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Question DetailsAsked on 3/20/2015

Can windows be replaced without changing siding?

We have 30 yr old windows that we are thinking of changing. Can such windows be replaced without changing the siding around them?


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3 Answers


the answer is absolutely yes, as long as you have windows that are custom made to fit exactly for your home. Please contact us at 718-863-5278 in the new york area if you would like a free consultation.

Answered 5 years ago by the new window man


It's actually more common to do it that way than to mess with the siding on the outside of the house. I linked to a youtube video in the source below that give you a general idea of how it's done.

All the work is done from the inside and just some trim as well as the old window sashes get removed.

With a little luck your windows are based on standard opening sizes and you won't need custom ones. That will save you a lot of money.


Answered 5 years ago by RodeoMan


You may not have caught that newwindowman and RodeoMan were, I think, alluding to two different methods of doing a window replacement - and there is actually a third one too:

1) Full Frame or Prime Replacement window - where you tear out the entire existing window frames and all down to the rough stud opening, and insert a whole new window with exterior frame and header and sill and all into the rough opening - TOTALLY replacing the existing unit (except sometimes reusing the interior trim to retain a match with other windows). This involves redoing the interface with the siding - not changing the siding out, but redoing the waterstop features around the window where it meets the siding, which might require temporary removal or at least loosening up of a few pieces of siding at each window to do it right. The most invasive of the three methods.

2) Insert Replacement or just plain Replacement Unit, which RodeoMan and the video showed, where you keep the outer frame and just replace the inner frame and glazing unit without messing with the outer frame or trim (interior or exterior) at all - much cleaner, BUT you do commonly lose typically about 1-3 inches in glass area in each dimension (depending on window design), so your effective window size may become smaller. Usually low invasiveness with respect to the house trim and finishes.

3) If your concern is only energy efficiency but you do not want to pay for totally new windows and your existing frames are in good shape and reasonably energy efficient, you can put in a new glazing unit - just the glass and its surrounding small sealed metal edging. For instance, you can put a double or triple pane glazing unit into an existing unit with fewer panes. Of course you also have to clean up caulking and weatherstripping/ sealing around the exterior frame and replace weatherstripping at the moving window parts themselves to bring its air tightness up to snuff to really achieve a significant improvement, and depending on the existing window design your frame might or might not be energy efficient. Certainly your energy efficiency would not be expected to be as good as with a replacement window unit of either above. Minimally invasive and quickest - they come and measure, then come back typically 1-2 weeks later with the glazing units and install them - typically 1/2-1 hour per window for the replacement. Most people do NOT choose this method, because if they are going to put the money into new glazing unit they generally go for a replacement unit of either type above and gain the benefits of higher frame thermlal efficiency too - plus most times these are being done (except in houses with a lot of blown out double or triple pane seals) it is because the frame is deteriorating or leaking, not only for energy efficiency improvement. Also, just reglazing is normally NOT eligible for energy rebates or credits.

Depending on type of framing (especially if metal), option 3 can be from near the cost of 2) to as little as half as expensive, and option 2 generally runs from about 1/2 to 2/3 the cost of option 1). A great deal of the cost depends on whether the existing frame is relatively square, and with Prime replacements how the window interfaces with the siding and framing. This is especially true with some proprietary systems where putting the window in after the siding is in place did not seem to be a possibility the window manufacturer considered, so their integrated flashing cannot be installed properly under the siding without cutting the siding back undesireably or removing the siding pieces that contact the window on all sides, so you have to be sure you are getting windows that can actually realistically be installed given your circumstances. Ones that are flashed embedded into (as opposed to on the outside of) concrete or brick can have the same issue with windows with the flashing or mounting flanges integral to the window unit.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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