While taking on a project yourself can be a fun, rewarding task, not all home improvement jobs are suitable to do yourself. Replacing windows requires advanced skills and experience to ensure everything is installed safely and correctly. DIY window installation can lead to expensive hidden costs, improperly installed windows and other problems down the road.
Choosing professional installation ensures you receive the best installation and service for your home. Let’s explore the dangers of DIY installing new windows and how professional services can help you avoid spending time and money on expensive repairs.
1. Buying the Wrong Windows
There are two standard kinds of residential windows — insert and full-frame replacement windows. Each window type has a specific use, and mixing them up can lead to problems.
- Insert windows are for installations where a new frame isn’t necessary. Insert replacement windows fit into the existing sill without damaging the original trim. They’re usually quicker and easier to install.
- Full-frame windows require replacing the window frame along with the window. Installing these windows means you have a damaged existing frame that needs repair. Full-frame replacements involve replacing the windowsill, trim and window. This is a more intensive repair process than an insert replacement, requiring more time, skill and money.
A professional can examine your windows and select the best type of window for the situation. You might think your existing frame is fine, leading to you getting an insert replacement — but in reality, you actually need a full-frame repair job. Getting the wrong window could lead to buying two types of windows if the first doesn’t work out. It’s not always easy to see what kind of window you need without professional training and experience.
2. Reduced Energy Efficiency
Windows are essential contributors to the energy efficiency of your house. They seal your house and protect against air leakage and ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can drive up energy costs if allowed to travel through the home. To ensure your windows are as energy efficient as possible, each window needs an exact, air-tight seal.
The most significant factor to ensure energy efficiency is accuracy — placing the window precisely in the frame. If your window fitting is slightly off, you can throw off its balance and seal without even realizing it. A slight tilt in the window fitting can allow a draft to sneak through, letting precious air travel between the inside and outside and driving up your energy costs.
Improper fitting and energy efficiency loss might take a long time to notice. The longer the window is left incorrectly fitted, the more your heating and cooling costs will add up. That’s why it’s important to fit the window correctly at the start.
Like many home projects, DIY window installation can be a dangerous job. You have to lift heavy glass high off the ground and will often need to use a ladder to help you secure the window. Working with large, heavy pieces of glass means there’s a chance you or someone helping you will cut themselves or drop the window on themselves while handling it. Ladders can also be dangerous — falling from one can lead to broken bones and head trauma.
If you aren’t trained in window installation, you might seriously hurt yourself while replacing the window. Any injuries you sustain will only add more time and financial costs to your DIY job. Keep yourself and your window safe from harm by calling a professional to perform the job.
4. Warranty Issues
There are two main warranty issues that can come from a DIY window installation. You can install windows yourself, but you might end up voiding your existing window warranty and you’ll miss out on a workmanship warranty. Warranties protect you and your home from certain damages and can save you money on repairs if something happens to the windows while they’re under warranty.
Before attempting any DIY work on your windows, check your existing warranty. It’s common for DIY replacements or repairs to void your window warranty, as they’re often considered unauthorized modifications. This would leave you without protection from storms or other damages, driving up your repair costs. Your existing warranty might cover the repair work you’re trying to do on your own, which would involve much cheaper and faster repairs.
Replacing a window on your own also means you won’t receive a workmanship warranty. You might get a manufacturer’s warranty if you perform a DIY replacement, but they aren’t as comprehensive or reliable as a workmanship warranty. Professional window installations often come with lifetime warranties to protect you from improper installations or weather damage. This means you aren’t out of luck if something happens to your windows, as you’d be with a DIY window replacement.
5. Limited Materials
While construction companies and contractors have access to high-quality windows and materials, DIY-ers are often forced to select materials from their local home improvement retailers. DIY-ing windows usually means buying whatever’s in stock or building the window yourself. Whichever DIY option you attempt, you’ll be left to choose from the possibly limited selection of materials near you.
On the other hand, professional installers have access to the best window materials, tools and techniques. With construction companies, you can select the best window for your home from options like wood, vinyl, fiberglass and composite. Professionally-installed windows are often Energy Star certified, which could save you up to 20% per year on your energy bill.
Sub-par materials will mean your windows probably won’t last as long as they could. You want your home to provide you with the best-possible shelter, so why not get the best possible materials for your windows? Professionals have their choice of top-quality materials, giving you easy access to the best window replacement materials without the stress of searching in-person and online for what you need.
6. Pre-Existing Issues
While you might think you only have to replace the window itself, there are many unseen issues that could need addressing that you can’t see until the window is out. While you might think it’s just the window that needs replacing, other urgent problems could be hiding in the walls.
