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Wg_gill 08-10-2012 12:53 AM

Window Installation Nightmare. Advice Needed!
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I have a home that was built in 1959 w/ the original windows. For the obvious reasons, I decided to replace the windows. Long story short, I decided to have Lowe's replace all of the 15 Windows in the house. They installed seven windows before being stopped; the windows were too small. Looking at the windows that were replaced, there are significant gaps between the original frame, and the replacement window. Lowe's argues these gaps are "normal" and it will be covered with trim. I say it's unacceptable to cover the difference with a trim, and a snug fit replacement is necessary. However, I'm ignorant when comes to home repairs. Below are a few pics of my concerns, PLEASE give your advice. I need some solid facts to support my argument to Lowe's. Thanks in advance...

Oakland1000 08-10-2012 09:34 AM

A friend of mine was saying the same thing. He's searched long and hard for a window company that would provide a better fit but evidently there are a lot in the industry that just puts in smaller windows and cover the gap with trim. It's a bit outrageous isn't it!!

They're all out to make a quick buck aren't they. Put any window in and cover the gaps!!!

nealtw 08-10-2012 04:05 PM

You may not need a permit for this work but any new work being done should be up to code anyway. That is why you hired a pro. So go talk to the local inspectors at the city and find out what the code is and you will have an arguement for Lowe's. They should have ordered windows that fit your openings or re-framed to fit the windows. Likely they had you measure the old windows so they will say it is your fault. Measure the rough opening in the framing of one of the windows, we will see if they should have been special ordered. By the colour of the framing around the window there has been lots of air movement around the old window, did they check for rot? Poke at the frame work with a screwdriver and see if it is solid. It's not uncommon to find one or two windows that need more work when changing windows. This is the time to find rot and fix it, so you don't have to go thru this again.

CallMeVilla 08-11-2012 11:58 AM

Assuming the opening is square, my approach is to measure the rough-in and subtract 1" from the top and sides. This allows a 1/2" gap around the replacement window. This might require custom windows but oh well because you want a snug enough fit to allow for foam without large gaps.

How large is your largest gap? Were your original rough-ins square? (if not square then more gap is needed to allow for a new, square window.

Hope you can work this out . . .

nealtw 08-11-2012 12:38 PM

If you have a 36"x36" rough opening you would order 3-0 3-0 window and it would measure 35.5"x35.5" and foam around windows is against code in some areas.

CallMeVilla 08-11-2012 12:45 PM

Correct Neal and some window mfgrs do not want foam used. So, Wg, you should check with both and see how to proceed.

Here is S. California, we ALWAYS carefully foam. Never blew out a frame, discolored a window, or had a problem. To each his own . . . ;)

Wg_gill 08-15-2012 01:25 PM

All of the gaps are about an half an 1/2", so I shouldn't be concerned. I called Pella, and they recommended using a product called "great stuff". I'm assuming it's legal in Central California, but I'll look further into it. Hopefully the contractor has experience with foam.

I do appreciate all of the replies from everyone. I second guessed their work on the few windows they got correct, since they only measured 30% of the windows correctly, and it's good to know those few windows are done the right way.

Thomas529 06-10-2013 08:11 AM


WindowsonWashington 06-11-2013 05:20 AM


Depends in large part how square and true the openings are.

If they are very square, you can minimize your cut back to 1/4" per side but 1/2" is not out of the realm of normalcy.

Post up some pictures from further back if you want but it you are okay with the numbers given the advice, just make sure they spray foam those gaps and seal everything up tight.

The installer quality from the big box stores can be hit or miss and hence the reason that I typically advise homeowners to go with a window professional.

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