Replacement Windows: A Quick Guide

Make the case to replace.

Where do you start on the road to replacement windows? With all of the choices available, it’s hard to decide. Let Riverhead Building Supply be your GPS – you tell us where you want to go, and we’ll give you the step by step directions to make sure you get there.
At home shows, community fairs, on TV, and in your neighborhood, you are being encouraged to renew the look of your home with replacement windows. Not a bad idea, but is it worth it? We’ve lined up some other options to consider. Before you get pressured into replacing all of the windows in your home, learn about the choices you have and make a decision that is comfortable for you.

When to replace?

The first decision can be the toughest. Is it time to replace windows? Here are some top reasons to consider replacement windows.

  • Are your windows able to close tightly, and lock? No? Replacement is something to consider.
  • Are there air gaps where you feel cold air coming in around the sash or window frame? If you can feel a draft, and you are not able to manage the air flow by caulking around the windows, it may be time for new ones.
  • Do the windows operate smoothly? Do the screens fit well, and keep bugs out? If the frame has become racked or out of square, the sash may not operate smoothly. You may find that you can’t put your screens in easily either. Time to think about replacing.
  • Is there any damage to your window? Are wood frames showing signs of rotting? Is there any visible water damage? Cracked, split or rotting wood frames should be replaced.
  • Are your windows more than 20 years old? Old windows do not necessarily need to be replaced based solely upon age. If they have been well maintained, a good quality window can last for years. If, however, you have any of the problems mentioned above, replacement may be the way to go.
  • Do you live in an area that requires you to have impact resistant glass, or to have storm shutters ready to hang if the forecast calls for high wind, hurricanes, etc.? It may be time to consider replacing windows with impact resistant glass.

With a new window, you will get the benefit of the latest materials, energy efficiency, and higher performance glass. And some newer windows come with great features such as sash that can be cleaned on both sides from the inside of your home.

Choices for replacement windows

Once you have decided to replace, there are several options. You can do a full replacement, which means removing siding on the exterior of your home, and trim inside, and doing a complete replacement of the window unit.
If your exterior and interior window frames are in good shape, you can opt for other solutions.
Narroline® Windows from Andersen®, manufactured between 1976 and 2012, can be converted with ease using Andersen Tilt Wash replacement windows. These wood windows give you new sash and jamb liners that fit into your existing window frame. Some of the advantages are obvious – there is little to no disruption to your home, and you have a brand new window unit. That means a new 20 year warranty on the glass, and a new 10 year warranty on the window, plus all of the updated features that you expect from a newly manufactured window. These windows, purchased from us and installed by Riverhead Building Supply’s Installation Partners or your carpenter, can end up costing you far less than hiring a franchised installer to handle replacement.

Replace windows at your pace, all units in the home do not need to be replaced at the same time. For any brand of wood window – that is, a window that has a wood frame, wood jambs and stops – consider an Andersen insert window. The insert window works in your existing frame, with little disruption to the interior or exterior of your home. Keep in mind that by using the existing frame, the new unit you install within that opening may have a slightly smaller visible glass surface, and therefore let in a little less daylight. For most people, the convenience and ease of installation outweigh the slightly smaller size of the window. It is something to bear in mind as you consider your replacement options.

Replacing screens

Sometimes you just need a new screen, and we can help with that too. We stock a variety of Andersen window screens in popular sizes to fit Andersen patio doors, double hung, casement and awning windows. The screens that we stock are intended for use with Andersen 400 Series windows. Windows carrying the Andersen name that are from other suppliers may not accept the same screens. If you are having a franchised installer put in new windows, your screens should come with the window unit, and are only available for purchase from the franchise. Similarly, Andersen Windows purchased through some big box stores are a different series. We are able to order screens to fit as long as you are clear about where your windows were purchased. The differences are small, but evident enough to create a nuisance. The overall screen size may be the same, but the wing locks that hold the screen in place are positioned differently and may not align with your window, meaning the screen cannot be properly secured in place.
How do you decide what window screen you need? For Andersen brand windows, there is a glass code etched into a corner of the window which tells us the glass size. From there, we can backtrack to the type of window and the kind of screen needed.
Be sure to contact us for help when you are considering window replacement. A call or a visit to the showroom can help to answer your questions and make your selections.