Purchasing an older home or one that has some repair issues is a good way to get a great deal on the price. In order to save even more money, however, new owners of older homes can learn to make many of the repairs themselves, including replacing damaged or outdated windows. If you have recently purchased an older home and would like to update one or more windows, the following guide will help you learn to measure your old windows correctly to ensure that you order the correct replacement windows for each opening.
Understand common window measuring obstacles
Unlike modern homes, many older homes have undergone numerous repairs, renovations and upgrades during their lifetime. In addition, the home may have experienced a significant amount of foundation changes, such as settlement, expansion or shrinkage. While these issues may not cause visual changes that are noticeable to the naked eye, they can cause changes in the size and shape of window and door openings. These changes make it necessary to use care in measuring your window's openings to ensure that you purchase the correctly sized replacement for each one.
Smaller is better
When an older home's windows are measured and found to be uneven, it is important to remember to order replacement windows by the smallest height and width measurements. Windows that are slightly smaller than the opening can be situated and securely fastened into place using a level, shims and special screws to support the support it. If the replacement window is measured incorrectly and it is a bit too large for the opening, you will be forced to either enlarge the opening or order a different size.
Take correct measurements
Now that you know why your older home's window openings are likely to be uneven, it is important that you know how to measure them correctly. These step by step directions will help:
- Measure the height of the window by locating the center of the inside window sill of the window you wish to measure. Using a carpenter's measuring tape, measure from the center top of the sill to the center of the top of the window opening.
- Next, measure both the left and right side of the window from the inside window sill to the top of the window opening. Write down all three measurements and circle the smallest one.
- Lastly, determine the width of the window you will need by measuring the distance between the left window jamb to the right window jamb, holding the measuring tape a few inches above and parallel to the window sill. Repeat the process at the center of the window and again near the top. Write down all three measurements and circle the smallest one. The cicled measurements (smallest in both width and length) will indicate the window size you will need to order.
Fill in the gaps
When installing a new window in an older home, it is not uncommon to see significant gaps around the window opening after the new window has been installed. It is important to make sure that each of these gaps is correctly shimmed to support the window and hold it securely in place. In addition, it is necessary to ensure that these openings are properly filled with some type of insulating material in order to prevent outside air, insects or moisture from entering the home.
If your older home's windows were custom made, replacing the windows may be more difficult than standard replacement windows, as well as harder to obtain. A local window contractor will be able to offer you assistance in locating and installing high quality replacement windows in this situation. For more information, contact companies like Morgan Exteriors Inc.