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Weather-Ready Windows

Construction How-To, Energy Efficiency, Waterproofing, Windows & Doors October 1, 2013 Sonia


In this two-phase project old windows are upgraded with energy-efficient vinyl replacements, plus the surrounding wood trim is protected with aluminum wrap.

By Matt Weber

 

 

 

 

 

New windows look great, save energy and require less routine maintenance, making window replacement a top project on many homeowner wish lists. The EHT staff recently participated in a window project where old, rotted wooden windows were replaced with energy-efficient vinyl units from Simonton Windows. This article chronicles the job, from pulling out the old to putting in the new.

The replacement units from Simonton not only look beautiful, but the Low-E design significantly reduces heat transfer to save on energy bills. Plus, the vinyl construction won’t require constant repainting, glazing or other associated maintenance.

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When it comes to maintenance, wooden windows require a lot. If the windows aren’t maintained with glazing, caulking and exterior-grade paint, the wood will rot. That’s what happened to eleven windows, a mix of double-hung and bay styles, on our project house. The most evident rot was along the sill of the bay windows in the front and back of the house. The lack of overhang above the windows meant that the sill was taking the full brunt of the rainfall. In fact, the sill of the single-pane bay in the front had rotted to the point that the wood could no longer support the weight of the glass.

Wood rot is caused by a fungus that thrives on dead wood in moist environments. It can wreak havoc on wood windows.

Wood rot is caused by a fungus that thrives on dead wood in moist environments. It can wreak havoc on wood windows.

The bay window actually sunk down into the rotted wood and opened a gap at the top of the frame, allowing significant airflow in and out of the home.

The solution was to remove the old window, rebuild the sill plate, then replace with a new vinyl unit. As a belt-and-suspenders approach to protection, the installers at Lifetime Windows & Doors “wrapped” the surrounding wood trim with aluminum. Here is how it’s done.

First step is to cut away all rotten wood for replacement.

First step is to cut away all rotten wood for replacement.

On some windows water intrusion had resulted in sills that were completely ruined by rot.

On some windows water intrusion had resulted in sills that were completely ruined by rot.

Benefits of Replacement

The necessary maintenance of older windows is one of the biggest complaints of homeowners, particularly of those with wood-framed windows. Painted windows require regular TLC—scraping, glazing, caulking, re-painting—to seal out the water and protect the wood from rot. New windows made with vinyl or aluminum can eliminate this hassle. The need to prevent or repair rot is one of the main reasons homeowners across America are opting for “non-wood” window replacements.

Vinyl replacement units offer smooth operation, modern decorative options and less maintenance. Unlike wood, vinyl windows and doors will never rot or require repainting. And unlike aluminum, vinyl windows and doors will never pit or flake. Today’s windows are made from the highest quality vinyl and require almost no maintenance. In fact, an occasional washing will keep them looking like new for years.

Plus, energy-efficient vinyl windows offer increased comfort and lower utility bills. New units constructed with double-paned, Low-E glass filled with harmless Argon or Krypton gas can reduce the home’s power bill in the years to come. The gasses are denser than air and serve as a thermal barrier, reducing the transfer of heat and cold through the window.

Lifetime Windows and Doors