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DIY Window Installation: What You Need to Know

Olivia Benson - Friday, June 03, 2016

If you want to save energy costs, insulate your home and cut down on noise, correctly installing your windows is just as important as double-glazing or glass treatments. Badly installed windows will have gaps and cracks in the frame that let in heat and draughts, and defeat the point of your lovely new windows. 

After you’ve picked the right window, you need to decide whether you want to DIY or no. Run down our list to find out if it’s safe to go it alone – or if it’s definitely time to call in the professionals. 

Replacing an Existing Window

There are two kinds of replacement windows: Insert frame and full frame.

-          Insert Frame: If your existing frame is in good shape and you only want to update your glass, your best option is an insert frame replacement.

-          Full Frame: If you want to change out the entire frame, you’ll need a full-frame replacement window.

Leaving the frame intact and buying an insert frame replacement is the best option for a non-professional DIY-er. You can upgrade your glass without risking gaps and cracks that reduce insulation.

Replacing the frame is a more involved project. As long as your replacement window is the right size – you might have to get it custom made – it can be done. It’s important to include weather-proofing strips, caulk any gaps, and always carefully check the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Installing a New Window

Installing a new window into an existing wall requires more tools and know-how. You’ll need specific equipment to knock a hole into brick or wooden walls, and it’s vital to take into account load-bearing walls.

There are plenty of guides on installing new windows, so if you own the right power-tools and have 2-4 hours to spend per window, it’s definitely achievable.

It’s a good idea to try easier insert or full-frame replacements first, and you’ll need an assistant to safely handle panes of glass up a ladder. It’s a good idea to contact the manufacturer, as they can give you specific tips. 

Custom, Oversize and Commercial

While home window replacements might be a great weekend project, there are other times when it’s definitely time to call in the professionals.

If your window is oversized, commercial safety equipment is needed to handle it. Custom or complex windows will also require specific equipment to properly install.

Properly installed windows improve a building’s energy efficiency, so if you own a commercial or residential building and need to meet energy requirements, it’s always worth calling in a professional. 

Whether you DIY your windows or pay someone else to do it, always make sure the window is properly weather-proofed with no gaps. 

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