Replacing Windows
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Thread: Replacing Windows

  1. #1
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    Replacing Windows

    I think it's time to replace the windows in my mid-80's built home. I have a combination of casement and sliding windows plus a bay window, and they are all original. I don't have any leaks (yet). I've been doing a bit of reading - though not enough yet. I'm leaning towards going to brick-to-brick route because the windows aren't that big (relative to windows in new houses) to begin with.

    Any recommendations on window brands or contractors? I'm in the GTA.


  2. #2
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    Can't comment on brands for the GTA but there was a family window business out of Newmarket called Simons windows and doors or Simons aluminum. Very good reputation for service and quality. Not sure if still around.
    You may also check out polar windows if they have an office in Toronto. Thry used to be called rayomax. These are very high quality. Note you get a big discount if CAA member.
    I have both jeldwen windows from home Depot and polar windows. The polar windows are far superior. Price was more though:-(.

  3. #3
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    We have to replace some this year as well. We are in the Hamilton area.
    Windows seem to be a bit of a wild west type of market. You definitely get what you pay for but there seem to be lots of shysters as well.

    Several old people I know swear by Pollard windows. I don't know them though (expensive). I can tell you Jeldwen and the other "builder quality" windows you get from Depot or Lowes are generally pretty crappy.

    We're probably going to use a small local company. You see their signs up a lot on lawns in our town and they seem pretty busy, so hopefully that is a sign of quality. I'm hoping someone on our street uses them shortly (spring seems to be a big window replacement time) so I can ask questions directly.

    Do you have access to a "readers choice" list from the local newspaper for your area ? Might also be a good place to start. Here is the one for the Spectator newspaper in Hamilton for example. The small company we are going to use is listed in their top ten.

    https://readerschoice.thespec.com/20.../windows-doors
    "That's what I do, I drink and I know things" - Tyrion Lannister

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  5. #4
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    When you say brick to brick I presume you mean windows with an incorporated frame and brickmold vs inserts. I also assume you are replacing wood windows with vinyl. Yes, do it right and have the entire window frame structure replaced and properly sealed. If the home was much older and/or you wanted to preserve very nice interior trim mouldings the inserts might be a consideration. With the bay window ask about replacing it to a flush window to understand if it is an option, the pros and cons and costs. It may not be an option or something you want depending on type, facade of your home. Sometimes it's a good idea though. For your kitchen if the sink area has a window consider an awning style for uninterrupted sight line and ease of use.

    I am not in Ontario to comment on window manufacturers or installers. Spend as much or more time on picking the right installer, carefully verifying references (recent & long term), vs. selecting the window manufacturer but careful here too with quality and a company that will be around if you need help 15 years from now. There are lots of fine windows but less fine installers and installation is mostly the cause of a future failure if there is one. Read the fine print on the window warranty, and transfer terms if you sell. Carefully understand all details of the installation, warranty, materials, trim etc.

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by twa2w View Post
    Can't comment on brands for the GTA but there was a family window business out of Newmarket called Simons windows and doors or Simons aluminum. Very good reputation for service and quality. Not sure if still around.
    You may also check out polar windows if they have an office in Toronto. Thry used to be called rayomax. These are very high quality. Note you get a big discount if CAA member.
    I have both jeldwen windows from home Depot and polar windows. The polar windows are far superior. Price was more though:-(.
    Thanks. Will check Simons out. Doesn't look like Polar has operations in Ontario.

    Quote Originally Posted by RBull View Post
    When you say brick to brick I presume you mean windows with an incorporated frame and brickmold vs inserts. I also assume you are replacing wood windows with vinyl. Yes, do it right and have the entire window frame structure replaced and properly sealed. If the home was much older and/or you wanted to preserve very nice interior trim mouldings the inserts might be a consideration. With the bay window ask about replacing it to a flush window to understand if it is an option, the pros and cons and costs. It may not be an option or something you want depending on type, facade of your home. Sometimes it's a good idea though. For your kitchen if the sink area has a window consider an awning style for uninterrupted sight line and ease of use.
    Yes, I would like to replace the entire frame. My house is mid-80s so there's nothing special at all about the architecture of the windows. I don't want to lose any window area because they are already relatively small (compared to my old house which was built in 2007), and my house is somewhat dark

    I am not in Ontario to comment on window manufacturers or installers. Spend as much or more time on picking the right installer, carefully verifying references (recent & long term), vs. selecting the window manufacturer but careful here too with quality and a company that will be around if you need help 15 years from now. There are lots of fine windows but less fine installers and installation is mostly the cause of a future failure if there is one. Read the fine print on the window warranty, and transfer terms if you sell. Carefully understand all details of the installation, warranty, materials, trim etc.
    Finding a contractor is the part that scares me. Like any other trade, there are way too many shady or low-quality contractors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SW20 MR2 View Post


    Yes, I would like to replace the entire frame. My house is mid-80s so there's nothing special at all about the architecture of the windows. I don't want to lose any window area because they are already relatively small (compared to my old house which was built in 2007), and my house is somewhat dark



    Finding a contractor is the part that scares me. Like any other trade, there are way too many shady or low-quality contractors.
    Good choice, as inserts will reduce the available glass area a bit. If your windows are small now and place is too dark you could consider enlarging the opening at the time of install. Easiest and cheapest way is to make them taller by bringing them closer to the floor if aesthetically/practically that works, and you have an exterior easily allowing it. (not brick etc) Making them wider is $$$ due to changing the header and drywall work.

    You're wise to be careful finding/evaluating the actual contractor who will do the work and be responsible. (not a sub)

    G/L

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    I wouldn't go with an insert either, but not because of the reduced light. I don't think there was a single window installed well, anywhere on the planet, in the 1980s.

    I have a bunch of old houses so I've replaced my share of windows and it makes a tremendous improvement in every case. Back in the 80s, they would install the window and then jam fiberglass as tightly as they could into the gap between the casing and the framing. They took poor insulation and made it far worse. In most of those old homes, you can feel a draft coming out from behind the window trim on a windy day. It's ridiculous.

    IMO, the windows need to be removed, the rotting bottom framing from the lousy install needs to be corrected, and a new window installed with the proper water proof membrane and low expansion foam insulation. The nice new window will be twice as good as the old window but that's a small portion of the improvement.

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    Agree - replace the old frames as well. There is usually a lot of air leakage around the old frames - when they install new ones they will use spray foam to stop that. Also, if you have wood windows of that age, there could be hidden rot in the frames that you can't see.

    At one time vinyl windows were considered the low end of the quality scale, but there was a lot of improvement in their material and design in the 80's & 90's. They arena the material for choice for most homes. I don't know what the standard recommendation is in the GTA, on the edge of Ontario's banana belt. In Ottawa the general practice is double-thermopane, low-E glass. But one of the difficulties with this "standard practice", is that it is typically applied regardless of the orientation of the building. When we were replacing our windows we spent extra for a triple glazed bay window that faces north, and have been very happy we did.

  10. #9
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    I haven't done any indepth research yet, but what makes a good window vs a bad one? I've also heard people recommend that you don't spend the money on the double/triple-whatchamacallit because the energy savings will not come anywhere near the extra cost incurred from upgrading the windows.

  11. #10
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    Sounds like the choice could be a bit complicated...
    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/m...dows/index.htm
    http://news.nationalpost.com/homes/m...arm-days-ahead


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