What is Retrofit Window Installation?

The windows on your home should be a gateway to the outdoors. If they no longer open or close, the glass is cracked, or they leak significantly, it’s time to replace them. It may also be a good idea to replace them if they aren’t energy efficient or they do not have updated safety features that can help keep your family safe. When you’re considering replacement windows, make sure you look into retrofit windows to make it easier to get the new windows you need with minimal construction work. Below are some frequently asked questions about the installation process so you understand more about how it works.  

What are the Benefits of Installing Retrofit Windows?

When your windows don’t work properly, retrofit windows are an excellent option. Today’s windows are more energy efficient, have better safety features, and are easier to open and close. Retrofit windows can make it possible for you to open the windows again when the weather’s nice or to make sure you’re saving as much money as possible on your energy bills. They can also include updated safety features that make them easier for you to open, but harder for someone to break in through the windows and safer around young children.  

Why Choose Retrofit Windows Over New Construction?

New construction windows include the frame. This means the entire window, including the frame, needs to be removed and will be replaced with the new window. This is a better option if your window frames are damaged and need to be replaced or if you’d like to change the size of your windows. If, however, the framing is okay for your current windows, retrofit windows are the better option. The installation is easier and faster because they fit into the old frame.  

Should Retrofit Windows Be Installed by a Professional?

While some homeowners can tackle window installation on their own, it’s typically not recommended. Window installation needs to be done carefully to ensure the windows work properly once they’re installed. Minor mistakes during the installation can mean the windows are not square or level, which means they’re not going to work properly after the installation is completed. The professional has installed many windows and knows exactly what to do to make sure they’re installed properly and work well.  

What Options are Available?

When you’re looking at retrofit windows for your home, you have a lot of different options to consider. Think about the window frame material you’ll prefer, what operating style will be right for your home, the exterior color you prefer to use, and more. You’ll also want to consider regional energy packages if they’re available in your area as well as glass glazing options to reduce both noise and heat. If you aren’t sure what you need, a professional can help with these decisions.  

What Window Installation Types are Available?

Two main installation types are used for retrofit windows: Zbar and block frame. Zbar installation is typically used with stucco or masonry block homes with older aluminum windows. Block frame installation is typically used with homes with old wood windows where the window frames are in good condition. If the frames are not in good condition, consider full frame replacement with new construction windows.  

Can Windows be Replaced if the Frame is Damaged?

If the frame is damaged, the entire frame may need to be replaced. This would be a full frame replacement and would require new construction windows as they include the frame. If this is the case, it’s often possible to change the size of the windows at this time so you can have larger windows for your home.  

Are Windows Custom Ordered?

Yes. Though there are standard window sizes, a huge number of windows do not match standard sizing. All retrofit windows need to be measured to determine the specific size. The custom measurements are then ordered and the window is manufactured to meet the specific size requirements. This helps ensure the windows will fit properly to avoid leaking energy.  

How Are the Windows Measured?

The professional who provides you with a quote for the windows will handle the measuring for you. If the existing framing is in good condition and can be reused, the opening of the frame is measured. This is not the entire opening for the window. Measurements are taken from top to bottom and then from side to side. From top to bottom, ¼ of an inch is subtracted and from side to side, a ½ inch is subtracted. This gives the measurements needed for the retrofit windows.  

What is the Removal and Installation Process?

When the retrofit windows are manufactured and ready to be installed, the installer will set up a time to do the installation. After they arrive at your home, they will remove the old window carefully. Then, they will add caulk to prepare the window frame, set the window in the frame, make sure it fits properly, then use screws strategically placed to hold the window in. They’ll then replace anything that was removed for the installation. The last step is to make sure the new window looks great and works properly.  

Who Removes the Old Windows? 

The old windows need to be removed carefully to avoid damage to the frame and to prevent the glass from breaking during the removal. This is done by the professional and will be done right before the new windows are installed. Once the old windows are removed, they’ll be taken away and disposed of by the professional handling the installation. The homeowner does not have to worry about the removal or disposal of the old windows at all.  

How Long Will the Removal and Installation Take?

Generally, the removal and installation will take a few hours. This does depend on the size of the window, the type of window being removed, the type of window being installed, and how many windows are being replaced. When you receive a quote for the cost of the installation, you may want to ask how long to expect the installation to take so you can make sure you’re prepared.  

What Should be Done Before the Removal and Installation?

Make sure your home is prepared before the removal and installation. Indoors, if there is any furniture that blocks access to the windows, move the furniture if possible. Remove any window covers or shades as well so the window is easily accessible. If you have small children or pets, make sure they stay out of the room where the window is located. Outside, clear the area around the window and make sure there is room for the installer’s vehicle to park. They will need easy access to the inside and outside of the window to make the removal and installation as easy as possible.  

Who is Responsible for Cleaning the Area After the Install?

Construction of any kind, even retrofit window installation, can lead to debris in the immediate vicinity. Along with getting rid of the window that’s being replaced, the installer will handle any clean-up needed as a result of the installation. They’re going to make sure the window is ready to be used as soon as it’s installed and that there’s nothing left behind for you to worry about.