Can I repair these window frames or do I need full replacement?

stretchadApril 15, 2012

I live in a house with approximately 26 wood windows with wooden storm windows. At least 6 of the 15 windows on the back of the house plus one on the side of the house have rotting window frame/sills. We had someone from a large, local company come out and assess whether they need to be repaired or replaced and the recommendation is replacement because the frames are so rotten (yet, he's moreso in the window replacement business than window repair...he's likely biased). Here's the rub, he said average cost for full replacement using "new construction" windows is $1500. So replacing just the 7 windows that I KNOW need replacing, would be ~$10,500. Here's the other challenge, we have wooden storm windows on ALL of our windows. The new windows wouldn't need storm windows, and so if I only replace a few of the windows on the back, they wouldn't match, and would look really odd.

So my question is, do I really need to replace with a new construction type window to solve this problem or can I repair it?

Here are some photos of damaged areas:;feat=directlink

If I absolutely can't repair without full replacement, can you think of any creative ways to make it so that ALL the windows match aesthetically on the outside of the house?

Here is a link that might be useful: Window Damage Pictures

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What window brand and model did they propose for $1500 per window?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 7:56PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

No you do not need a new construction window to replace those units.

We replaced rotted sills quite regularly prior to setting new insert/replacement windows.

I would have to see what the full extent and depth of the rot is prior to committing to anything but your previous quote seems a bit out of whack regardless of insulation details. Is there rot to the interior side of the home below the window?

Did he make any mentions of removing and replacing the siding? Interior trim, flashing, etc?

There is a regular posted on this board by the name of HomeSealed. He is out of Milwaukee and is the only person that I would recommend in that area of the country.

Read some of his other posts and you will get a great feel for the type of quality guy he is.

To wrap up your original post...I would get another quote and opinion.

Here is a link that might be useful: Homesealed

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 11:42PM
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That could be repaired, maybe just replace windows on back of house for now.$1500 per window is typically is for high end wood windows with full frames, staining/painting included. Vinyl windows should be much lower unless you get crazy with options.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 1:56AM
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Unless your sashes are damaged or other reasons for replacement, I would try and seek out a good wood craftsman.

From the pictures, most it looks like bull noses and trim. Easily replaced and repaired.

If it goes beyond that, and you won't really know with out some exploratory work, then look at your options.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 10:48AM
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The answer to your question depends on where you are financially and what the house is like. I'm thinking this is not a colonial mansion in Moorestown, NJ. The vinyl siding gave it away.

With that in mind, there is no way I would spend that much money on those particular windows.

I would replace the rotted parts of the sills. This is most likely only the outer 2 inches or so, where moisture has been trapped under the ext trim. I would also replace the brickmolding (ext trim). I would then have these openings wrapped with the aluminum of your color choice, making sure that that is sealed properly, and also installed behind whatever drip cap is above. What I'm describing is not expensive work, perhaps app $200 per opening, including material. It is also not time consuming work, and fairly straight forward.

I would then choose a quality replacement window with an insert installation, preserving all your interior trim. I would think you could have all this done for less than $1k per window or so.

It could be argued that the technically correct way to do this right is to gut the openings and go with full frame methods, all new everything in and out. But replacement windows are called replacement windows for a reason. It is not always desirable to replace everything. For instance, if those wood windows of yours have a rope and weight balance system, then there is a large weight pocket behind the jambs. It's just not worth it to take all that apart unless you're wealthy or doing it yourself.

Just get the best window you can. I suggest fiberglass framed so that you won't lose glass space. If that doesn't bother you, high end vinyl will work as well. But don't skimp on the window. If you do, you will be back in the same boat in less than 10 years.

One more thing. The aluminum wrap on the outside can be bent in such a way to have a brickmold profile. This is much more professional and attractive, and shouldn't cost any extra if you have true professionals doing the work.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 2:13PM
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+1 to the other posts. The wood rot shown in your picture is pretty common. Sill noses and brickmold are not structural in any way, so there is no reason that a full tear-out MUST be done. Typically we chop out that bad wood and replace it, followed by aluminum capping as WindowDog described.
That price seems a bit extreme as well. As Todd mentioned, the only way it should be in that range would be a fully optioned wood window, stained, new mouldings, etc. A premium replacement should generally be half of that or less depending on options, etc.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 3:57PM
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