New windows can improve your home's appearance, allow more light in, and provide increased energy efficiency. In older homes, in particular, there can be a few challenges when it comes to window replacement. Knowing what they are can help you prepare to overcome them.
1. Frame Rot
For homes with old wooden window frames, a common discovery during window replacement is that moisture has penetrated into the wood and caused rot to occur. Rot means that the entire window frame must be replaced and window inserts aren't an option, as rot cannot be successfully repaired. Consider vinyl or aluminum replacement windows so you won't have to deal with rot in the future.
2. Mold and Mildew
Moisture can cause more than rot on wood frames. Mold and mildew growth can grow on the internal wall structures surrounding the window, as well as on the insulation in the walls around the window frame. Moldy insulation must be replaced before the new windows are put in. The remaining frame and wall structures should be cleaned with a mold-killing solution so that it doesn't grow back once the new windows are installed.
3. Custom Sizing
Standard windows can be purchased stock at most hardware stores or straight off the shelves and at a window dealer. Many homes have custom-sized windows, though, which means you must order them specially made for your home. This can come at an extra cost, and it may take longer for the windows to arrive. Having the windows professionally measured is a must if you have custom-sized windows.
4. Squaring Up
Over time, a house settles, which can lead to the window opening no longer being square. When windows are severely out of square, they may not open and close properly. If there are no ongoing foundation issues, then the challenge will mainly affect window and door installation. Your installer may need to re-frame out the window openings to make them square again before new windows can be installed.
5. Air Gaps
Not all squaring issues are major. If the windows are just a "hair out of square," then installation can proceed as normal, but there may be drafty air gaps around certain areas of the framing. This requires extra insulation and sealing after installation if you want to avoid drafts and energy loss around the windows.
Contact a local window installation service if you suspect your window replacement may have a few challenges.