Frame In? Frame Out?
Anyone who replaces windows should be asking this question.
There are two ways to install a new window where one already exists. Frame in means that only the sashes of the old window are removed. - The new window is installed into the old frame. Surprisingly enough, frame out means that both the sashes and the frame of the old window are removed. - The new window is installed into the original rough opening and new trim is installed.
Most replacement windows are installed into the existing frame - that is "frame in". This approach has several advantages.....
1. From the customer's point of view - since the original frame is left untouched, the original trim remains in place so there is no need to repaint the trim.
2. From the contractors point of view - leaving the existing frame in place greatly simplifies measuring and installation. Even the least sophisticated installer can install a window into an existing frame.
As you may tell from my tone, these are about the only advantages to installing into the existing frame. It truly is a lousy way to replace windows - for several reasons....
1. There is a significant reduction in glass area. Iíve seen some old glass on glass sliders that when replaced with vinyl casements lost half their glass area. This not only reduces the view, but also cuts down on the free heat from the sun.
2. Bypass air leakage. When we remove old frames there is often glass wool insulation between the window frame and the rough opening. Its usually dirty - not because it was dirty when it was installed, but rather because it filters out the dust in the air thatís been leaking around the window. So if you donít remove the old frame how do you stop that air leakage? How many farmers fence in only 95% of their fields? It just doesnít make sense.
3. Exterior appearance. While it's usually possible to make the inside of a "frame in" installation look OK, the exterior is another matter. On the outside of a "frame in" installation, the aluminum trim covers the old frame and its brickmould. No matter how carefully this is done this exterior trim is much bulkier looking that the original trim. Once you know this - you can spot a "frame in" installation from half a block away. - it just doesnít look like an original window.
4. False Economy. The knuckle dragging proponents of "frame in" always try and tell people its much cheaper and faster to leave the existing frames. But this is not true. Our crews are used to doing "frame out" installations and they can remove existing sashes and frames and install the new window complete with trim for almost the same price as they can if they only removed the existing sashes.
There is only one possible exception to the rule-take the blasted old frame out -that is in homes more than 50 years old where the existing trim is very expensive or impossible to duplicate with new trim. In this case, and this case only, it's wise to consider installing into the existing frame.
If you have any questions about what Iíve written, please
e-mail me. The best comment of the month gets a free multi-fin door sweep (white or brown!)
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