While on a recent home renovation project, we came across one of the worst “retrofit” window replacement projects I have ever seen! There were about 12 windows replaced with a good, manufactured window product just last November 2022. 

In fact, the window manufacturer offers a “double lifetime warranty” on their window products. 

The sad thing about the installation, the installing company promotes their “promise” as “We’ll do it once and we’ll do it right.” Well…. it was NOT done right, and they did nothing to make things right with the homeowner. 

Our concern on this project, (and many like it), what if the windows were to leak? Would the double-lifetime warranty be any good. According to the manufacturer they cannot take control of the installation and the warranty could be VOID!

More to the story

An average homeowner might look at this new window installation and think it was all ok.

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During our walk through, prior to the renovation, we took a close look at the installation. We removed the trim to find the wood siding and wood trim around the windows had severe dry rot. See pictured below. 

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This was the case with the all the windows that were replaced on this project. 

What is the point?

Glad you asked. As you may know, there are dedicated window and door companies that hold a “specialty” contractor license of a C-17 in the state of California.

Other companies that offer window installations might be licensed for HVAC, Solar, flooring, painting, general construction, AND a C-17

And then there are some that are general contractors who do windows along with other construction to the home. 

So yes, it may be hard to choose who to choose whom to pick. 

Know what type of window you want or need. 

Most windows come in “nail fin” or “new construction window. These are windows that have a “nail flange” that must be water sealed and nailed to the wall or frame of a home. This is the best method to ensure that your windows won’t leak.

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However, they tend to take the most time to install to do the project properly. We think the “little extra” is worth the expense and effort to get a long-lasting product. 

Retrofitting windows is the least expensive way to get windows replaced in your home.
They take far less time and contractors make a LOT of money by replacing all the windows in a home in a day or two. 

This is installed by removing the panels of the existing windows and leaving the frame intact to the home. The retrofit window has a large exterior “glue flange” that can be cut to fit to the size of the home needed. 

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The window flange is to be caulked to the remaining frame and / or exterior wall using a high-grade waterproof sealant. The inside sides of the new window frame are then screwed into the side of the internal wood frame of the window opening. This process goes quickly for an experienced installer. 

The greatest problem is getting the proper seal to the wall. 

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The most important tips when choosing nail fin vs retrofit. 

Know the pros and cons from the window company you are considering. Not all companies do proper installation. 

If you go with nail fin windows on a stucco wall, the old method was to break out the stucco around the outside of the wall, properly weatherize the window installation and then have the stucco repaired. The problem becomes that the exterior of the wall will never look the same. 

New practices involve adding exterior framing and / or making an accent wall. See below.

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For wood walls, nail fin windows are easy and highly effective for the long term.  

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To properly install retrofit windows on wood walls and some stucco walls, the surrounding wood trim must be removed to observe the condition of the walls and the remaining frame. Often, the new to old frame does not allow a good clean fit. 

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The new trim will then have to be customized by a “curf” cut to allow it to fit flush for proper sealing. 

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An experienced window installer will take the time to craft a proper installation for a clean and long-lasting retrofit window installation. See below. 

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To get a free quote for windows or doors

Carruth Home Solutions at 916-257-8310

Text 916-257-8310

Email carruthhomesolutions2016@gmail.com

Visit our website at www.chsforme.com