Replacing Aluminum and Removing Storm Windows

jackieblueJuly 7, 2012

I have decided I cannot go another winter in my house with the current windows. I am planning to replace the windows sometime between now and cold weather.

I haven't decided if I will hire a window company or buy windows and have my contractor guy install them. I haven't gotten that far yet. My immediate question concerns what I will be removing, old aluminum sliders and equally old aluminum storm windows (from 1964).

Sometime in the last 10 years or so a previous owner had vinyl siding installed on the house and there is some sort of weird black trim around the outside of the storm windows. The siding butts up against this trim. My question concerns whether there is a type of replacement window that comes with exterior trim attached. I think there is but want to check because I really don't know. If there is what is the standard trim width? Would the trim cover the siding or should the siding butt up against the trim like it does now? I'm wondering since the existing trim is around the storm window, I may have to trim/cut the siding back if it is supposed to butt up against the trim on the window. If the siding will have to be cut back it may affect which way I go concerning who I hire to do the install.

Thanks in advance for any info. Hopefully I explained it well enough to get some advice from someone with experience with this type of configuration.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A close-up pic from the exterior side would help alot.If using the contractor guy, he should be able to tell which way is best and explain in detail how they would be installed.He should be insured and have a license as well.Do the aluminum windows have a nail flange would this flange be fully exposed if the trim around the storm is removed? What kind of windows are going to be installed?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 11:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mainly he is asking jackie as a poor window installed by a contractor guy or a "window company" not trained in the proper way to install windows you may be no better off than with what you currently have.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 9:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

First off, if your home was built before 1978, you will need a contractor that has an EPA Lead Paint Certification. If your "contractor guy" hasn't discussed this with you, he likely isn't certified and he is placing you and himself at risk. Not only for the potential of your house becoming contaminated with lead paint dust but also the very heavy fines which the "contactor guy" is subjecting himself to.

As mentioned above, pictures would be helpful, but if your "contractor guy" has the experience to provide you with a quality installation, these are questions he should be able to answer. If he doesn't know, then he is not the right person to do this job for you. Improperly installed windows that fail, have no manufacturers warranty and can end up costing you dearly in lost energy saving as long as they are installed. I realize many people want to use a "contractor-type guy" because he's probably willing to work fairly cheap but, if you end up losing everything you saved because of higher utility bills and/or the potential cost to repair damage to your home, is it really saving you any money?

Lastly, many manufacturers provide windows with vinyl brickmold or you could consider using a composite like Azek. It's also possible that the best way to go here could be with a new construction install with a nail fin.

Which way is best is something you should discuss with a qualified window professional.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 10:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for the replies! Not to worry, my 'contractor guy' is a licensed and bonded professional. I have used him in the past for some structural repair and other small jobs. Have not yet spoken to him about the window job and I do not want to until I have some basic decisions made.

Also, while I am not a window/siding expert I am also not completely unfamiliar with the building trades. Thus the basic question I have asked here. Good point about photos, I will charge my camera battery tonight and get some good pics in the morning. It is really hard to explain what I 'see' in my head. :)

Back to my original question... If the siding around every window with the funky black trim must be cut back I think I would be more apt to hire the contractor because I think he would care more about what it looked like since I am a repeat customer of his. If the outside trim would sit on top of the siding then there wouldn't be as much to worry about.

I'll be back with pictures tomorrow. Stay tuned, and thanks again!!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 11:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just to clarify, your contractor may be licenced but he has to have the specific EPA RRP certification to work on your home. A contractors license IS NOT sufficient. I would ask to see his certificate from EPA.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 6:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

