Replacing old windows or a broken door may seem like a simple enough task, but complications can arise easily. Even an experienced do-it-yourselfer can make a problem worse costing more than they planned for. Windows and doors are the entry and exit point for us and also for air. It is estimated that about 20% of heat in a home leaves through windows, taking heating costs with it. Updated windows, on average, have a return on investment of around 75%. New windows and doors can be costly, which is why correctly installing them is so important. If it is incorrectly installed, it can:
- Stick when you swing or slide it open
- Scrape or bang items outside the home
- Lose heat in the winter and cold in the summer
- Leave your home vulnerable to break-ins
- Have gaps that let in ants, cockroaches, and other pests
- Cause water damage, which is one of the worst possible outcomes from installation mistakes
- Cause a back or knee injury. Unloading and installing large components can be challenging, and injuries can happen
- Create major dents or scratches
What is involved
Most homeowners want to install new doors and windows to make their homes more energy efficient or change the style. There are few tasks involved in such an undertaking, though:
- New style or size of a window may mean making the opening larger by tearing down drywall
- Buy new frames and glass
- Acquire the necessary tools and materials
Some people only need a window pane or door hinge replaced while others need a full replacement. Whatever your project requires, make sure to plan out all of the steps and have a good understanding of the work that goes with it.
Be honest with yourself about your skill set. A simple window swap can be the perfect weekend project to learn new skills. Multiple window replacements all over the house are better handled by a professional. They will also receive better prices for parts than you could find at retail. Any project that requires a license or certificate is better left to a pro.
Splitting the difference
If you are set on getting your hands dirty, you could do part of a project and have a professional either start or finish it. This kind of work should be done with the consultation of a professional first, though. Be aware that many installers will not want to split tasks because of liability concerns or will not back it up with a guarantee or warranty. If they do agree to split the workload, an experienced professional will give you tips on your tasks.
Hiring a professional
A trained expert with plenty of experience will have access to a variety of products that suit your style and budget. Get many quotes from licenced pros and have them do an on-site estimate. Professionals will also be aware of building codes and be able to make recommendations tailored to your home. They will be familiar with the best safety practices and ensure materials are sealed and fitted correctly.
Ultimately, your decision should be based on a variety of factors. Do not opt to do the project yourself if your primary consideration is money as an improperly installed window or door can cost you more in the long run. Talk to a variety of professional installers to get a good idea of what the project entails and plan accordingly.