Typically when i mention windows it’s to do with computers, when I’m building a new one and looking for a $1 copy on ebay. But lately i’ve been knees deep in a different windows project. I’m looking to replace virtually all the windows in place. The majority are single pane Pearson style windows and the rest the old aluminum style you often found in trailers. A strange mix, to be sure.

A few things I’ve learned during the set-up phase. First be sure to expose the framing around your windows so you can get proper measurements of the rough openings. Nothing worse than getting the wrong size custom windows. I had a window guy take measurements at first. He quickly went around the outside and measured the frames. But, I found his measurements were far from accurate.

Quite a few of the windows rested right on the sill, and a couple were tight in the frames. So, taking measurements of just the existing windows might leave you with windows very tight fitting, which is not ideal for sealing, installation and insulation purposes. It’s very important to have a nice even gap around the windows that can be air sealed and insulated.

Also, I was amazed at the variations in pricing between vendors. It is definitely worth your time to get 3 or 4 quotes. Many suppliers get their windows out of the U.S. and the exchange rate can drastically affect the final price. The exchange rate has varied drastically over the last few months.

I’ve decided to go with Nail fin windows. Replacement windows are easier and quicker to install. So you’ll often get installers quoting you replacement. However, It’s hard to get a good seal with them as they essentially slide into the existing hole, requiring you to seal the gap. With nail fin you can apply caulking to the nailing fin and ensure your getting a good seal from the start. Then you have to come up with a solution for trim to cover the fin. I’ll cut back my siding with a skilsaw and use smartboard.

Lastly I spent an inordinate amount of time learning about the various ratings and coatings. Every manufacturer has a different spin on the same coatings. These are different amounts of Low-e coating. It’s a lot of marketing mumbo jumbo. Essentially there are 3 levels of coating that go on the inside of the window pane. They are typically referred to as Low e 180, Low e 270, or Low e 366. Or some variation on that theme. the first number refers to how much coating they put on 1, 2 or 3. 3 being the thickest coating. the last 2 numbers simply refer to how much light is allowed through the coating, expressed in percentage. So 80%, 70% or 66% in this example. The more coats the higher R-Value, or insulating value, with a trade off in lower Solar Heat Gain. Solar Heat gain refers to how much heat you can get from the sun shining into your place. This is valuable in northern locales in most instances. In summer of course it’s generally unwanted.

I’ll look into putting up a post about the actual How-To when I finish up.

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