jackie, please don't take offense to this, but just because your contractor is licensed and bonded does not mean that he knows anything about retrofit window installation. I have seen rough carpenters that have installed thousands of windows in new construction totally fubar a retrofit application. You can't get much easier than a traditional wood-tearout, but you can also get into some pretty complex stuff with water management etc, especially when dealing with more non-conventional applications. What I'd suggest at the very least, would be to speak to a window installation company, and compare their suggested method to your contractor's.I don't believe that your point about him doing a better job since you are a repeat customer is valid . In fact, an established company will be far more likely to be around in 10 years to address any service issues than a "contractor guy" will be.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 2:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have also seen rough carpenters who have installed thousands of windows in new construction still installing them incorrectly. I agree 100% with both of the esteemed gentlemen above.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 2:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I truly appreciate the concern, but to be honest I am beginning to think I will never get a straight answer to my question. Can anyone tell me whether the outside trim on a replacement window sits on top of the siding or must the siding be cut back to butt up against the trim? That is what I am interested in learning.

I've seen good carpenters and bad carpenters, good contractors and bad contractors, good window companies and bad window companies. The fact is it is possible to get good or bad with any company hired to do any job. It's really a crap shoot no matter who you hire so you do the research and you make the decision you feel the most comfortable with. I trust my judgement, it has served me well thus far, and I never go into any project without educating myself to the extent I see fit. So I don't want to seem ungrateful because I know you all mean well, but I need an answer to my question. I don't need advice on who to talk to or hire to install my new windows, whether they should be licensed, or whether they are certified for lead abatement. I already know my options. My question is pretty basic. If you don't want to answer that's fine, but please don't assume I'm clueless and need answers to questions I didn't ask.

That said, I'm attaching a close-up photo of the one window with the funky trim I could get close to without a ladder.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 11:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Technically there is no trim on a replacement window it is designed and made to sit inside the existing window frame.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 9:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

From the photo -
That is not black trim. That is the storm window frame with a black accent paint around it. I can guarantee you that when you remove the storm window, the fin of the aluminum window beneath it will not be exposed.

With vinyl siding, it is NEVER correct to install exterior trim on top of the siding.

I don't know what your original siding was, underneath the vinyl. Do you? But with aluminum windows, I can almost guarantee you that the siding butts up against the window frame. IF there was a casing trim of some kind, it was most likely removed when the vinyl siding was installed.

You remove the storm window. Then you remove the sashes/glass and mullions (if any) from the window, leaving just the frame. Then you pry the frame into the opening, pulling out the nails. You also hope at this point that the vinyl "J" channel was not nailed through the window fin. If so, the "J" will come off with it. When the frame is out, you then have the opening you will be dealing with. You can have the new window made to slip between the "J" and cutting back the sheetrock, or you can have the new window made to fit sheetrock to sheet rock, and trim the outside appropriately. You'll be able to see where the studs are, and the window cannot be bigger than the rough stud to stud opening.

The problem is the vinyl siding. I hesitate to recommend cutting that back. Perhaps someone else here has a suggestion on how to do that without risking cracking/chipping and ruining the siding. The other problem with cutting it back to reveal the window fin is that you no longer have the right "J" channel - though maybe they can find some and slip it around the siding cut. But then you also cannot nail it properly after the fact. This is why I recommend leaving the "J" and siding alone.

What abosolutely MUST be done in your situation is that the proper drip cap/flashing MUST be applied above the window. It must go up behind the sheathing, and turn out over the window, extending past the "J" channel, and then a downward bend of app 1/2". In your case, you have to have someone custom bend that on site. The addition of vinyl siding will make any pre-made drip cap unusable. It must start from up behind the sheathing or original siding, NOT the vinyl siding.

Also make sure that the new windows are fully injected around the frame with low expanding insulating foam. This will be an absolute must for your application.

That's probably clear as mud. But I did my best for you. Keep in mind, this is a standard every day job for any competent window company, and I did thousands of windows like this that never leaked. But if you get a crew in there that takes short cuts and depends on caulking for shedding water, you're going to be in big trouble down the road.

