frosted window

Frost covered window

It’s really not rocket science to assess when your house windows require some repairs or replacement. Frost is present on the interior layer of the glass during the cold season, water damage can be clearly noticed and you can also see the drafts blowing the curtains.

While all these things are very apparent, what’s more difficult to ascertain is the type of windows you should get and the proper installation method to consider for installing them.

In general, you’ll find that there are 3 types of replacement options you can use, including complete unit replacement, frame and sash, or just sash replacement. As expected, there are positive as well as negative aspects of each of those methods.

Window sash replacement

Window sash replacement

Sash Replacement

If the opening is still true and square, the windows has no signs of water damage and its frame is also in good standing, then sash replacement is a solid choice to consider. This method basically involves removing parting stops and old sashes in order to install new jamb liners.

Since the majority of replacement sashes are going to be compression fit into the liners, installing them is going to be a breeze. If you want to improve energy efficiency without breaking the bank, then this is probably one of the best methods you should consider.

On the other hand, performance is not going to be as great as it’s the case with the other 2 options. On top of that, the look may make the sash and frame look bulky.

Sash and Frame Replacement

This type of replacement is a good choice if air leaks through the frame and sash, if the windowsill shows signs of damage or moisture and if everything else is still in great shape. Usually, one unit will be fit into existing jambs and against the external or internal stops.

After that, it’s going to be either nailed or screwed into the jambs. While out of the 3 options available this is the priciest, there are still a lot of homeowners who get them since it helps them save a lot of money in labor cost. On top of that, compared to a simple sash replacement, this particular option can dramatically minimize the daylight opening.

Full Window Unit Replacement

As you can already imagine, this means that you’ll need to get a new window with new insulation, caulking, sealants and of course, flashing and it’s the best option to consider if your openings or windows are severely damaged or compromised.

Entire window unit replacement

Entire window unit replacement

Since it requires removing old trim and casings, this project is responsible for causing major disturbances to external and internal finishes and siding. Whilst it’s obviously a very invasive method, it does offer the best performance compared to all other options.

If you’re currently looking for the right windows for your house, it’s recommended that you consider these essential areas:

  1. Tilt sashes for easier maintenance and cleaning.
  2. Easy to use and smooth sashes.
  3. Locate the weep system and make sure it’s going to drain moisture outside the specific siding system where it’s going to be applied.
  4. All mechanisms and hardware are properly attached and rugged.
  5. Installation aids like jamb liners and adjustable screws to fine tune the squareness of the frame.
  6. Caulking should play mostly aesthetic role and flashing be responsible for proper water shading.
  7. A rugged frame with many chambers for proper thermal resistance and support, but also reinforced corners (completely welded on vinyl units).

Accessories such as snap in screens or grilles and between the glass blinds need to be very durable. On top of that, it’s recommended that you get the best possible windows your budget allows you to get, regardless if this means you’re going to have to do an entire house replacement in 2 or 3 stages instead of all at the same time.

Framing Options

There are a few options you can consider when it comes to framing, such as:

Aluminum clad:

The most maintenance free of all materials. Aluminum exteriors can be painted in any color, while the wood exteriors can be stained to the color of your existing decor. However, for those living in coastal areas, aluminum clad window may not be the best choice due to salt saturated air.


A great choice for those who appreciate classic approach, yet it’s a bit pricier than vinyl. Can take any color or stain, it’s available in many species and requires good maintenance.


It’s a lot pricier than vinyl or wood, but has great durability. Faux wood grains are available, it can be painted in any color you want and requires no maintenance.


The main positive attributes of a vinyl window are that it’s maintenance free and very affordable. It’s generally available in light colors. Although you may be able to order dark colors from some manufacturers, we do not recommended do to deformation issues when exposed to sunlight for extensive periods of time.