You could have issues with the drywall, insulation and frame that you weren’t prepared to handle when you started the installation. You may have some window installation experience, but insulation and drywall repair might be too much for you to handle on your own.
Additionally, pre-existing issues mean you need to buy more tools and materials and invest more time in the DIY project. This means more room for error and higher costs for you. Professionals can spot and handle more complex problems or they can direct you to the help you need. Don’t handle window problems on your own — you could wind up having to repair and replace more than you signed up for.
7. Longer Installation Time
While you can replace your own windows and theoretically save money initially by doing it yourself, a window replacement will cost you more time and stress if it’s DIY. You’ll need to find the right tools, go out and buy all your materials, watch tutorial videos, install the window yourself and do all the cleanup afterward.
In addition to a longer installation process, any unexpected problems or DIY surprises will extend the length of the project. If you drop the window glass, uncover hidden damages that need repair or find you don’t have the right tools for the job, you’ll need to add more time to the project. All of these trips to the store and extra repairs will drag the window installation out much longer than you originally anticipated.
This entire process could take several hours, not including the prep time you put into the job. A professional will have the window done quickly, safely and efficiently. The installation might only take an hour of your day if you call a construction company. Without professional training, you can get stuck on a tricky part of the replacement or you could end up causing more damage by accident. An experienced installer will have your new window installed in no time, so why take on the stress of the job yourself?
8. Safety and Security Issues
A DIY project can leave you with serious safety concerns. Professional installation will ensure everything works properly and is up to code, but amateur work doesn’t have that same training and experience. There are several security and safety issues you might miss when performing your window installation.
There are specific ways your window might not be up to code. For example, it might not open when needed during an emergency. This could leave you trapped in your house during a fire or other serious event. You want an installation of the highest standard to ensure you’re safe in the event of an emergency.
Improperly-installed windows might also make it easier for intruders to gain access to your home. A window that doesn’t close or latch properly can become an access point for someone trying to get into the house. If you replaced your window with cheaper, thinner glass, it might make the window easier for intruders to break, as well.
Finally, professional installers often use more durable windows with special UV and wind protection. Getting a cheaper window for your DIY installation could mean your windows aren’t impact- and UV-resistant, potentially making your home less safe to live in.
9. Failure to Meet Inspection Standards
While you could do a good-enough job on your window replacement for your own personal standards, it might not pass a home inspection. Avoiding a professional window replacement could cost you later on if you decide to sell your home. If your windows don’t pass the initial home inspection, you’ll probably need to pay for replacement windows before the sale goes through.
DIY replacements might seem like a good investment initially, but if they only last you a few years, you’re effectively wasting money. Having to pay for an additional replacement when you want to sell your home is an added expense you can easily avoid by going with a professional service initially.
Another danger of DIY window installation is surprise costs. Professional installation might seem expensive up front, but there are many hidden costs potentially associated with a DIY project, which can add up quickly.
Along with purchasing all the materials and tools yourself, you’ll have to do all the cleanup. Additionally, any problems that occur during the installation will add to your expenses. Repairing anything that goes wrong during the installation will cost you, as will paying for more professional repairs later on if something is installed incorrectly.
You could end up spending more money on your energy bills in addition to paying for extra repairs, as incorrect installation reduces your windows’ energy efficiency. Any problems that happen later on, like wind damage that would typically be covered under warranty, won’t be covered for a DIY job, so add that to your unexpected costs, as well.
Any injuries that happen while you’re DIY-ing the windows will come with another surprise fee you might have to pay. Professionals have the training and protective gear to replace windows safely. If you don’t have much or any window experience, you could hurt yourself during the installation, leaving you with potential medical costs if the injuries are severe.
Before jumping into a window replacement on your own, consider the total potential costs. Professional services might seem more expensive up first, but you’re paying for the speedy, high-quality, low-stress service they’re providing, making them a beneficial investment.
Choose Coldstream Exteriors for Your Window Installation
Windows protect and insulate your home from weather, intruders and exterior forces. As an essential part of your home, you want a reliable, experienced installation to ensure everything is replaced correctly. If you’re a homeowner in the metropolitan areas of Cincinnati, Ohio, St. Louis, Missouri or Tampa, Florida, trust Coldstream Exteriors with your window replacement and installation.
We offer several window installation options so you can find the best, most energy-efficient windows for your home. At Coldstream Exteriors, we prioritize customer satisfaction, which has earned us Elite Service status from HomeAdvisor and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Our lifetime window warranties and superior service quality means you can relax knowing you’re in the right hands.
If you have questions about services and warranties or want to get started with a free inspection, contact us today!