their installation, so hiring a professional contractor who really knows how to handle windows is a key to success. But also remember that energy efficient windows work best when you are installing them throughout the entire house. Leaving a few old and drafty windows in place can undermine your expected utility savings.

3. The work doesn’t stop when the installation is done

Once the windows are in, there is still work to be done. Installing appropriate trim, painting around the windows and hanging window treatments are all projects that begin once the serious work ends. The good news is that most of this should be an easy do-it-yourself finish to the window project. This will add at least a few days onto the schedule, so keep that in mind as you schedule the installation.

4. Take care of the little extras before you begin

Nothing will drive your window installation cost up like those little things that you didn’t think about before the big day. In some areas, permits are required before you do any serious work on your home — check into the time frame and the cost in order to plan appropriately. When you hire a contractor, make sure that disposal fees, rental fees for scaffolding and other potential points of increased cost are covered in the contract. If not, be ready to pay for those on your own the day of the installation.

Keep these points firmly in mind as you do your research and gather estimates. Remember, the more you know about the project, the less likely you are to be blindsided by extra costs or labor. If you are unclear about something at any point in the process, don’t hesitate to seek the advice of a professional window contractor.

 

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Shannon Dauphin Lee

Shannon Dauphin Lee is a journalist and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. When she's not writing, she and her husband are taking road trips to explore covered bridges, little wineries and quaint bed-and-breakfast inns in their beloved Pennsylvania.