Details make or break door and window remodeling

February 17, 2012

I recently visited a home that's been remodeled with some new windows and doors. The project would have been outstanding, except that two of the replacements were not completed properly. The following examples illustrate how effectively a well-done remodel can improve the value of your home, but how a couple of incomplete or improperly finished doors and windows can just as easily ruin the overall effect.

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Bad door, good door

When steel entrance doors are installed, they must be squared and plumb. They should be shimmed properly and the screws installed in the correct locations to assure security and a long-lasting installation. But one vital step is sometimes missed: the doors must be painted! The steel panel of the door comes primed and ready for painting, and so does the brick molding -- the wood that surrounds the exterior of the door. If the brick molding and door panels are not sealed with a finish coat, the molding can rot and the lower portion of the door can rust (as shown in the upper right-hand portion of the photo composite below).



Two good and two bad door and window replacements


On the other side of the remodeling coin, the addition of a properly-installed, full view door with blinds gives the smaller kitchen (upper left of the photo) an open feel, providing increased light while allowing for privacy when needed. The original opening was designed to fit a window. When it was enlarged to accommodate a door, the entire look of the kitchen changed for the better.

Replace the basement windows

If you replace all the doors and windows and forget about the deteriorated, wood basement windows (lower left of the photo), you miss an opportunity. Vinyl replacement windows, or even glass block windows, are not expensive in relation to the entire house remodel. Don't forgo the improved look, insulating properties, and security you can gain when vinyl basement windows cost only around $70 and even beautiful glass block windows are about $250.

The photo of the large picture window in the lower right exemplifies how adding a bigger window to the room provides more light and amplifies the space. When you remodel and replace windows, don't overlook the possibility of expanding some of the window openings. If the glass is energy-efficient -- low-e coated and has a low u-value -- you won't lose much heat or cooling capability.

Attention to detail when replacing windows and doors in a home can make the difference between a successful remodel and one that detracts from the entire project. Be sure to budget enough to assure that all windows and doors are properly upgraded and installed.

About the Author

Tom Shafer has decades of experience in window sales, marketing and product development. He's worked closely with window design engineers in testing, design, and building code interpretation. Past employers include United Windows and Doors and Norandex, MI Windows. He currently works at a home improvement retailer.

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