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Time for Replacement Windows? Here's How to Measure

New Window Installation

As the real estate market slowly recovers, it's still hitting bumps along the way.  Many homeowners are holding off on selling their home.  Some are waiting because they may owe more to the mortgage company than it's worth in today's market.  Others are tackling home improvement projects and upgrades to get more enjoyment and comfort from their home while still living there, with the added benefit of increasing their home's value once it comes time to sell.

One of the more popular projects is to install vinyl replacement windows.  Older windows can be warped, drafty, have leaks, and make your home less energy efficient.  The annual Cost vs. Value Report, conducted by Remodeling magazine, consistently rates replacement projects like window replacement as generating a higher return than remodeling projects.  This means that while you can enjoy the benefits of new windows, the project will also help improve the resale value of your home. Here is how to measure for replacment windows: 

When replacing windows, it's important to properly measure the window openings.  Improperly-fitted windows can cause a host of new problems in your home, including air leakage, moisture issues, and inadequate insulation.

If your home is made with brick or stone, you should measure your windows from the exterior of your home.  For the width, take three measurements - at the top, middle, and bottom of the opening.  You will use the narrowest of these three measurements for  your replacement window.  Repeat three measurements for the height - left side, middle, and right side, again using the smallest of those measurements.

If your home has wood or vinyl siding, you can measure from inside your home.  You will be measuring in between the window jambs, which are the inside the window frame and typically house the tracks that your sash slides along.  For the width, you will want to measure from the inside of the window jamb from one side to the other. For the height, measure from the top frame (called the head jamb) to the window sill at the bottom (if the sill is angled, measure to its highest point).  Again, take three measurements for both width and height, and use the smallest of these three measurements.

When choosing a replacement window manufacturer, you have to decide if you want to order custom-made replacement windows or use stock standard-size replacements.  Off-the-shelf windows in limited sizes will require more work to force them to fit within your window opening, requiring shims, adding drywall or additional window molding, as well as higher labor costs.  Custom built windows are manufactured to the exact opening of your windows, making installation easier and quicker, all while being more energy efficient.