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How to Measure for Replacement Windows

3/24/2016 4:14:13 PM

Despite what you might wish, the windows in your home can’t last forever. Whether your windows waste energy, leak water or are hard to open, now could be the time to replace them.

You have many important considerations to make when choosing replacement windows. First, they need to match the style and color of your home. Then they need to function the way you want them to. You also want to install windows that perform efficiently to bring your energy bills down and help the upgrade pay for itself in the coming years.

Perhaps even more important than all of these factors is to choose a window of the proper dimensions to fits the existing opening. Keep in mind that a replacement window in the dimensions you need may not be readily available, especially if it’s not a standard-size window. You may need to wait a few weeks for the manufacturer to make a window that fits the measurements you need.

DIY Approach to Measuring Windows

If you feel confident enough to measure your windows yourself, follow these steps for the best chance of success:
  • Decide whether to replace the entire window, frame and all, or if you plan to install the new window inside the existing frame. If you replace the entire window, you need to measure the rough opening, which is most accurate if you remove the old window entirely. However, you should also be able to measure the rough opening by just removing the window trim.
  • Measure the width of the window, including or excluding the frame, depending on your window replacement plans. For the most accuracy, measure across in three places: at the top, middle and bottom of the window. The naked eye may not notice any width differences, but your tape measure won’t lie.
  • Measure the height of the window, including or excluding the frame. Again, for the sake of accuracy, measure in at least two places along the window.
  • It’s not uncommon for window widths and heights to vary by one-half inch or more from one side to the other. Since it’s easier to fill gaps around a new window with shims than it is to enlarge the window opening, order replacements based on the smallest width and height measurements you end up with.
  • Finally, determine the depth of the wall from the interior trim to the exterior stop strip. You may need to remove the window completely to take this measurement.

Professional Approach for Window Replacement

If the idea of removing your windows to take measurements sounds overwhelming, or you’re worried about where to place the measuring tape for accuracy down to the quarter inch, it’s definitely wise to hire a professional window contractor to measure for replacement windows. Even if you measure yourself, it’s smart to get a second opinion from a pro to save you the hassle of ordering the wrong size windows.

Get in touch with a Weather Shield dealer near you to have an experienced window installer come take window measurements for you.
 

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