Preparing for a window installation

If the windows in your home are old, drafty, or difficult to operate, replacing them can be a great investment. Newer windows are more efficient, leading to lower energy bills; they'll also help give your home a more refreshed look.

Replacing all of the windows in your home at once can be a costly project, but will also ensure that you realize these benefits right away. However, you can also put in new windows gradually over time in order to save money. If a window has been damaged, it makes sense to get a higher quality one as a replacement.

Whether you are planning to do a window installation on your own or calling in a contractor to do it for you, a few preparations will be necessary. These steps will ensure that the window can be easily replaced, speeding up the process and saving you money on labor costs.

Decide whether you want to be present for the process. Lee Wallender, writing for the home design site The Spruce, says taking a day off or working from home allows you to keep in touch with the work crew and address any needs or questions they might have. At the same time, you might want to plan to keep children or pets out of the home while the work is going on to reduce the possibility of injury and keep them from interfering with the job.

If you are working with a contractor, schedule a meeting with them to do a walk-through of your home. This will familiarize them with the property, let them know what they'll need to complete the job, and give them an opportunity to make any requests of you. The contractor will also let you know what their policy is if inclement weather or other problems delay work on your home.

One of the most important things you can do is prepare the area around the windows. The home sustainability site Modernize.com says you should remove any window treatments and relocate anything on the window ledges, such as decorations or window boxes. Stanek Windows, a company in Macedonia, Ohio, says you should consult with your contractor ahead of time to see if they'll need hardware such as curtain rods to be removed as well.

Clearing a path to the work site will make the workers more comfortable and allow the window replacement to proceed faster. Move any furniture away from the windows, and open up a wide path from the door to this area. Modernize.com says you may need to move items such as throw rugs, lamps, or wall art as well. If you're worried about workers accidentally breaking items, move them to another room.

If you have ample storage space in your room, you should be able to store any relocated belongings in one space. Ecoline Windows, a Canadian company, says the basement or garage can be useful places for temporary storage. If storage space is at a premium, you may consider renting a portable storage container.

One way to improve interior access is to take doors off their hinges. This can help ensure that workers will easily be able to pass through the home while carrying windows or equipment.

Don't forget about outdoor spaces as well. If hedges or plants are making it difficult to access a window from the exterior, you may need to trim them back. Workers will need to use equipment such as ladders or scaffolding to access upper story windows. Remove any patio furniture, trash cans, or other items below these windows to allow workers to easily set up this equipment.

Some homes will have their windows connected to a security system, which can be triggered if the window is removed from the home. Modernize.com says security systems should be disabled while the work is underway to avoid false alarms.

The removal of the old window can be a messy process, sending dust, paint chips, and other debris into your home. The home improvement site HomeAdvisor says putting down drop cloths underneath the windows can help prepare the site for the project and make cleanup easier.

Schedule some time to inspect the windows when they first arrive. Modernize.com says they should be the same windows you agreed to order, and that they should be free of any cracks or other damage.

Take a look at the windows after they have been installed as well. You'll want to make sure there aren't any gaps between the window and its frame, and the window itself should open and shut easily.

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