Hope that answers your question. What the other guys here said is more true than you can know. "Contractor" guys are clueless about this kind of stuff, and it shows in the end results, and we've seen it a million times. I also want to tell you that if you chince on this, you will get a chince result and look. The money has to come out of somewhere. You don't want it to be the product or the workmanship. Pay for a good job done right, and you won't be doing it again in less than 10 years. Ignore this advice, and you will. It's not an insult to your intelligence, which I'm sure is adequate. It's just the fact of it. And unless you do this for a living for years, you cannot know, and I don't mean to offend, but that's the reality.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 9:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you guys. I appreciate that you took the time to give me straight forward and informative answers. You've given me a lot to think about.

Windowdog, from the interior of the window I can see there is some sort of wood around the outside of the window opening that the storm window attaches to. I know the old siding is a redish-brown and this wood appears to be either some sort of red wood or it is stained a redish color. I wonder if that could be the original trim or if the wood was installed to attach the storm windows to. Either way it would probably need to be removed.

I take it by your description that you wouldn't recommend a replacement window that would fit over the existing aluminum frame? If not, why not? Honestly I figured that is what I would be getting bids on so if there is some reason that type of replacement wouldn't be suitable then I may need to re-think my strategy and do the windows in shifts because I refuse to go into debt trying to save $ on heating bills. :) The whole house has only 16 windows but I also need a new entry and patio door. Assuming a complete tear out would be significantly higher priced, thus eating into the budget. I get the spend it now or spend it later concept, but this is not a premium house so it isn't going to have premium windows. If the next owner has to have them replaced again in 15 years that's fine with me. I've lived with these ancient aluminum windows for seven years. I'll be happy not to have a breeze and have to bundle up just to stay warm in the winter!

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 12:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Jackie, again, please take no offense, but if you are confident in your contractor, why are you asking these questions here as opposed to simply asking him, or trusting him to do the job properly?.... Either way, window dog gave some good advice above.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 7:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

jackieblue, that wood that you see from the inside is only a little spacer between the inside window and the storm window. It's for mounting the storm window off of the original frame a little bit for proper clearance for operation.

I don't know where you live. If it's CA, you're actually required to leave the old aluminum finned frame in. Since you don't sound like you're super picky about this, then that would not be a bad way to go. The aluminum frame with fin would be your flashing. The new window would have to be measured and fitted with care. You would have to know how much space there is between the outside of the frame and where the screen "rail" starts. You'll probably be losing some glass space with this method, but not much more than you would normally with a vinyl window mounted sheetrock to sheetrock.

The biggest issue with this method will be losing sill space on the inside.

You will still need an installer that has a "brake" to custom bend an aluminum wrap to cover and trim over the aluminum frame on the outside. Please don't try to do that with wood.

With this method you won't have to worry about everything in my other post. The vinyl siding will be undisturbed. You'll just end up with a little smaller window, less glass space, and less interior sill space. Maybe someone could recommend a window that has a narrower frame than 3 1/4 inches.

I do understand the frustration of living with windows that are freezing leaking PIAs, and how great it would be to have something better in there, but doesn't have to be a Cadillac window. They absolutely have to be put in correctly, however.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 12:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

HomeSealed I'm asking because I want to know. Regardless of who I hire to work on my home I will always ask any question or learn anything I wish to before, during, or after the job is complete. I'm that type of person. More people should, then they wouldn't be unhappy when something isn't what they thought it should be. Is there a reason why you think I should just sit back and not know anything about what is being done to my home?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 6:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

HomeSealed first let me just apologize if I sounded rude in my last post. Didn't intend to but after re-reading it I can see where it might come off that way.

