Learning about retrofit windows is important if you are considering an upgrade for your home. Retrofitting windows offers numerous benefits, whether it's reducing outside noises, or improving energy efficiency, and you can choose from several designs. You can choose to install retrofit windows on your own or hire a professional installer.
Deciding to use a professional is often recommended, as it can save you a lot of time and hard work. You will also know the installation process will be done right by working with an experienced installer in South Florida.
Installing retrofit windows in South Florida can be a great way to improve the insulation and energy efficiency of your home. However, some homeowners may be hesitant to attempt the installation themselves. In this blog post, we will explore whether or not the DIY option is right for you and provide tips on how to install retrofit windows successfully. Thanks for reading!
If you’re a Miami-Dade resident, choosing to self-install comes with certain guidelines to remember. According to county code, an unlicensed homeowner can replace one window or door by themselves without pulling a permit once every 12 months (on a rolling calendar basis.)
Steps for Installing Retrofit Windows
Here is an overview of the process of how to install retrofit windows for your home.
Step 1: Inspect the Existing Window Carefully
One of the first steps in retrofitting is to inspect the existing window, as it will usually be made of aluminum, wood, or steel. You will need to remove the interior portion of the window while the existing frame will stay intact, which helps to reduce the amount of time needed for installation.
Knowing the exterior wall construction is also important in choosing the right sealant, whether it's wood, stucco, or vinyl siding.
Step 2: Measure the Opening
The next step in how to install retrofit windows is to measure the opening. You will need to remove the metal rails and sash members from the window. It's important to measure the width in three places by using the top, middle, and bottom.
You will also need to measure the height in three places, which include the left, right, and center. Once you find the narrowest width and height measures, you will have to subtract 1/4" from each to obtain the net frame size.
Double-checking your measurements is always a good idea for accuracy.
Step 3: Determine the Best Installation Process
After you have your measurements, you can start to determine the best installation process. The most common methods for installing retrofit windows include:
- Zipper method
- Stacked method
- Butt joint method
The zipper method is the easiest and most popular way to install retrofit windows. It involves using a metal or plastic track that's attached to the window frame. The sash is then inserted into the track and pulled down, which locks it into place.
The stacked method is a good option if you have a large window or if the opening isn't perfectly square. It involves putting the first sash in place and then stacking the second sash on top of it.
The butt joint method is used when the window opening isn't perfectly square or when the window is too large. It involves attaching the first sash to one side of the window frame and then butting the second sash against it.
Step 4: Prepare the Installation Area
Inspecting the new window is essential after completing the installation process. Any type of damage to the window frame joint seals will need to be repaired before you begin to retrofit the windows.
The sill track also needs to hold water for 15 minutes without causing any leaks to the interior. Once the inspection is complete, you will disassemble the existing window by removing the vent panel, fixed panel, and center post. You may also need to remove any other components that will interfere with installation.
Step 5: Install Your New Window
It's important to leave the original frame intact throughout the installation process. You can prepare the exterior surface of the wall that will be in contact with the new window by using a stiff bristle brush or a putty knife to create a smooth surface.
It's also important to remove any dirt from the sill track, and you will need to double-check to ensure the window will fit in the opening before you begin caulking. Minimizing the gap between the frame and wall is key to ensuring a tight fit.
Pre-drilling pilot holes within the interior channel of the new frame are the next step at both the head and jambs. These holes shouldn't be more than 18" apart, and the corner holes need to be around 6" from the end. It's also important to avoid drilling into the sill, and the screw heads need to not interfere with the sash operation.
Afterward, you will use a continual bead of sealant across the exterior perimeter of the window. Leaving a 2" gap at both corners is key to allowing moisture to escape.
Once complete, you can insert the new window into the opening by applying moderate pressure throughout the flush fin. You can secure the window by using a pan head screw starting in the upper jamb corners. These screws need to be long enough to secure the new frame to the wood studs.
You can secure another screw in the opposite jamb and check to see if it's level. Once everything is level, you can secure the remaining screws, but it's important to be careful to avoid causing any distortions to the frame.
Step 6: Finish and Test for Proper Installation
Once the window is secure, you can run a bead of sealant throughout the exterior edge of the flush fin. Afterward, you can easily wipe off any excess sealant. You can either use insulation material or a backer rod to fill in the void between the new and old frames from the interior.
A flat interior trim can be used to conceal the gap before you use a bead of sealant throughout the edge of the trim to finish the installation process.
When it comes to testing your work, make sure to open and close the window several times. The sashes need to move up and down smoothly, and you shouldn't see any daylight around the perimeter of the frame. If there's excessive movement or if you see daylight, you will need to remove the screws and add more sealant before you retighten the screws.
It's important to let the sealant dry for at least 24 hours before you caulk around the exterior. You should also avoid painting the window for at least 30 days to give the sealant time to cure properly.
Installing retrofit windows is a great way to improve the energy efficiency of your South Florida home. If you're not sure how to
The DIY Route is Complex - Consider Using an Experienced Installer
Homeowners often try to install windows on their own to save money, but it can cost you more in the long run if you make a mistake. The safest option is to reach out to an experienced installer in your area to ensure the job will be done right.
Hiring a window installer will save you a lot of time, and you won't have to worry about making any mistakes. Reaching out to multiple contractors to compare bids is always a good idea in helping you choose the best company to meet your needs and budget.
Additional Items to Consider
Trying to install windows on your own can be a difficult task, especially if you don't have much experience on how to install retrofit windows. Making the right measurements while having the proper tools on hand is essential for a smooth installation process.
On the other hand, one simple mistake can lead to significant costs and a lot of stress. Hiring a local installer in your area is a great way to avoid all of these issues. You will also be protected by a limited-time warranty by hiring a professional.
How to Choose the Right Installer
Not all contractors are equal, so it's a good idea to do your research. Asking for recommendations from friends and looking at online reviews can help you find a highly qualified and experienced installer. Making sure they are licensed and insured is also important.
Performing these extra steps requires additional time, but it's well worth the effort to find the best installer for retrofitting windows.
Ready to Install Retrofit Windows? Contact Alco Windows and Doors Today!
Alco Windows and Doors specializes in retrofitting windows for homeowners throughout South Florida. Our experienced team can handle any project while making sure you are happy with the results. We can help you choose from a wide range of styles, as providing the best customer experience is always our priority.
Numerous financing options are available for retrofitting windows, and we are happy to answer any of your questions. Our team will also inspect your home and give you a free quote.
Contact Alco Windows and Doors to learn more about using our retrofit window installation services!