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AnthraciteDude 11-28-2010 04:04 PM

Replacement windows not going to work?
Are there instances when you can't replace a window with a vinyl replacement-style window? My home is 30 years old and has its original windows. They're single pane, single hung wooden windows. They have thin vinyl tracks with springs that the sashes slide in. I've read up on how replacement windows are installed and it seems like after taking out the sashes that I'm not going to be left with a very supportive frame to accept a replacement window. In my opinion it seems like this would be comparable to replacing a vinyl window by inserting a vinyl replacement window in it's frame. Does anyone have any experience with this? Im thinking that because of my windows being relatively modern that I may have to remove the entire existing windows down to the rough openings and use new construction windows. I would greatly appreciate your comments. Thanks!

Ron6519 11-28-2010 04:30 PM

The vinyl tracks are probably liners against the wood frames. The vinyl liner will provide a slippery surface for the sashes to ride on.
The liner will probably pop out leaving you with a wood frame.
Post some pictures of the window.

AnthraciteDude 12-04-2010 01:04 PM

Ron, thanks for your comments. Sorry for taking so long to respond. Here are some images I took of one of my windows:

1) Here is a view of the vinyl track I mentioned.

1) In this one you can see what it looks like behind the vinyl track. There is a thin piece of foam covering the frame.

3) This is what it looks like when you pull the foam away.

4) This is a close up of the pieces of wood that are to the left of the vinyl track and to the right of the storm window frame.

5) Another shot of the same window from a slightly different perspective. You will notice that I've taken some of the casings off in attempts to get a look at the actual rough opening.

Ron6519 12-04-2010 02:12 PM

The question is whether the wood frame is solid? Peeling paint isn't a breaking point. If the entire frame is solid, replacement windows are possible. Even if a few sections(here and there on all the windows) are in need of replacement, the windows can make economic sense.
The decision would be based on an examination of all the windows, inside and out.

mrgins 12-04-2010 02:36 PM

Take an ice pick and poke around the frame, especially the exterior bottom corners. Even if they're slightly punky, you can often repair the soft areas. If it's too far gone, then get a whole new window.

Tom Struble 12-05-2010 11:37 AM

i would recommend a full replacement window,not an insert,those windows were cheap units and everything should go,putting good money into that hole is not worth it imo

Ron6519 12-05-2010 12:04 PM


Originally Posted by tomstruble (Post 545843)
i would recommend a full replacement window,not an insert,those windows were cheap units and everything should go,putting good money into that hole is not worth it imo

Tom, you seem to not like the replacement window scenario. You don't think the air infiltration issue can be solved with this method?
What if the entire frame perimeter was shot with low expanding foam?
The issue I see with homeowner's putting in new construction windows is that the installation has a much higher level of complexity they won't do properly. With some exteriors, the installation would just be folly.

Tom Struble 12-05-2010 05:48 PM

Ron any time i see a possible issue with the prime unit,ill always recommend a full replacement,on this particular window i see no real reason to leave the existing frame,it really has no historical significance and looks to have some weathering problems,i consider inserts to be just a sash replacement ,not a window replacement

Bird Doo Head 12-10-2010 09:49 PM

I don't know if this helps, but I can offer my experiences with 2 kinds of replacement windows as a non-carpenter:

Over the course of several years, I replaced many of my windows with insert type replacements that were not full frame. I didn't want to lose any widow area, as with full frame. I used Norco "Sash Pack" units. (Now owned by Jeld Wen I think.) They were quite easy to install and seal very well- But the old frame has to be in good condition, as nothing really gets screwed into the studs. It is pretty much a press-fit thing (with added caulking & trim, if desired)

If you want, you can remove the casing to get the old frame out. I did this on two with nasty frames. I built a new "dummy frame" on the ground and set it in place as a unit, securing to studs. then, the Sash Packs went in easily & securely.

I also replaced a window that is full frame replacement unit on part of the house that is added-on & the look of the old part doesn't match. In this case, I bought Pella. I don't know the model name, but I got it at Lowes for about 100.00 (Way cheaper than Norcos- But not clear wood inside and divided lite Just plain vinyl units.). Keep in mind, with a full frame replacement you lose a LOT of window. I lost 2 1/2" of glass width and 2" of glass height per sash on a 24" wide window.

One frame was also wimpy (old aluminum track window and 3/8" frame material). These new windows get screwed onto the frame. I drilled past the frame and went to the studs (shimming the gap). No problem and a solid installation. I did (per the mfgr's instructions)- Use Low Expanding Foam between the window frame & wall.) Key is Low Expanding.

So, it seems like you have a choice regardless of the condition of your frames. Both seem to have worked for me. ( In a prior house, long before replacement windows were available, I had masonry window trim. To replace those without disturbing the masonry, I used new construction units & cut the nailing flanges off. I screwed through the frame, as with the Pellas mentioned above. Just another option to consider.)

About the foam: EmilyP mentioned the warranty issue. if you go with Norco- they don't want it. I 'experimented" with the Low Expanding. I squirted 100% full into a zip lock baggie & closed it. It did not open the bag. (The regular stuff does. It's kind of cool when it pops!) When cured, Low Exp feels like a sponge.

Best of luck with this project.

FamilyTreeRemod 12-10-2010 11:43 PM

Problem #1 The storm windows did more damage than good, it appears they were not maintained properly, back in the day that was the big sale for contractors offering less heat transfer for single pane windows. Guys loved them, fast to install, lots of money was made except most owners failed to clean the weep holes allowing moisture to rott the sills and some times the sill plate. Storms are outdated and in hindsight were great for profits but a nightmare for owners. Ideally if your replacing window units you should spend a few dollars more for a quality full frame replacement, personally I only sell Marvin there a little more money but compared to a Pella or Anderson or the cheaper local brands its like night and day. If you buy particle board furniture it looks nice but is constructed poorly and eventtually falls apart, on the other hand if you buy solid wood furniture it will last a lifetime. That's truly the quality difference, just a suggestion if you can afford to do it right then do it, heard of the old saying perume on a pig? Good luck FYI my company was installing 15 -25 units a day

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