Why Hire a Contractor for a Replacement Window Project

July 12, 2009

As you shop for new windows, you may be tempted by the do-it-yourself bug. Why not save some money and install them yourself? Installing replacement windows is much more complicated than you might think, however. Replacing windows is one project that is best left to a professional installer.

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Adding new windows requires plenty of carpentry skills and muscle. A contractor starts by measuring the space and determining which size replacement window is the best fit. If the opening is slightly larger than the size needed for a standard window, for example, the contractor would weigh the cost of retrofitting the opening versus ordering a custom-sized window.

Accurate measurement is important when ordering replacement windows; even a slight variation from the correct measurement could affect the cost of the project. If the measurements are off by one-quarter inch, for example, you might need to install wood trim around the new windows or otherwise make up for the error. Even with perfect measurements, replacing windows can be tricky. Finding a truly square window opening is particularly difficult in old houses where shifting and settling occur.

Contractors who have experience working with new windows know how to handle the variations. Often it requires reframing the opening or changing surrounding molding to account for height variations. If you were installing new windows yourself, would you have the necessary expertise?

Replacing windows also is a labor intensive job that often requires an extra set of hands. This is particularly true with large windows and those with odd shapes, such as bay or other specialty windows. In general, most new windows are too heavy and awkward for one person to manage.

Installing new windows requires a good eye for measuring and installation. Replacement windows are a significant investment, so don't short change yourself by trying to install them yourself unless you have the proper skills--and a dependable helper.

About the Author

Allison E. Beatty is a syndicated real estate writer who has been writing home improvement columns for 15 years. 

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