To clarify something, I have not decided who I will hire. Haven't called for any in home visits for estimates from window companies not have I even approached the subject with the contractor who has done several other jobs for me. I know this might sound odd, but I don't shop for things like most people do. When I make a large purchase I research whatever it is to death. Almost to the point of being sick of it myself. I don't use credit and I don't take spending my hard earned cash lightly. So I want to feel comfortable knowing as much as I can even though I wont be doing the work myself. This way if my purchase/project goes south I have no-one to blame but myself so I don't waste time and energy feeling like I was cheated or taken advantage of. It hasn't happened often but there was a vehicle or two I learned my lesson on the hard way. My MOP has also benefited me in the past as well. I remember after I bought this house I decided I needed new bigger gutters. The existing ones just didn't seem to be handling the load as I was seeing water pooled against my foundation and if it rained long enough some slight seepage around the outside of the basement slab. I knew they were clean because I was the one cleaning them out. So I started researching and learned as much as I could about gutters. One day I went out during a rain to check for any gutters that might be overflowing and noticed that there was water running down the outside of one of the downspouts right down to the ground next to the foundation. Obviously that wasn't right and knowing what I had learned I knew that from the top to the bottom of a downspout run the upper should tuck into the lower. I grabbed a screwdriver and there in the rain I took off a section of downspout and fitted the upper section inside it. As expected the leak stopped. I didn't need new gutters after all. Don't know why it was like that, perhaps some previous owner had taken it down to clean a clog and didn't put it back right. But educating myself saved me from spending $ I didn't need to and possibly saved my home from damage. And you can bet that if I ever do need new gutters the installer wont be leaving until I see that the downspouts are all done correctly.

What this has to do with my window shopping is that when I feel like I know enough about the subject not to be a sitting duck I will get several bids, including from my contractor. If I notice huge differences or I see they have omitted materials which I might reasonably need I will ask them informed questions at that time. If I don't get a satisfactory answer then that bid will be rejected no matter who it is. For instance, thanks to Windowdog I now know that I will need aluminum wrap on the exterior and will be prepared to pay for it. If someone tries to give me a bid that indicated wood on the exterior I will know that is not right. And I wont be caught in the situation where it is left off of the bid completely, then when I'm over a barrel and the installer wants to charge me 'extra' for the additional materials needed I'd feel ripped off. All kinds of good comes from being informed. And that is why I learn as much as I can. I'm also humble enough to know that being educated doesn't make me an expert. It works for me.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 8:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

WindowDog, I can't thank you enough. This is the type of info I'm interested in knowing. Now I can go read all about aluminum wrap, what it's purpose is and what it looks like. I probably will go with leaving the aluminum frames in. As the actual glass area of the current storm windows is considerably smaller than the glass of the actual windows (eyeballing, probably 2-3/4 to 3") I probably wont notice it much if the new windows have a little smaller glass area.

Another big plus will be just plain having clean windows inside and out. Having sliders with storm windows makes it really difficult to clean in between them. You can probably imagine that an older house with deteriorating windows has some dust, insect debris, and even cobwebs in between that is next to impossible to get to. Wiping them down is not really possible at all. Just seeing it gives me the creeps and I am really looking forward to nice bright white clean windows that I can get to from both sides. That is almost as big a selling point as the energy savings for me. Will make a world of difference in the looks of my house. The way it is now even if the house is spotless it doesn't doesn't look it because of the dirty looking windows.

I'll probably pop in with more questions, but for now I am off to read as much as I can find about aluminum wrap, LowE glass, and argon gas... Thanks again... :)

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 8:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

No offense taken Jackie. I am 1000% for informed consumers. The basic idea behind my earlier advice is that you will have a higher likelihood of getting a quality product and installation by due diligence in researching a quality product and installation company rather than trying to learn the intricacies of a complex installation having no prior experience.
Either way, more knowledge is always better and I commend your voracity in learning about what will be a substantial investment. Window Dog has again given you some good advice, so just keep going in your research, and you'll be certain to end up satisfied with your finished product. :)

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 10:40PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Any thoughts on the new Beechworth windows by James Hardie
Hi, We are waiting for our building permit and are...
Gigantic skylight needs replacing
A windstorm wisked away the living room skylight in...
Best garden window?
I am remodeling our galley kitchen. It's small and...
Milgard SunCoat vs SunCoat Max vs I89
We're getting ready to remodel our kitchen and DR,...
wood window restoring in Nova
I live in a cedar home with big wood casement windows....
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™