Common Window Replacement Mistakes

Common Window Replacement Mistakes

Replacement windows are a big purchase. In addition to being a significant cost investment, new windows can dramatically change the look of a home or building. Avoid these mistakes to ensure you’re happy with your choices and have a good remodeling experience.

10 Common Window Replacement Mistakes


  1. Basing your window choice on the price
  2. Measuring the window opening wrong
  3. Ordering windows with the wrong size jamb
  4. Securing the window without making sure it is centered, level, plumb, and square
  5. Using the lousy spray foam
  6. Not following the manufacturer’s directions
  7. Ordering windows that don’t have matching profiles
  8. Installing windows at different levels
  9. Not reading company reviews before you hire a contractor
  10. Not asking about lead times before ordering your windows

Basing your window choice on the price

Window prices will vary, but don’t choose a window because it’s the cheapest. There are other ways to lower the cost of your project. 

If you’ve been researching, you will have noticed that window companies need to be more transparent about pricing. Usually, the only place you can find window pricing is on websites like Home Depot or Lowes, but if you want brands not sold at Home Depot or Lowes or you want custom windows, you’ll need to speak to a salesperson before getting any pricing. 

So, how do you know if you’re getting a reasonable price or getting ripped off?

The best way to get a reasonable price on windows is to shop around for quotes; I know— it’s a bummer if you prefer to shop online or through chatbots, but there is value. 

Here’s what you need to know about window pricing.

  1. Unless you purchase your windows from a big box store like Home Depot, Menards, or Lowes or buy directly from a company like Pella. 
  2. Dealers have connections with window vendors, which allows them access to more exclusive products; some receive better pricing than others.
  3. Most window dealers have salespeople like car dealerships. The salespeople usually are paid commission, so shopping around is in your best interest.
  4. Like automobiles, factories can customize your windows; the fancier the window gets, the more it will cost.
  5. Some window dealers offer price matching.
  6. Some window dealers provide installation services at an additional cost.
  7. Meeting with sales representatives from different companies allows you to shop for a reasonable price, a good product, and a trustworthy company.

Measuring the window opening wrong

Understanding how window openings are measured before ordering new windows is especially important for replacement windows. Our company offers products with installation services or supply-only sales. 

We rely on the client’s measurements on supply-only orders, usually the homeowner’s or contractor’s. We will not double-check the measure. If you or your contractor did the measure wrong, we can only order another window at an additional cost. An error like this costs time and money because you must order different products and delay installation completion.

When our sales consultants meet with clients and sell the windows with installation, they take a rough measurement to give a pricing quote. After a sale, our installation technicians will return to the job site and re-measure the windows to confirm the size.

Ordering windows with the wrong size jamb

For a full-frame window replacement, you order windows with the jambs attached. If you measure and order your windows, be sure to consider the width of the jambs. The jamb depth is usually the same for most windows, but occasionally, you’ll need to consider other considerations. The jamb may need to be wider if the finished surface of the interior wall is thicker than drywall. 

Securing the window without making sure it is centered, level, plumb, and square

In full-frame window replacement jobs, we usually pocket the window into the rough opening. The window then needs to be secured to the opening. Ensure the window is centered, level, plumb, and square before securing it. You should add shims to get the window just right.

Using the wrong spray foam

A lousy spray foam job can take one of two forms: either the wrong foam or the window’s entire perimeter is filled with foam. 

Use only a non-expanding foam sealant. Expanding spray foams can bow the wood jambs or eventually distort the window frame shape. Homeowners often ask us to fill the entire cavity around a window with foam, but that’s better of an idea than it sounds. Serving the whole perimeter with foam means water has few ways to escape. Sometimes, unwelcome water goes down near the window, and it needs to have a way out. Foam can prevent this and cause water to build up where it shouldn’t. 

Not following the manufacturer’s directions.

If you are installing the windows, read the manufacturer’s instructions! Yes, most window installations follow a similar process, but each manufacturer has specific requirements and best practices. To get the most value from your window, follow the instructions provided. Following the instructions will also prevent the warranty from being voided. 

Ordering windows that don’t have matching profiles

Not all windows have the same profile widths. Choosing windows from different collections or the same collection but other styles can result in windows with different profiles. This might be a minor deal for everyone, but if you want clean lines throughout your home, look for windows with matching profiles.

Installing windows at different levels

In addition to matching profiles, you also want to ensure the windows are placed at appropriate levels to maintain clean lines across the home. In replacement applications, this is usually only a problem if you order the wrong size windows or unknowingly replace replacement windows that need to be installed correctly.

Only read company reviews after you hire a contractor.

Reading reviews is crucial unless a company is referred to you by someone you trust. Just like with products, people leave reviews of companies. Please search for the company on Google, Angi, Houzz, or similar websites to see what people say about their experience with the companies you vet.

If you are not asking about lead times before ordering your windows.

Ask everyone you meet with about lead times. A lead time is calculated from when the order is placed to when the manufacturer delivers the product to its destination. With a company like ours, that lead time means how long it takes to order the product and when it arrives at our warehouse. There is additional wait time between the product’s arrival and when we install the product or when you or your contractor will schedule a product pickup or drop off. 

If you’re considering ordering windows for a replacement or new construction project, anticipate delays with any building materials.

Window replacement may seem simple, but it is much more complex than ordering custom windows. That’s why it is important to find experienced window technicians for your installation project. 

Are you located in Hinsdale, IL? Contact our team to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced and trusted window and door consultants.

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